Coping with Grief

Suddenly Single? The 5 Stages of Grief

Suddenly Single? The 5 Stages of Grief

Death of a spouse or breakup of a marriage or long-term relationship can trigger similar responses in a person. Each person mourns a loss differently. However, there are 5 common stages of grief a person goes through when mourning the loss of a relationship. These were adapted from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, 'On Death and Dying'

You may not experience these stages in one fluid order. You may go through some of the stages more than once. Sometimes an event will trigger you to experience one of these stages again. For instance, cleaning out the basement and finding an old shirt of your deceased spouse or hearing your ex-partner is to remarry might cause reoccurrence of certain stages. The five stages of grief are:

The 5 Stages of Grief - Coping with the Loss of your Partner

1.Denial - The "No, not me" stage.

This stage is filled with disbelief and denial. If your partner has died you still expect him to walk through the door. If your partner has asked for a break-up you think that she will change her mind.

2.Anger/Resentment - The "Why me?" stage.

Anger at the situation, your partner and others are common. You are angry with the other person for causing the situation and for causing you pain. You might feel anger at your deceased partner for dying. You may feel anger at your partner for asking for a divorce and breaking up the family.

3. Bargaining - The "If I do this, you'll do that" stage.

You try to negotiate to change the situation. If you've lost a spouse to death you might bargain with God, "I'll be a better person if you'd just bring him back". You might approach your partner who is asking for the break-up and say "If you'll stay I'll change".4.

4. Depression- The "It's really happened" stage.

You realize the situation isn't going to change. The death or break-up happened and there is nothing to bring the other person back. Acknowledgement of the situation often bring depression. This could be a quiet, withdrawn time as you soak in the situation.

5. Acceptance - The "This is what happened" stage.

Though you haven't forgotten what happened you are able to begin to move forward.

Coping with Break-up or the Loss of your Partner

Suggestions when you find yourself suddenly single

Avoid long term legal decisions. If you are in an emotional state its better to put off long term legal decisions until your thinking is less cloudy.

Drive carefully. It's easy to become distracted when you are grieving so use care when you get behind the wheel.

Seek support for your kids and yourself. Your kids are grieving along with you and will need support. It might be wise at this point to have separate grief sessions apart from your children if you're experiencing anger and resentment.

Maintain rituals. The children most likely will feel insecure and abandoned at first. Maintaining the same patterns of holidays, birthdays, Saturday outings, etc. will give them a sense of normalcy and consistency.

Nurture yourself. You need to care for your spiritual, emotional and physical health. No one else will do it but you. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of your child. Eat healthy, exercise and take vitamins. Allow yourself to grieve and give yourself as much time as you need to adjust to what has happened.


The information is free to reprint in any format provided the information at the bottom, including this, remains intact. Reprinted from Single Parent Central,, which offers information and resources to single parent families.


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"I read some other web descriptions on the 5 stages of grief and my situation is long term partnership break up. It is good to feel normal."


"Here's my story. The man of my dreams was killed in an accident 3 weeks ago. I can not stop crying. Its like im waiting for this all to be over. Time to wake up. It is such a complicated story. But condensed. I have been with him on and off for over 15 years. At the time of his death we were off, which is killing me. I have so many regrets, Should have. I almost can not stand this pain anymore. All the old wounds in our realtionship opened back up , and that I cant not understand. I had not seen him for months, (but that is not all so un-usual with us.) Weird I know. so its all the guilt of pride and wasted time that we could have been together. It was pride on both our part. I am usually not like that, but decided to play his game. I LOST."


"I'm 37 My partner and I have been together for 5 years and planning a baby, and marriage. Things have been going down hill for the past 6 months and he's just ended it. Can't stop crying and feel like someone's blown a hole in my middle. AWful. feels unbearable at times. I seem to be feeling the stages in rapid cycles. I'm shocked and can't quite grasp what happens, then it hits me and i double up and sob, then i become numb and i feel generally angry but not with him. It feels to painful to be angry with him. I actually feel really protective about him and can't stand it if someone says something bad. I understand why he has ended it and he's a good person. This makes it harder. I want to be angry with him but don't believe he's done anything wrong "


"four years on and i still have moments where i wish i could go back. but i know that cant be so i am looking forward to my future"


"Thanks to all the people who commented you have given me some hope I think Iím strong then it gets me, I am waking at 4am each day I cry sometimes but I mainly think a lot, my mind is constantly thinking about a beautiful woman who I have shared the last 21 years with, we made a family and a home, not perfect but a good one, Iíve been in and out of the stages but anger is where Im at just now. I rarely show my anger choosing to be angry on my own, looking forward I can see glimpse of good things that might happen but mainly very scared of what to do next, I donít want to be on my own for ever. I just wish I could forward time to get through this. "


"We were planning our wedding, and then all of the sudden, everything went wrong. This was two months ago. The first 3 stages weren't too bad, but now I'm smack in the middle of four, and it's killing me. I am glad to know that what I'm feeling is quite normal; he was my first serious relationship, so I don't really know HOW to feel. I'm looking forward to getting to step five....."


"i found this sight helpfull i did not know you can go through stages more than once i lost my partner on valentines day 2009 of a blood clot he was only 48 then in april his dad passed away now i know i can go through each stage again i realise why i feel like i do thanks"


"Was in love with my ex-girlfriend for 11 years. We became a couple properly five years ago. She's leaving to go back to America and has a new boyfriend there. I'm mainly feeling Stage 2 and Stage 4. The day when 'acceptance' comes....I look forward to it!"


"im just after being dumped for the third time in two weeks by my BF of 2 years... i dont know where i am at the moment... i go through all those stages in a minute..."


"Stage 4. My girlfriend left our flat about a month ago. i am still really upset but looking back at how i was a couple of weeks ago shows i am feeling better. going out with mates has really helped as its kept my mind occupied. taking any intoxicating substances does not. i got messed up and it let all my emotions out and got me all worked up again."

will, essex

"To tell the truth, I dont know where I am some days. Its been almost 8 years but I still have moments of intense anger and sadness... Maybe I still love my ex..It does`nt get any easier. But I am constantly reminded that I will find happiness again..."


"in the past 6 months i have lost my dad, 2 long term dogs (16 years) and have broken up with my long term partner and moved away from her and my little boy we were together for 17 years and now she has cancer and its not looking very good for long term survival maybe 5 years I'm at the end of stage 4 i think, but still cry every day but i still see them every week some times more and slowly but surely my brain is slotting back together and things are coming under control again no matter what life chucks at you it possible to make it through intact keep at it :)"


"well my bloke of 2 years basiclly proposed, told me he wanted to marry me and have children with me, now his decided to go off to oz for a year and dumped me - but he did tell me he loved me the day he did it - which was nice... i have no idea where i am - confused i guess!"


"Just a note to thank you for putting up these stages so clearly, my marriage has broken up and through the grief i thought i had lost everything although as i type this im feeling more confident about life i seem to have gone through all the stages but some of anger still remains though even that has subsided. To anyone reading this i can say there is hope and you will get over it it just takes time to rediscover yourself"

Paul Davies

"i've just broke up with my boyfriend it's doing my head in. i'm all over the place one minute i'm angry then i'm crying i think i'm in denial "


"I'm in the first few days and he is moving out in 2 days, i just dont dont know how i'm going to get through this, our relationship was awfull, so why is this hurting so much?"


"I have just realized I am in the withdrawal phase after a 3 yr relationship.Althopugh I was the one who ended it wdI felt hurt when my partner found as new love. Withdrawal phase is ok though as it feels like i'm re-charging my batteries."


"Im in the first few days and feel like im dying...i am looking for ANY help to keep just glad other people understand"


"A useful site. I am at stage 1 with a brief visit to stage 3. My marriage was terrible but I have a fear of being alone and have put up with a lot because of it. Not looking forward to the depression stage - hope it doesn't last too long."

Lisa Robins

"We are glad that you have found this page some help."


"Hi there, Im going through a breakup of a 25 year marriage. my husband wanted it, not me. Your page has helped me identify with what I am feeling, and what I shall be feeling. Thankyou for helping."