Relationship Breakups & coping with Separation and Loss

Facing a relationship breakup whether that be a marriage, civil partnership or any other type of intimate relationship is never an easy situation to face.

A relationship breakup can create a range of intense and powerful emotions that can lead to overwhelming and difficult feelings that might be hard to cope with. When a relationship ends it can feel like your whole world has shifted, it has been turned upside down and is even ending. Counselling can support you in coping with relationship breakups and separation and will help you to work through these emotions and come to terms with your changed circumstances. 

How a relationship breakup can impact you and what Experiences and Emotions can they bring up

A relationship breakup can impact your mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual well-being. 

Below are some of the ways you may experience and react to the ending of a relationship:


The end to a relationship can feel like death and therefore can bring forth feelings of grief – Even if you know the relationship needed to end or the relationship was abusive, there is still a loss to be processed. You may experience none, some or all of the following:

  • Shock and feel desperate for answers
  • Denial 
  • Bargaining 
  • Anger
  • Depression 
  • Moving toward Acceptance & Hope


Breakups, separations or divorces can be experienced as traumatic events leading to negative physical, emotional and cognitive trauma reactions. Trauma punctures your resilience, your previously tried and tested coping mechanisms. 

Intense emotional reactions

When experiencing a breakup, separation or divorce, there are a huge range of feelings that can arise from experiencing such a painful, turbulent and overwhelming time. Below are some of the intense and painful emotions that can be experienced.

  • Rage
  • Guilt
  • Shame 
  • Failure 
  • Loneliness & Isolation
  • Powerlessness & Helplessness
  • Relief
  • Overwhelm 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frustration
  • Loss of control, connection & meaning

Cognitive reactions

  • Confusion 
  • Disbelief
  • Absent mindedness
  • Forgetfulness

Physical reactions

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stomach upsets
  • Tightness in chest and throat
  • Breathlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Panic
  • Loss of appetite

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