They say time heals all wounds, but for someone who is dealing with a broken heart, time may feel like it’s moving too slowly to get the job done. Unfortunately for those looking for tips on how to get over a breakup, experts stand by that tried-and-true mantra that you’ll need a bit of distance from the end of your relationship before you start to feel relief. But, there are ways to heal faster.
The good news is, there are a few things they say you can do in the meantime (and they don’t involve waiting on the calendar to change).
Whether you’re fresh out of a relationship and looking for ways to get over a breakup fast, or if you’re wondering just how long it takes to get over a breakup (even if the relationship ended a while ago), this is what experts say you need to know about getting over conscious uncoupling.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
No two relationships are the same, which is why Kelly Rabenstein, psychologist and author of Psychological Secrets for Emotional Success (It’s All About Love) says every time we fall in love the fall out will hit is differently. “Obviously, we fall deeper in some relationships than others, which translates to harder breakups,” she says, adding that connecting pieces of ourselves to another person can cause “hurt in profound ways”
Because of this, it may be easier to get over someone you didn’t connect with as much. For those bigger heartaches, you may be looking at a bit more time before your heart feels like it’s on the mend. “There is no magical formula,” she says. “We would like to think we can wait a certain amount of time and suddenly be ‘over it.’ However, the heart is a fickle entity.”
Speaking of time, the length of your relationship may also play a role in your recovery after splitting up. “It really depends on how long the couple was together, but also the way it ended,” says Lee Phillips, psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “I think it also depends on the grief process. People tend to go through a whirlwind of emotions. Everything from anger to sadness.”
Some heartaches take longer to heal
Just like not all relationships are the same, not all breakups are either. Lee says people whose relationships ended due to their partner cheating and infidelity may have a harder time dealing with their emotions following the split. “This can be the ultimate betrayal especially if the person finds out on their own by going through their partner’s email, phone, or someone tells them,” he says. “The person who cheats may deny it, and this can be hurtful.”
Philips adds that ghosting (a phrase that means stopping communication) can also be especially hard to get over since there’s no closure for the person left behind.
Drawing out a breakup can make it worse
The way you’re coping with the end of your relationship may actually make getting over the loss a bit harder, according to Rabenstein. “While there are no absolutes, going back and forth with a partner makes it difficult to move on,” she says, adding that continuing to have feelings for someone when you’re trying to move on from them can prolong the breakup and delay the healing.
“Whether we like it or not, physical affection also ties us to other people, so it’s true, if you’re under someone, you’re not getting over them,” she continues. “If you want to move on, you need space and time. It’s that simple.”
Rabenstein says she likes to remind patients that there is a “speedbump” at the beginning of a breakup that is truly the hardest part of the whole process. “It is the part where you want to reach out, re-unite (if only for physical affection) and go back to the way it was,” she says. “However, once you’re able to get over that bump, most people find peace and can move on.”
How to get over a breakup quickly
Other than dodging speedbumps, both Rabenstein and Phillips say there are a few things that you can do to help heal your broken heart.
Starting a new hobby
Spending time with friends
Attending social events (like concerts)
“Social media can be triggering after a breakup because you may see anniversary dates and couples taking pictures with each other,” Phillips says. “So, it may be a good idea to take a break from social media.” Just remember, there are plenty of resources out there to help you deal with your grief after your relationship ends, and Phillips says you should always lean on the support networks you have available to you to help you process this difficult time in your life.
Most importantly, no matter how long it takes, it does get better.
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