Analyzing Feelings When A Relationship Ends
A relationship breakup can produce intense feelings, but they are normal reactions to the end of a relationship.
The following are common, normal feelings often experienced when a relationship ends. There is no right or wrong feeling to have - we each react to the end of a relationship in our own unique way.
Denial. We can't believe that this is happening to us. We can't believe that the relationship is over.
Anger. We are angry and often enraged at our partner or lover for shaking our world to its core.
Fear. We are frightened by the intensity of our feelings. We are frightened that we may never love or be loved again. We are frightened that we may never survive our loss. But we will.
- Self-blame. We blame ourselves for what went wrong and replay our relationship over and over, saying to ourselves, "If only I had done this. If only I had done that".
- Sadness. We cry, sometimes for what seems an eternity, for we have suffered a great loss.
- Guilt. We feel guilty particularly if we choose to end a relationship. We don't want to hurt our partner. Yet we don't want to stay in a lifeless relationship.
- Disorientation and confusion. We don't know who or where we are anymore. Our familiar world has been shattered. We've lost our bearings.
- Hope. Initially we may fantasize that there will be a reconciliation, that the parting is only temporary, that our partner will come back to us. As we heal and accept the reality of the ending, we may dare to hope for a newer and better world for ourselves.
- Bargaining. We plead with our partner to give us a chance. "Don't go", we say. "I'll change this and I'll change that if only you'll stay".
- Relief. We can be relieved that there is an ending to the pain, the fighting, the torment, the lifelessness of the relationship.
While some of these feelings may seem overwhelming, they are all "normal" reactions and are necessary to the process of healing so that we can eventually move on and engage in other relationships. Be patient with yourself. It may also help to talk your feelings over with someone. Speaking with a counselor or therapist can often give us perspective.
Last Updated: 25 March 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD