This a frequent question when it comes to breakups, if not the most prominent one for those who are going through a romantic separation. Breakups can be incredibly brutal, emotionally and psychologically draining, they can also have a massive impact on our social connections (divided friendships as well as sometimes divided families because of a couple’s split up).
Not forgetting the effects on our physical health too, some report sleeping and eating disturbances, and to make matters worse, short-term consequences of sleep disturbances alone include increased stress responsivity (anxiety), emotional distress, mood disorders and other mental health problems (increased risk of depression), cognition, memory, and performance deficits, and behaviour problems in otherwise healthy individuals. So, it is fair to say that breakups include a lot more than a rupture in a relationship, breakups can have detrimental ramifications that affect our general well-being.
All the pain and disruption a breakup cause can be so intense, that all we can think is: – “when is this going to finally end.” Well, the answer is, perhaps not as straightforward as you would like. Just like breakups are different, so are people’s experiences – we all have our own experiences and we all have our own way of perceiving these experiences as well as ourselves and the world around us. We all can find comfort in others that also went through this kind of ordeal, surely we all share similarities, nonetheless, breakups are individual experiences to each one of us and the way we deal with these vary.
You have your own story, your own particularities, your own suffering and that takes time to heal, time which is idiosyncratic to your own experience and your own suffering. Therefore, time is subjective to each one’s experience.
How long does it take to get over a breakup is a common question and this is what I hear: “I am in excruciating pain, is this ever going to stop hurting, please help?!” I understand too well breakup painful experiences and the answer is Yes – it does get better, but it is not just about time, but what you do with it that can really make a difference. Time to heal is very subjective to each one of us, therefore the time you need depends solely on your own set of circumstances, so please avoid comparing your situation to everyone else’s, because we all need our own time to recover. When we compare ourselves to others in a breakup context, we create standards and expectations based on others’ experiences and not on ours.
Additionally, we never know for sure how others are feeling, if they appear well, we assume they are well, however, we can all be very good at hiding our real emotions, after all, we all hurt, but transpire our pain differently and we just don’t know what is really going on in other people’s minds. Instead of comparing yourself to others, be kind to yourself, acknowledge your pain and start looking after your individual needs.
Look after yourself by doing things for you, even if small things like spending a little more time with someone who lifts you up; start reading about something you enjoy; maybe start practicing a sport you like or join in a local gym; maybe consider volunteering at a local charity, doing something for others can be very beneficial for all involved including yourself; create an emotional journal if you feel that helps; or create a daily To-Do List to help you follow a new routine, etc. Look for healthy ways to awaken your curiosities/ interests and keep doing more of those, small changes can make a huge difference.
Remember to always be kind to yourself and accept whatever time you need without comparison or judgement. Recovering from breakups doesn’t just take time – take Your time!
Wishing you a kind recovery.