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How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Breakup?

After my relationship breakup, (we were together for 34 years), I know first hand how long it took me to get over the breakup. After a divorce, a recent poll suggested that it takes 3.5 months to heal, but many professionals feel that three to six months is “a fairly standard timeframe” to develop the coping strategies needed to move on.

I believe that it usually takes around 6 months for every year we are with someone.

  • If you were with someone for 1 year, it would take 6 months to get over the breakup.

  • If you were with someone for 2 years, it would take 1 year to get over the breakup.

  • If you were with someone for 3 years, it would take 1 year and 6 months to get over the breakup.

Of course, every situation is different, and how you process or feel about things will change as you grow as a person. But when you have a long history with someone extending over the course of many years, you have to give yourself space to process your feelings differently than you might with a shorter relationship.

If your ex cheated and you had the trauma of betrayal, it can have a lingering effect on your mental health. The most common mistake I see is the belief that time will heal and jumping into another relationship is the answer.

Here are my tips for the transition from being a "we" to a "me"

Tip #1 - Sex is not the answer

Many people have a belief that the best way to get over someone is to get straight under someone else, but 54-year-old Denise from Milton Keynes, whose surname has been withheld for privacy reasons, disagrees. “My worst sexual experience was when I completely ignored all my complicated breakup feelings, downed a bottle of champagne to pretend I was totally fine, and slept with my neighbour whose wife had left him. It was the most awful thing I’ve ever done, and made me feel worse”

Breakups are tough enough without getting involved before you are ready. Protect yourself, by trusting your instincts, and knowing that it's important to focus on yourself first.

Tip #2 - Let go of the past

When a relationship ends, it’s tempting to dwell on what you did wrong or what you could have done differently. This might seem productive—like you can somehow change things by rehashing it. You can’t. All dwelling does is cause you to suffer.

When you start revisiting the past in your head, pull yourself into the moment. Focus on the good things in your current situation: the friends who are there for you and the lessons you’ve learned that will help you with future relationships.

We all have a need for certainty. Certainty is one of the six human needs that drive every decision we make. Letting go and moving on from a relationship often entails a large amount of uncertainty. Even if your relationship had reached its conclusion or one or both of you were very unhappy, there was still an amount of certainty there that was comforting.

Tip #3 - Affirmative Steps

Working on yourself includes grief work, going through the relationship (called inventorying) to be as objective as possible, and doing affirmative steps to get over the relationship.

One of the more difficult steps involved: going no-contact with your ex—even if you share children. If you must interact, keep your contact limited to brief, business-like interactions and interact only when necessary, since cutting off contact and doing this emotional work, no matter how difficult, is what helps you heal and move on.

You could be over a longer relationship in a short period of time if you do the work, whereas a shorter one could haunt you forever if you do nothing about it.

Tip #4 - Take Time

I’ve seen clients have very intense, short relationships that took a long time to process after a breakup and people who were in long-term relationships who mentally left the partnership long before and were ready to date quite quickly. The important thing is that you take time to examine what happened that brought the relationship to an end and appreciate what you learned from the partnership, positive and negative.

The truth is, you might not even realise you’re over your breakup until you test your feelings. We learn most through action and experiences and sometimes, you can only tell if you are over your ex when you start to entertain the prospect of new matches and feel the excitement of new possibility.

But, if you go on dating apps but are constantly comparing your matches to your ex or if you’re feeling completely unmotivated to date again in general, that’s a sign that you need more time for healing.

Tip #5 - Mindset

The most important factor in all of this is your mindset. If you want to move on, and work hard on moving on, you’ll find it far easier to do so. Alternatively, if you intentionally wallow in the hurt, check your ex’s social media, or pry information about your ex out of mutual friends, it will almost definitely be harder for you to put the relationship behind you. Stay in a productive mindset by focusing on yourself, leaning on your social network for support, and preventing yourself from obsessing over your ex.

If you accept that relationships end and you seek to grow and learn rather than blame, the breakup period will be shorter. If you consciously try not to indulge in negative emotions and spend time working on yourself, that process will be smoother and shorter.

Above all, keep in mind that this sadness is temporary and you will get through it. Be patient and gentle with yourself — no heartbreak is forever, even if it might feel that way in the moment.

For the Fearlessly Moving Forwards Method 90-Day Programme click here

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