No matter how long your relationship was, fully healing from a breakup can take a while. If you can’t stop thinking about what your old flame is up to or you’re feeling like you’re never going to be ready to date again, it’s natural to wonder just how long it takes to get over an ex. (Spoiler: There really is no one answer.)
Whether the breakup came as a total surprise or you and your old boo had been fighting for a while, calling it quits with someone can be disorienting. If you’d rather watch movies in bed than hit the clubs with your friends or your cute coworker asked you out for drinks and you’d rather wax your entire body than go on a date, sometimes healing from a breakup means taking your sweet time until you’re ready to move on. Of course, when you’re going through heartbreak, it can be helpful to hear from other women who have been through some bad breakups of their own. No two people are the same, but swapping stories can make you feel totally seen.
We asked 13 women how long it took them to get over an ex, and what they said is super validating.
1. Six Months
About six or seven months. It helped that within days of her telling me she still loved me and missed me, she put on Facebook that she was in a relationship with someone else.
2. Three Years
I think I truly spent the last three years trying to get over it. And I think a lot of it was me trying to convince myself that my ex was, like, as emotionally intelligent and kind as me and my friends. And that was hard but it’s gotten a lot easier to get over it after realizing that my ex was just a small idiot I foolishly thought of as otherwise for a while. He’s, like, not even on the level of me and my friends, who are good thoughtful people whom I love and who love me and are accountable and considerate of each other. But I am wiser now! And I feel it lifting my spirits.
— Jenn, 24
3. Two Years
About two years. I decided one day to stop thinking about him and to move on. It’s a lot of work and honestly, everyday I need to be like, I’m moving on.
4. Until She Fell In Love Again
I don’t think I really got over my ex until I fell in love with someone else. I think it was about a year and half after.
— Sophia, 27
5. When Your Grief Ends
Going through my breakup now and my dad told me it can be a lot like grieving a death. You lost someone who held a lot of importance in your life and you’re entitled to grieving. He said there’s no real time limit, but you need to wait for your grief to end before you fully heal.
6. There’s Not A Specific Time
I don’t think there is a specific time. I once heard it takes half as long as the relationship, but I don’t think that accounts for a number of things. You have to decide to start feeling better. I understand that’s hard. It’s so hard. But you have to wake up every day and say, ‘I choose courage over comfort’ and you do something for you. Your relationship expired, now the right person will come along.
7. It Depends
My breakup was 12 months ago and it still hurts, but I know a lot of people who genuinely move on within two months or less. I think it depends on what other things are going on in your life that could help or prevent you from moving on. If you’re in a happy job and have a decent social life then it will take less time compared to someone who has little social life or spends too much time alone with their intrusive thoughts.
8. A Few Months
Probably a few months. I think I realized that I was over her when I stopped caring what she was doing all the time. It wasn’t even a big realization, just one day I kind of thought to myself, ‘Hmm I haven’t thought about her in a week’ and I didn’t care, it actually felt good.
9. A Long Time
It took a long time for me. We were together for two years. We first got together in college but ended up getting jobs on opposite sides of the country after graduating. We tried a long distance relationship but it didn’t work out for us. What made it hard was being 3000 miles apart when we broke up. It was tough to get closure because not much in my day-to-day life actually changed, so I wasn’t ‘forced’ to move on, if that makes sense. I had to force myself to move on.
I don’t know when I got over them, but I know exactly when I realized that I got over them. It was maybe a little over a year after we broke up and it was around her birthday. I texted her to wish her a happy birthday and we started chatting a little. That’s when it hit me. That, not only was I over her, but I had been over her for a long time.
10. A Month
It took about a month for me. What has helped me, or at least distracted me from him, was going to the gym, watching new shows and working, basically kind of keep yourself busy, find a new hobby and stuff.
11. Before It Happened
To be completely honest, I was already over it before it was officially over. Four years slowly sizzled into a dull flame.
There’s no right time to get over a breakup. Whether you need a few months to cry to yourself or you’re back out there a few days after calling it quits, you know what your heart needs and what will feel nourishing to you. When it comes to healing after a breakup, you can take all the time you need.
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