Breaking up and moving on is a complicated and often painful process. And there are lots of 'rules' floating around, like the amount of time you have to get over it is equal to half the length the relationship but they are really of little to no help. To find out how long it takes, Women's Health
asked 15 real women to share their timeline and a little bit about how they managed to move on.
"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 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. (I know, I'm a jerk.) 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.
"When I found out my ex of two and a half years was cheating on me, I was completely done with him, but it took me a while to get over the betrayal. I could hear myself annoying my friends and even the new guys I was seeing by talking about it all the time. In the year after our breakup, I dated more people than I ever had, which put more distance between me and that sucky dude. Plus, after realizing that everyone was sick of hearing me talk about my ex, I made it a goal to not bring it up and forget about it. It worked!" —Ashley O.
"It only took me about a week to get over my last ex. After he graduated from college, about two years before I did, we got to the point where we had nothing in common anymore—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 been with for over six years) about two weeks after my breakup, which definitely sped-up the process of getting over my ex." —Christina H.
"It took me a long time to get over the guilt of breaking up with my last ex. When I told him it was over, he was surprised, very hurt, and angry. I felt horrible for making him so upset. Over the course of two years, I tried to stay friendly with him to ease his pain, but when I heard he had a girlfriend, I felt totally relieved and completely over him." —Jessica B.
"After staying off of social media and cutting off contact with my ex-boyfriend for an entire year, I got back on social and saw he was with another girl. It didn't upset me at all." —Jennifer P.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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'd 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 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.
"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.
"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.
Looks to me like the timelines and the methods are as varied as we are as people. How long did it take you to get over your last break up? How did you get over it?