The 5 Stages of a Breakup

The saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same thing goes with break ups. There’s no expiration date on when you should stop feeling all the feelings that come with a breakup. If you’ve been through a breakup, and a particularly bad one at that, you know the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the territory. It was after all, Carrie Bradshaw that said, “At the end of yet another failed relationship, when all you have are war wounds and self-doubt, you have to wonder, ‘What’s it all worth?’”

That being said, I should put a disclaimer here  that I’m not condemning all relationships. Being in a relationship definitely has some perks, just like being single does. This article isn’t meant to discredit the validity of all relationships. It’s moreso to summarize in simple terms the five stages of emotion you will go through after ending a relationship, as told by a self-proclaimed expert in the field.

To keep it easy, we’ll list the steps as days of the week. Everyone is different in handling their emotions but I’ll say right now that the five days below are solely used for the purpose of this example, and not as a timeline of when you should get over your (now-ex) significant other.


The first day after breaking up with someone you probably shouldn’t make any plans with anyone but your pillow and a box of Kleenex. Maybe not everyone has seen Legally Blonde, but I’ll let you know that the scene where Elle throws the (almost empty, I will note) box of chocolates at the sappy rom-com playing on TV is a pretty accurate interpretation of the first day after a break up; puffy eyes and all.


This day represents the anger that comes with a breakup. By now you’ve gotten all the tears out and you start to overanalyze every bit of your relationship. You start to think of all the little red flags that were maybe there all along. You start thinking of things you should have said in the heat of the moment. Of course you’re mad at the fact the relationship ended, and maybe you’re mad at your significant other, but you might also be mad at yourself for letting things end how they did.


The next phase in getting over a breakup is a feeling of numbness. Not physically of course, but you almost feel like you have no feelings at all. You’ve cried, you’ve punched that stuffed bear you claim you don’t sleep with anymore (sorry Bear, I take it back!) and you’ve probably eaten a year’s worth of calories in Insomnia Cookies. You probably still won’t walk to talk to anyone, but that’s normal. You’re not being a b*tch for wanting some alone time. You owe it to yourself to take the time to recuperate.


Apart from perhaps being exhausted from all the other feelings you’ve experienced since the break up, you’re actually feeling okay by now. You can get through an entire five minutes of thinking without your ex’s face butting into your mind, and you even made it outside today to meet your friends at Espresso Royale. Tiny steps, but you’re doing it!


Today marks the day that you actually wake up feeling good for the first time in a while. You might even feel relief! Yes the past “week” has been a rough one filled with tears, ice cream, and maybe a couple bottles of wine (beware the curse of the Drunk Text), but you realize that you have nothing holding you back now and you can enjoy yourself without any strings attached. Today’s the day you realize that you’re in your prime for goodness sake! it’s okay to not be on the constant lookout for your next significant other and to just enjoy the time you have being single!

Yes, I may be quoting and taking relationship advice from a fictional character, but Carrie Bradshaw sure as hell knew what she was talking about. The final point is yes, you’re going to feel all the feels after a relationship. It’s comforting to remind yourself that it’s the end of a relationship, not the end of the world. In the words of Ms. Bradshaw, “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.”

Source for help: If you are feeling extremely depressed or anxious, and might need more than a good cry, Boynton Health Services here on campus has excellent mental health resources. Know that it’s okay to seek help or even to just want to talk to someone on the outside.