How Long Does It Take To Get Over a Breakup?

How long does it take to get over a breakupIf you came to this page, you’re probably asking yourself: How long does it take to get over a breakup? It’s a question, most men, at some point after their breakup, ask themselves when they’re sick and tired of feeling sad, depressed and empty. You want to know how long the pain is going to last, because sometimes it feels like it’s never going to go away. And I don’t blame you. The pain, at times, can seem endless, and you just want to get on with your life.

The answer, unfortunately, is not clear cut. It will depend on a lot of factors, such as: how attached you were in the relationship, the manner in which your ex broke up (e.g. if she left you for another guy) and how you handle your breakup. Dealing with a breakup ultimately means dealing with your emotions.

Factors Determining How Long It Takes To Get Over a Breakup

Here are some factors that – in combination with one another – will influence the length of your recovery.

  1. Whether or not you are the initiator of the breakup. Multiple studies have shown that the initiator of the breakup recovers from feelings of sadness and anger quicker than their counterpart. If you got dumped, this is going to take longer than if you had been the dumper. I believe this has a lot to do with the level to which you’re expecting the breakup. If you’re the initiator, you obviously know the breakup will happen, so you can go through some of the necessary grieving process before the end of the relationship. If you are not the initiator but you expect a breakup may happen, you may also be less shocked because you will have had the chance to prepare yourself. If, however, the breakup was unexpected to you, this will increase the intensity of the emotions and also the time it will take for them to stabilize.
  2. Depth of the relationship. The depth of your relationship is a better predictor of the time it will take to recover than the length. You can have a long but shallow relationship and you will recover quickly when it comes to an end. Conversely, you may have a short but deeply involved relationship which may leave you hurt many months after it comes to an end. In many cases a longer relationship also corresponds with a deeper relationship where two lives have become deeply woven together. It is the depth, however, that determines the recovery time, not the length.
  3. Emotional volatility of the relationship. I have to admit, I’m not sure why, but relationships with many emotional ups and downs tend to come to more painful endings and end up taking longer to get over.
  4. Your attachment pattern. Your way of attaching yourself to significant people in your life (largely determined by your upbringing) can be anywhere on a scale from anxious to avoidant. Anxiously attached individuals in particular have a harder (and longer) time getting over a breakup.
  5. Ability to self-regulate emotions. Your ability to self-regulate your emotions is your ability to deal with an emotion once it hits you. If you did not learn how to do this in a healthy way while growing up, you may have sudden emotional outbursts and/or self-medicate your pain with drugs.
  6. Sense of Self. There’s a trap many guys fall in at least once in their lives: Using your girlfriend or the relationship to define yourself. When the relationship ends, you feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. If you don’t know who you are, you’re going to have to find out and your recovery will be considerably longer.
  7. Unresolved grief. Traumatic events in our past are often not allowed to be processed fully. These old wounds may be invisible at the surface but we may experience their pain when the wounds are re-opened by a new painful event in our lives. When our loved one breaks up with us, we may feel both the loss of the present as well as the unresolved loss of the past.
  8. Your support network. Who you have around you to support your through this time is going to be an important factor in how long it takes for you to recover.

What this all means is that it’s very hard to estimate how long your recovery is going to take. That being said, there is a rule of thumb, that gives you an idea of the time scale involved:

It will take you half of the length of your relationship to get over it.

That’s not set in stone, but it should give you somewhat of a frame of reference. If you just got out of a five year relationship and went through a gut wrenching breakup, don’t expect things to be ‘back to normal’ in a month or two.

There are a lot of marketers out there that would like you to think that their product can help you get over your ex in mere weeks. Although the techniques I advocate will speed things up for you – because you’ll be doing things right – my goal for you is a good, holistic recovery, not a quick fix.

In order to give you the best possible answer to the initial question: ‘how long does it take to get over a breakup’, we have to agree on what it means to ‘get over’ a breakup.

What It Means to ‘Get Over’ a Breakup

The real problem in estimating a timeline for you recovery is that being ‘over’ someone is hard to define. What most people are referring to, however, is the point at which you are no longer in pain. Feelings of pain will subdue over time, but they will also go up and down.

Prepare yourself for the ride, because one moment you might feel completely over you ex, and the next you’ll be in agony again. Even though the pain comes and goes, the intensity overall, wanes.

Try not to take the upswing or the downswing to seriously. Recognize the waves of pain as being old pain. They are just memories of pain which you have already recognized and processed. Realizing that allows you to let it go.

How Can I Speed Up My Recovery?

You start off by stopping to think in that manner. Trying to run away from the pain can be tempting, but it’s the wrong direction. You must go through the pain to the other end. Unprocessed trauma will set you up for equally painful situations in the future. Instead focus on a good, holistic recovery which will allow you to engage in healthy, fulfilling relationships going forward.

Do not live in a state of waiting. You are constantly projecting into the future. Live in the now. ~Eckhart Tolle

Take this opportunity to reevaluate your goals, your social life and your identity. Breakups can be incredibly inspiring and life-changing experiences for a lot of men.

For advice on your recovery make sure you check out my guide on how to get over a breakup. Here are some important take-aways:

  • Uncover and address your underlying issues
  • Surround yourself by loved ones and share your story
  • Take time to focus on yourself, your goals and your path forward.
Has this article helped you get an idea of how long it takes to get over a breakup? Let me know what you think in the comments, I love hearing from readers!
About Jesse

I’ve been helping guys recover from their breakups since 2012. Work with me to fast-track your recovery.


  1. I agree about letting yourself vent and explode with anger if your ex cheated, that’s what I did when I discovered my boyfriend was taking a female “colleague” away for a weekend! I had previously seen texts they exchanged with love hearts etc and then when he tried to fob this off as an innocent break climbing Snowdon, my rage increased and I sent him one last text, everything was in there, my feelings about everything he had done to me, I didn’t hold back, I ended it with telling him never to contact me again and blocked him on everything! we had been together 7 years, I am now 4 weeks on and I am using resilience training to help me deal with my emotions, because you do still remember the good times and they are the memories that cause pain, a certain song will come on the radio, or you visit a place you had been to or promised to visit with them, and seeing other couples so happy, all can give you painful jolts, What I do now is remember that they are only feelings, that I am having, and they wont last forever, I will move on and the alternative was to stay with a man who was progressively treating me worse and worse.

    When I first me him he love bombed me, took me to Paris for our second date, said all the right things, then slowly he started to show his true colours, he would compare me to his ex wife, even suggesting he would consider sleeping with her again, he would put me down and then not understand why I was upset.

    Why would it hurt to lose him, I don’t know humans are strange creatures, why does anyone stay in an abusive relationship, these things happen, and you end up believing everything they say, if they say it often enough.

    As I say I blocked him, but took one peek at his facebook and spotted he had put a photo up of his weekend break, with a comment, never felt better and he has deleted his relationship status, so I regret unblocking him. I wanted to imagine him at least being a little upset, but I guess it confirms he just wasn’t worth it, and reaffirms I was right to end things.

  2. Okay in my experience to help you get over it you need to
    1. Cry, cry, cry more. 4weeks, 6 weeks whatever, just get it out. Do nothing but cry
    2. Realise the breakup was not an accident, it was planned weeks ago, thought about months ago. You will feel it’s just happened the day before so will bargain or do whatever you can. This is futile.
    3. If cheating is involved then lose your temper. You will never get another chance to vent so do it once, be as shitty as you want but leave it. Then go NC
    4. You need to use your logical mind to find a truth your heart can accept. Forget the truth, bend facts and make sure your story makes you look good. You will not be tempted to stop NC then
    5.. Accept its over. You can only do this by imagining a positive future for you. Think…don’t get mad, don’t get even, do better, much better and rise above it. Engulf yourself in your success so much you can’t even remember the shit
    6. This is a page , a chapter at best in your story. It is not your whole story
    7. Never ever look too far in the future. It will be scary and seem impossible. Focus first on you and your health. Get loads and loads of sleep. As much as you want. Eat well, exercise to take away the pain. Once you are well, focus on getting a routine together and a few social thing planned. Do not look for a relationship yet, you are not ready and will add to your woes. Work hard, enjoy your friends and only then look for romance
    8. Be clear in what you are seeking in a partner. Choose only this.
    9. Stuff, objects, cars bling etc are never a substitute for the value of human friendship. Do not choose people because of the stuff they own but by the quality of their heart

    • hashu jawle says:

      you are awesome my friend. am actually feeling after reading your comment… love from India. Thank you…

  3. Luisito Zamora says:

    Sorry for my bad spelling, english its not my first language… So, my ex just broke up with me 2 weeks ago already and I understand the situation, its still difficult to realize its true that shes gone, but I now accept it. Reading this helped me a lot undertanding whats going on in my mind, and why is she still appearing in mi head over and over, sometimes expontaniously. The real problem for me right know its, to conveince myself that there is, no chance no a single one, of getting back together, Im afraid that this thought of changing myself into something better, wich I completly want, its, to get her approval in the future; what Im trying to say its, that I want to change for me and not for her, so how can i lose the idea of changing for her and her aprroval? How can I convience myself that there is no chance of getting back, even if there is?

    thanks a lot guys, this page is full of good lifestories that can help others like me to see its posible.

  4. Joseph Scott says:

    People vary, but if this will help anyone, it actually took me roughly 25 months to get reasonably over my 25-year relationship (obviously when e.g. I hear a certain song on the radio I will still think of her whether I like it or not, but it’s rarely very painful to do so, and I’m thankful for the fun times we had back then and wish her well) — and also roughly 3 months to get reasonably over my previous 3-year relationship.

    If you want to throw caution to the wind on dating, then watch out for anyone who would appreciate access to your credit/debit cards or volunteers to help you manage your money while you still aren’t thinking very straight. If your PIN number’s in your wallet or kitchen, someone could come across it. I knew a guy who lost hundreds of thousands very quickly because of the new pretty con artist who “loved” him, and it hadn’t popped into my head that she might be a con artist either. Just manage your own money. (If she used to do it, learn how; if need be you can have a trusted family member such as a daughter, sister, or uncle help you learn how.)

  5. Hey Jesse, this is really hard for me,I’m a girl , I was with a girl for two and a half years. about a month ago she went abroad for an internship for a year, and a week ago she told me that she doesnt have any feelings for me anymore and she’s not ready to fight for the relationship FOR THE MOMENT.It shocked me , especially that we had a really great relationship, what makes me angry is that when i ask her why she lost interest in m, she says that she dont know, there is no third party, it just happened. Now i dont know what to do , I lost both my bestfriend and my girlfriend, she was everything to me, we do everything together. we were unseparable, and she promised that the distance wont make any change in our relationship, but here we go… this is the most painful breakup Ive been through, and I need help with it

  6. Aldren terante says:

    The “See-Saw” Syndrome for the up and down, 🙂 Thanks Again!

  7. I don’t now what to do I recently broke up with my ex about 3 weeks his insecurity issues leaded to a break up. This is the second time this happens and we both get hurt for no reason..I still care and do love this person unfortunately. Specially now, his going through a hard time right now and a big change which is not helping his insecurities diminish his mom had a stroke and is in a wheel chair now and I want to be there which I did, helping him with so much but things didn’t get better between us and I’m unhappy and hurt because I want to be there.. I don’t know what to do??? just horrible story.

    • JesseMartin says:


      It must be very tough on you both. Of course you’re still going to care about him and his feelings, don’t feel guilty about that.

      Having said that, it sounds like now is the time for healing and for that, you should limit contact, preferably to zero.

      You’re the crutch for his insecurities. If you want him to become strong, unfortunately he’s going to have to break some bones first.

      • ., is very hard.
        There hasn’t been any contact for the past three weeks

        The thought of asking his how his doing and his mom,
        its probably one of the hardest thing not to think about.

        and I really didn’t know what to do,

        Thank You.



  8. Kainon Pierce says:

    This is the first time in my life that I’m dealing with a relationship-breakup, in a healthy and entirely mature way. It requires vulnerability, hope, perseverance, accountability for the role you’ve played in the relationship, understanding of the other person’s perspective, time, and the re-analyzing of your early life in connection with your present self. Letting go of the past and moving forward, is something you have to do everyday.
    Thanks Jesse.

  9. This is so true. There’s ups and downs, but the intensity goes down over time.

  10. This is the first article I have ever seen which backs up my own life experience and observations of others close to me over long periods of time. Great work! In my experience I have noticed that it takes about half the time you were together. So if you were together for say 5 years, you are probably looking at 2.5 years for recovery. Of course if you truly loved the other person there will always be some part of you that is left void. However, it will not be a prominent issue and you will be able to live your daily life without the haunting feelings you feel immediately after the break up.

    This is just my experience from my own life and from the people in my life I have known over the years.

    • Thanks Joe for the kind words!

      • Glad I found this article, thank you, I just got out of a 10 year relationship, and yes I’m a teen. This is a very good heads up for how to handle it and hopefully in time recover. Thank you, hey, Jesse, I hate to be weird and a big bother but, does any of this tie-in with a relationship that could have started when the two “lovebirds” were 8 and ended at 18? Or is that a little different of a story? Forgive me readers and owner of the article for asking advice in a feedback section, this is great and I will take it.


  1. […] about how long you should wait after a divorce to start dating.   One popular mantra is that it will take you half the amount of time you were together to get over him/her. So, if you were together for 10 years, it would take you 5 years to get over your ex.   There […]

  2. […] relationship. Working out is also a great way to deal with your anger.If you’re wondering how long it takes to get over this.At some point it’s time to start dating again.— […]

  3. Britany Heisser says:

    Thanks Jesse

  4. Google says:


    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated internet sites to ours, nonetheless, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

Speak Your Mind