If you’re currently going through a breakup, I have sympathy for you. It’s certainly not an easy time in anyone’s life. You’re probably asking yourself one very simple question – how long does it take to get over a breakup?
The thing is, it’s not a simple question to answer because everyone is different. It also depends on how long you were together, what happened at the end, whether you loved them or not, and how much you loved them. It also comes down to how you cope with adversity in life too, because that equips you with tools to handle emotional upsets.
When you break up with someone, life becomes harder for a while. Whether the relationship was going through a tough patch or it was completely out of the blue, the end of a relationship requires time to heal. You’re mourning the end of something that you hoped would last a lifetime.
[Read: How to get over a breakup and pick up the pieces of your heart]
How long does it take to get over a breakup normally?
Unfortunately, there is no magic number, but I can give you some general ideas. Most people say that they start to feel better around three months after a breakup. Yes, I know, three months is a long time! But, you’re not going to be miserable for three months.
After the first week or two, you will slowly start to build up your strength. That doesn’t mean you won’t have slight relapses, but you’ll be able to cope with them as you face the future again.
[Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a breakup]
Studies have also backed this up. One particular study took a group of students who had gone through a breakup at some point in the last six months and found out how long does it take to get over a breakup. The study showed that 71% of participants started to feel like they could consider dating again at around 11 weeks, which is about three months.
Of course, you might wonder why it’s so hard to get over a breakup and why it takes such a long time. Think about it – you invest yourself emotionally and are completely vulnerable in order to make a relationship work. You go into it with hopes that it’s going to last and then something happens to change all of that.
In some ways, the course of your life has been altered a little. That might sound dramatic, but it’s true if you think about it – for your romantic life at least.
[Read: The 7 stages of heartbreak when you become someone’s ex]
You also have to factor in what caused the breakup. Was there cheating involved? Was it you who ended it or them? Did you spend a lot of time arguing towards the end? Nobody goes from being in love to ending things for no reason, so there is always going to be some amount of unpleasantness attached to the breakup. When asking how long does it take to get over a breakup, you have to think about that too. If cheating was involved, the person cheated on has to build up their trust in relationships all over again. That takes time.
How to get over a breakup
There are a few steps you can follow to help you get over a breakup. You could think about using a timeline or even creating a plan, but in the end it’s usually better to just give yourself the time you need and go with the flow. You might feel fine one minute, and then the next you might feel wretched. By making a plan, you’re putting pressure on yourself and that’s not something you need right now.
You should also cast aside all questions about how long does it take to get over a breakup. Everyone is different. The three months mentioned earlier is an average. You might feel better far soon, or it might take you longer. Don’t put pressure on yourself by asking how long does it take to get over a breakup and then being upset if that’s not the right timeline for you.
Let’s look at a few steps you can work through to help yourself to feel better. [Read: How to get over a broken heart – The full guide you need]
Step #1 Allow yourself to feel the pain. It’s easy to distract yourself, but if you want to start to feel better a little sooner, allow yourself to really feel it. Yes, it’s going to hurt. There’s going to be a lot of tears, memories coming back to you out of nowhere, unresolved anger, and questions about ‘did I do the right thing?’
However, you should go through all of this to move on to the next step. Be brave, and know that it will get better. [Read: 15 life lessons you can learn from your own breakup]
Step #2 Block all contact. At this point, it’s imperative that you block all contact with your ex, whether you do this over the long-term or not. You’re going to feel like you’ve made a mistake at some point, and you’re going to want to contact them. That’s not going to help you.
The relationship is over for a reason, and you need to avoid contacting them. Block them, delete their number, do whatever you need to do to avoid going around and around in circles. [Read: All the reasons why the no contact rule always works]
Step #3 Focus on yourself and rely on your friends. Now is the time to turn your attention inward. Use your friends as the support network they want to be. Cry, talk, or scream it out if need, but you must focus on what is best for you. That doesn’t mean thinking about what they’re going through; that’s their business, not yours.
At this stage, you might also start to feel a little better, only to have a memory come your way and you suddenly feel bad again. This is normal. [Read: How to focus on yourself and create your own sunshine]
Step #4 Learn the lessons and acknowledge any blame. As you feel like you have a better handle on your emotions, it’s time to acknowledge any blame on your part and to learn the lessons from the relationship. However, don’t do this too soon. You might end up sending yourself backward in the healing process. Once you feel like you can prod the wound a little, try it out.
If you’re to blame for anything, accept it, learn from it, and let it go. If you’re not to blame, what could you do next time to handle the situation better? There may be nothing you did wrong, but there is always a lesson of some kind if you dig deeply enough. [Read: How to come out of a relationship stronger than ever when it ends]
Step #5 Set small goals to build up your confidence. By this step, you should be starting to see the light a little, although your confidence is still battered and bruised.
When people ask how long does it take to get over a breakup, they should really be asking, how long does it take to build up my confidence and self-esteem again? That’s exactly what a breakup damages. You can build this up by setting small goals to work toward, and you can do this on a daily basis. It can be small or large. But the more you achieve, the better you’ll feel.
Step #6 Throw yourself into health and wellbeing. Another great way to build up your confidence is to completely embrace health and wellbeing. This is something we could all do with!
Eat a healthy diet, exercise more, try mindfulness, take up yoga. Basically, do whatever you need to do health-wise to feel stronger and to nourish your mind, body, and soul. This is the single best way to take something positive from a pretty negative situation. [Read: How to hone and increase your positive emotions in a negative world]
Step #7 Appreciate what it means to be single. Being single isn’t so bad! There are some major perks to being single, including the ability to do whatever you want, without having to factor someone else into the equation, star-fishing in bed without having to move, being as selfish as you like, and hitting the town with your friends for some flirty, no-strings fun!
Learn to appreciate being single. View it as the ideal time to focus on yourself without feeling in the slightest bit guilty about it. [Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life you really want to live]
Step #8 Pat yourself on the back. Once you feel better, it’s time to really pat yourself on the back and appreciate how far you’ve come. Breakups are hard, no matter how long you were with the person.
A bad breakup has the power to completely ruin your faith in love. By taking baby steps and allowing yourself to slowly feel better over time, you’ll see that one bad experience doesn’t equal a bad romantic life for the rest of your days.
[Read: How to date with trust issues and learn to trust people again]
After a difficult split, many people want to rush through the process and ask how long does it take to get over a breakup. The truth is, it’s different for everyone. But you’ll get there sooner than you think, with each of these steps.
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