Low Self Esteem and Vulnerability
The first two stages of a breakup actually can be viewed as one combined stage. These are having a sense of low self esteem and being vulnerable. When you first break up with someone it's not unusual to feel as if it's all your fault and you could have been able to do something to make the relationship work. At the same time you are looking for assurance that you are still appealing to the opposite sex. At this stage you must be careful or you might jump into a relationship you usually would not consider, as you may just be looking for someone to make you feel like you are attractive.
If you don't jump into a new relationship right away, or if even if you do it can be hard to let a relationship go completely. This is known as the stage of denial. You might try to remain in contact with your former significant other and by staying close feel that you can patch the relationship up again. Sometimes it takes complete separation, including the ending of a friendship, to remove any feelings that the relationship can still be saved and put back together.
At some point it will become evident that the relationship cannot be patched back together. You will stop blaming yourself for the relationship failing and start to blame the other party. This can result in extreme anger expressed towards that person. You might return anything you've ever received from your former significant other at this time, or you might participate in actions intended to inflect emotional harm on that individual.
Taking Time Out From Relationships
If you have not jumped into a new relationship by this stage of the breakup, you might start questioning the value of romantic relationships. You will start wanting to concentrate on yourself as an individual and doing things that you enjoy and that will improve your self-esteem. At this point you start to shy away from relationships, as they take away the time that you can spend on yourself.
Eventually time starts to help reduce the pain that you are feeling from the breakup. You will start socializing again with friends and concentrating on yourself a little bit less. At this time you might not be actively looking for a relationship, but you are not adverse to entering one either. If someone comes along that catches your interest, you will start dating either in groups or as a couple as you start to establish new romantic relationships.
Falling In Love Again
The final stage of a breakup is developing a new, strong romantic relationship. The person that you started dating in the socialization stage and you will become closer and start to fall in love. Your fears and insecurities that developed as a result of your previous breakup will start to disappear. It is important to learn from your previous breakup though to help limit the chance of repeating past situations that resulted in the breakup that started this process.