By Chris Seiter

Published on October 28th, 2023

Losing a love that was genuine, intense, and profound can feel like you’ve lost a piece of your soul. It’s akin to experiencing a small death, a demise of a part of you.

The question that often haunts the tear-streaked pillows of those in the throes of heartbreak is, “How long does it truly take to heal?”

Expected Timeline: How Long It Will Take To Get Over An Ex

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Girlfriend Back?

Take the quiz

While it’s essential to underscore that exact timelines can vary dramatically based on personal resilience, individual circumstances, and coping mechanisms, there are some general expectations based on common factors.

1. Length and Intensity of the Relationship:

  • Short-Term (a few weeks to a few months): Often takes 1-3 months. The emotions might be intense, but the limited shared experiences and memories might lead to a quicker recovery.
  • Mid-Term (several months to 2 years): This can range from 3 months to a year. There’s more emotional investment, shared experiences, and routines established, which can make the detachment process longer.
  • Long-Term (2 years and above): Usually, 1-2 years or longer. The more intertwined lives become, the longer the adjustment period.

2. Nature of the Breakup:

  • Mutual Breakup: 1-6 months. When both parties understand the reasons and agree, healing can be quicker.
  • One-sided Breakup: 6 months to a year or more. Being blindsided or not wanting the relationship to end can prolong recovery.
  • Infidelity or Betrayal: This can lead to intense feelings of pain, trust issues, and resentment, extending healing to anywhere from 6 months to several years.

3. Personal Coping Mechanisms:

  • Strong Support System: If you have close friends, family, or therapy to help process feelings, you might expect 3 months to a year.
  • Isolation or Denial: Avoiding the pain or not having support can extend the process to a year or more.

4. Previous Relationship Experiences:

  • First Love: This can often be the hardest to get over because of its novelty and intensity. Expect anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
  • Multiple Past Relationships: If you’ve been through breakups before and have developed coping strategies, you might recover in 3 months to a year.

5. Personal Resilience and Mental Health:

  • Strong Resilience: Individuals with a history of bouncing back from adversities might take 3 months to a year.
  • Existing Mental Health Concerns: Those struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, or past traumas might need a year or more, especially if the breakup exacerbates these conditions.

6. Level of Post-Breakup Contact:

  • Clean Break (No Contact): Typically, 3 months to a year. No contact can expedite the healing process.
  • Staying in Touch or Being Friends: This can complicate emotions and potentially extend healing to anywhere from 6 months to 2 years or more.

7. Rebound Relationships:

  • Quick Rebound: Can offer temporary relief, but if used as a mere distraction, it might merely postpone genuine healing, leading to 1-2 years or more.
  • No Rebound: Focusing on self-growth and healing first might range from 3 months to a year.

Diving Deeper Into Breakup Recovery

Again, be reminded that first and foremost, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Healing is a deeply personal journey, molded by various factors. But let’s dive into some insights and suggestions that can offer solace during these trying times.

1. Recognize the Individual Nature of Grief

Every individual, relationship, and breakup is unique. Some might find solace in a few weeks, while others may grapple with their feelings for years. Factors such as the length of the relationship, the intensity of love, the nature of the breakup, and personal coping mechanisms can all play a role. Remember, it’s okay to grieve on your timeline.

2. Understand The Healing Phases

I have previously written about   the nonlinear nature of healing. While there are stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – they don’t always come in order. You might oscillate between them or even experience them simultaneously.

3. The ‘Half the Duration’ Myth

A popular adage suggests that it takes half the duration of the relationship to truly move on. So, if you were together for two years, it’ll take a year to heal. But this notion is overly simplistic. Healing isn’t mathematically predictable. Your emotions, personal resilience, and the support you receive play vital roles.

4. Your Brain on Love

Being in love is intoxicating, literally. It releases chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine, which give feelings of happiness and euphoria. Post-breakup, there’s a tangible withdrawal from these chemicals, much like an addict missing their substance. Understanding this can help you be kinder to yourself.

5. The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is paramount. Immersing yourself in activities you love, surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, seeking professional help if needed, and allowing yourself to process your emotions can accelerate healing.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Girlfriend Back?

Take the quiz

6. The Role of Acceptance

The sooner you accept the end of the relationship, the faster you’ll heal. This doesn’t mean suppressing your feelings but understanding the reality of the situation. Relinquish the hope of reconciliation (unless both parties are genuinely interested and working towards it) and focus on rebuilding yourself.

7. When Is It Okay To Date Again?

Jumping into a new relationship or dating casually can be tempting as a way to mask the pain. While it’s okay to seek companionship, it’s essential to ensure you’re not using someone as a mere distraction. It’s unfair to them and detrimental to your healing.

8. Recognizing Growth

Believe it or not, this pain has a purpose. It fosters growth, resilience, and a deeper understanding of oneself. Every tear shed, every journal entry, and every sleepless night is carving a stronger, more insightful version of you.

9. Actionable Steps

Here are a few steps to help guide your healing journey:

  • Journal: Pour your feelings onto paper. It’s cathartic and offers clarity.
  • Connect: Talk to close friends or join support groups.
  • Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, combating depression and anxiety.
  • Seek Counseling: Professionals can offer strategies to cope and heal.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long It Takes To Get Over a Broken Heart

1. Why does it hurt so much to lose someone I loved?

Answer: Love releases powerful chemicals in the brain, such as oxytocin and dopamine, which create feelings of euphoria and attachment. Losing someone you loved can feel like withdrawing from these chemicals. Additionally, the emotional bond and shared experiences with someone amplify the pain of their absence.

2. Is there a way to speed up the healing process?

Answer: While there’s no magic solution, certain practices can facilitate healing: seeking therapy, avoiding contact with your ex initially, engaging in self-care, immersing in hobbies, connecting with supportive friends and family, and allowing yourself to grieve and process the loss.

3. Why do I keep thinking about my ex even after a long time?

Answer: Memories, especially profound ones, can resurface due to triggers or even without a particular reason. Healing isn’t linear; there can be moments of clarity followed by waves of sadness. Over time, these memories will lose their emotional charge, and their frequency will decrease.

4. Is it okay to seek closure from my ex?

Answer: While closure can offer clarity, it’s essential to approach it with caution. If you believe that a conversation can provide understanding without rekindling pain or old feelings, then it might be beneficial. However, often, genuine closure comes from within, rather than from external conversations.

5. What if I feel like I’ll never find love again?

Answer: It’s natural to feel this way after a significant loss. But remember, every individual has a unique journey, and just because one relationship ended doesn’t mean there isn’t another, potentially even more fulfilling, relationship awaiting in the future. Give yourself time to heal and remain open to possibilities.

6. Is it normal to feel anger towards my ex?

Answer: Absolutely. Anger is a common stage of the grieving process, especially if there was betrayal or hurtful actions involved. It’s essential to process this anger healthily — through therapy, journaling, or talking with trusted individuals — rather than suppressing it.

7. Why do some people advise going “no contact” after a breakup?

Answer: The “no contact” rule can create emotional distance and allows for personal healing without interference or triggers from the ex. This space can provide clarity and aid in breaking emotional and habitual patterns linked to the relationship.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Girlfriend Back?

Take the quiz

8. What if my ex wants to be friends right away?

Answer: Transitioning directly from a romantic relationship to a friendship can be challenging. Emotional entanglements might still be fresh, leading to confusion or hurt. It’s usually advisable to give both parties some space and time to heal before considering a platonic relationship.

Remember, healing from a breakup is a deeply personal journey. While advice and insights can guide you, always prioritize your emotional well-being and listen to what feels right for you.	

Related Articles