Today we’re going to take an in-depth look at how long breakup grief typically lasts.
Now, a simple google search and a look at their featured snippet will tell you that you can expect to be hurting over a breakup from anywhere between 3.5 months to a year depending on the severity of the breakup.
However, I think this estimate is too low and the reality is that for most individual breakup grief will last anywhere between 6-12 months.
Today we’re going to look at the following things,
- What’s The Normal Amount Of Time It Takes For Someone To Move On?
- The Rebound Question
- The Men Vs. Women Question
- What Type Of Breakup Are You Dealing With?
There’s a lot to talk about today so let’s dive in.
What’s The Normal Amount Of Time It Takes For Someone To Move On?
Last week I conducted an interesting study taking a look at if it’s normal for exes to move on quickly after a breakup. Not an exact answer to the grieving question. After all, you can still grieve over someone even after you’ve moved on to someone else.
However, I find it’s a pretty relevant question to answer because it really gives us a time frame on how long most people actually grieve breakups before getting over them.
There’s actually not a ton of research out there on this I found. However, I did stumble across this article (from Bustle of all places.)
Many times, people are ready to start seriously dating anywhere from six months to a year after a major breakup, but it still largely depends on the length of time they spent in the relationship, Alexis Nicole White,
So, on average it’s taking people anywhere from 6-12 months to “move on” from a breakup. To get over the grief associated with it.
Interestingly that’s quite a bit longer than the widely accepted 3.5 month time frame and is actually more in line with what we’ve been seeing among our own client base.
But never one to be stopped I decided to dig a bit deeper into this question and look at rebound relationships.
The Rebound Question
What’s that terrible advice that people jokingly give.
The best way to get over someone is to get under them?
But weirdly research has shown that one of the best ways to handle grief, contrary to popular belief, may be to go on the rebound.
According to this article from Psychology Today,
People who enter rebound relationships and are single for a shorter period of time report greater well-being, and their new “in a relationship” status predicts fewer residual feelings of attachment to their prior partner (Brumbaugh & Fraley, 2015). They can do better not worse than people who bide their time, waiting to feel ready.
This got me thinking. If a coping strategy that most people are employing for dealing with grief is going on the rebound when would that actually occur?
How long would it actually take?
I decided to put the question to folks in my private facebook support group,
I basically asked the individuals in my private group what was the quickest they’ve ever gone on the rebound.
62% of them stated that the quickest they’ve ever been on a rebound is in the 6-12 month time frame.
So, that’s more data that supports my assertion that breakup grief lasts a lot longer than people expect.
But what about gender differences?
The Men Vs. Women Question
Not to plug myself or my brand too much here but I’ve been lucky enough to have been featured a lot of interesting places,
What is always strikes me as funny is how interviewers ask the same set of questions,
- Why would you ever want to get an ex back?
- Does your program really work?
- Is there any difference between how men process breakups vs how women do it?
The answers to those are,
- Because sometimes there is unfinished business and an ex just became avoidant for a fear of commitment
- Yes it can work but I’m not fool enough to guarantee anything. What I can guarantee is that if you follow my program you will be in a better place emotionally which can make you more attractive to your ex
- The answer to this last question is yes
It’s really that last question that needs a more in-depth explanation.
In 2015 Binghamton University conducted a study that found,
They found that women tend to be more negatively affected by breakups, reporting higher levels of both physical and emotional pain. Women averaged 6.84 in terms of emotional anguish versus 6.58 in men. In terms of physical pain, women averaged 4.21 versus men’s 3.75. While breakups hit women the hardest emotionally and physically, women tend to recover more fully and come out emotionally stronger. Men, on the other hand, never fully recover — they simply move on.
So, cutting all the fancy speak off and focusing only on the results.
Women tend to grieve more visibly at the beginning while men keep their feelings inside. Both genders ultimately grieve but one has a better coping mechanism for it than the other.
Women, because they deal with the emotions more “head on,” they eventually come out of breakups stronger.
Men, on the other hand, are more avoidant by nature and prefer the rebound approach.
So, the way women and men grieve is different but women have it right. After all, research is showing that they tend to be emotionally stronger after the grieving is done.
There is one other data point I’d like to look at that I’ll have to pull from my personal experience running this business for.
What Type Of Breakup Are You Dealing With?
If you are new to this website I highly recommend you check out our success story tab. Basically it’s where all of our success story interviews are located.
One noticeable exception you’ll see is the lack of interviews involving cheating.
In my opinion, any situation that includes cheating is among the hardest to see success in. That breach of trust is such a hard thing for people to get over that they can’t let go.
The grieving is happening on steroids.
This led me to wonder something.
Does the type of breakup you have, directly correlate to how long grieving will occur?
I think the answer is yes.
Luckily, I have a ton of experience in helping the “dumpee” handle all kinds of breakups.
Last month I conducted an interesting study where I ranked types of breakups based on recovery time. In other words, how long it took my success stories to get their exes back.
The following list are the situations where grieving is going to last longer for a dumpee.
- Long Distance
- Your Ex Moving On To Someone Else Abruptly
- You’ve Been Ghosted
Here’s why I think these situations tend to have a longer grieving time,
- Cheating – Because of the breach of trust
- Pregnancy – Because of the sense of loss of losing someone right before you are about to have a baby
- Long Distance- The distance causes many of our clients to go crazy obsessing about what their ex is up to which simply feeds into their grief
- Having An Ex Move On To Someone Else- While for a dumper this can be a way to process grief for a dumpee it can feel like a betrayal. Like they meant nothing to the dumper. Grief increases
- Being Ghosted- This was the only one that really shocked me. I had assumed that grief would be easier to process here but I think the lack of an explanation or closure around the breakup just causes you to focus more on “the why” and plays into your grief.
As you can see the question on how long breakup grief will last is a very nuanced and complicated discussion involving a lot of different factors.
In the end though I think a good general rule to live by is it’s always going to take longer than you expect to get over an ex.