Getting Over A Breakup: What To Binge-Watch Through The 5 Stages Of Grief

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How did people even deal with breakups before Netflix?

So your relationship has come to an end, and now you're left with all these terrible feelings and memories and dead dreams to process and deal with. Not a lot of fun. But thanks to Netflix (or whatever your streaming platform of choice is), dealing with a breakup has become a little less painful.

Is binge-watching the healthiest way to get through a breakup? Not exactly, but done in moderation (i.e. don't turn into a hermit, do yourself a favour and take a shower, get out of the house at least once a day), binge-watching can be pretty cathartic, even therapeutic. But how do you choose which shows to binge after a breakup? That depends on where you are in your grieving process.

Which is why we've created this handy-dandy guide on shows to binge after a breakup, based on the 5 stages of grief*. 

Slip into your PJs, grab yourself a bottle of wine and some popcorn, and treat yourself to some quality, therapeutic entertainment.

1. Denial

You know that it's over, but you still can't quite wrap your head around the fact. You sometimes catch yourself thinking, "Maybe this isn't the end. Maybe there's still hope." Sounds familiar?

This is the phase where you're more likely to send a regrettable late night text to your former significant other, so your goal here is to watch something that's got a riveting storyline that's not super romantic, and lots of episodes. I mean, who even needs a love life when you've got 121 episodes of Lost to watch?

What you should watch

  • Lost. With so many mysterious plotlines and confusing twists to figure out, Lost will have you occupied for days.
  • Game of Thrones. If you aren't following the show by now, you probably haven't heard the end of it from your friends who do. Now's your chance to finally find out what you're missing — and catch up before the final season airs.
  • Breaking Bad. This show, in my humble opinion, is probably the most well-made TV show of all time. Yes, you heard that right. Of. All. Time. Everything in this show is so well-thought-out and executed that by the end of it you'll be left breathless and heartbroken — but not over your ex, for a change.

2. Anger

At this stage, you could be angry at your ex, at the universe ("Am I cursed?!"), at the externalities that you swear were the cause of your breakup (e.g. that new job that took up your partner's time, the terrible traffic that took a toll on your dating life, that hussy at the gym who just wouldn't leave your partner alone, etc.), and so forth.

This is when you're most likely to vent and tell anyone willing to listen how terrible your ex was. And yes, you might also send your ex a nasty text or two. Or four...teen.

There are ways to quench that thirst for justice/revenge without causing anyone harm, or needless embarrassment on your part. Such as watching a badass heroine kick ass. Few things are ever this satisfying.

What you should watch

  • Jessica Jones. She's a badass girl with super strength who doesn't take shit from anyone. Watch her beat up bad guys, walk away from toxic relationships like it ain't no thang, and follow her lead.
  • Scandal. What's more inspiring than seeing strong, capable woman strut through an office in a well-tailored outfit? Watch Olivia Pope handle disasters and get them sorted — and make out with seriously hot guys when she's not busy being a feisty boss babe. What's not to love?
  • How to Get Away with Murder. First of all, Viola Davis is incredible in this show. Her performance alone is enough reason for you to watch it, but HTGAWM is packed with incredible cliffhangers, shocking reveals, and tons of mystery that'll keep you glued to your screen.

3. Bargaining

Bargaining is basically denial's BFF — they go everywhere together. Like denial, this phase is when you'll suddenly get a jolt of hope and think that you can actually do something to fix your relationship. Spoiler alert: you probably can't, but the miserable odds won't stop you from trying (and failing) — if you're not being mindful.

Some people end up looking for any possible way to mend the relationship — from making promises they can't keep to *gulp* making threats to even turning to *~magic~*. Yeah, it's a slippery slope. That's why we're recommending shows that are basically cautionary tales of what could happen if you go overboard. Watch yourself.

What you should watch

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Rebecca Bunch is obsessed with her ex Josh Chan and she will do everything in her power to get him back. It's a cringe-worthy show that comes with the most ridiculous musical numbers that'll have you laughing your butt off, but also have you thanking the heavens that you aren't Rebecca.
  • Orange is the New Black. The Litchfield Penitentiary is full of complicated, not-super-healthy relationships. There's plenty of breaking up and kissing and making up, but also a lot of obsessive behaviour that'll make you want to take the characters by the shoulders to shake some sense into them.
  • Girls. Basically, watch these privileged white girls make terrible life decisions so you don't have to.

4. Depression

You're probably going to have those days where you don't wanna do anything but lie in bed and curl up with an ice cream. And that's totally normal.

Sure, you can go on and let yourself wallow for a day or two, but enlist a couple of friends to help pull you out of bed when it's time for you to rejoin society. And while you're at it, binge-watch some uplifting comedies that'll remind you that this, too, shall pass.

What you should watch

  • Glow. The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are a diverse bunch of women from all walks of life, but they somehow manage to set their differences aside and come together to create something great. It's an uplifting watch that celebrates female friendships, plus it's got fabulous big hair and 80s fashion.
  • Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt. Kimmie has been through hell and back, but still manages to go through life with a bounce in her step and incredible optimism. Plus, Titus Andromedon is one of the most hilarious and lovable characters on television today — he'll have you cackling from the very first episode.
  • Sex & the City. This isn't a classic for no reason. Yeah, Carrie's relationship with Mr. Big is a little problematic, but her relationships with her gal pals are great reminders that guys aren't all that — at the end of the day, it's your friends who'll have your back.

5. Acceptance

Finally! It wasn't easy, but you made it through the hard stuff and are coming to terms with your new normal.

Sure, there will be days when you'll get a little sad and lonely, but don't worry. You're on the right track, and there are better things ahead. Just you wait.

And until you completely get over your heartache, keep that smile on your face with some quality sitcoms and inspiring content.

What you should watch

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There's a reason why the whole internet was rejoicing when B99 was picked up by NBC for its sixth season. It's an incredibly funny, wholesome show that'll make you fall in love with each and every one of the characters.
  • Parks & Recreation. Leslie Knope is a treasure, and the only bad thing about this show is that she isn't real and so she can't run for president and make the world a better place.
  • Queer Eye. The new Queer Eye will make you laugh, cry, and dare to want something better for yourself. We only wish we could have the Fab Five come and make all our lives better, but most of us will have to settle for simply watching the show.

*We aren't psychologists, so take all this with a grain of salt.