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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

So you broke up with your high school boyfriend? What happens next? 

Breakups are a part of every single person’s lives, no matter your gender and sexual identity. Being in college definitely does not make the impact of it better. It could be a high school sweetheart going to a different college that you simply could not do long-distance with; or a class-crush-turned-relationship that you now have to see walking on campus all of the time after a rough ending. Combined with not being home, especially if you’re a freshman in a new environment for the first time, and stress of assignments, breaking up SUCKS, to put it simply.  

A post-breakup process is a grieving process; you are grieving the loss of someone who was incredibly important and present in your life. Not only that, if you are younger and were dating this person long-term, you grew up with this person as the relationship developed. You are also grieving that part of you. 

Everyone grieves differently, but there are the typical stages of grief that you should know. It’s important to accept and understand your feelings to help work your way through them. If you are going through a breakup, what you are feeling is entirely normal, even if you feel like you’re going crazy.  


The first stage of grief is the denial stage. It’s your brain’s automatic response to news that you did not want to hear. It allows for more time to absorb the information and gradually process it, as a breakup is a lot to deal with all at once. However, it can also cause you to read into everything your ex-partner is doing, trying to find a small glimmer of hope that you guys will get back together.  

“What does he mean by this wording?”  

“He answered me five minutes quicker than he usually does, maybe he’s starting to miss me.” “There’s no doubt that we’ll get back together, we just need space right now,” these were all things that I asked and told myself during my breakups, even if I was the one who did the breaking up.  

Spoiler: there was no hidden meaning behind his wording, he did not start to miss me, and we did not end up getting back together. This was a harsh awakening, but I could not live in the denial stage forever.  

Breakups happen and they’re awful to go through, but it’s something a person has to recognize that it’s happened and their feelings towards it to help move on. Simply ignoring the problem and acting like nothing happened does not make it go away, it prolongs the grief process.  


The stage of anger is a way to mask the emotions or pain that you’re feeling. It can be directed at your ex, the situation itself, maybe a third-party that came into play, or even your friends who don’t immediately hate your ex. You’re not thinking rationally in this stage, and may be prone to outbursts seemingly out of nowhere. 

This stage is the reason why there’s a box under my bed with torn up pictures and notes from an ex. Moments of outbursts where I was just like “Fuck this man!” but then immediately regretted it after I did it. Or, the reason why I told two of the men who broke up with me that I actually didn’t like them in the first place. You’re not thinking clearly, prone to rash decisions maybe as a way to get back at them.  

This is where the gross stereotype of the ‘crazy-ex girlfriend’ comes in. You have a right to be angry, as long as it is expressed in a healthy way. Maybe delete your Instagram posts with them instead of slashing their tires (unless, of course, they did something truly heinous). Anger can also be a way of pushing off your emotions. Take time to assess the situation and cry. It is okay.  


Grief is an intense emotion, and you’re going to try to find ways to still feel like you’re in control of your life. The bargaining stage is similar to that of denial. You’re looking for any way to make the relationship work, even feeding lies to yourself. That maybe, for example, if your ex went to therapy, you guys can get back together. You’re willing to accept their toxic behaviors, and to change yourself, all for the sake of being with that person again.  

I would tell myself that if I could go back in time and not bring up a (valid) issue about that person that we could be together again. Because yeah, that thing sucked, but being without him sucked.  

You broke up for a reason. It’s tempting to want to get back together with someone because being alone is, well, lonely, and you are so used to being with someone. Do not sacrifice your own self-worth and well-being just because you want to be with someone. Like denial and anger, it is your way of ignoring what actually happened. You shouldn’t ignore a problem that affected you enough to cause a breakup.  


Depression is where you have reached the stage of finally confronting what happened and the emotions that you are feeling. It’s a difficult, messy, and overwhelming feeling that makes it hard to do anything. You’re not going to take care of yourself. But you are going to experience fatigue, have abnormal eating habits, and feel hopeless. 

One of the worst breakups I ever went through caused me to lose 20 pounds in the span of two months without even trying to lose weight. I could barely stomach one meal a day for that entire time, and had awful stomach issues because of it. It was the first time that I saw my friends and family truly concerned about me. It’s tempting for me, and others to think after every breakup that you are just unlovable. So many times I have thought to myself that I’m just not destined for a relationship, that no one will ever love me, and that I will never be able to find someone that I have that strong of a connection with. 

This isn’t true! One heartbreak does not mean you will never find your person again. A breakup is a very stressful and overwhelming time, and it is immensely important to take care of yourself. It’s okay to sleep more and to turn to your comfort foods. Don’t burn yourself out more by ignoring your body’s needs during this time. Have a support system and talk to the ones you trust about how you’re feeling. One of the best things a breakup has done to me is motivate me to start therapy. You are going to be okay, you just need some time.  


Acceptance: where you can finally make peace with this loss in your life. It’s not necessarily an uplifting, happy part of the grieving process, but it’s a time of finally recognizing what you’ve gone through, and being able to start moving on. You are going to feel different in this stage, maybe like an entirely different person, and this is because of the major change that you went through.  

It was hard to recognize myself while I was going through acceptance phases. I didn’t feel like myself once I realized that that person wasn’t part of me anymore. However, the acceptance stage finally allowed me to look at the ex-relationship from an objective point of view; I could still be angry at that person, and still be sad for what once was, with realizing that, simply, things happen. That person was not the one, and that’s okay. 

Acceptance is weird, but it also symbolizes that you are at a place to continue on with your life. As you adjust to this new life, remember that there is no one correct way to do it.  

Grief of all shapes and forms takes a while. It is not a linear process, and it does resurface. You could be fine for a year, and then all of a sudden one tiny thing can set you back into a spiral again. With Mercury experiencing retrograde right now, you may be feeling this more intensely (for all of my astrology nerds). It’s important to remember that breakups are normal, and they help you to explore yourself and who you truly want as a romantic partner. No matter what, you are going to be fine. 

Further Readings  

“Coping with Grief and Loss” from Help Guide  

“The Stages of Grief: What do You Need to Know” by Kimberly Holland from Healthline  


“The Five Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship” by Jennifer Kromber from Psychology Today 


Gianna is a staff writer for Her Campus at Temple University, and a sophomore at Temple University. She usually writes under the Health section, and often covers her personal struggles with mental health and body dysmorphia. Gianna has loved writing ever since she was little. In high school, she had an internship with her local newspaper, also writing for the health section. In college she writes The Temple News and the Templar Yearbook. Her home is in Southern Delaware with her three dogs (who she misses dearly) Keno, Caesar, and Nero. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ggvogess