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Love and Relationships

Healing Breakups Quickly | The 7 Stages of a Breakup and How To Get Over Someone

Goals, advice, and reasons why it works to help you feel better and move on!


Kenneth Erickson


Feb 25, 2023

Best Breakup Recovery Advice for Each Stage of a Breakup

When people seek breakup advice what they're really looking for is something that will give them relief, sooner rather than later.

Heartbreak, the emotional, and potentially even physical pain and anguish after a loss, is often described as crushing.

You never really believed it would actually happen.

Maybe everything wasn't great, but you always felt you'd have the chance to work on things and get back to the way you guys used to be.

Chances are... You're probably focusing on one of these two needs

1. Get back together with your ex-partner - as fast as possible

2. Get over the loss of your ex-partner and move on - as fast as possible

(I wanted the first one, and yes, we did get back together.)

There's a lot of advice out there, but sometimes it's not the right advice for how you're feeling in the moment.

Our goal is to stop your search for helpful advice and give everything you need right here in one spot.

The Stages of a Breakup with Recommended Support

1. Shock and Denial (Stage 1)

This is when you try to understand what's going on and whether this breakup is for real or not. You may hope your ex was just angry and lashing out in the moment, but won't really stick with it. It could take about 1-3 days to know whether it's serious or not.


Days to weeks - estimates this is the shortest stage of the breakup and puts it at about the 3-5 day timeframe.

The scenario:

You get into a big fight over what seems like nothing or it was out of nowhere. Next thing you know you're packing up all your stuff, heading back to your place, and returning the spare key to your now ex-partner. You try reaching out the next day to makeup, like you normally do, but you get no response. It's been over a day now and not one response to any of your texts. You start getting scared that this is for real.

Ideal goal:

Pause for a minute, calm yourself, and don't overreact. There's obviously a problem you need to figure out, but you don't want to make it worse. You need to figure out whether this is just an argument or a true breakup.

Recommended advice:

  • Stop reaching out: You've already tried and there's been nothing back. Your ex-partner is either done done, or at a minimum needs a little time to figure things out. This is in-line with the usual advice of "break off all contact". A little caveat at this early stage is, we'd recommend being open if your ex-partner reaches out to you and wants to have some productive, honest, communication long as you want this as well.
  • Spend time with friends and family: Dympll suggests dropping the "meet new people recommendation" for now, if it's with the intention of dating, but there's nothing wrong with making new friends if your feeling up to it!

Reason for this Advice

  • If your relationship is teetering between recoverable and over, too much pushing may hurt things further.

2. Anger (Stage 2)

Your life has been turned upside down and you may, mostly or in part, blame your ex for doing this to you.


Days to weeks - estimates this stage is in the 5 - 10 day time frame, initially. Breakup stages are not sequential, and you will periodically float in and out of stages 2 through 5.

The scenario:

It's been almost a week now and your ex-partner has either remained silent or has confirmed that they're done and things are over between you two.

You may be starting to think about what life would be like without your them and you may have even created an account on a dating app.

You just want to look and see what's out there, but it's also a possibility that you're worried about either seeing your ex on the same site or having your ex find out that you're out there looking.

Ideal goal:

Create an outlet to vent your feelings and emotions. Educate yourself about what you're feeling now and what you may be feeling in the near future. Don't rush things or jump to any conclusions so early after the breakup. Remember that you need to focus on yourself and what will help you most now.

Recommended advice:

  • Document what you're feeling to let it out: Your journaling will be very helpful now and later on.
Try the following example exercises and see "Dympll Breakup Journal and Exercises" for the full list of recommended breakup exercises focusing on self-worth, self-confidence, and managing your pain and actions:
  • Create this list, "I felt sad, angry, unimportant when (ex-partner name)..."
  • Finish this statement, "This is not the perfect relationship or partner for me because..."
  • Complete the following for yourself: "These are the reasons why I'm awesome and anyone would be lucky to be with me!"
  • Complete the following for yourself: " This is what my perfect relationship looks like and this is what I want in my next relationship."
  • Complete the following for a friend: "Here is the advice I would give my best friend that is struggling through a recent breakup..."
  • Complete the following if you happen to do this: " This is what happened when I gave in and called or texted my ex, and how I felt afterward..."
Understanding how and why to accept that you may never get an answer to "why this happened", aka "closure", and why you don't need it.
  • Tips and Tricks to manage memories and good times, what could be called the "highlight reel"
  • Spend time with friends, family, and meet new people
Delete pictures, social media, texts, contact info. You really need to tear it off like a band-aid. We know this is difficult so, at the very least, make contact or scrolling through these things more difficult. Create some obstacles to help say no and so that you don't get sucked in. It may hurt and feel like throwing away memories, but you need to do this to get past this more quickly. It will help you focus on the future and get out of the past. If your relationship gets a second chance, you can take NEW pictures and make NEW memories.

Reason for this Advice

  • This is the time you really need to prepare for the stages yet to come. You're in vent mode and can still feel the issues that were present in the relationship. Use these feelings and complete the exercises in the recommended advice. Coming back later to what you wrote will likely help you move through subsequent stages more quickly and, ideally, with reduced pain.

3. Bargaining (Stage 3)

This is when things start getting tough. The adrenalin rush from the anger stage is wearing off and you're really starting to feel the pain of loss now. You're starting to get desperate and you find yourself wanting to make promises and concessions to your ex-partner, anything to get another chance at the relationship.


Days to weeks - estimates this stage is in the 14 - 21 day time frame.

The scenario:

It's been more than a week now and life just doesn't feel right without your ex sharing in your days anymore. It's possible there's some periodic contact between you two as you both try to navigate the change. You start convincing yourself that this might be your last chance to salvage anything. You also find yourself constantly focusing on your ex and wondering what they're doing, if they're missing you, are they with someone else, and what more could you do to make them want you back again?

Ideal goal:

Recognize what's happening to you and how you can avoid letting your mind spin you out of control. Understand that this is the time when you can either improve or hurt your chances of getting back together, if that's one of your goals. While the Anger Stage focuses on venting and creation of support materials, the Bargaining Stage is when you really start using everything and making some actionable moves towards your goal.

Recommended advice:

Review everything you wrote following the Dympll Breakup Journal and Exercises, update and add as necessary, and review some targeted articles below to help inform and support yourself when you need it most:
  • Accept you may never get an answer to "why this happened", aka "closure" and why it's not necessary
  • Why it can be helpful to accept that your relationship may be over
  • The fact is, people can change over time, you may have changed as well
  • Why your ex-partner isn't as amazing as you're remembering right now
  • Understand your self-worth
  • Be careful about over analyzing what you think you could or should have done better
  • Understand what positive thinking is and how powerful it can be
  • Be honest with yourself, or as I like to think, "own your own $hit"
  • You can't change what's already happened, but you can start shaping a better future for yourself
  • Understanding your thoughts, your brain, and neural pathway reinforcement
  • Tips and Tricks to manage memories and good times, what could be called the "highlight reel"
  • Please don't attempt to do things as "just friends" - seriously, please don't
  • Find the upside! It may not feel like it, but there is one and I'll prove it
  • You're in ownership-mode and chances are, you've always been the one to give in or try to fix things. Stop. This is not your job anymore and it never should have been to begin with.
If you haven't been very active until now, this is when some ACTION will do you some good.
  • Write a pen and paper letter to your ex-partner and keep it for yourself
  • Declutter or refresh your living space
  • Exercise
  • Therapy with a family therapist or online therapist
  • Spend time with friends, family, and meet new people
  • Learn something new, start a new hobby, basically "do stuff"

Reason for this Advice

The fact is, whether you're secretly hoping your ex-partner comes back to you or not, you are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely top get exactly what you want by regaining control and winning YOURSELF back.

Doing this draws people TO you, both old and new.

The first thing is to manage the most immediate struggles above and be ready for the times when these struggles are most difficult, such as:

  • When you wake up in the middle of the night, when your mind wanders goes back to focusing on loss.
  • First thing in the morning when you are just waking up and you begin to lose motivation to get up and going.
  • After work or during those times when your ex-partner used to get together and share the day - and you start wondering what they're doing now without you? Are they having fun right now? Do they miss you at all?
  • Simply noticing the day is getting later and later and you haven't received one call or text from them all day.

Your brain can't help but pull up the best of the best times and experiences, and manifesting this loss as mental, and sometimes even physical, pain.

Not unlike the way addiction and withdrawal effects our mind and body, using chemical receptors to punish and reward.

This highlight reel you're reliving is not the real picture of your relationship or ex-partner, and it's important that we put some support measures in place early to help combat our brain that thinks it's doing us a favor.

Something to Consider:

These feelings can go both ways.

Knowing this is part of your journal exercises that you can read and reread over again during these difficult times.

The reason so much work and focus has been put into Stage 2 and Stage 3 is because this is just before and at the start of when, the pain of loss may start impacting you most. Getting ahead of it is helpful in reducing the pain, shortening the duration, and building yourself up more quickly.

4. Depression (Stage 4)

This stage is characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. You may struggle to find joy in the things you used to enjoy and may have trouble sleeping or eating.


Weeks to months - estimates this stage is in the 21 - 90 day time frame.

The  scenario:

As much as you wanted things to go back to the way they used to be, your ex either moved on with someone else or has been very non-committal when they do actually interact with you. It's been hard because you have brief moments of feeling ok, and as soon as you realize those moments, the memories come back again.

Ideal goal:

Get through this stage as quickly as possible. You must start focusing on yourself, your future, and push the past away.

Recommended advice:

If there's no interaction with your ex-partner at this point or you know they've moved on, then it's all about you now and getting ready for the person that's a million times better for you coming into your life! If there's still communication with your ex and you still have hopes of getting back together, then this is the time to double down on yourself and attempt to emit independence, confidence, and strength. This is what will begin to pull your ex-partner back to you and help you get to a place where you can make a better decision on whether this is still what you want and if you think it's still the best thing for you.

Continue to work your Dympll Breakup Journal and Exercises, reread, update, whatever you need to do. Focus on things that are future facing to position and motivate yourself for the life you want, like these:

  • Complete the following for yourself: What does success without my ex-partner look like to me?
  • Complete the following for yourself: It's a year later and you bump into your ex-partner. When they ask what you've been doing this past year, what will you tell them? - Next, write down a roadmap for how you start and what you'll do to bring this future into reality.

Get support from these related articles:

This "usual" advice absolutely has a place during this stage:

  • Allow yourself time to grieve
  • Therapy with a family therapist or online therapist
  • Spend time with friends, family, and meet new people
  • Don't dwell on what you lost

Reason for this Advice

Think about it...

You haven't contacted your ex-partner and, they either don't care or are wondering why you haven't reached out. Either way, it only makes sense to keep the silence and work on yourself.

Don't worry about about how your ex-partner may interpret the silence.

They're the one that left.

What you need to know is that any continued silence from them means don't waste your time or self-worth on trying to make something happen.

Let me say it again...

They left, they made the choice for both of you, and they would need to be the one to reach out to you. If they do reach out, your ex-partner should make some actual effort to repair what is broken, or else it isn't worth your time or the backward slide on recovery that it will cause you be responding. See "What is Breadcrumbing? What it means and How to Respond"

5. Acceptance (Stage 5)

You've finally regained control of your life and remember what it's like to feel happy again. This stage is characterized by a sense of peace and closure, or lack of a need for closure, about the relationship. You may still care for your ex-partner, but you understand that people change, this relationship was not the best thing for you, and the best thing for you is to move forward with your life. There are so many possibilities!


Weeks to months - estimates this stage is in the 21 - 60 day time frame.

The scenario:

You're having as many good days as bad ones now, and when you go out with friends or family, your not nearly as worried about what your ex would think if they saw you out. Progress!!!

In fact, you may even wish that they could see you having fun again without them, and see you are embracing your rebuilt confidence, strength, and independence.

Ideal goal:

Capitalize on this newfound strength and really start to envision your new life. Look at how far you've come and how much stronger you have become. Ideally, you're not necessarily focusing on your next serious relationship. Build yourself up as much as you are able, and enjoy the strength that comes with knowing you don't need to be in a relationship in order to be happy. Sure, you may want a new partner, but this is very likely to come just as soon as you don't need it. So when it does, you'll be fully ready to embrace it.

Recommended advice:

Continue with everything that's been working for you. You know you way better than we do. Hopefully some of our recommendations has helped you get to this point.

  • Accept your feelings
  • Accept that it's over
  • Forgive yourself
  • Therapy with a family therapist or online therapist
  • Spend time with friends, family, and meet new people (this is when you are really ready to seriously date again)

Most of the notable advice is centered around the most difficult times, but you are rounding a corner now.

Reason for this Advice

You've gotten through the hardest moments. There may still be a backslide here and there, but you're prepared with how to handle them now.

6. Rebuilding (Stage 6)

This is the fun part and involves rebuilding your life after the breakup! Hopefully the excitement around the possibilities with your career, hobbies, and other relationships fill the void left by your ex and boost you!


Weeks to months - estimates this stage should take as long as it needs to take. Enjoy your personal growth and take as long as is necessary to achieve your goals!

The scenario:

The past is behind you and you are living your life again.

Ideal goal:

You're taking advantage of this new you, making new friends, strengthening existing friendships, and planning or following through on your plan for the future.

Recommended advice:

Try reading the following:

Reason for this Advice

It's never too late to create a new you!

7. Forgiveness (Stage 7)

This stage involves forgiving your ex-partner and yourself for any mistakes that were made in the relationship. This can help you move on from any negative feelings and find closure. You may have noticed that the Rebuilding Stage is before the Forgiveness Stage and this is because you need the peace and happiness that comes with rebuilding in your life before you're ready to do any honest forgiving.


Weeks to months - estimates this stage is in the 14 - 28 day time frame. Once you're in the true mind-frame for forgiveness, this stage shouldn't take too long.

The scenario:

You're able to talk about or even to your ex, without feelings of extreme sadness or having it cause a backslide into the depression stage again.

Ideal goal:

Put the old relationship completely behind you. We're not saying forget about it, just don't let it control your life in any form or fashion anymore.

Recommended advice:

Try reading this related articles for support or help:

Reason for this Advice

Now that you're well beyond the early stages of the breakup recovery and able to look back at the whole situation with a clear head, let me be clear that perceptions are reality from both sides and you never claimed to be perfect or do everything correctly in the relationship. There is always opportunity to treat your partner better and to improve a things. If you get a second chance because it works for BOTH of you, and you both want to do better, make sure you focus on your communication, conflict resolution, and emotional intimacy.


After my breakup, these were the steps that got me to a better place faster than I thought I could, and ultimately helped me get a second chance with my partner...

1. I gave myself a second to grieve and feel sad

This is fairly traditional, but it was still helpful to me

2. Force myself to focus on my self-worth and my value

I naturally have a lot of confidence, but I still needed to put myself through some thought exercises to help me remember what I brought to the relationship and how my absence would be felt by my ex, even though she was the one that ended things.

3. I focused on what I could control

When things were rough and my mind started to bombard me with all the good times together, the what if's, and the images of what might be going on with her during this period of no contact, I kept going back to the facts about our relationship and the simple fact that

I couldn't control how she felt and what she wanted to do... All I needed to worry about was what I could control, and that was me.

4. I stayed in motion / active

I stayed active by creating a list of all the information that I would need to keep referring back to for help with calming and resetting my mind.

5. I committed to focusing on myself

I wanted to improve myself both professionally and personally, and create a life that I would be happy in regardless if I was with anyone or not. I was determined to be happy with myself. I also reminded myself that this confident mind frame, bolstered by personal success, would attract the person I was meant to be with.

I just needed to work on me and the rest would work itself out.
And I was right.

It's amazing how a little time and some perspective will help you to see more clearly.

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.


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