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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Whether you are trying to forget someone who cheated on you or reeling from the end of a tiring long-distance relationship, your feelings are valid. Regardless of the circumstances, getting over someone you love is never easy. If it were, the world wouldn’t be flooded with millions of self-help books, songs, poems, and paintings highlighting the trauma and pain associated with a breakup.

A split often triggers an emotional fallout, even if you are the one dumping your partner. It likely stings even more if you are unfortunately on the wrong side of a breakup. In such circumstances, it is natural to wish to short-circuit the healing process and get over the breakup. However, experts believe that the process may take a while, but not as long as some believe.

How long does it take to get over someone? What determines the breakup timeline, and is there any way to fasten the process? This article will provide insights into these questions.

There is a wild theory circulating on various social medial platforms stating that breakup recovery usually requires half the amount of time you invested in a relationship. However, this is not always the case, as healing after a breakup does not always follow a clear timeline. Some people may find themselves suffering from grief and pain a year after calling it quits, while others may heal within months and move on with life.

Many have attempted to determine the average time it requires for healing after a breakup. Some efforts in this direction, along with their results, are explained below:

Online polls

A famous consumer poll conducted by a popular market research company suggests that it takes around 3.5 months on average to overcome a breakup. On the other hand, getting over a divorce may require up to 1.5 years.

Scientific research

Different research articles have provided variable insights regarding breakup recovery:

  • A 2007 study suggests that recovery from a breakup requires 11 weeks on average
  • Another 2007 study indicated that people start feeling better by the end of the 10th-week post-breakup.
  • The studies mentioned above come with their limitations and do not offer a definitive timeline for recovery. However, they suggest some improvement can be seen around the 10th to 11th week.

The truth is there is no official breakup timeline as the healing process varies widely from one person to another. This broad variation is particularly because of different factors that affect the process.

If you have experienced a few breakups in the past, take a moment to reflect on how your recovery from each went. You will notice that you did not heal at the same pace every time. Why? Because each breakup recovery depends on the following factors.

Your level of commitment

In general, the more you are personally invested in a relationship, the more distressing it becomes when the relationship finally ends. For example, suppose you simply like your partner’s company and enjoy spending time with them without thinking of a future. In that case, you may get over them soon and start looking for something more serious elsewhere. In such a breakup, you may miss them and feel some regret at first; however, you will find yourself ready to get back out there in a matter of weeks.

Now imagine a relationship in which you and your partner are in love and have just moved in together or started talking about a wedding. Then suddenly, something terrible happens that turns your relationship upside down, eventually leading to a breakup. In this type of breakup, the following hurt and confusion can make healing more challenging. You may have to divide your shared life into two separate lives and cope with unwanted changes in living arrangements, finances, and mutual friends that only complicate and prolong recovery.


Recovery may become a bit more complicated than expected when a breakup occurs because of infidelity. Along with processing the trauma related to the breakup, you also have to deal with a breach of trust and its emotions. The betrayal trauma is excruciating and can have lasting effects on mental health, making it difficult to move on. One may even find it challenging to trust future partners if healing does not occur fully.

Quality of relationship

While healthy relationships positively affect your well-being, a lower-quality relationship may not be able to offer similar benefits. If you and your partner used to fight a lot, experienced problems with effective communication, or were always on the verge of ending things, a break-up may provide relief instead of upsetting you. Alternatively, you may not fight but also not have any personal interest in each other. The purpose of such relationships is to stay with a partner out of convenience instead of living alone.

In either scenario, leaving a poor-quality relationship will not likely leave you sad and upset for long.

Who ends the relationship?

Making a choice to break out of a relationship that no longer feels fulfilling or satisfying may offer you some relief. It may also seem like if you are the one ending things, you will feel less distressed. While it is partly true, this is not always the case. Even if you are in a relationship that seems to be on the rocks, you may not necessarily want to break up. Maybe you are still in love with your partner and wish you could continue the relationship. In such circumstances, recognising that you have made the right choice can help you bounce back faster, but you will still grieve your loss.

On the contrary, rejection always stings terribly. If your partner ends the relationship, it may hit your self-worth badly and leave you vulnerable for a long time after.

While it may not be possible to heal a broken heart any faster, there are some things you can do to take better care of yourself in the meantime. Practising the following tips can help build resilience and improve your overall outlook on life as you struggle to get over someone.

Remind yourself that grieving is normal

Men and girls have different breakup stages, and each may feel painful. However, remember that the painful feelings associated with losing a relationship are an important step for recovering from heartbreak. It may sound easier to hide or suppress these feelings and pretend that you are feeling fine. However, doing so will only provide superficial and temporary relief, and the pain will remain inside. The only true way to let these feelings go is by acknowledging them.

Sitting with your anger, betrayal, sadness, and despair may naturally hurt at first. Try to indulge in mindful meditation and other similar approaches to recognise these feelings and get more comfortable with them.

Make self-care a priority

Following a breakup, many people quit taking care of themselves altogether. Some may not feel like going to bed and waking up regularly, while others may lose interest in everyday life activities, such as cooking, showering, or leaving the house. While it’s completely fine to give yourself some time and let these things aside remember that sticking to a routine will help add structure to your day. These simple activities may make your days seem normal as you find it easier to cope with grief.

Taking care of physical needs also helps you energise your body and use this energy for healing after a breakup. So make sure you eat well, exercise frequently, and strive to get some quality sleep. Within a few days, you will notice how your mood will eventually start getting better.

Maintain a balanced perspective

As you process a breakup, try looking objectively at your relationship and its demise. You may put all the blame on yourself or heap it entirely on your ex, but none of these attitudes will contribute to your breakup recovery. Research suggests that viewing your ex negatively may help you get over them more quickly but can also make you more distressed.

Try not to invalidate or deny your feelings and remind yourself that it’s okay to feel love for your ex. Try to give yourself some space to explore and experience these emotions fully. You may consider journaling your thoughts to express them fully and get rid of the lingering feelings more healthily.

Maintain your distance

Establishing emotional and physical distance from your partner can help you get some space to process the event of a breakup. However, this can be a bit difficult to do, especially if you live close to your partner or share similar interests or social circles. However, try to establish clear boundaries around contact to maintain helpful distance.

Limit your social media usage

One of the most common reasons why most breakups drag is because of the presence of social media. If you are a frequent social media user, you may eventually see your ex, their friends, or their family in your feed, which will only trigger you and delay the process of healing after breakup. For this reason, experts recommend unfollowing all your ex’s social media accounts and the accounts of all their friends and family members.

Even if you are not seeing your ex or anything related to them on your feed, social media can still instil negative emotions. Pictures of weddings, engagements, and happy couples can trigger you equally as they suck you into the comparison game.



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