Stages of a break up

Part 1, Part 2

I hope Part 1 about the Warning Signs of a Break up has given you a good idea of what to look out for.

I suspect you may be really worried about it all - scared about what the future may hold perhaps. I know how unsettling it can be, but I can promise you this - you are much stronger than you think you are!

Let's take a look now at the stages of a break up, and the steps you can take if you're facing the end of a relationship at the moment.


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What stage is your relationship at?

Where are you in the process?

Below I have listed the stages I've seen my clients go through.  Each stage has its own signs that your relationship is not what it should or could be. At the least you, your partner and your relationship will need some tender loving care!

13 Common stages of a relationship breakdown

Either one of you could be at a stage whereby you...

  1. Accept that every partnership has its ups and downs
  2. Become aware that what seemed yet another ‘dip’ is lasting much longer than normal
  3. Attempt another conversation with your partner about how you feel (women tend to do this more often than men). If not - do it!
  4. Contemplate and perhaps even suggest couple counselling
  5. Make renewed efforts to improve things because you can clearly see the relationship is on the rocks
  6. Become exhausted and increasingly unhappy because of all the ups and downs
  7. Imagine what it would be like to end the relationship or marriage and be on your own 
  8. Explore solutions to adverse practical and financial consequences
  9. Make concrete plans in anticipation of a separation
  10. Put off a conversation about ending the relationship or marriage, wondering how to do it
  11. Pluck up the courage and disclose your intention to seek a separation/divorce
  12. Attend counselling sessions ‘as a last resort’ (see my page about Relationship or Marriage Counselling)
  13. Decide ultimately: the relationship needs to end if repair attempts haven't worked

What to do next

Maybe you're now even more aware that your relationship really isn’t how you'd want it to be.  I know that this is painful, however you have an opportunity right now to deal with these signs that indicate your relationship could be coming to an end.

At any one of these stages there is a real chance to make sufficient changes to save your relationship!  You can make a difference all by yourself.

First of all you need to decide to stop blaming your partner. Take ownership of your role instead. You decided you wanted to be with him/her, you decided to put up with this or that, you were the one who could have done more (or less), etc. So, take control now - see How to Save Your Marriage/Relationship.

You can only change yourself - you cannot change your partner!

Don't make this mistake!

Couple on bench, looking away from each otherClose and yet so apart

Be kind to yourself right now, but don't hang around feeling sorry for yourself.

I totally understand if you're feeling down at the moment. However, you can't afford to allow yourself to become really depressed. You'll only slip into being so helpless that you become incapable of grasping the opportunity to take action.

Yes, I know I'm tough on you, but I'm doing it as I so believe that you deserve to be in a loving relationship.

Each of the problem stages above is a potential opportunity for you to save your relationship or marriage - perhaps with the right kind of help.  Take action now!

In the meantime, do take care of yourself. I know from personal and professional experience that life can feel very scary when you're not sure about your relationship.

He or she wants a break?

This is the biggest warning sign of an impending break-up you could get. He or she is attempting to let you down gently. Your future is unclear now. There may be another person in their life.

Make no mistake, this could mean the end of your relationship. See my review of the resource you might need for The Best Chance of a Reconciliation.

Or speak to a relationship counsellor straight away.

Part 1, Part 2

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Elly Prior

Hello! :-)
It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person! I'm hoping to make a positive difference, small or large, to every person who visits my site.

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