The 5 Stages of Grief…In a Break Up…When You’re 30

Girl Power

We’ve all heard of the 5 Stages of Grief, a theory introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the late 1960’s. Although her theory was based on dealing with death, I think most of us will agree that a break-up is sometimes worse. You are losing a loved one, and the process for letting go of a relationship or dealing with a death is the same. I can honestly say that after an entire year of going through this, Ms. Ross was spot on.

Stage 1 – Denial
Ahh, the earliest stage in the process. The part where you still have a shred of hope because you won’t allow yourself to think or feel otherwise. Enjoy it ladies, because it’s the last time you’ll feel some sort of relief for a while.

Stage 2 – Anger
Although a scary experience for your friends, family and innocent bystanders, this stage can be quite fun. In this stage you can no longer deny what is happening, and therefore it becomes joyous to blame everything that ever went wrong on your ex. It’s time to vent about everything you hated about him or her- the things they wore, the annoying way they breathe, the horrible jokes and that stupid f*cking ugly haircut. The anger doesn’t stop there! Literally everyone and everything pisses you off. It’s okay. Curse, scream, throw inanimate objects at the wall, flip the finger to that asshole that cut you off on the freeway, and blame the lovely people working at In-n-Out for making those burgers so damn delicious and subsequently, your skinny jeans too tight.

Stage 2.1 – Anger + Wine
It’s a good time to take up drinking if you haven’t done so already. Drink as much as you need or want for Stages 2 and 3 (and 4 if you think you can handle it). Do not make excuses for it and do not ignore how good this feels. No apology needed.

Stage 3 – Bargaining
This is the time where you sit back and wonder, “If I had just done this”, “If I tried this”, and my personal fav, “Why me?” You also search for something to do that will change the situation. In my opinion, this stage is a waste of time. Things are not going to change and you can’t live life wondering, “What If?” Spend about 5 minutes here and move on.

Stage 4 – Depression
This is the hard part. Reality hits. Frequent crying and sleep seem to be the most common effects. Please refer to the post “Crying At Work” by Deb Gross. You just have to feel it.

Stage 5 – Acceptance
One day, out of nowhere, it just happens. The weight is lifted. You feel better. It takes a long time to get to this stage but I promise you, it will happen. Time to move on, feel hopeful, and look towards the very bright future you have in store for yourself. Acceptance will set you free.

Please refer to the video below for a visual (and hilarious!) depiction of the 5 Stages of Grief.

Julie Sanders


  1. Amy says:

    Bahahaha amazing, and so true! Anger + wine…oh yes.

  2. Yeraldo says:

    I just had one of those “mom moments” yeestrday. I dropped my 4 year old off for VBS. She is old enough now, I’m not required to stay in the building. Her teacher came up, took her hand and they walked into the sanctuary. Oh, my heart…I started tearing up and by the time I was in the car I was crying… I’m a working mom, this shouldn’t be so hard, but it was. What am I going to do in a couple of weeks when she goes to school? “sniffle”

  3. Great article. I usually prefer Prozac to wine. Red wine gives me bad hangovers and it is a little bit more economical. Wine does work, a good Merlot goes a long way.

  4. p.s. The video was very funny. The best part about the prozac is that you don’t cry, you just feel real tired and want to pass out.

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