It’s over. What happens next?
1. First- a sense of freedom and lightness. I have so much extra time now!
2. Followed quickly by a dull empty listless feeling, and I don’t want to talk to anyone about it.
3. Then- thinking back over all the memories— appreciating, regretting, wondering…. often hoping if I was left with anything to hope for. Very positive thinking while I try to be realistic. I’ll talk a lot to my friends during this stage. Rehashing everything for their enjoyment (or chagrine).
4. Suddenly- sadness and depression. He’s been gone long enough that withdrawal kicks in hardcore and I cry at the blink of an eye. Sad, sad, sad. At this point, if he came back, it wouldn’t be the same. The hurt has gotten to me. I feel hopeless and allow myself to wallow in the pain. Crying myself to sleep at night almost feels good and it’s during this stage that I write the most poetry, paint the most pictures, and record the most journal entries.
5. Next- anger. How DARE he!!!! I wish he hadn’t left me with any hope. How cruel! I can’t stand the sight of couples in love and I sneer as I walk down the inevitable Valentine’s Day aisle in WalMart. I quit talking about him and bury his pictures in my sock drawer. I make up angry speeches to him in my head. Hopefully for the sake of those around me this doesn’t last long or coincide with any weddings.
6. Finally- growth. I get used to being by myself and I start to feel like a whole person again. I understand what went wrong in the relationship and probably even why he ended it. I also often realize that he wasn’t the man for me anyway! If he comes back at this point, we can be friends because I’m no longer royally pissed. I might fall for him again though if I didn’t really figure out reasons why he was the slime of the earth during phase 5. I’ve stayed stuck in this phase for years, I’m sorry to say. I spend too much time here; I have to revisit earlier stages to ultimately reach stage 7.
7. Lastly- getting on with life. I don’t care about that dude any longer (what was his middle name?)… and I start to make eye contact with cute strangers. I develop a crush on some guy in class (but he’s 5 billion years younger than me- oops!) If Mr. Heartbreak comes around now, he’ll have to move heaven and earth to win me back, as I’ve decided with certainty that he is NOT my knight in shining armor. The pain has faded but the memory of it has not, preventing me from letting him in again to do additional damage. I sometimes wish this stage could last quite a bit longer before I fall for someone new and start the whole cycle over again….
Can you relate to any (or all) of these stages? How does your process of loss to healing play out?