The universe seems to have a really clever, and frequently brutal, way of equalising good and bad. Every fresh relationship has the potential for giving its participants the greatest good there is: boundless, passionate, harmonious love. But the greater the potential for this bliss, the more massive the risk that it will all come crashing down. For every giddy person gently replacing the phone handset after a perfect transfer of positive feeling with their lover, there’s the trembling hand of another, doing the same thing after a heart-wrenching, relationship-ending conversation. The universe balances itself out.

If you’ve had your heart broken, you will have experienced emotions that are probably almost identical to countless jilted lovers who have come before you and countless more who will follow in your heavy footsteps. In thinking about my own experience of heartbreak, it struck me how similar it is to living through a physical injury. The shock, denial, suffering and healing are all almost identical in pattern. I’m not the first to think this, but I nevertheless decided it might be interesting to put the 8 stages of heartbreak into an image that compares each with a stage of a healing physical wound. Here it is:

Wounded: the 8 Stages of Heartbreak and How to Get Over Them