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Ending a long-term relationship is difficult, I would probably rate it high up there amongst the worst things to deal with in life. I’ve had a few long term relationships in the past and having them come to an end was like having my heart ripped out of its chest and squished in front of me. You know? The feeling when your heart drops into your belly and lives there for at least a good year! It’s not pleasant but maybe after reading this little blog piece it might help you understand what’s happening to you emotionally and you might, just might be equipped to make better decisions than I have done in the past.

When we break up with our long term partner we go through a period of bereavement. I’m not too sure if this is proven yet, but I feel the emotions that I endured were exactly that. After all we are bereaving ourselves from a person. They walk away from our lives for good and which is why it is often hard to let them go, or turn up at their new house like a scene from Pretty woman at 3am in the morning.

I have a childhood friend that split up with his long term partner when we were still in our teens, late teens to be exact, possibly early 20’s. Anyway, when the split up happened my poor friend would often end up dropping everything to go and see her when she called, he’d bring her flowers and buy her gifts and it mainly all ended up getting slung back in his face. Not because she was evil of course, but more so she didn’t want to keep the attachment and he was trying his hardest to keep it. It’s our subconscious way of avoiding grief.

Anyway: Stages of separation / grief / bereavement etc

1. Denial

Come on, you know what I mean right? “She’ll come back” “He won’t know what’s hit him” “she’ll never find anyone else good enough” “Who’s going to make his sandwiches?” – it’s all a protection system to soften the blow of the sudden shock. Maybe you’ve known this was going to happen but it will still be a shock nonetheless. Denial is basically a temporary defence mechanism to soften the emotional trauma.

2. Anger

Sadly, some people can never move on from this stage and can stay angry at a person for their whole life. My previous relationship that I had I stayed mad at the girl for 6 months at least. I often describe anger like when a heavy stone is dropped into a lake; the stone will come crashing down on the water, and the waters film surface will soften the blow (denial) and when the water rushes back to the surface it creates an almighty SPLASH. The splash is the intense emotion boiling to the surface after the trauma and erupting like Mt Krakatoa. Anger can often manifest in different ways and not at the person you’re angry with, say you could get really angry at your friend for being 5 minutes late as to protect yourself from the real reason you’re angry. I was an angry chap in my earlier life and it was because I had not learned how to properly deal with my anger.

3. Bargaining

Once you’ve beaten the anger you’re going to find yourself looking back on things a lot more. You’ll usually find yourself thinking, “If only I had done x or y or z” to distract yourself from the reality of things. Sadly, it’s just one of these things. No amount of reasoning will change what’s happened.

4. Depression

I would say this is where you have come to terms with the fact that you’ve lost your partner and no amount of control will get her or him back at all. This is where we like to quietly console ourselves with a sad song and a drink. Yup, all is lost. No more getting back with your ex.

5. Acceptance

As I said before some people rarely get passed anger so this is an awesome treat to get to this stage. Now you’re finally ready and over your ex, time to move on! Time to grab the world by the balls and scream whilst running full pelt. The world is your oyster and there is an abundance of men / women out there that would be a great match for you!

If you’re sitting there reading this and can properly identify the stage that you are at then it would be a great idea to embrace those feelings and realise they aren’t wrong, no, it’s natural and you should be feeling them. Just try to reason with yourself why you are feeling like this and resist the temptation to do anything silly.. like I have done.. too.. many.. times!!! 🙂

Hope this helps! Happy reading.

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I'm a man that's been through the pitfalls and elations of relationships in my ever growing quest to better my knowledge in the human condition. I've been in the game and around the Internet since 1996 and surprisingly I'm still using it today. I've definitely found myself in some weird and wonderful places and I hope to share all of this with you lucky people.

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