How long does it take to get over someone?

I often get asked what is a ‘normal’ time to be grieving and recovering after a breakup. We all want to know – when will I be feeling OK again? Is it better to consciously try to move on as quickly as possible, or wait until the emotions die on their own? Am I lingering too long? Did I go back to dating too fast?

It’s really hard to give universal answers to those questions. Every person is different, and every relationship is different in length and substance, so our recovery periods tend to be naturally different too.

But there are signs you can look for to determine whether you are taking things at the right pace, pointers to what I believe is a healthy and not-so-healthy way for moving on with your heart and your life.

Here are some guidelines on that in this video blog:



Do you tend to be on the too-short or too-long side when it comes to getting over a breakup?
What do you think is a healthy way to move on from a relationship?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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9 Responses

  1. Anjali shah says:

    Hey. There was this one post of yours… it was meant to be but it’s not possible. I wanted to share on it.
    My boyfriend and I have been together for a few months.. and we had broken up once before too. In that case I m on the other part of the story. My family doesn’t approve of him nor do my friends & it being a long distance relationship has becoming very crushing for me to live in. He is the best and that special connection and all the love is all magical. I m just 17 and my family is obviously my first priority. But I can’t see him hurt. Every time I leave him he becomes all depressed. Not eating no sleeping no smiling. And I can’t take it. Circumstances were not under my control but still I hold myself responsible for causing him hurt. He asks me to never leave him. I don’t know what to do? How should I handle this situation? How would he go without hurting himself? Should I stop talking to him or should I still try to be friends with him ? Which way will he be more happy? I love him a lot. Please help!

    • Petra says:

      You cannot NOT hurt him. You are leaving him, and he doesn’t want that – he will suffer whichever way you do it. I would explain to him that it’s over and leave it at that. And stop all contact so he can start to move on. It will be intense for a while but he will get better faster.

  2. mione says:

    Hi Petra, i’m in this situation and it’s been two months. I have the help of my closest friends and has seen a counsellor. While I have mostly accepted things, i can’t totally move on. I learned that I have abandonment issues from when I was young. I don’t like how things ended in a bad way, and i associate this with a childhood trauma. Now I wanted to start the healing so I’ve been thinking about contacting my ex, hoping that he will be accommodating to talk. I believe resolving conflict is something i needed to do to give it an end. I am more resolved to move forward, but I’m afraid i’ll carry this burden deep if i don’t take action now. What can you advise? Thanks.

    • Petra says:

      If you feel a talk would help, talk to him. Even if he doesn’t want to, it will help you let go of the feelings and make peace with reality. But the abandonment issues might need more work, it’s not a bad idea to continue your counselling and work on that topic, so you get into similar situations in the future.

  3. Tara says:

    Hey. Thank you for this post. My breakup is still fresh and new. It will be two weeks tomorrow. I can’t sleep or eat. Most of the time I feel like hyperventilating. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. My ex boyfriend (hurts to call him that) and I had been together for 4 years. The first year and a half was great. We were happy and everything was flowing natural except one thing. He cheated at this period. When I found out, it rocked me to my core. I loved this man and he betrayed me. We both began therapy sepately. He wanted to make it work and thought he could prove to me he could be trusted. It took me a little over a year to finally make that decision to go all in again with him. Mind you, he was around the whole time I was deciding. He hurt me but he was my rock during that time. He wanted to go back to before he cheated because we were happy. I told him we couldn’t and we had to do something new. Fast forward a year and here I am in pain. He called it quits and I can’t blame him. I love him and I always will. I’ve been holding on to so much anger from my outside life and so many insecurities. I wanted him to fix them all. I let him think I was unhappy with him when I was so angry at the world. I don’t blame him for calling it quits. Two years is a long time for a man to love someone so hard and it not be enough and for her not to meet his child. I want so badly now to show him how much I love him but I think it’s too late. He’s cut off al contact. I need to move on. Everyone says if he’s the love of my life and our love is real it wouldn’t have been so hard. I don’t know what to think anymore. I just know I forgive him and I failed us. I made a mistake.

    • Petra says:

      I agree with your friends. Hightened emotions and big drama are not a sign of big love. Less chaos, less ups and downs, more smooth sailing – means more love, connection and depth, not the other way around. You will get over him. Just try to gradually let go of the idea he is the best / only one for you. You will always love him but not in the way you think now. Once your feelings for him become weaker, you will see what really went on there. Neither of you were ready to be someone’s forever – it was a growing/learning relationship for both of you. Look into it from a distance, you will see what the lessons were. Then do better next time. Trust me, next time your love will be stronger and more mature. Take care.

  4. Kimmy says:

    HI. Ive just seen your post and its giving me hope that i will be cure soon. Well i was in a 2 year relationship it was healthy and he became basically my world because i would always consider him before i would make plans, he would do the same we would be together 24/7 we made plans for our future at the same time i was always helping him be in track (school,work,payments,etc,) He ended things, the next day he began to date. i found that he cheated on me 3 days before he broke up with me i was broken for over 5 months and i found someone i really love but randomly i get thoughts of my ex and now and then i feel like i will call my partner by my ex’s name. i get random flashbacks from when i was with my ex. i just want to get over it. its been almost a year i want him gone i’ve accepted hes no longer coming back ive accepted hes someone elses and i am happy for him and me because i’m with someone who treats me better.

  5. Jeff Crawford says:

    im having big problem to. my wife left me prednisone when i was at work and drove straight to her exes 4 hours away and its been 4 months and she wont talk to me. we were getting along good no signs of anything strange. she told her family that i was abusive and i neverb ever was. i treated her so good. it really bothers me why she had to tell lies like that. she told me her ex was really abusive. this is the 3rd time shes gone back to him. i dont understand it. we told eachother how much we loved eachother about everyday. we both said we were soulmates and would be together forever and i come home one day and shes gone. this hurt me so bad and still does 4 months later cause the way she did things. lying , cheating.we are still married. she can file the divorce cause she left me and took $12000 of my money. wont talk to me , call, or anything. its like she hates me and i didnt do anything to be treated like this. we coudb have doe it the adult way but she chose this. she ripped my heart out. thx jeff

    • Petra says:

      Hello Jeff. I am sorry but I can’t help you on this one. You’ll need to talk to her to understand why she did it. I am sure there was a good reason (or at least she thinks it’s a good one), nobody leaves someone they love for nothing. Take care.

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