It is often said that; when one door closes, another door opens. Although this can be true, it can also be a foundation for fantasy and false hope. Am I insinuating that when a door or chapter closes in your life, dwell on it and don’t move on? No! In no way will I suggest or even imply that because I know that the LORD Jesus makes all things new; Revelations 21:5
The crux of what I am saying is that, not every open door after a closed door is your door or better still the door you were hoping to have open. This is applicable to every area of life but I will like to zoom the lens in on romantic/love relationships.
It is not obvious to many especially females that there are stages after a broken or failed relationship (because often we are very emotional during this period)
I have identified six(6) distinct and sometimes merging stages that follows a break- up.This is not comprehensive or exhaustive of the stages each individual might go through but those that I have gleaned from others and my own experience.
The Denial stage is the primary stage. During this stage, an individual is still in shock about the break up.This is more predominant if the relationship was long term or if it had high expectations especially if marriage was in contemplation. This can be the hardest point for many, very often for those who constantly “break up and make up”. It is very hard to see or imagine this chapter of one’s life being closed or laid to rest. However, at this point; whoever initiated the break up is “over” the relationship and no amount of reasoning or tears can restore it.
The next stage is the Guilt/Condemnation stage. Women negatively “excel” in this stage. What I mean about this; is that we as women tend to blame ourselves and wallow in guilt and condemnation often than not. We start reminiscing on what we could have said right, done right to save the relationship. We inherently believe that we held the power and ability to either change the man or the relationship and hence its failure is most likely a result of our incompetency. I pray that in this stage, we will be reminded that (Romans 8:1). This means no matter what or who called the relationship off; we are not bound to guilt, condemnation or shame because above all else we are in Christ Jesus.
The third and middle stage is what I call the “unlovable stage”. There is a strange phenomenon that occurs during this stage more evidently and especially if a woman’s worth and identity was tied to the relationship. If a woman only saw herself beautiful or worthy because a man told her so, or if a woman considered herself lucky or favored because of the man she dated; then this stage is most devastating. Why?….well, though nothing might have changed with her looks, she begins to feel ugly and in extreme cases, despise herself. When she looks into the mirror; she sees defeat, failure, a woman who couldn’t keep a “good man”. One who is unlovable and unworthy. Demonic spirits can penetrate in this stage and plant suicidal thoughts and strategies in one’s mind. This is why, it is important to have people who love and care for you to pray and intercede for you during a break up.
The Prove it/Feel it is the fourth stage. This stage can also be called the “Hunger for love”stage. It can be a subtle “life-eating” stage if not properly addressed. During this stage, an individual seems somewhat okay. They have gotten over denial and shock as well as guilt/condemnation stage. They have also passed through the valley of “unlovable” and come out. However; healing is less likely to be complete and so residue of issues from the past relationship is likely to rear it’s head up at this point. This can be an issue of “insecurity”, “not good enough” or whatsoever all rooted in misplaced identity.Most often, an individual wants to prove to an ex; that they are still lovable, “hot” etc by trying to date someone who is “better”(better is very subjective here) than the person, they were with. For others; it will just be certain emotional sentiments such as someone to talk with, snuggle with etc. Thus, there is a hunger or vacuum that they want to fill to feel loved which often than not results in jumping into another relationship with all the wrong motives.
The fifth stage which I call the God/flesh factor is quite an exclusive stage. This is because; it is more common with Christians or people who are quite serious with their walk with God. There is usually, the tendency to figure out why a relationship failed in light of one’s walk with God. Was it just not God’s will for your life or was it your own behavioral patterns that led to the relationship’s demise? This stage can lead to a deepened walk with God as you are “compelled” to take a step back and evaluate the relationship from God’s perspective. Either way; I believe it is one of the most constructive stage after a break up because of it’s retrospective nature
The Better/Bitter is the final and sixth stage. By this time, your emotions have done a 360 hike and roller coastered. Some things have likely cleared up and change is on the horizon. Don’t be too excited though, because this change can take any direction. There is an aspect of change where, the individual is either taking a closer look at false identities and rectifying it, working on certain habits and predispositions and best of all; a closer and deeper walk with God. Unfortunately, there are others who by this stage have become very sore and bitter at life, their circumstance, the ex or even a section of the society. This is what can drive some people into homosexuality because the opposite sex erred against them. In such situations, bitterness has dug its root into the depth of their hearts and vengeance and unforgiveness seems to be the only way out.
The core thing to remember and take into consideration is that no matter what comes and how hard you try; there are some things and relationships that will just not work out. However, in the midst of all the pain and hurt; we have a decision to make. To either make lemonade out of lemons or to trample on the lemons and let them go to waste. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that all things will work out for your good because of whose you are and who that makes you (Romans 8:28). God heals and his gift of time, also heals. You need to allow yourself to recuperate and reflect rather than looking or jumping into the next relationship because without necessary caution and wisdom, history will be repeated and you will be in a constant “why me?” cycle.