An Expert Explains How Long It Takes To Move On From An Ex You Really Loved, On Average

It's not exactly the hottest of hot takes to say that getting over a breakup, particularly one with someone you really loved, can be painful, but that doesn't make it any less true. Still, no matter how hard a split, the pain will pass, you will heal, and you will find love again — no matter how impossible it might feel in the moment. Believe me, I have so been there. While nothing will instantly heal your broken heart, knowing how long it takes to move on from an ex may take some of the sting out of it, because at least it offers a light at the end of the heartbreak tunnel.

So, to help find out just how long it takes to heal, I reached out the experts for their take on the length of time you need to get over an ex, on average, why it's important to go through that grieving process, and if there's any way to speed things up. They shared their advice, but the most important takeaway here is that all of the experts agree it will get better, and you will come out the other side stronger and smarter when it comes to matters of the heart. Here's how long they say that should take.

How long it takes to get over an ex

Ideally, there would be some simple straightforward answer to this question so you could just put it on your calendar and know that that's when you should expect to be over your ex, but, of course, it's never that simple. However, Marline Francois-Madden, LCSW, psychotherapist, and CEO of Hearts Empowerment Counseling Center, tells Elite Daily that there is a general ballpark. “There is no definite answer to this question, but give yourself at least three months to get over an ex,” she says.

While that's a great starting point, Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love, tells Elite Daily there are some extenuating circumstances that could add or subtract from that timeline. “This truly depends on a couple of things,” says Armstrong, and it starts with who broke up with whom. “If your ex was the one to break up and you did not see it coming, it could take several months,” Armstrong explains. “This is because it is much more difficult to process a breakup that you were not expecting. You are not just feeling loneliness and heartbreak, but you are feeling confusion and even anger.” However, if you were the one to call things off, it should reduce the time it takes to get over the breakup. “If you broke up with your ex and you had been mulling it over for a bit, it may only take a couple of weeks to a month. The reason is simple. You are more clear-headed and have had a longer time to process it. As well, there is less self-doubt clouding your confidence,” explains Armstrong.

Why you should take the time to heal

There’s no question that the time it takes to heal can be painful, but the experts agree it’s really important to give yourself that opportunity to grieve and process the breakup. “It is vital that you take time to heal, this regardless of who broke up with who,” says Armstrong. He adds there are three very good reasons for this. “First and foremost, every relationship can be a learning experience providing we give ourselves time to process the lessons within them,” he explains. “Moving on quickly does not allow us to do that.” The second reason is really about learning to love yourself again. “You must love yourself first... before diving into any relationship,” he says. “When we are going through a breakup, self-doubt can exist and left unresolved, can make the next relationship worse.”

Lastly, Armstrong says you should take this time to reset your perspective on love and relationships. “It is perfectly normal for unforeseen aspects and residue from the relationship to surface over time,” he assures. “In this, giving ourselves some time to process it all gives us time to think through it all and begin moving forward with new rules and new perspectives.”

While it may feel tempting, try to avoid rushing from one relationship to the next. Let yourself breathe and regroup before moving on.

How to speed up the healing process

While it's definitely beneficial to take the time to heal after a relationship, it might still feel like a huge bummer, so anything that can speed that process along might help. Unfortunately, you can’t skip it all together, but there are a few things you can do to move on more efficiently.

“A few ways to speed up the process is by setting clear boundaries of what you would like to expect moving forward if you decide to cut ties with an ex or rebuild a relationship with them,” says Francois-Madden. She also suggests cutting social media ties, or at least imposing a blackout until you’re in a better place emotionally. “If you are following your ex on social media, be careful to not stalk their account and do check-ins with yourself to make sure you are not feeling sadness or anxiety from checking their social media pages,” she advises.

Jenna Birch, CEO of the Plum dating app and author of The Love Gap, tells Elite Daily that the best way to speed the process along is to just face it head-on and get it over with. “It’s definitely like ripping off the bandaid — if you do it quickly, it’ll be more painful in the beginning, but less likely to linger,” she explains. Birch adds that you should also lean on friends and family to get you through it. “See your friends and talk it out. Go home for a quick trip to see your family. Women especially have been taught to lean on relationships when they’re hurting. If you’re able to feel that support and talk about what happened, you’ll be more likely to move on [more quickly],” she says.

When it’s been too long and what do do about it.

While it’s important to give yourself the time you need to heal and move on from an ex, is there a time when it’s been going on to long and it’s time to get some outside help? The experts say yes, but how long is too long also depends on the situation. “There is no actual measure on what is considered too long especially if you were in a committed relationship for an extended amount of time,” says Francois-Madden. “If six months passed and you are experiencing feelings of sadness, depression, anger, etc. then consider speaking to a trusted friend and seeking therapy to help you navigate your feelings.”

Birch reiterates that what constitutes “too long” varies from person to person. “It’s OK if you’re not fully over your ex after six months or a year; it can take time to create routines, and a partner is a huge part of your life for a long period of time!,” she says. However, when it starts to disrupt your life and you show signs of depression, that is when it has officially gone on to long. “But if you feel you’re depressed or the breakup is disrupting your life, you don’t feel inclined to see friends after a few months, or you’re not able to engage in work or other activities you enjoy, then seek professional help,” advises Birch

In the end, it’s just important to remember to give yourself a break, take it easy on your heart, and give yourself the time you need to move on. Try to focus on learning what you want in your next relationship, so that when you’re ready you will not only have gotten over your past love, but you’ll be ready for your next and even better one.