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How Long Does it Take to Get Over a Breakup?

by Siobhan Quinn

Photo by Palu Malerba from Pexels

Ah, breakups—the universally binding experience that crushes us all. While breakups are something most of us inevitably endure, no two breakups are the same. What may have been an easier, less painful split for one individual could be heart-wrenching for another. As such, there is no set time limit when it comes to healing from a breakup. There are some general rules of thumb, like the time it takes to get over someone would be half the length of your relationship. But there are no absolutes. However, there are some ways to help quicken the healing process and get back to feeling like yourself again.

Andrea Hipps, divorce coach and author of The Best Worst Time of Your Life: Four Practices to Get You Through the Pain of Divorce, says “the healing from [her] breakup was delayed by [her] inability to both accept the reality of the situation and to stop resisting what it meant for [her].” But once she was able to finally release resistance and accept her circumstances, she began to heal quicker than she could ever imagine.

When we find ourselves stuck in the aftermath of a breakup and unable to effectively move on, it’s often due to our refusal to acknowledge the reality of what has occurred. We are in denial that the relationship is over and we are no longer with our partner, so we sit in that misery and torture ourselves over what we could have done differently.

What is the average period of time we torture ourselves over a broken heart you ask? ComparetheMarket has compiled data across the United States to show the average period of time it takes a person in each state to get over a heartbreak - the infographic can be found below.

Hipps recommends conducting a two-part relationship inventory where you:

  1. Acknowledge your role in the breakup, and

  2. Celebrate everything you offered and learned while in the relationship.

Taking a relationship inventory like this helps put the relationship in the broader perspective of your life journey, and “it invites acceptance, releases resistance, and collapses the recovery timeline significantly,” says Hipps.

Sometimes, your healing process can be delayed if you haven’t allowed yourself to grieve the relationship and feel all the uncomfortable emotions surrounding it. Deep down, you may be badly hurt now that the relationship has ended and you’ve lost your partner. But instead of sitting with this sadness and seeing what it has to offer, you might try to distract yourself from the pain by drinking alcohol, watching a show, or scrolling through social media.

When you distract yourself from the reality of the pain you’re in, you deny yourself the chance to heal. As the pain gets pushed deeper down into you, it doesn’t suddenly disappear—it only becomes more difficult to heal from in the long-term. You cannot heal from pain you haven’t let yourself feel.


Kevin Darné, author of Every Ending is a New Beginning: The journey from Breaking Up to Moving On, suggests some ways to grieve the relationship: spending time with loved ones who will sit with you and your pain, tucking away any photos and mementos that remind you of your relationship, reading self-help books, and maybe seeing a therapist if you feel trapped in your grief. Your healing journey should be for yourself and nobody else, but it’s worth noting that any unhealed wounds from previous relationships will show up in your future relationships until you’ve addressed them.

The pain that comes with the ending of a relationship is difficult to endure. But know this: You cannot be your happiest self in a relationship you deserve without splitting from someone who isn’t right for you. So yes, it does suck—all of it sucks. His leftover clothes suck, the restaurants you can no longer eat at suck, and the dreams you have at night suck. But this pain is temporary; it demands to be felt, so you had better feel it for what it is. And then let it go. The future version of yourself who is cheery and in love with someone who loves her back will thank you.


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