When a Relationship Ends, You Need to Grieve. Here’s How.

Don’t try to “move on” too soon. Even if you ended it.

Karen Nimmo
On The Couch
Published in
4 min readMay 16, 2024

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Image by Freepik

Have you been told to “move on” after heartbreak?

If so, chances are it raised your hackles. It made you mad. How were you supposed to “move on” when your heart’s been trashed and your emotions are in turmoil?

Or maybe you’ve tried to “move on”, to put the whole thing behind you, only to find yourself ruminating about your ex, what went wrong — and why.

Then you get mad, and upset, all over again.

Grief comes down to physics

Physics? Really?

I questioned that too until I read Dr Henry Cloud’s explanation in his book Necessary Endings.

It’s “basic physics. If you have emotional and other energy invested in something, when you pull that out, and let go, you are going to feel it…If you do not deal with those feelings you are going to have to do some funny things to get around them.”

Think of it like this:

You simply won’t have the energy for a new relationship — or possibly even your life — if you don’t withdraw your energy and put it through a process of mental and emotional “letting go”.

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Karen Nimmo
On The Couch

Clinical psychologist, author of 4 books. Editor of On the Couch: Practical psychology for health and happiness. karen@onthecouch.co.nz