Breakups suck. Big time. There is no doubt about it. The heartbreak feels like it will never end. You will be asking ‘how long does it take to get over a breakup?’
It doesn’t matter if you were together for six months or six years, you can still suffer from a bad breakup. It doesn’t matter whether you parted on good terms or hate each other’s guts. No one finds it easy to call it a day on a relationship. Learning how to get over someone takes lots of strength.
It can be something akin to grief – grieving for something that you no longer have or dreamed of having. We live in a culture that focuses on happy endings and forever love. When that is going to happen to you, you can feel like a failure.
The Excruciating Break-Up Feelings!
It is not unusual to feel all sorts of emotions: sadness, rejection, anger, embarrassment, elation, anxiety, excitement, guilt, remorse – or pretty much all of these at the same time. This assortment of feelings often shows up randomly, off and on, after a bad breakup, making you ask yourself over and over again, “How long does it take to get over a breakup?”
Memories in a broke up relationship are always hurtful whether good or bad. Starting from the very first memory of how you two met each other. Next, how things took over time and how you fell in love and how you thought that you were a match made in heaven. The weekday routine of work supporting each other, keeping track and later on motivating each other to build a career. Getting up early on Happy Saturday Mornings and getting ready to meet, followed by the excitingly charming Sunday dinners. Arrghhh! It really does hurt alot…
What we can tell you though is that you will get over it. It might not feel that way at the moment. It may take weeks or even months to feel less heartbroken. Eventually, though, you will be able to move on. You will get to a point where you look back on the relationship with fondness or ‘Urgh, what was I thinking?’.
It is easy for us to say though. When you are in the midst of a relationship breakup, it can sometimes feel like the bottom of your entire world has fallen out. You might find yourself turning to friends and family and asking them “How long does it take to get over a breakup?’. The answer is there is no set time. Some people bounce back quickly and others take longer. We will cover that a bit further on.
How to heal after a breakup
Here, we look at some tried and tested tips to help you get through the end of a relationship. You must learn how to heal from a breakup, and how long it takes to do this. Some of these suggestions are simple, while some may take a bit of work to recover from a breakup.
Give yourself time to grieve
As we mentioned above, the feelings that you experience at the end of a relationship can be very similar to grief. Grief is being upset about losing someone – and that’s exactly what a relationship is. Learning how to heal from a breakup is like learning how to deal with the loss of a loved one in death.
You are losing a significant part of your life. They are your lover, your friend, someone that you confide in, and perhaps someone you live with. Even if you haven’t been together for long, they will have been a part of your daily life and suddenly, they aren’t. You need to give yourself time to grieve over that loss in the same way you would grieve over death.
It is absolutely fine to experience mixed emotions too. Just because you feel great and ‘over it’ one day and then sadness the next, it does not mean you are going backward. It is an entirely normal process. Adding the distress of trying to keep your feelings in order will only worsen things.
Delete your ex’s number
You might have separated amicably and declared you are going to remain friends – but let’s face it, in most breakups, it just doesn’t happen like that. In some cases, you may be friends, but the transition from a romantic and sexual partner into friendship does not happen overnight. It takes time. You also need to consider that if you do stay in contact with friends how you feel and how you will react if they meet someone new.
Delete their number; for now, anyway. You can also get hold of it and add it again later. By deleting their number, you won’t be as likely to send them that late-night drunken text that you will regret the next day. And you ALWAYS regret it. So, how long does it take to get over a breakup? If you stay away from your ex for a while, you will have a better idea.
Have a social media purge
If you have photos or other mementos of your ex around the house, you have probably taken them down and put them away. But what about your social media? Facebook Memories might throw up all the photos of you during happier and more loved-up times, and you may find yourself anxiously refreshing your ex’s page to see what they are up to. It’s hard to understand how to get over someone.
While normal, it’s not healthy and it is not going to help you get over them. It is absolutely fine to unfriend, unfollow or hide them, for as long as you need to. On the other hand, if you’re not sure about the breakup, storing photos in a safe place where you don’t have to see them every time you use your phone will also work. If for some reason, you reconnect with your ex, you will still have some of your favorite photos. But I stress, you don’t need to look at them right now, so you must put them away or throw them out. It’s your choice.
Friends help you learn how to get over someone
When it comes to getting over the end of a relationship, you have two choices. You can stay at home moping or get on with life as best as you can. You do need to give yourself time to grieve and get over someone. However, staying in, drinking too much alcohol, and sobbing away is not going to help you to move on. Instead, keep busy.
If you used to spend Saturday nights snuggled watching a film together, make plans to go out with your friend for a cocktail. Dress up, put on a brave face, and have some fun. Many of us also tend to neglect friendships when we are in a relationship. This can be a great chance to reconnect. Make sure that you only spend time with people who make you feel the best version of yourself though. Stay away from soul suckers!
Don’t go anywhere near the hairdressers
Or, if you do, think very carefully before you do anything drastic!
As Coco Chanel famously said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life“. For many women and men, cutting hair after a breakup can feel cathartic, like you are shedding dead weight. If you are experiencing the huge adjustments and changes that often accompany a separation, cutting or doing something drastically different to your hair can make you feel like you have some control back.
However, while the hair does grow back, it can take a long time. When you are emotionally vulnerable, you can make decisions that are not always the most sensible. Your pixie cut or shaved head might feel great for a short time, but as your emotions begin to even out, you could come to regret it. There are less drastic ways to change the way you look just to get over someone. Why not try being more active or being creative instead. You can try your hand at painting, and this can color a canvas instead of permanently changing the color or look of your hair.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
It’s time to just get over it, right? Wrong! You cannot just immediately get over a relationship that once meant so much to you. It takes time to learn how to heal from a breakup. So, now you know some of the things that you can do to help you get over your broken heart, you may be wondering how long it will be before you feel ok, and when you feel like you can begin to move on. After all, moving on with your life is the only way to live a healthy life – you cannot dwell too long in the past. Also, know that there are many others out there going through the same thing that you are going through. So, you’re not alone.
There’s no real answer as to how long it takes. This differs for everyone, depending on many factors. It depends on why you broke up, how long you have been together, whether you have children together, and so on. Sometimes the length of time it takes to get over a breakup comes from your overall disposition. Are you an emotional person, a strong person, or a mixture of the two? How many people have you dated, and have you ever broke up with anyone before? All these things factor into the time you have to grieve.
Generally speaking, most people start to adjust to life without their ex after about three months. [Lewandowski Jr, 2007]. It can be more, it can be less, and it doesn’t mean you will be over it for good. However, at this point, the grief will usually have started to lessen. It is also the point where many people feel ready to dip their toes back into the world of dating again. It is important to not set yourself a deadline to be over it. Not meeting this can set you back even further.
One thing to remember: do not get involved in what’s called, the rebound relationship. This often happens when you try to get over a broken relationship too soon. Maybe you just want everything to be over, the crying, the hurt, and you quickly find someone else to keep you company. This can harm you and your new interest, as the rebound relationship is rarely a real one. Most of the time, it leads to even more heartbreak.
When it comes to getting over the end of a relationship, whether it is how to cope or questioning how long does it take to get over a breakup, there are no right or wrong answers. There’s no magic wand that can be waved to make you feel better straight away. Take your time and allow yourself time to grieve.
When you are ready, take steps towards the rest of your life. And that’s what matters, that everyone gets the most out of their lives, either alone or with the one they love. There is no shame in starting over, so if you’re truly ready, then it’s time to join the dating pool once more.
Listen, if you want to recover from a bad breakup, then it’s going to take time, patience, and hey, even a little distraction to keep you emotionally healthy. But never hold it in. It’s always best, when the sad feelings come, to just let them be. Cry if you need to, or even go in a safe place and scream a few times. Just remember, this too will pass.
Note: Updated on March 13, 2021