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. So, if you're still mourning your ex a year after breaking up, it's totally OK and completely understandable.
There is no right or wrong amount of time it should take for you to move on. Take as long as you need. "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," prominent LA-based dating and relationship therapist Dr. Gary Brown tells Elite Daily.
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. And, if you are still seeing each other, and especially if you're still hooking up, 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.
If you're frustrated at the fact that you're still not over your ex a year after your breakup, you don't have to be. The truth of the matter is, "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," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. So really, it's out of your control. 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.
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, he explains. Whether it's a certain smell that reminds you of your ex, or a song, or just merely looking at something, "let yourself feel all the emotions," 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." But remember: Those memories that you find yourself reminiscing on are just memories, so don't let them stop you from living your life, Dr. Klapow advises.
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 says. "Let that be your first goal."
As for some more hands-on ways to continue your healing, Dr. Brown recommends starting a journal. "Be honest with yourself about why it didn't work out." But don't stop there! Use your journaling to explore what it is you really want in a partner. Another pragmatic way to move your life along post-breakup is to remove your ex from all social media platforms — especially if you find yourself constantly stalking them. And Dr. Brown's last bit of advice? Don't try to mourn the loss by yourself. "Lean on trusted loved ones to help you move through your grief." And always remember: It will get better, so take your time and don't beat yourself up.