Relationship Grief Stage 5: Acceptance

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Relationship Grief Stage 5: Acceptance

Finally! After months of emotional suffering, anger, bargaining, and uncontrollable crying, you reach the final stage of relationship grief – acceptance.

This is the point where, even though you might still miss them, you’ve finally come to terms with your breakup and are ready to move on.

The ‘acceptance’ stage is mostly about integrating loss, making it part of your experience. It’s about learning valuable lessons that will help you avoid making the same mistakes and falling into the same toxic relationship patterns.

From here on out, life will get easier as long as you stay true to yourself and never lose sight of your emotional needs.

“It’s time to move on, even though it still hurts.”

Emotionally speaking, acceptance is the easiest and least painful of all the five stages of grief.

You’ve managed to make peace with yourself and the loss of the relationship: with the loss of their love, the sense of security you enjoyed as a couple.

On top of that, you gave up on the image of a romanticised future you’ve built in your head, a future in which you and your ex would be together forever.

You have a more optimistic perspective on life, and you successfully integrate the lessons you’ve learned from this unpleasant experience.

Depending on your personality, character, and other factors you may or may not be aware of, the resentment you’ve felt towards your ex may vanish. This creates space for a realistic, perhaps even compassionate, perspective on everything that has happened between the two of you.

However, there’s always the possibility to experience feelings like regret, anger, or guilt, but sooner or later, you will accept the reality of the situation.

In time, you will realise that your relationship is over, your ex is no longer part of your life, and you have all the reasons to start fresh. But this time, you will be stronger, wiser, and more confident.

Remember that acceptance wouldn’t have been possible without all the unpleasant emotions you had to go through.

So give yourself permission to have a bad day, cry, or temporarily withdraw from daily hassles.

But regardless of the feelings you might experience during the ‘acceptance’ stage, what’s truly important is that you no longer want to resume the relationship.

Here’s how you can navigate the ‘acceptance’ stage:

1. Remember the lessons

All the emotional pain and suffering you’ve experienced was meant to teach you something, to point towards fundamental needs (love, appreciation, safety, comfort) that you’ve ignored for too long.

That’s why we’ve repeatedly raised the subject of emotional pain throughout our series.

Remember the lessons that pain has taught you, and you’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistakes or ignore the red flags.

2. Be patient

The five stages of relationship grief don’t always unfold in exact order. Sometimes, these stages can intertwine, making the process somewhat confusing.

For instance, you may find yourself in the ‘depression’ stage and temporarily regress to the ‘bargaining’ stage, only to return to depression after some time.

It’s perfectly normal, and there’s no reason to believe you’ll be stuck in grief forever.

Just be patient and give yourself permission to experience all the emotions that emerge throughout this process without judgment or criticism.

3. Focus on something new and exciting

Your perspective has probably gained a more optimistic tone. An excellent way to take advantage of this mood is by investing your time and energy into something new and exciting.

Whether it’s a new relationship, a new hobby, or even a side project to help you make some extra money, bringing novelty into your life is an excellent way to regain confidence and enrich your life with pleasant experiences.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even find someone with whom you can build a happy and lasting relationship.



Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical or mental health advice. If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or needs assistance, please reach out to a mental health professional or helpline in your country or state.

About the editor, Amelia Cambrell

My name is Amelia and I'm a Senior Psychologist at Counselling in Melbourne. I have over 18-years of experience in the mental health space. I am very driven to get the best outcomes for my clients which can be long lasting by using a range of modalities such as CBT. There is nothing more satisfying than helping adolescents, adults and couples who are feeling confused, frustrated, stuck or overwhelmed, to find more clarity, confidence and happiness in their lives.

Find out more about Amelia Cambrell

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