The Mighty Logo

10 Things to Remember When Grieving the End of a Relationship

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Grief. It is in my opinion one of the most complex emotions we can feel. It’s messy and can be confusing to most people. When there was a traumatic ending to the relationship I was in, I realized I was experiencing a tremendous amount of grief. I often felt alone in this process, because others wanted to fix it, or wish it away. I found that no matter how hard I tried, there was no amount of wishing that could take my grief away and that I needed to walk through it and feel it in order to heal from it. I have learned some things along the way through this season that I would like to share with anyone who may also be experiencing grief after the end of a relationship.

1.  Take time to heal.

Grief often happens after an ending of sorts. The loss often felt during grief can feel overwhelming at times. Take the time to take care of yourself.

2. Grief is not linear.  

Dealing with grief is a process and this process can take time. Throughout this, there were days when I felt crushed by the pain I was feeling and could barely get out of bed. Then there were days that I was happy. There will be ups and downs, and that is normal.

3.  What other people think of you is not your concern.

I used to be a big people pleaser. It is something I still struggle with; however, it started to change when I first started dealing with the loss of the person I was with. After a series of events happened, I came to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like me or agree with me. In fact, there will be some people who won’t. Once I realized that, I was able to focus on my own healing and not as much on what others thought of me. It gave me the freedom to feel.

4. It is OK to laugh again.

I remember one of the first times I laughed. It was a true, not forced, belly laugh. It felt foreign to me because I hadn’t laughed like that in a long time. At first, I often felt guilty for laughing and being happy. I thought I shouldn’t be allowed to be happy if he wasn’t. I learned over time that I had a right to feel my feelings, including being happy.

5. Anger is normal.

I used to not understand how anger is often intertwined with grief. And while it may not be for everyone, it was for me. I was angry that things didn’t go according to my plan and I was angry about the outcomes. Once I was able to recognize that I was angry, I was able to understand my grief better.

6. Screaming in your car helps.

My car became a safe place for me. In my car I could scream, cry and feel my feelings in ways I couldn’t in my home. When I allowed myself to feel the anger and pain in that way, there was a physical release that happened. I could feel the release in my body.

7.  Time may never completely heal some wounds.

There is a popular saying that time heals all wounds. I have found in my experience that sometimes it doesn’t. There are some things I will forever feel. It may not be as intense as when it first occurred, yet there are still feelings there. It doesn’t mean it is necessarily unresolved, just that there are still emotions there. I will always love the person I was with. There was no closure and the loss is still there. However, I have chosen to keep on living in order to move on with my life.

8. Some people may not understand or distance themselves.

I found that many people I considered to be extremely close friends or family distanced themselves when it happened. They couldn’t handle my grief and were uncomfortable by it. It doesn’t make them bad people, they just, for whatever reason, couldn’t watch me go through it. I had to find safe people I could go to.

9. Talking about it helps.

Sharing my story and speaking about my grief helped lessen the load and burden I was carrying. I had to find safe people I could share it with, people who were in a good enough place themselves to be able to stand by me through it. Every time I shared my story and feelings, I found that a weight was lifted from me. I didn’t feel alone.

10. There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief.

Everyone responds differently to grief. I often found myself comparing my journey to others on their own journeys with grief. When that happened, I felt shame because I thought I was grieving wrong. It took me some time to realize that everyone feels grief differently. Once I could see that there was no black or white way of thinking when it came to grief, I was able to be kind to myself .

There is no handbook for grieving the end of a relationship. Everyone responds and expresses it in different ways. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to be gentle with myself. It is not a race. Grief is a process.

Getty image by AntonioGuillem

Originally published: August 18, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home