Lots of people have strong ~opinions~ on how long it should take to get over an ex. Sex and the City‘s Charlotte York says it takes half as long as a relationship lasted to truly move on after a breakup. When Jordin Sparks and her ex-boyfriend Jason Derulo split, she gave herself a timeline of exactly three weeks to get over it, according to People. (And she says that worked for her!)
Of course, the reality is that there is no one timeline for how long it takes to stop being hung up on someone. One reason it’s so tough? That relationship you just lost was probably a key part of your identity, says Gary Lewandowski, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Monmouth University who delivered the TED Talk, “Breakups Don’t Have to Leave You Broken.” So it’s not like you’re going to go back to feeling totally you sans that relationship overnight.
If you’re interested in moving on ASAP (yes, please), there are some tips that can help you get over an ex. And in the meantime, take solace in the fact that everyone is different—as show by these women and their breakup stories.
It’s normal to take several months to get over a serious relationship.
“Six months after the breakup, I remember waking up and just feeling like I was finally over my relationship of over two years. It probably helped that I recently got a message from another guy I was crushing on before I started dating my ex asking if I wanted to meet him for coffee. The timing was perfect, and I started dating that guy soon after.” —Sandra R.
“It took me about a year to get over my ex. Granted, we spent a lot of that time in the gray area of ‘will we or won’t we get back together?’ I met a new guy, which definitely helped, but I was still waffling between him and my ex for a while. Then, one day, I woke up and just decided I was done with all of the games my ex was playing and wanted to give the new guy a chance. I don’t know what really did it, but making that decision for myself and consciously choosing to stop wondering ‘what if’ helped a lot.” —Robin H.
“After going through several years of ups and downs with a guy I met in high school, we ended things in our mid-20s. At first, I was devastated because we had so many memories from different phases of our lives, and it took me almost a year to shake the sad feelings. What helped me the most was remembering that even though I was sad, I still had the same great family, friends, and job I had before the relationship and the breakup. It was also pretty satisfying to remove the guy as a friend on Facebook.” —Rose W.
“After my first long-term relationship ended, I spent a little less than a year being a ‘serial dater.’ I couldn’t fully move on until another solid dating prospect had shown up. When I started to get to know one guy I really liked, there was no looking back at my ex.” —Sasha F.
“It took me eight months to get over my ex. For six months after the split, I was depressed and discouraged about finding anyone ever again. I ended up reading the book Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger, which gave me a new perspective on dating. I realized that my previous relationship wasn’t meant to be and that finding the right guy could take time. So, I focused on improving my life for myself, not some guy. I took a break from dating and filled my life with things like spending time with friends, working out, and planning a big move—I met Mr. Right a month later.” –Julie D.
“After a year and half together, it took me about six months to get over my ex. Post breakup, we chased went back and forth about getting back together, but the timing was always off. Finally, I cut him off. I stopped responding to his texts and calls and deleted him and his friends and family on social media. I was tempted to keep tabs on him, but I knew I shouldn’t. Also, I didn’t want his friends to see what I was up to. Once I took a step back and saw that I would suffer if I stuck around him, I could move forward.”—Elana C.
Some women say it took them more than a year to move on post-breakup.
“It takes me a while to get over anyone, mostly because of texting and social media. My last ex and I stayed in touch on and off for a year after we broke up. But, I learned that I needed to keep busy in order to cut ties to him. I went out to bars on weeknights instead of staying in, binge watched new shows, and I eventually just stopped thinking about him.” —Alissa K.
“It took me just over a year to move on from a guy I dated. The first few months after the breakup, I thought it would be impossible to look at anyone else how I looked at him. But when I started to date again, I realized I could feel attracted to other guys. By the time February rolled around again, I was totally over him.” —Megan S.
“I’ve heard that you should be on good terms with your ex, but when my college boyfriend and I decided to end things, being friends made it hard to get over him—it took me a year and a half. We’d meet up for drinks or lunch every few weeks, and he came to my birthday just a month after we split. It made it hard for me to remember why we broke it off. I think I was finally able to get over it when we started seeing other people and drifted apart.” —Lauren V.
“After I ended my relationship of three and a half years, I thought that my ex would realize he took me for granted and come back. But when he didn’t, I went out dancing, drank too much, and dated a lot. Though, I still kept my ex at arm’s length, which made it hard to completely get over him. About 15 months later, I cut the cord by stopping the texts and no reaching out, and I could finally move on.” —Trina W.
“I’ve only experienced one major breakup, but it was the worst and took years to get over. I leaned on my friends to start filling the holes that my S.O. had occupied for so long; but ultimately, I had to start focusing on myself as an individual, which was weird for me. Something else that was incredibly helpful was reflecting on the relationship and realizing that it wasn’t as good as I always thought it was. There were so many things that I had convinced myself were perfect, but that time, space, and reflection showed me how negative and destructive the relationship was. It took me four years to find myself in another relationship, but all that time had given me the opportunity to get to know myself and start valuing my life without thinking about how it relates to another person.” —Britt K.
“My ex dumped me out of nowhere with no explanation. We became friends with benefits for two years because I was trying to remain close to him, and then we stopped talking altogether for two years. I finally got over him when he asked to meet up to apologize to me for being a douche after four whole years.” —Zeynep, Y.
On the other end of the spectrum, feeling over it in a shorter amount of time can be normal, too.
“It only took me about a week to get over my last ex. We got to the point where we had nothing in common anymore—and we barely saw each other. For the last three months of the relationship, I knew it was fizzling out and that I should end it, so I didn’t feel that bad when I broke things off. Plus, I jumped into a relationship with my current boyfriend (whom I’ve now been with for over six years) about two weeks after my breakup. So that definitely sped-up the process of getting over my ex.” —Christina H.
“There was a lot of physical chemistry between me and this guy I was seeing for a couple of months, but he was about to be divorced and wasn’t looking for anything serious. During our relationship, I was constantly worried about what he was really doing when we weren’t together. After two months, I decided to stop stressing about him and focus on myself. I started hitting the gym more frequently and I dated a lot. I ended up meeting my current boyfriend about a week after the last time I saw my ex and never thought about him again.” —Kristina M.
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