The protest phase

Academic psychologists and neuroscientists frequently use the distinction between the “Protest” phase of romantic rejection and the “Despair” phase.

During the protest phase, deserted lovers obsessively try harder to win back their beloveds. As resignation sets in, they give up entirely and slip into despair.


During the protest phase chances are you will fight the separation.

Spurned lovers also take extraordinary measures to reconnect with their former partner, revisiting mutual haunts, phoning day and night, writing letters, or incessantly e-mailing. They plead. They make dramatic entrances into a beloved’s home or place of work, then storm out, only to return and renew their appeal for reconciliation. Most become so focussed on this missing partner that everything reminds them of their sweetheart. — Why We Love

During this phase you might be pre-occupied with thoughts of getting your ex-girlfriend back rather than getting over her. You may be in denial about the relationship being over.

Your feelings can pervade your thinking. Everything might point to your relationship being over, yet you cannot accept it. You feel that there is still hope and even when you assess that feeling, you feel it is accurate and true, even though there may be no evidence for it.

When confronted with this lack of evidence, the hole in your reasoning is exposed. Yet you do not concede, you attribute it to your heart, your feelings. It feels so true so it must be true.

I don’t believe you can fight this feeling or overcome it in that moment. What you can do is to keep track of it over time. How do you feel about this supposed truth in a day, or a week? Is it still as convincing? Is it still as visceral? If it fluctuates, that’s a sign. Truths don’t fluctuate, emotions do.

About Jesse

I’ve been helping guys recover from their breakups since 2012. Work with me to fast-track your recovery.


  1. ive been stuck in this phase for months. In my head, i think that if we just discussed what happened then we could work it out. But i have so much evidence that she is gone and has moved on but i have not. I have been away for 4 months and feel like when i get back i can make a difference, but lets be real that isnt true, but i cant help feeling like it is.

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