There are a lot of people who feel when you break up with someone, you should just let them go and never look back, and the next day practically you should be ready to bounce right back out there and on to the dating scene, but I don't think you ever really and truly liked or loved someone if your instant reaction is, you've moved on after day one or soon after. True break ups of relationships, whether they be dating ones, or ones involving the dissolution of a marriage take real time and work.
When you date someone for a while or are married to them, your lives become intertwined as they should be. The places you go, the friends you have, the vacationns you share, the family events you attend, the things you do. When a break up happens, you have to pull your lives apart and figure out how to once again function as one person, not part of a group. This involves maybe moving house/apartment, deciding about who gets the pets or how to deal with your kids, separate bank accounts, informing all your friends and family who will no doubt have questions you may not be ready to answer. It can be absolutely overwhelming. You are quite literally almost mourning the loss of someone, and just like when someone dies, the realization of this death of the relationship can come at you in unexpected ways. You may be at your favorite coffee shop and the barista asks you where your girlfriend who always has coffee with you, is. It can be finding the cheesy Christmas ornament you all made together with your kids in a box of old stuff. It can be waking up one morning and realizing they aren't there and they won't be.
It's hard, and it takes you on such an emotional, mental, and physial journey, but you need to allow yourself to mourn a partner like you would allow yourself to mourn a death. You'll want to deny it. You'll want to not believe that it's happened, or that everything is final, or that things are over especially if you were the one that was broken up with. Next if often the feelings of anger at things in the relationship that maybe you could have done better or they should have, could have, would have done to save your relationship. You may feel anger at yourself, and feel as though you, and only you, have the worst luck in life and that things like your break up are symbolic of everything wrong with it. Then, often hand in hand with denial, will be bargaining and feeling like you can still make it work. You may call your ex and beg to get back in the relationship or they may call you and you may feel like you can still make it work. You'll bargain with a higher power, you'll try and talk to his or her friends, you'll sometimes feel like it just can't end like this and there has to be a way even though you know it should be over. This is often followed closely by depression at the realization that there is a finality to it all. They aren't going to come back. The relationship is over and there is nothing you can do about it. You may feel overwhelmed, sad, feel like you just can't get up or that you're moving through life through quick sand thinking about all that you had or could have had. Finally, the acceptance phase. This doesn't mean everything is great now and you move on, but you accept that things are over. You accept that you do have to move on. You accept that you will know that you will always love the good things you two had together and the life you shared at moments and the memories, and know you'll always have that, but ultimately, given some time, you will need to move on with your life and try to hopefully find that with someone else or find strength, and look to the strength and love of those in your family and friend circle when or if you need more help to move on.
Breaking up is hard to do, but it is a normal part of life for most, if not everybody. It sucks, no one wants to do it, but as with most of the really hard things in life that we have to deal with, coming out of it on the other side can lead to life changes, to understanding ourselves better, to moving forward knowing more what we want and how we can do better within ourselves to prevent the mistakes we may have made in the past. Just remember, as hard as it is to do to break up with someone, that moment or those moments do not define you. If you feel like you can't move on with time, don't be afraid to ask for help from friends or family, many of whom will be understanding having gone through it themselves at some point.