10 Stages of a Heartbreak

A few months ago, the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with disappeared.

How can I explain love? How can I explain the inexplicable desire to dedicate your life to another’s happiness? I had never felt it before. This was my first adult relationship, the kind where there isn’t an ounce of bullshit. It was just two people loving each other as best as they could with a healthy dose of loyalty, respect, compromise, friendship and chemistry. He was my best friend and I, the prior committment-phobe, felt truly all-in with him.

But it didn’t work out.

If you’ve ever felt heartbreak, you know it’s more than sadness after a break-up. It’s feverish and aching, like a particularly intense flu that lasts for six months (give or take). Luckily, time heals all, even if the scars are still visible and tender to the touch.

Until time rescues your heart, these are the 10 stages of heartbreak you’re bound to experience during a mutual break-up:

1. Overwhelming grief

You think you’ve lost your personality. In the back of your mind you know that life isn’t over. But you still think you’ll never recover. You lose 15 lbs because every bite of food feels like dust in your mouth. You swear you can’t even feel the sun on your skin. You’re basically a zombie, a shell of a person, and your heart has been torn to shreds.

2. Random crying in public

You cried at work, in the candle section at Target, and at the Wendy’s drive-thru. You cried when you realized you had to change your profile picture. You saw a lamppost and conjured up some memory of the two of you walking downtown together, holding hands – and you cried then, too, as you stood in the middle of a parking lot, gesturing and blubbering at a lamppost like an idiot.

3. Numbing sadness

You’re all cried out. What more can you do? There’s nothing to say about it.

4. “Hey, you up?”

For a while, you’re getting a bunch of sporadic text messages and lengthy silence. You’re trying to give each other the space you need, but you’re in a pit of despair. It’s all you can think about and it’s seriously confusing. There are also a few people sliding into your DM’s and it feels like you’re cheating, but you know that’s not true.

5. Bargaining

At some point, the idea that this is a real-life romantic comedy fills your head. The lovers in rom-coms are always separated by some unforeseen circumstance or misunderstanding… but then they always end up together. “I have faith that the love we had will bring us back together,” you think. And you float around in this rosy imaginary scenario for a little while.

6. Anger

What’s wrong with you? Why weren’t you good enough? What else could you have possibly done? What’s wrong with your ex? Why doesn’t the person you loved care? Why doesn’t your ex want to make it work?

7. Premature acceptance

It’s never going to happen. Maybe you don’t even want it to. Maybe it’s for the best.

8. Hysterical relapse

Your ex is going on dates and posting it all over social media, and you just realized that you’d been clinging to a small inkling of hope that things might work out. You keep saying “this is a good thing” over and over but you’re also crying and now there’s snot on your shirt.

9. True acceptance

You’re moving on. The pain is there but it’s beginning to fade. Why wouldn’t it be? It was love and it was true but you’re alright with doing you for a little while.

10. Interest in something new

Be it a new relationship, a new career interest, reconnection with your old faithful sex toy, or a big box of toaster pastries, you’re finally in the clear. Life can continue and you feel no obligation to your ex’s happiness anymore. Isn’t it funny how things change?

Thumbnail courtesy of CDN Images