The same way every person is different, every breakup is different, and so is the healing process that comes after. You may have had breakups in your past that were somewhat easier to accept and move on from, while others may have been particularly difficult to endure. Getting over someone who meant so much to you at one point in your life can take a lot out of you, especially if the love you had for them was incredibly strong. If you find yourself thinking, “Why am I still not over my ex after a year?,” know that it's totally OK and completely understandable.
Everyone’s healing time is different, and there is no right or wrong amount of time it should take for you to move on. As prominent Los Angeles-based dating and relationship therapist Dr. Gary Brown tells Elite Daily, "Each of us is unique and that our life experiences of a breakup are going to be different in terms of how much time it takes.”
If you’re still struggling, here are a few things to remember when you feel like you’ll never get over your past relationship. The good news is — once you learn how to get over an ex — you’ll be better equipped to do it again in the future, and you’ll be able to provide useful insight to any friends in your life who experience the same thing.
Put Distance Between Yourself & Your Ex
Plenty of things can play a part of the healing process, Dr. Brown says. For example, the longer you were with someone, the longer it will probably take you to recover post-breakup. The more emotionally attached you were to your ex, "the harder it is to let go of them," he points out. If you are still seeing each other — and especially if you're still hooking up — then that's going to make moving on so much more difficult, he says. Each of these things can prolong your healing, but eventually, it does get better.
It may even help to put digital distance between you and your ex, as seeing their Instagram posts and Stories pop up on your feed can be tough following a breakup. "Blocking your ex on social media after a breakup — particularly a very painful breakup — can certainly help you move on," Dr. Brown previously told Elite Daily. "Breakups can be traumatic for both partners, no matter who ended it. It helps to not have constant reminders of your ex, and one of the best ways to do that is to block them."
Embrace The Healing Process
If you're frustrated over the fact you're still not over your ex a year after your breakup, you don't have to be. According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, “We can’t force ourselves to fall out of love, in exactly the same way that we can’t force ourselves to fall in love.” So really, it's out of your control. Rather than trying to rush the healing process or feeling guilty for your lingering feelings, allow yourself to feel what you feel right now.
Even if you feel like you've made some headway in moving on with your life after the heartbreak, memories of your ex may flood over you from time to time, and that's normal. Whether it's a certain smell that reminds you of your ex, or a song, or just merely looking at something, you should "let yourself feel all the emotions," as dating coach Diana Dorell previously told Elite Daily. "Trying to skip over how you feel or distracting yourself from your feelings is only a temporary solution." After all, those memories that you find yourself reminiscing on are just memories, so don't let them stop you from living your life.
Keep Yourself Occupied
If you want to move on, Dr. Klapow recommends faking it for a while. "You may not 'feel' like engaging in social activities. You may not feel like moving forward. Move forward anyway," he says. "Allow your actions to begin to influence your thoughts." Regardless of whether or not you're fully engaged in what you're doing, going through the motions can help move you along. Continue to relearn how to live your life without your ex. "Live your life first," he adds. "Let that be your first goal."
It's also important to remember that you may not be mourning your ex as much as you're mourning the end of the relationship itself, Dr. Klapow says. It's about adjusting to a life without your ex or the relationship, and if you were together for a long time, fully adjusting to that post-breakup life can take just as much time, he explains.
As for some more hands-on ways to continue your healing, Dr. Brown recommends starting a journal, where you can "be honest with yourself about why it didn't work out.” And don't try to mourn the loss by yourself. "Lean on trusted loved ones to help you move through your grief,” Dr. Brown adds.
It will get better, so take your time and don't beat yourself up about it.
Dr. Gary Brown, dating and relationship therapist
Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show
Diana Dorell, dating coach
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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