If your dealing with a difficult breakup right now it can be very comforting knowing how long it takes to get over someone.
As you go tough week after week without noticing any progress it can be easy to start doubting that you EVER will recover... And at this point you start to wounder.
How long does it take to get over an ex?
If this question have lead you to this post, be rest assured that you're in the right place and will learn exactly how long it takes to move on after a breakup.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
First off I think it's important that you know there is no magic number for how long is going to take before you get over your ex.
There are some statistics out there but they don't really provide a clear answer as they range everywhere between 3-18 months. This is because every person and relationship are different and breakups occur during different circumstances.
So the truth and real answer to this question are as follows.
The time it takes to recover from a breakup depends on what actions you take in order to move on.
You play a BIG role when it comes to determining how long it's going to take to get over your breakup. Which is a good thing, because this means that you can influence the time as your actions might either slow down or speed up your recovery.
Some of the things I'm about to share can add YEARS to your recovery, so make sure know about them!
5 things that slow down your recovery
If you want to make sure that you move on as quickly as possible the first thing would be to avoid doing things that will drag out the process and keep you from moving on.
Things that make getting over someone take longer.
- Having casual sex with your ex
- Staying in touch as friends
- Having your ex's belongings at your home
- Keep bringing up your complicated love story to friends and family
- Disliking your new reality as an independent person
1. Having casual sex with your ex
This might be an obvious one but yet there are many people doing it, having sex with an ex post-breakup is a BIG NO if you want to move on.
Sex with an ex is a sure way to complicate things and put your relationship in a grey zone that's only going to cause headaches and keep you from getting over your ex.
And I know, it might be challenging to resist the temptation, everyone gets their needs. When we lose a partner our sex life usually get to suffer as well.
But no matter how big your desire is, it's not worth messing up your recovery for some temporary sexual satisfaction.
So either snap out of it or find someone else to fulfill your needs!
2. Staying in touch as friends
This is something that some of you might find very hard to accept, you already lost your ex as a partner and now also losing them as a friend could just be too much at the same time.
I understand this point.
But you need to know there is a price you pay for keeping your ex around in your life as you have to cope with the challenges of transforming your life from living as an interdependent to an independent person. Keep seeing your ex and having their name buzzing on your phone after the breakup might keep you from fully moving on.
I know some claim they can handle the transition to friendship without getting affected by it.
But let's be honest, if this would be you, you would probably not be reading a post on how long it takes to get over someone to begin with.
A quick test to see if you can view your ex a pure friend would be to imagine that you one day accidentally spot your ex sitting on a date with someone (without you know about it) they are having a great time, laughing and holding hands. If this image does not disturb you in any way, keeping them as a friend should not be a problem.
If you find it hard to move past your ex, check out the post how to get over a breakup.
3. Having your ex's belongings at your home
To move on you not only need an ex-free environment, but you need to create a supportive environment that keeps you from getting constantly reminded of your ex.
Bring out a box or bag (that you can give away). In this box, you will put everything that belongs to your ex that you might have around in your house or apartment. Here goes everything—their toothbrush, clothes, books, jewelry, and don’t bother if you think it’s something they want, just put it all in there. Depending on how long you’ve been together, you might want to have several boxes or bags, and if you also have been living together, this should be easier as the next step would be for you to move to a new place.
The last thing you want to do is to keep living in the same place you’ve been living in with your ex. Everything from the crack in the window to the butter knife will remind you of memories with your ex, so make sure you move out and get a fresh start.
4. Keep bringing up your complicated love story
Repeatedly going down memory lane, searching for clues, can become a way for you to hold on to your relationship like it still exists.
Brain studies have shown that withdrawal from romantic love activates the same mechanisms in the brain that gets activated when addicts undergo withdrawal from cocaine. Going down memory lane and feeding of old memories and engaging with stalking behaviors become a way to get your "fix."
This is what makes heartbreaks so difficult to recover from because the mind will manipulate itself to get back to romantic love.
Psychologist Guy Winch said, “No breakup explanation will make your pain go away. No matter how dramatic or complex the explanation may be, your pain will persist. So, do yourself a favor and don’t look for one, don’t wait for one, accept the one you got offered or make your own, and put the question to rest. To recover, you are going to need closure so that you can resist the addiction.”
5. Disliking your new reality as an independent person
One of the things I personally would pay most attention to if I was going through a difficult breakup would be putting in efforts onto things that would improve the quality of my life as an independent person.
Because as long I would stay feeling unhappy with my new situation, I would keep holding on to my past. But the sooner I would start to view positively on life, I would be able to let go of the past and move on with my life. Which bring us to the next step, doing things that can reduce how long it will take to get over your ex.
6 ways to speed up your recovery
After you made sure you don't engage in any activity that might make your recovery take longer than absolutely necessary it's time to focus on doing the things that will help you to move on faster.
Actions that will help to get over someone faster
- Going no contact
- Delete/unfollow ex from social media
- Reflect on why the relationship was bad for you
- Make a list with negative aspects about your ex
- Accept that you're going through change and need to grief
- Make a life vision for your ideal future (excluding your ex)
1. Going no contact
The no contact rule means that you cut all communication with your ex so that you can better focus on your recovery and personal growth. And for growth to happen, you need to first grieve what was, so you can reevaluate the terms on which the relationship was built upon.
But most importantly, your time away from your ex is there to make you independently stronger. As long as your ex is distracting you from making progress, it will be difficult to get any closure and start a new chapter in your life. Continuing to seek or respond to contact just keeps you stuck in the old ways and adds to your hurt. It’s counterproductive to building a meaningful life and a new healthy relationship.
When you have decided that you want to give the NC rule a try, you need to make the decision on for how long. Does it matter how long you go no contact?
Take the test below to find out what no contact period is going to work best for your situation.
2. Delete/unfollow ex from social media
If you really are serious about moving on, you know that there is no good reason for having your ex keep showing up in your social media feeds. But if you feel it's dramatic to delete them completely, start with unsubscribing or blocking their post from showing up in your feed.
3. Reflect on why the relationship was bad for you
Getting over someone you still love is challenging because it usually takes longer the more emotionally invested you are. But if you turn this around it also means that if you can make yourself less emotionally attached it will become easier to move on.
This is where realizing the fact that a breakup happens for a reason (even you can't see it) can help you make yourself less emotionally invested. So let yourself reflect on why the relationship was bad for you and eventually, you will start to feel less emotional attachment.
4. Make a list with negative aspects about your ex
It's common for people to experience difficulties when trying to stop thinking about their ex. This often comes as a result when you been idolized them, thinking about everything that you liked about them and how good they made you feel, how funny they were, or how amazing their family was. We do this to keep the love within us alive but forget that this makes the moving-on process longer.
If you want to stop obsessive thinking and idolizing thoughts about your ex you need to balance out the good with the bad. Below I included a link to an exercise that will help you move on faster.
This list will provide you with clear reasons why your longing thoughts about your ex are representing a fake illusion that your mind is simply making up because you are currently undergoing change.
5. Accept that you're going through change and need to grief
Moving through a breakup and losing connection to someone you love is one of the hardest things you can face. Being rejected by a partner can be too much for your mind to cope with that it goes into denial mode to protect itself from a total breakdown. The most important thing when dealing with grief is to accept it into your life but also make sure it doesn’t stay longer than necessary.
Some people mistakenly try to avoid dealing with their broken heart by filling their schedule up to the point that there will not be any room for grief. What they fail to notice is that this technique will cause other problems in later stages of life. Everyone knows someone who has failed to grow up in some way.
Take for example a married man who thinks it’s appropriate to stare at other women, even when his wife is present. He has failed to grieve his days as a single guy. Grieving allows us to enter more fully into a new chapter of life. It’s like a path we must walk through before we can start our new chapter.
If we don’t grieve, we miss the opportunity to fully heal and move past an old way of life.
Read more about the 7 stages of grief after a broken relationship.
6. Make a life vision for your ideal future (excluding your ex)
Without having a plan for a better future your odds for creating it are small.
Not knowing what you want in the future is like going to the airport without knowing where to go, you might as well end up in Africa of all the places.
Creating a life vision for yourself after the breakup is a great way to gain clarity and figure out what it is that you really want out of life. Writing down your ideal future will push you to look forward instead of being stuck living of old memories from the past.
Most New Year’s resolutions are about quitting sugar, smoking or losing 10 pounds. But the problem with having this type of goals is that it’s not very inspiring.
On the other hand, a vision is focused on what you are going to create for yourself, what you are going to get and give to others. A vision works when it gets you going and makes you excited when reading it out loud.
It’s about creating pictures in your mind and writing them down in a way that really excites you. So when you feel fed up with the past you have something exciting to move towards.
Below you find a link to a practical guide on how to write your life vision.
Links and resources
Now It's Your Turn!
Now I’d like to hear from you:
How long has it taken you to move on?
And what has either helped or prevented you from moving on?
Ask any question you might have about how long it takes to get over someone or, maybe you have experience that could be valuable to others.
Either way, sharing is caring