A portrait of man listening to music while sitting on a couch.

People deal with breakups in different ways. Some throw themselves into work, others find a rebound. Gen-Z, however, rides through the stages of moving on a bit differently. What does it take for a generation known for turning everything into memes to get over their exes? Let’s dig into the specifics.

Stage #1: Getting in Your Feels

The first few days after a breakup are the hardest. Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, you can feel lost and overwhelmed with questions. What went wrong? Have you just lost your only shot at happiness? Should you try calling your ex? These nauseating thoughts make it impossible to focus on anything else.

How long this phase lasts before you can jump to the next stages of moving on depends on your openness to confront emotions – something that many Gen-Zers do well. According to one study, individuals born don’t shy away from acknowledging and addressing their mental struggles. So, take it the Gen-Z way – use this time for self-reflection.

Stage #2: Subtly Removing All Traces of Your Ex

Millennials might rush to change their Facebook status to “single” or delete all hints of their ex on Instagram. Not Gen-Z. This level of pettiness only signals to your ex and others that you’re taking the breakup exceptionally hard. You might be down in the dumps, but you still have some dignity left.

What you should do instead is subtly and privately clear the sickeningly sweet digital memories from your phones, like unpinning your ex’s chat on WhatsApp, hiding all your photos together from the camera roll, and renaming their contact to “Bad Idea, Don’t Call.” Keep it civil, folks!

Stage #3: Hitting Up All Your Bros

Remember your ? You didn’t ghost them during your relationship, right? Good. The first two stages of moving on must have drained you emotionally. When you’re ready to come out of your shell, call your bros. Meet them at a bar, shoot some pool, and pose for a few candid-but-not-really pics for the ‘gram – but don’t post them on your account. Ask your pals to tag you in their photos. Work smarter, not harder.

Just because you’re hanging out with the guys, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to look and feel nice. Spray on AXE Body Spray Jungle Fresh before going out. It has dual-action technology that fights for 48 hours. The blend of fresh forest wood and amber scents also keeps your confidence up throughout the night. Who knows, you might meet someone new.

Stage #4: Going Back to Swiping

It’s generally not a good idea to dive back into dating mere days after a breakup. But once you’ve taken the time to work on yourself, meeting new people can help expand your horizons and build confidence. So, put yourself out in the digital hellscape of . Start off slow – don’t download scads of apps in hopes of getting more matches. Pick one or two, then use all your might to perfect your (hint: ditch the grainy photos and cheesy quotes).

Stage #5: Realizing You Might Need More Time Alone

The stages of moving on is a crooked line. There might be moments of relief, and then you’re hit with waves of numbness. Maybe you just passed a restaurant where you had your first date or heard a song on the radio that reminds you of your ex. Suddenly, you’re back to thinking if you’ll ever find someone new. That’s fine, though. Relapse is part of the process. The worst is behind you.

Stage #6: Stalking Your Ex’s TikTok (And Pretending You’re Not)

Okay, maybe the storm isn’t over yet. All the nostalgia might make you wonder how your ex is doing. Surely you can take a quick peek at their TikTok? See what they’re up to? No, you cannot. Nothing good can come of compulsively creeping on their social media, especially if you stumble upon your ex soft-launching their new beau. Trust us on this one: put your phone down.

Stage #7: Accepting Your Breakup Is for the Best

Having been through all the stages of moving on, you can finally see the silver lining. Sure, you might still miss the good old days, but the future doesn’t seem so bleak anymore. We also call this the self-discovery phase. You can practically do anything without strings holding you back, so embrace your singlehood. Take a semester abroad. Become a bowling champion. Grow a . Decorate your bedroom. Why not? The world is at your feet.

Everything is a , including breakups. It does hurt initially, but you’ll grow from it. If you’re currently surviving through the stages of moving on, keep going. There’ll come a point when that familiar ache loses its sting.