After being dumped, I found myself feeling anger instead of sadness, which reminded me of my dad's death.
A few months after my dad died, I got dumped. We had been together for awhile, so I took the breakup really hard.
I was devastated at first. I had a hard time sleeping, blamed myself, and felt like things weren't going to be okay. After going about a week or so with these feelings, I found myself starting to get mad at my ex whenever I thought of our breakup. I quickly started replacing my feelings of sadness with feelings of anger, as it was a lot easier to be angry that it was to be sad.
I continued being angry for awhile. But, I quickly noticed that anger felt good in the moment, but afterwards I'd still feel just as bad about the breakup as before. When I let myself feel sad, however, I would feel a bit better (not a lot, but a bit) after letting myself feel bad.
Suddenly, memories from after my dad's death came back to me. I remembered a few weeks after his death, when I started replacing my sadness with anger. It was so much easier to be angry than it was to be sad, so that's what I chose. I then remembered how, trying to make my anger cure my sadness actually caused me to feel a lot worse about my dad's death. I then realized that it was doing the same thing with my breakup.
In the moment, it's easier to choose anger over sadness. It's also easier to ignore your pain. But, that doesn't work. In the moment, it might seem okay, but as time goes on your grief will just get worse instead of better.
Breakups are a lot like grief. I felt myself going through the five stages after I got dumped: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance (in any particular order). While breakup grief isn't exactly the same as death grief, I found myself having a lot of the same feelings that I did when my dad died.
I used to think that people who were sad after breakups were dumb, and that there was nothing to it. But, after getting broken up with, I realized that I needed to be sad and needed to not be okay for awhile. If you just got dumped, please know that it's okay if you're going through breakup grief. Let yourself feel your pain and your emotions.
As I was grieving my breakup, I also began to miss my dad a lot more. He had just died a few months before, and grieving my relationship also caused me to grieve my dad a lot more than before. I've since realized that breakups trigger a lot of preexisting grief. Luckily enough for me, I have an amazing support system, who knew how upset I was, and was there for me. It's okay to rely on your support system after a breakup, and to let them know that you're struggling.
Breakups are a lot like grief. Just remember: Even though it may seem easier at the time, anger does not cure sadness.
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Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.