“If only I could tell them I love them one more time.” 
“If only I could touch them again.” 
“If only we could have one more day together.” 
 
Wishes like these are incredibly common for grievers and are not only heard after a death, but also after a breakup, divorce, or a loved one moving far away. They may seem like factual statements, but they’re actually emotional statements that reflect the pain of longing. Two partners in a long-distance relationship, for example, may experience longing even though they can routinely talk on the phone. A mother may yearn for her child after she leaves for university. We may even have dreams where we reach out for our loved one and are never quite able to grasp them. 
Yearning for partner

Heartache is Grief 

Breakups and divorce are not typically considered a grieving experience if no one has died. We do not get days off from work, money or flowers when a relationship ends – we may not even get sympathy from others as there are “always plenty of other fish in the sea”. But those of us who has experienced the end of a relationship know very well that the emotional devastation is every bit as real and painful as a loss of another kind. This means that we are grievers, despite the fact that there has not been a death. 

A new definition of grief 

For that reason, it is helpful to look at the various definitions of grief used by the Grief Recovery Method, in particular the one pertaining to this painful feeling of longing: 
 
“Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who’s always been there, only to discover when you need them one more time, they’re no longer there.” 
 
This definition gives us an explanation for the aching feeling we experience for our former partner and why it is such a common component of the grieving experience. 

All loss is unique 

All grievers and their relationships are unique. That is why we do not spend much time analysing the feelings within grief, but rather start where we are – and learn the steps for taking away the pain. While we may always miss someone who has left, by relieving the pain we can also release the excruciating longing feeling that keeps us up at night and greatly impacts our ability to feel joy. Instead of being burdened, we’re free to live a life of happiness and contentment. 
Reaching out for a partner who isn't there

How to stop yearning and start living again 

The evidence-based Grief Recovery Method has been effectively used to help grievers recover from loss for over thirty years. You can work through the action steps with a Grief Recovery Specialist who will not criticise, analyse or judge what happened, but rather show you the path for relieving the pain. 
 
Despite the name, the Method is especially effective for those who are recovering from a breakup, divorce, or loss of a partner due to death, estrangement, or any number of other factors. You will feel safe to explore the most beautiful and the most painful aspects of your relationship, one step at a time. 
 
If you are distracted or kept awake at night by the feeling of longing caused by the loss of a relationship, please reach out to us – we can answer any questions and help you find someone in your area who is offering individual or group programmes. 

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About the Author 
Libby Kramer
Libby Kramer is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist. With a background in education and as the mother of two children, she has led numerous talks and programmes on the subject of Helping Children with Loss. She currently offers support to Certified Grief Recovery Specialists as well as contributing content to Grief Recovery UK. She practises with individual clients and groups as a Grief Recovery Specialist in Luxembourg. 
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