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A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

End of a relationship: Common responses and how they hurt you

Grief is commonly associated with physical death, but what about the end of a relationship? Can't this be defined as a death of the relationship? With every romantic relationship there are:

  • Hopes
  • Dreams
  • Expectations

- A new couple might hope to become more serious or look forward to waking up each morning to a text message from each other. - A couple who have been together longer might expect to have children, dream of vacations together, or begin to plan for retirement. - Many women start to plan their dream wedding no matter how long they’ve been dating --whether or not their boyfriends know about it is inconsequential! Couples also create habits and rituals.  Habits as simple as doing the dishes together at night, speaking on the phone each night at 5:00 pm or golfing on Sundays. A common dream for an evolving relationship is that it will last forever. Then one day, for whatever reason, the relationship changes or ends.

The end of a relationship       

Their hopes, dreams, and expectations are crushed. No one likes to feel bad so they do what most people are taught… pretend they are okay!  In an attempt to protect themselves from future heartbreak many people say things like,

  • “I’m never dating again.” 
  • “I don’t give a darn.”

The problem is, that saying, “I don’t give a darn,” and actually not giving a darn, are two different things! Have you said similar things following the end of a relationship? Another thing people do after a break-up is anything and everything to avoid feeling heartbreak. Have you tried some of these things?

  • Dating someone else.
  • Drinking.
  • Having a girls or boys night out.
  • Eating, especially ice cream.
  • Not eating at all.
  • Watching sad movies or listening to sad songs.
  • Working long hours.
  • Shopping.
  • Working out, excessively.
  • Having a make-over.
  • Sleeping.

Although these activities might make you feel better short term, they don’t allow you to get complete with the end of a relationship. You might ask, “Why is it important to get complete with past relationships?” Until you become complete with past relationships it’s impossible to be fully present for current ones. For example, after one relationship ends have you noticed you go into the next one a little bit more tentatively?  Maybe you guard your heart more. Right before my last boyfriend broke up with me he stopped returning my calls as frequently.  When my next boyfriend didn’t return a call because he truly was working late I immediately thought he was upset with me.  That kind of thinking is due to being incomplete with past relationships.  Can you relate? -  If your last boyfriend or girlfriend cheated on you did you assume your next one was doing the same? -  If you last girlfriend said you’d be together forever, then broke up with you, was it hard to believe when the next woman said anything nice to you? -  Have you stopped dating altogether because it’s too difficult to trust or maybe you prefer to perpetually play the field? Those thoughts are all a result of being incomplete with past relationships.  You take the hurt from a past relationship and assume your next one will be the same. So how do you get complete with past relationships to be fully present for your new or your current one? In our book Moving On: Dump Your Relationship Baggage and Make Room for the Love of Your Life, we provide the same tools used by the Grief Recovery Handbook. We show you how to get complete with your hopes, dreams, and expectations.  Moving On gives clear-cut instructions to guide you to identify those things you wish you could have said or done differently and get complete with them, so they don’t limit your life.

If you found this article useful, you may also want to look at:

Moving On


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Image credit: leeser / 123RF Stock Photo

Allison James

Written by Allison James


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