There is no experience more universal being the victim of a failed relationship. Everyone goes through it, everyone swears they’ll never give their heart away again, and then everyone does it anyway. Even though every situation is different and each person is unique, the stages of getting over a breakup usually follow a similar pattern.
The “I’m never getting out of bed” stage
In most cases, breakups come with a whole hell of a lot of sadness. You spent so much of your time with someone and probably told them your deepest darkest secrets. Suddenly cutting them out of your life (or being cut out from theirs) can feel like the ultimate betrayal. It’s a pain that is so real that you can literally feel it radiating from the inside out. You’re moody, you’re depressed, and you don’t see the point of getting out of bed, going to work, and or doing anything other than watching TV. And it sucks.
The “emotional eating” stage
When there’s nothing waking you up in the morning except your feelings, loneliness, and the pint of ice cream in your freezer, it’s easy to pack on the pounds. You feel like crap, you’re picturing your ex in bed with someone hotter than you, and pizza seems like the only thing in this world you can trust to be there. You desperately try to fill the empty space in your life with comfort food, and it works… for a little while.
The “revenge bod” stage
The first time you pick yourself up and go to the gym or decide to ditch the depression cookie jar, you realize how quickly you can drop your excess weight. Before you know it, you’re stronger and sexier than ever before—and definitely hotter than you were when your ex had you, which feels friggin’ awesome.
The “mastering the art of stalking” stage
Once it’s not so painful, you’ll casually check in on your ex. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—taking a peek every now and then seems harmless, assuming he doesn’t catch you. You might even get so good at it that you get to the point where you don’t realize you’re doing it… which probably means it’s time to stop.
The “social media hiatus” stage
Though it feels impossible at first, you’ll realize that blocking, unfriending, and changing privacy settings are important steps to take to get over your ex. Sure, you’ll no longer know who he’s with and what he’s up to, but it’s a lot less painful than obsessively wondering who that chick in his new profile picture is and if he talks about you to her. Plus, he won’t be able to stalk you either, so you don’t have to worry about what you post.
The “fake it ’til you make it” stage
There’s a period between when you’re finally a functioning human again and when you’re totally over it where you kind of just cruise around pretending you’re doing fine. It feels unnatural at first, but the more you put on a happy face, the faster you move through this stage to the real thing.
The “giving into curiosity” stage
Whether it’s that text you swore you wouldn’t send, picking up his call, or even jumping back into his bed once (or six times), chances are at some point, you’ll need one more taste. Unfortunately, in most cases, you end up right where you left off and realize what didn’t work before still doesn’t. Deciding he isn’t worth it is an important step in the process.
The “panicking about your new life plan” stage
Now that you’ve scratched the itch and figured out there’s no going back, the reality that you need a new future slaps you in the face. You can live anywhere, do anything and be anyone, and that’s amazing and horrifying at the same time. Take the time to decide what exactly you want or go find out, if you have no idea.
The “dating anyone and everyone” stage
Not all dating is supposed to lead to serious relationships. Sometimes you just want to do your thing and find out exactly what you want and don’t want in a partner. Take advantage of the freedom and date any and every type of person until you know what to look for in the future—and have a ton of fun along the way.
The “depression, take two” stage
There’s usually a point after you’ve been doing awesome where you suddenly feel like you did the day of the breakup. Maybe it’s an anniversary, a birthday or you watch a sappy movie that hits a memory nerve, but something happens and you feel back at square one. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal and it passes. Whatever you do, don’t call him.
The “finally embracing the single life” stage
It’s an amazing feeling when you truly figure out who you are and realize you can make your own happiness. Travel, explore, make mistakes, and you’ll learn about yourself every step of the way. Being the single friend has its perks, and the minute you realize you don’t need someone else to be happy is the moment you’ve gotten over your heartbreak.
The “time to try again” stage
Despite promising yourself you’d never open up to the chance of another heartbreak, you realize that you’re ready to share your new confidence and sense of self with someone else. And you hope that maybe this time, you’ll finally get your happy ending.
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