The Break-Up Procedure: 10 Stages to Happiness


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The way I see it, whatever the relationship, whoever the person, the break-up procedure is always the same. No matter whether I’ve been with my guy for two years or two months or two weeks…if I think I loved him, then the break-up is fucking shit. From start to finish.

And yet, there will ALWAYS come that time when you look back and laugh in the face of his selfie on Instagram…cringing at his chosen hashtags and wondering what the fuck you used to see in that neanderthal.

So, I figured, if I outline the break-up stages, it will allow us to recognise what stage we’re in, how long we have left until we’re okay about it all and maybe even hurry the procedure along. If we can, rationally, reflect on the situation and work out where we will go next, we can try and get to the end goal in half the time.  The end goal being “fresh out of fucks”. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

You can only wallow for so long, then you really need to get up, wash that grease mop you used to call hair and get on with your life. This shit is going to happen so you might as well embrace it. And don’t worry, I won’t throw any cliches at you like “there’s plenty more fish in the sea” because I know it’s infuriating and makes you want to punch me right in the kisser.

So let’s crack on shall we?


The Break-Up Procedure

1. Denial

“It’s a phase, he just needs space, then he’ll realise I’m the best thing that ever happened to him”. Ahhhh denial, I know it well. Failing to comprehend the reality because it will simply hurt too much, you tell yourself this isn’t really happening. Usually denial can ride out into two or three weeks. You decide to give him space for at least a week – that should be enough for him to come crying back home with a tail in between his legs. Oh shit, he’s gone ghost. This is real.


2. Reality Hits

Denial has been and gone and you are well aware your relationship is over and he has left you. He. Has. Left You. This is really happening. You’re alone. All alone. All alone in this world, back to square one, ticking the single box again on all long ass forms. There’s only one way to handle this…


3. Sadness, Sobbing and Sleepless Nights

Ohhhh the uncontrollable crying. You cry into your shower until you’re not sure if you’re washing in clean water or salty tears.  You can’t sleep at night because your empty double bed makes you cry some more, reminding you that you used to get a warm soft spoon and now all you have is your cat swiping your toes whenever he can. This can last anywhere between a few days to a few months, depending on how emotional you are as a person and how much you loved them. This is the worst stage, I assure you.  Once your tears dry up (will they ever end?) you’re on the up my friend.


4. Social Media Stalking

There is not a single social media stone unturned during a break-up.  Every tweet he’s received or sent, every instagram picture he’s posted or liked, every comment posted on his, every new ‘recent friends’ added on Facebook….EVERYTHING gets checked daily.  You cannot help it – you know it’s bad for you, but it’s like a heroin addict looking at the goods and being asked to ignore it.  You need it. You need to see what skank he’s hanging out with. You need to see if he’s still sad and wallowing too…has he posted any new quotes? What has be been up to last weekend? Instagram will tell all.

This is the most self destructive stage. It’s HORRIBLE.  Why?  Because all your doing is killing yourself inside.  The only person getting sad and angry here is you. It’s beyond unhealthy. Why are you spending your Saturday lying in bed sobbing through his recent tagged photos? Do you think he’s doing the same? Do you think it is helping the break-up? You need to STOP. Block and delete if need be…if you can’t trust yourself to abstain from a cheeky look, then block for your own sake. Once you’ve done this, you can head onto the next stage.


5. Rage

Sadness didn’t work and you don’t know how else to handle this except get ANGRY.  You are now fucking LIVID. That asshole dare walk out on you? After all you did for him? The shirts you ironed, the meals cooked, the drunken lifts…you were the best thing that happened to that waste of space and he dares to think he can go find better? Delusional. What a tosser. I mean, what did you even see in him anyway? He was a bum going nowhere with bad teeth dodgy hair and shit tattoos. He should be begging at your feet to take him back. Cunt. There’s only one way to show him who’s in control…cut all his clothes up. That all teach him.



6. Empty Shell

Okay, so, because you’ve spent all your emotions crying the douchebag an ocean of tears and then turned into a human atomic bomb really to blow at any time, you’ve now literally depleted your emotional sources. You got nothing girl, nothing. You are now an empty shell. Yes, sure, the tears have stopped and the rage has subsided but so have the laughter and the smiles too.  Friends start to worry about you…they probably preferred you crying. Now you just go through the motions of the day with minimal effort.  You’ve forgotten how to crack a joke, how to giggle and you can’t even get sad anymore at those “please pay just £3 a month to help blind children in Tortuga” adverts. These adverts are designed with one sole purpose; to pull on your heartstrings. And you got nothing to offer? Empty shell stage. Level 4. Well done. We can get through this too, I promise.


7. “Bridget Jones is my Spirit Animal & the Sofa is My Island” 

This stage is the worst. Accompanied by stage 4, this one is where you just stop taking care of yourself or trying to meet anyone or trying to find love. You have decided you’re unloveable, and the break-up was all your fault. Your rage is now internal, and you blame yourself. This in turn has made you stop caring for your physical self. Hair brush…remember what that did?  Yeah, that needs to be used again. Stop eating ice cream from the tub. Stop spending every weekend watching Netflix and ordering takeout. Your oven deserves to be used. Your carpet needs to be cleaned, God damn it girl… you HAVE to shave your legs.  And we all know that a bottle of wine a day does NOT keep the doctor away, however much you tell yourself it is true. This phase is okay to dwell in for like, a week tops. Other than that you’re going to start to break hygiene rules, and that shit just isn’t cool. 7 days for stage 5 then I’m staging an interfriention.


8. Free the Thoughts

This stage is what I call the “break-up epiphany”. For whatever reason that you cannot work out, something has clicked and you don’t want him back anymore. You don’t see him in the same light. Your emotions have subsided, and now reasonable thought is in its place. I know, it’s mad to think, but your mind has stopped wandering to him. His face or laugh or cuddles have stopped haunting your every step. You can wake up now without wondering what would have happened if he was still lying next to you. You can make a coffee not bothering to note he’d have had his stronger than yours. Your mind has been re-tuned to think of only yourself; something a few weeks ago you would never have thought was possible. This is the BEST turning point stage. You can now dress yourself to feel sexy, make plans to make yourself happy and direct your thought energy back onto yourself without having his image stalk your every move. Good feeling right? Phew. Glad we made it.


9. “Yes, Here’s My Number”

Ahhhhh yes, the ninth stage. This is what I call the “break-up revolution”. The crucial turning point in your break-up … because now, you’re no longer defined by your break-up. You’ve stopped talking about him, thinking about him, stalking him or crying over him. You’re free to go out into the big bad city and find yourself a new guy to date. You can, finally, start handing out your number again. And guess what? You’re actually enjoying it! Who knew being single could be so much fun?  You can get as drunk as you like, try out different restaurants, bars and different men…with no-one wondering where you are or why you’re not home or comment on the fact you smell like a mini bar at 4am.  You’re officially single, registered and trademarked back on the map my darling. The ex is “just another ex” to add to the list. I’m so proud of you. There’s only one stage left now…


10. Fresh Out of Fucks

You could literally bump into him in the street and you’d feel NOTHING.  He could be holding hands with a model with his other hand feeling up her perfectly formed arse – you don’t give a toss. No, you don’t resent him. Resenting him or hating him implies there is still some form of emotion there…there’s nothing. You’re indifferent. You are vanilla. You are, literally, fresh out of fucks. He could declare on social media he’s engaged and not only would you not know until a gossip mate told you, you’d be genuinely happy for him. And you’re genuinely happy for yourself too. Final stage reached, new love life at the ready, legs shaved, full steam ahead. Break-up aborted and mission accomplished.

Go get ’em girl.



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