The The Kübler-Ross model of grief (commonly referred to as the “five stages of grief“) tells us that their are five “emotional” stages of grief.
People like to apply these to all sort of stressful situation, including breakups.
With some help of Wikipedia I’ve put together an short explanation of how the Kübler-Ross model can be applied to a breakup.
- Denial: The person will be unable to accept that the relationship is over, and continue to try and maintain contact with the person in question.
- Anger: Upon realising the relationship is over the person is questions will become angry and feel that is “unfair” or that they have been treated unjustly in some way by their partner (ex).
- Bargaining: Here the individual will plead with their former partner “promising to do better”, or perhaps changed the behaviour that lead to the breakup.
- Depression: When the bargaining does not work, they will enter into a depressive state.
- Acceptance: Finally the individual will accept that the relationship is over, and move on with their life.
“Ok. So what?” you ask. I’m not sure that I even believe this. Because I’m now going to explain the stages I usually go through when I’m dealing with a breakup. It’s not a simple progression from one to the next. I start in depression, jump back to denial, leap wildly into bargaining, then become angry, before plunging again into depression.
Here is an example of how I might have dealt with a recent breakup
- Breakdown crying
- Get into bed. Stay in bed. Make a duvet cocoon (this is your home for the next few hours to days)
- Emerge from bed. Proceed to consume all of the sweet food in the house (preferably chocolate or icecream, but anything sweet will do. If there is nothing sweet, potato crisps will be just fine). If you are lucky a friend will assist you in this step by bring you commiseration chocolate. (Here, Olivia would like to make it known that she did this. And also force-fed me real food so that I didn’t die.)
- In your sugar-craved state you decide to contact your ex. However better judgement (the intervention of a friend) leads you to instead delete his number.
- Quiet phase, in which you carry on your life as normal.
- You discover you never really deleted his number
- Proceed to send vindictive text messages/ voicemails
- Receive no reply
- Upon realising you will never receive a reply, you return to stage one.
- Repeat stages 1 through 9
- A friend intervenes and suggests a girls-night. To make you feel better.
- You look pretty! Yay!
- Go out to a bar/nightclub, have a few drinks. Everything is going great. One problem: the only male attention you receive all night is from a fat middle aged man at the bar, and a couple of casual boob/arse gropes.
- Return to step one
- Take up a new hobby in an attempt to break the cycle. Perhaps learning a new language, writing a blog, singing lessons, juggling class.
- One day you suddenly realise you haven’t thought about your ex in a whole 24 hour period.
- Realisation that you are a strong independent woman you can survive a whole day without thinking about a man.
- Make life plans like a strong independent woman. (Go travelling, teach, do a PhD, have an amazing career, write a best selling novel, save the planet, the usual).
- See your ex walking down the street. See a comment on facebook. Find an old photo. Etc.
- Return to step one
- Slow but steadily each time you repeat the cycle you are convinced of your status as an “independent woman” for a slightly longer period of time. Eventually during this phase of elation and confidence you will catch the attention of another attractive young male. He’ll approach you, and he isn’t like the fat-bar-dwellers or tit-grabbers. There is something about him that catches you. You don’t even realise but you have finally accepted your last breakup, but you are entering a whole new cycle.
Disclaimer: This is not how I’m recommending that any girl deals with a breakup. It’s just how my life tends to work out.