Other types of loss

Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes is the Clinical Lead for Student Space and is a psychotherapist, researcher and writer on student wellbeing, including the book Be Well, Learn Well

Grief doesn't just come from losing a loved one - there are other kinds of loss that might lead you to experience it.

While we generally think of grief as being associated with the death of someone close to us, we can actually experience it as a result of other types of loss. For example, if you are in a romantic relationship that ends, you might experience grief. This can also happen if you lose a job you enjoyed, or if a friendship comes to an end.

Sometimes students can be surprised by the appearance of grief. For example, it is possible to experience grief if you chose to end a romantic relationship.We don’t just grieve for what we have lost now - we also grieve for all the future events we had imagined but now won’t happen. You might have imagined things for your relationship, like holidays or moving in together.

Your mind now has to adjust to the fact that these things can’t and won’t happen and that is a form of loss. The grief response is normal and will subside in time.

Try to bring your focus back onto the current circumstances, as they are and see if you can find ways to make your situation better. You will also benefit from taking care of your wellbeing overall, so you can feel a bit better, from day to day.

Loss can trigger a range of emotions in us. That doesn’t mean we’re weak or that there is something wrong with us. It is just a natural emotional response to a significant change in our personal world.

Be kind to yourself, allow yourself to grieve and then look forward to creating a new future that you can be hopeful and excited about. It might help to reflect on the resources that you have around you, to help you with this task. This could include your friends, family, guardians, support services offered by your university or your own internal resources, such as your academic ability.

Page last reviewed: October 2022