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Navigating The Five Emotional Stages Of A Relationship Breakup

The following emotional stages of a relationship breakup are only guidelines to help you navigate through a difficult time to a happier ending. What's important to understand is that even though they are uncomfortable, each of the following feelings are quite normal.

What follows are often referred to as the "five emotional stages of grief". Each of the concepts apply just as easily to a relationship breakup. The major difference is that some of the stages can happen while the relationship is still in tact.

The first stage is denial. There are plenty of stories about spouses and significant others who justified the odd behavior of an ex before a breakup.

"Oh, he probably got lipstick on his collar when he accidentally bumped into someone."

"She didn't call to tell me she was going to be late because she was too busy with work."

Those are two rather blatant examples that may not apply, but how about this one? "We don't argue that much, we just like to discuss our problems." Open communication is great, but not when it's used as an excuse for calling each other names and saying hurtful things. You have to make an honest assessment of your relationship if you want it to succeed, denial prevents that from happening. If you are able to recognize and correct things at the denial stage, then you may not have to worry about the rest.

Anger and resentment may be the most common of the emotional stages of a relationship breakup. You broke up, and now you're mad at your ex. Even if deep down you know it was mostly your fault, you find reasons to be mad at them. You have to let go of the anger and resentment before you can move on. Plus, it is much better for your overall health when you're not carrying around so much anger.

Trying to patch things up is a worthy goal, but resorting to negotiation (the next stage) isn't the best way to go about it. Here you will say and do anything to get your ex back. You will change, make promises, and do "whatever it takes". But you're not really thinking them through. More than likely they do not fit in with your character and will be impossible for you to follow through on. When you notice you're using the word "if" a lot, it's a sure sign you are at this stage.

Depression as one of the emotional stages of a relationship breakup can really pop up at just about any time in the process. You may believe that you could never love somebody the same way again, or worse, that nobody will ever love you again. Regardless of when it occurs, be willing to seek professional help if you need it.

The final stage is acceptance. It's just like it sounds. You have come to terms with your relationship and accept whatever has happened. You start feeling better (not necessarily great, but better) and are ready to start being yourself again.

Remember, these five stages are just a guideline. You may not experience all of them, and they may be in a different order and vary in their intensity. Now that you are aware of the stages, it will be easier to get through them if the situation arises.

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