How Long Should it Take to Recover from a Breakup?


If you are going through a breakup right now, one of your most pressing questions is probably how long is this going to take. The bad news first – it is going to be a while before you can bounce back to the dating scene. But the good news is that sooner or later and no matter how hard it may seem now, you are going to get through this difficult time.

As far as the length of time it might take for you to recover from a breakup, it depends on various factors which went into making your relationship what it was. Here are some of the most important conditions which could have a bearing on how long it should take you to recover from a breakup.

TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.

Your own personality

Some people bounce back quicker than the others – it’s as simple as that. And which is why it might seem incredible to you that your ex should be dating merely a fortnight after your breakup while even after a month later you seem to be still picking up the pieces of your heart. This is where individual differences in coping and healing come to play. Thus two separate people who have been in the same relationship for the same length of time and shared the same level of emotional attachment, may take different amount of time to recover from the breakup.

Degree of the emotional bond

Those partners who have been less committed to a relationship will naturally find it easier to move on after a breakup as compared to those who have had a greater degree of commitment. If you are one of the former, getting rid of the debris of the breakup and returning to the social scene might help you to bounce back in a few weeks. On the other hand if you had a deeper level of emotional investment in the relationship, it might take anything from one to several months for you get over you ex.

The nature of the breakup

Breakups marked by ugly fights, wrangles over property and kids and accusations of infidelity are bound to more devastating and thus difficult to recover from those where the partners calmly agree to a mutual separation. There may be voices that argue that breakups no matter how they happen are always painful and difficult to recover from. But imagine what goes within a person who, one fine day, is confronted with an announcement from a partner that he/she is moving out. There might have been certain signs in the relationship that revealed things are not how they should be but someone who never saw it coming simply had no chance for those self-preserving instincts to kick in which could have guarded their hearts on that fateful moment. It will be thus quite a while before this person is ready to trust again.

Length of the relationship

How long you have been together has a serious impact on how long it should take you to recover from the breakup. If yours was a brief casual affair like a week-long flight on a tropical vacation, you can move on before say within a month. On the other hand if you were in a long relationship like a marriage of fifteen years, it might take anything from three months to a year to sort out your heart, not to mention the divorce process, custody of children, marital property rights and so on. This is because the longer you are together, the greater amount of emotions, possessions and memories you accumulate which can seem to take forever to put behind you.

Support network

This is one of the most important factors which can significantly determine the length of recovery following a breakup. If you have a strong network of family and friends who are there not only to help you heal emotionally but also to help out with the practical aspects of a breakup, like caring for the kids or recommending you for a new job, you will definitely find it much easier to move on than if you had to fend for yourself. Likewise if you breakup has been particularly messy, seeking help from a therapist or counselor could put you on your feet far quicker than if you had to grope out of this darkness all by yourself.

How long it should take you to recover from a breakup also depends on how much time you spend on each stage of a breakup. Relationship experts point out that there are five main stages that a person goes through after loss of a partner through divorce, separation or death. The first is one of shock and denial, “no this can’t be happening to me” which is over fairly soon. The second stage brings feelings of anger and resentment with questions like, “why did this happen to me” which may take around a week to subside. The third stage is a torturous one of attempt at negotiation, “if you stay, I shall change” which can go on for a week or more. It is the fourth stage, one where the reality of the breakup or loss begins to sink in, “it really happened” that could be the most drawn-out taking anything from one to six months even to run its course. Finally comes the stage of acceptance, “this happened to me” which also brings the first signs of healing in the sense that though a person can never forget what they went through, now they can look finally look forward.

There are thus several factors which determine the length of time a person might take to recover from a breakup. In most cases, partners from a fairly serious relationship can expect anything from three to six months – even a year in case of long marriages – to be healed completely. Anymore than that and a person should be seriously looking for help. But then calculations matter little in matters of heart and before long you may find yourself relishing the life of a single and perhaps even enjoying being with someone new.