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“When something breaks, if the pieces are large enough, you can fix it. Unfortunately sometimes things don’t break, they shatter. But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter. And in those moments when the pieces of what we were catch the sun, I’ll remember just how beautiful it was. Just how beautiful it’ll always be. Because it was US. And we were magic. Forever.” – Jenny, Someone Great

If you have ever been through a breakup, you’ve experienced a pain that changes your life. Through the pain, you change and grow and heal, but honestly there is no feeling as empty or lonely as a broken heart. Most would agree that a broken heart is a blessing in disguise; if you have a broken heart, it means you loved, and you loved deeply. Whether you are the dumper or the dumped, you still lose someone who you were committed to. Usually, you experience the five stages of grief in many forms and different orders for weeks or months before you reach the final stage of acceptance.


  1. Denial – Marked by isolation, avoidance, confusion, and shock 

The phase of denial is the loneliest stage, where nothing feels real. You replay every moment, every word, every emotion and convince yourself that none of it was real, or that all of it was real and it couldn’t possibly have ended. Nothing that anyone says or does can make it sink. You sit there, numb, feeling everything but nothing at all. Denial comes in waves. The mornings when you wake up, when you are sitting with friends, waiting for a text that won’t come, to the silent moments where you forget for a split second and then the wave washes over you again. 

  1. Bargaining – Marked by struggling to find meaning, questioning, and reaching out.     

Bargaining is the stage where you talk through everything, multiple times. You try to process and re-process everything. It’s the time where you just wanna talk it all out. You want to process it, even if it hurts. You question your own feelings and what was real; you make excuses. It’s the time when friendships can save you. 

  1. Anger – Marked by frustration, anxiety, and irritation

The stage where rationality escapes you. The anger phase is when you first start to feel like you’re making progress in the healing process. But be aware – just because you feel anger, does not mean you have accepted the loss. Anger is the easiest emotion to recognize and accept because it is the least painful. Anger is the frustration of loss but also the frustration of how you were treated. It’s the time when you get angry about betrayal and pain.

  1. Depression – Marked by overwhelming emotion and helplessness

This is not an individual, fleeting stage. Depression marks the whole breakup. It’s the endless crying. The excruciating pain that hits you in the moment. Depression is the worst stage. But when the pain stops, that is when you know it’s over. The overwhelming pain and crippling sadness will subside. It is the most constant emotion through the process, but some waves hit harder than others. Feel them in their entirety. 


Heartbreak is one of the worst experiences you go through, but heartbreak means you care. It marks the end of a relationship where you loved deeply. Reaching acceptance can take forever, but once you do, you’ll know. Feel every emotion. Go through every stage. You will be okay, even when you feel you won’t.

Reid Brown

Rhodes '22

I'm from Vermont which means I can talk about snow, maple syrup, and how great Canada is all day:)
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