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Moving on from a break-up can be extremely hard, especially if we don’t give ourselves proper healing time.
Many women have this notion that if they can find another guy to start a relationship with—quickly—then the healing process will be faster. Wrong!
Jumping into another relationship right away is setting yourself up for more heartbreak. How can you be ready for another relationship when you haven’t taken the proper time to process your feelings fully—or to analyze what went wrong so you know and understand what you really want (or don’t want) in your next relationship?
There is a reason why the saying, “time heals all wounds” is verbalized a lot.
It takes time to emotionally go through the grieving, or the break-up process—which is similar to what you go through when someone dies. Think about it, when you have dated someone for a period of time and have emotionally and physically become attached—whether you have spent a great deal of time together over a short period of time, or perhaps you have dated for many months, years or longer—when the relationship ends, it can feel like a huge loss and hole in your heart.
Sharing your life with someone—intimately and personally—are memories that don’t just magically go away. And if you were building a future together (or so you thought), having this sudden or unexpected change in direction can be completely devastating—emotionally, physically and mentally—when that person is no longer in your life.
Until you give yourself time to fully experience the grieving stages of a break-up, you could easily enter into another relationship with similarly negative results, which could potentially prolong finding your “one” and ultimately true love.
Grieving is important and so is taking the necessary time to heal your heart.
The Eight Grieving Stages of a Break-up:
1. Denial: This is when you don’t fully believe that the break-up has occurred or is occurring. You might tell your friends openly or with confidence that the break-up has happened, however deep down inside you still hold on to the belief that he will come back or that you will get back together—once he has time to miss you.
Wake up. Do you really want a man who needs time to miss you to finally realize what he wants? You deserve a man who knows you are, who wants a future with you and will do everything in his power to make it happen.
2. Blaming: This is the stage where you make yourself responsible for why the relationship didn’t work. You were too available or not available enough. You weren’t affectionate enough or maybe you gave him too much affection. Maybe there were things you should have said or reacted to differently or maybe you should have never criticized or had an opinion about anything.
Unfortunately, this is also the stage where many women start to doubt themselves—their beauty, weight, intelligence, height, style, etc. Stop! There is nothing wrong with you and the right guy—for you—will love you exactly for you, including your flaws. You won’t need to tip toe around his feelings or worry about speaking your mind (respectfully) or having an adult conversation or what you look like.
3. Anger: This is the stage where you are finally pissed off about the way he treated you or the fact that you stayed in the relationship longer than you should have, or you finally realize all the red flags that were right in front of your eyes that you should have seen, but didn’t at the time.
When you finally get angry, you stop making excuses and no longer see him as “perfect” anymore but instead recognize things he also could have done differently. Ladies, it’s about time. Recognizing when a guy has treated you poorly is important, as this will help you to not attract the same type of men. Write down all the things that didn’t work so that you can remember and move on.
4. Bargaining: This is the “should have, could have” stage as well as the,”If only…” stage. This is when you go over the relationship in your mind with a fine tooth comb to decipher exactly what went wrong and what you should or could have done differently to have possibly saved it…praying to the universe, God, Allah or whatever you believe in that if he comes back into your life you will change and do things differently. Really? So you think that you should change the core of who you are for love? Love is having someone know your core and still wanting to be with you, not the other way around.
5. Depression: This is the stage where you cry, cry, cry, cry, cry…and that’s okay, let it out. You have every right to be sad when a relationship ends. Let yourself experience this without guilt. Have lots of tissues handy, ice cream, chocolate, wine, cookies, junk food, Sex in the City DVDs or maybe for you, exercising is your release…whatever it is that you need, do, it (of course, safely).
Know that you should never feel silly or stupid for being sad even if these emotions come up weeks or months later or last longer than you think they should (however if you are feeling suicidal, call the nearest help support line near you or 911). Having supportive girlfriends, family members or friends in general are important during this stage, so let go of your pride/ego and reach out.
6. Acceptance: This is when you finally know in your heart that the relationship is truly o-v-e-r and he isn’t coming back—and if he did, you don’t want him. You finally start to feel peace—a sense of relief that he is out of your life. You feel back to feeling like your old self—but even stronger, more knowledgable and you are happy again.
7. Realization: This is when you finally open your eyes and know that everything does happen for a reason—the relationship ended because you were not a great fit and he was not the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with. You know now that you do deserve a man who will treat you with love, kindness, respect and open communication. Period!
An additional and important stage….
8. Forgiveness: I believe that this is the most important stage…opening your heart to forgiving yourself and him for any mistakes or hurt that was experienced—knowing that until you can forgive there will always be a blockage in your heart. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you want him back or in your life to any degree, it just means that you are no longer holding on to past anger. Until you can forgive, you are letting him—his energy—block you from fully experiencing new love.
Note: These stages have no particular order and can be experienced for different lengths of time—some might last longer than others. Usually forgiveness is one of the hardest stages, and therefore tends to be the last, but not always. You need to honor your emotions when they happen, knowing that hurrying the process isn’t the answer to mending your heart, in fact it tends to be the complete opposite.
When a relationship ends, it can be easy to call an ex lover or boyfriend, sleep with various men or jump into a relationship with the next guy who is giving you attention…I have been guilty of doing all these things myself, however these are only temporary “fixes” to emotionally try to get over your ex and the break-up. Take the proper time for yourself to experience all the stages of a break-up so that you will not only be more aware of what you really want in a man, but also in your next relationship.
The bottom-line is: time for healing is necessary so you can get to know and appreciate even more of who you are on a deeper level. Every relationship becomes a lesson that evolves into another life experience. In order to be yourself, you must know yourself. Trust me, this is a great thing because the best foundation for a healthy relationship is built from self-awareness and love.
Author: Stephanie Bailey
Editor: Catherine Monkman