Coping with the loss of a partner: Understanding grief and starting to find peace


Losing a partner is one of life’s most profound and challenging experiences. Whether due to death, separation, or divorce, the absence of a significant other can leave an inevitable void in anyone’s life. The journey of grief is never linear and such a loss is complex; encompassing a range of emotions and requiring a considerable change to everyday life and routine.

In this blog post, we are going to delve into the multifaceted nature of loss, exploring strategies for coping, finding solace, and ultimately starting your healing journey.


Coming to terms with your grief

Grief is a natural response to loss, and the loss of a partner can evoke intense emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, and despair. These feelings can come on in waves, and can fluctuate in intensity over time. It’s important to recognise that grief is a highly unique and individual process; there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and each person’s experience is different. For some grief could come on in a delayed manner, whereas for others it could be experienced immediately after the death of their loved one.


The different stages of grief

The renowned psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the concept of the five stages of grief. These include, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.1 While these stages provide a framework for coming to terms with grief, it’s vital to understand that not everyone will experience these feelings in the same way, and individuals journey through these stages multiple times before reaching a sense of acceptance.


Finding strategies to help cope with loss

Coping with the death of a partner requires both self-compassion and support from loved ones. There are several steps that can help support your grieving journey these include, allowing yourself to feel the wide range of emotions, seeking support from loved ones, practicing self care, honoring memories, setting boundaries, and seeking professional help when required.

  1. Give yourself the grace to feel

When you lose a partner it is incredibly important that you give yourself permission to experience the wide range of emotions fully, without judgment or suppression. It is normal to cry, scream, or laugh or anything in-between as needed.

  1. Seek Support

When dealing with grief it is important that one surrounds themselves with caring and understanding family and friends. Your loved ones play a pivotal role in providing comfort and companionship during this difficult time. To those who may find this more challenging there are amazing support groups for individuals who have experienced similar losses.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Sue Ryder

The Compassionate Friends


  1. Don’t be ashamed to express yourself

When coping with loss it is vital that you find healthy outlets for expressing your emotions, whether it is through writing, art, music, or exercise. Bottling up your feelings can result in the development of unhealthy habits which could worsen your mental and physical health. Some people find journaling can be particularly therapeutic, allowing you to process your thoughts and emotions in a private space, without fear of judgement.

  1. Practice self-care

Health is wealth, and taking care of your physical and emotional well-being by eating nutritious foods, getting regular exercise, and prioritising adequate sleep is vital in supporting your grief journey and stopping the development of unhealthy habits. Not only this, engaging in such activities can bring you some much needed joy and relaxation, whether it’s spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a new hobby.

  1. Honouring Memories

When coping with the loss of your partner it is important not to hide the past and bury your memories. Finding meaningful ways to commemorate your partner’s life and legacy can help you come to terms with the loss of your partner.

Creating a memory box, planting a tree in their honour, or participating in special acts that hold significance for you and your beloved, are all great ways of ensuring the memories of the recently passed continue to live on.

  1. Setting boundaries

When coping with loss it is so important that you are gentle with yourself and recognise your limits. It is ok to miss family events and gatherings that may feel triggering to you, and to decline social invitations or ask for space when you need it. It is sometimes said that people can feel loneliness in the busiest spaces, and this is certainly true when you are managing grief.

Be sure to prioritise activities and relationships that nourish your soul and bring you comfort, and don’t feel pressured into attending social events that make you feel uncomfortable. You will eventually feel comfortable reintroducing these sorts of social interactions at a pace that works for you.

  1. Seeking professional help when needed

If you find yourself struggling to cope with your grief or are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Professionals are the best people to help equip you with the necessary tools to cope with your grief. In some instances they can also provide referrals for various medications, which may help you manage any physical symptoms you may be feeling. Whilst family and friends can bring great comfort, therapy can provide neutral and valuable support as you navigate loss.


Finding meaning in grief and coming to terms with loss

As time passes, you may find that your grief becomes more manageable, and you must not feel guilty for having moments of joy or happiness. While the pain of your loss may never fully disappear, you will eventually learn to let such feelings coexist with a newfound sense of purpose and resilience.

Moving forward after the loss of a partner is not about forgetting or replacing them but rather integrating their memory into your life in a way that allows you to continue growing and evolving. It’s about honoring the love you shared while embracing the possibility of new experiences and relationships.


Seeking peace and moving on

The loss of a partner is a heartbreaking and life altering experience that challenges one to confront their deepest emotions and vulnerabilities. While the journey of grief is never ending, it is testament to the depth of love and connection that you shared with your partner; and by allowing ourselves to feel, seeking support, practicing self-care, and finding meaning in our loss, we are better able to navigate the grieving process in a healthy way.

In some instances, engaging in acts of kindness, volunteering, or participating in advocacy efforts can provide a sense of purpose and connection to something greater than oneself. Ultimately, healing is not about erasing the past and pain of loss but rather learning to cope and live alongside it.

1 Psycom, 2022. The five stages of grief: an examination of the Kubler-Ross Model. Available at: . Last accessed, April 2024.