How Much Time To Recover From Breakup

How Much Time To Recover?

One of the biggest questions on the mind of every dumpee is: “How much time will it take until I recover?"

There’s no definite answer. I’ve seen lots of methods of estimating. The most common is to say that it will take half the length of the relationship. Other ways try to calculate based on the length of the relationship, how much time you spent together with your ex- in any given week, how much you knew in advance whether you were about to be dumped or not, how important everything else in your life is to you, etc.

Obviously the closer you were, the longer you were together, and the more connections you had/have to the ex-, the longer it’s going to take to get over everything.


But after following the stories of hundreds of people in the last year, I think the answer is not clear: it really depends on you, the details of your situation, and the steps you take in the post-breakup period.

After being dumped in a serious relationship, no one is going to feel fine in a week or two. A month is also pretty unrealistic to be truly healed.

The majority I’ve seen fall in the range of 3-6 months for shorter relationships, 6-12 months for serious relationships, and a year or more for very long-term relationships and/or people (like me) who make it worse for themselves by subjecting themselves to more and more pain.

It really does depends on you. What you do and how you manage yourself really can affect your recovery process.

There's a limit to how much you can really speed up the recovery, since the brain needs time to heal after the blow it's received. It’s true that time really is the greatest healer. So you have to suffer through the pain to some extent no matter what you do.

But there’s no question that you can really, really make it worse for yourself, magnify the pain and delay the recovery if you do things the wrong way. Randy Pausch, in his (extremely!) poignant Last Lecture, put it well: "no matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse." It applies perfectly to the situation after a breakup. All your emotions, pain, anger, sadness, it hurts so much. But there are definitely many ways to make your bad situation much, much worse: wallowing in your pain, stalking your ex (in real life or virtually), endlessly re-living every moment in the relationship, constantly flipping through mementos of the relationship such as photos and videos...

So let’s look at what to do in order to make your recovery as fast and clean as possible.