Last updated:

April 12, 2024


 min read

The Journey of Healing: How Long Does It Take to Get Over a Breakup?

Explore the intricacies of healing after a breakup, understanding the psychological aspects and coping strategies to embrace new beginnings.

Reviewed by
Sneha Toppo
Written by
Anupama Ghose

Breakups are a universal experience that can leave us feeling emotionally drained and questioning our ability to move forward. One of the most frequently asked questions during this challenging time is, "How long does it take to get over a breakup?" This is a question that often lacks a definitive answer, as the healing process is highly individualized and influenced by various factors.

While some people may bounce back relatively quickly, others may take much longer to fully recover emotionally. Understanding the nuanced aspects of this timeline can provide insights into the complexities of breakup recovery. This blog aims to explore this question comprehensively, delving into various psychological aspects, coping strategies, and factors that influence the healing process after a breakup.

Breakups can trigger a wide range of emotions, often leading to feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, loneliness, and even relief. The intensity and duration of these emotions vary from person to person and are influenced by factors such as the nature of the relationship, the reasons for the breakup, individual coping mechanisms, and support systems. It's crucial to acknowledge and validate these emotions rather than suppressing them, as processing them is a vital part of the healing journey.

Understanding the Grieving Process

The aftermath of a breakup often involves a grieving process similar to mourning the loss of a loved one. Breakup grief involves a range of emotions and psychological stages that vary in intensity and duration for each person.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—provide a framework for understanding the emotional journey. 


  1. Denial: Initially, individuals may experience denial, refusing to accept the reality of the breakup. This stage often involves shock and disbelief, as the mind struggles to grasp the idea of the relationship ending.
  2. Anger: As denial begins to fade, anger can emerge. This anger may be directed towards the ex-partner, oneself, or even external circumstances. It's a natural response to feelings of betrayal, hurt, and abandonment.
  3. Bargaining: In an attempt to regain what was lost, individuals may enter the bargaining stage. This phase involves making promises, seeking reconciliation, or trying to negotiate terms with the ex-partner, often fueled by a desire to avoid the pain of separation.
  4. Depression: The reality of the breakup starts to sink in during the depression stage. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and despair can become overwhelming as individuals mourn the loss of the relationship, shared dreams, and future plans.
  5. Acceptance: Ultimately, the grieving process culminates in acceptance, where individuals come to terms with the breakup and begin to heal. This stage doesn't necessarily mean complete closure or lack of pain but rather a gradual acknowledgment of the new reality and a willingness to move forward.

However, it's essential to note that not everyone experiences these stages in the same order or with the same intensity. Some individuals may cycle through these stages multiple times before reaching a sense of acceptance and closure.

Attachment styles and breakup recovery

The impact of attachment styles on the experience of a breakup is significant, shaping how individuals perceive, cope with, and recover from the end of a romantic relationship. Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby, states that early childhood experiences with caregivers influence the formation of attachment styles, which in turn impact adult relationships, including how individuals navigate breakups.

1. Secure Attachment Style:

 Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to have a positive view of themselves and others. They feel comfortable with intimacy and are able to trust their partners. In the context of a breakup, those with a secure attachment style often exhibit healthier coping mechanisms. They may experience sadness and grief but are more likely to seek support from friends and family, engage in self-care activities, and process emotions constructively. This secure base enables them to navigate the breakup with resilience and eventually move forward in a healthy manner.

2. Anxious Attachment Style:

People with an anxious attachment style crave closeness and reassurance in relationships but often struggle with fears of abandonment and rejection. In the aftermath of a breakup, individuals with an anxious attachment style may experience heightened emotional distress. They may engage in behaviors such as constant seeking of contact with the ex-partner, rumination over the relationship, and doubts about their self-worth. These tendencies can prolong the healing process as individuals grapple with intense emotions and uncertainty about the future.

3. Avoidant Attachment Style:

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style prioritize independence and may have difficulty with emotional vulnerability and intimacy. In the context of a breakup, those with an avoidant attachment style may initially appear unaffected or detached, downplaying their emotions. However, beneath this facade, they may experience internal turmoil and struggle to process feelings of loss and loneliness. Avoidant individuals may cope by distancing themselves from emotional pain, avoiding discussions about the breakup, or seeking distractions to numb their emotions.

4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style:

This attachment style combines elements of anxious and avoidant attachment, leading to a complex response to breakups. Fearful-avoidant individuals desire closeness but also fear rejection and may have difficulty trusting others. In the aftermath of a breakup, they may exhibit contradictory behaviors, such as pushing others away while craving connection. This ambivalence can create inner conflict and make it challenging to navigate the grieving process and move forward.

Understanding one's attachment style can provide insights into how they are likely to respond to a breakup and the coping strategies that may be most effective for them. Therapy and self-reflection can help individuals explore their attachment patterns, develop healthier relationship dynamics, and promote resilience in the face of relationship challenges, including breakups.

Length and intensity of the relationship

The length and intensity of a romantic relationship play significant roles in shaping the process of breakup recovery. These factors influence the depth of emotional attachment, the complexity of shared experiences, and the impact of the breakup on individuals' well-being. Let's delve into how the duration and intensity of a relationship can affect the healing journey after a breakup.

  1. Long-Term Relationships and Emotional Investment:

In long-term relationships, couples often build deep emotional bonds, shared memories, and intertwined lives. The longer the relationship, the more invested individuals tend to be emotionally, financially, and socially. Consequently, the end of a long-term relationship can result in a profound sense of loss and upheaval. Individuals may grapple with feelings of grief, identity redefinition, and uncertainty about the future. The extensive history and depth of connection in long-term relationships can make the recovery process more challenging and prolonged.

  1. Intensity of the Relationship Dynamics:

Apart from duration, the intensity of relationship dynamics also impacts breakup recovery. Intense relationships characterized by passionate love, frequent conflicts, or strong emotional highs and lows can leave a lasting imprint on individuals' emotional well-being. When such intense relationships end, individuals may experience heightened emotional turmoil, ranging from intense sadness and anger to relief or liberation. The intensity of emotional experiences during the relationship often mirrors the intensity of emotions post-breakup, influencing the duration and complexity of the healing process.

  1. Impact on Self-Identity and Future Outlook:

The end of a long-term or intense relationship can significantly impact individuals' sense of self-identity and their outlook on future relationships. For some, the breakup serves as an opportunity for self-reflection, personal growth, and redefining priorities. They may emerge from the experience with greater clarity about their values, needs, and boundaries in relationships. However, for others, especially those deeply invested in the relationship or who struggled with attachment issues, the breakup may lead to feelings of loss, diminished self-esteem, and apprehension about future connections.

  1. Healing Trajectories and Coping Strategies:

The duration and intensity of the relationship influence individuals' healing trajectories and coping strategies post-breakup. In longer or more intense relationships, the grieving process may be more prolonged, with fluctuating emotions and periods of adjustment. Coping strategies such as seeking social support, engaging in self-care activities, journaling, therapy, and reframing beliefs about the breakup become crucial in navigating the complexities of emotional recovery. Additionally, the support of friends, family, and mental health professionals can play a vital role in facilitating healing and fostering resilience.

Resilience and New Beginnings

  • Despite the challenges posed by the end of a long-term or intense relationship, many individuals demonstrate remarkable resilience and growth over time. Breakups can offer an opportunity for self-reflection, introspection, and personal growth. It's a time to reassess personal goals, values, and priorities, and redefine one's identity outside of the relationship. Embracing personal growth fosters resilience, self-awareness, and prepares individuals for healthier future relationships. As they process emotions, gain insights into relationship patterns, and engage in self-discovery, they gradually move towards acceptance, self-compassion, and the possibility of new beginnings.

  •  Each person's journey of breakup recovery is unique, influenced by the specific dynamics of their past relationship, their coping skills, and their capacity for introspection and adaptation.

Seeking Professional Help and Online Therapy Services

In some cases, breakup recovery may benefit from professional help. Therapists and counsellors can provide valuable support, guidance, and therapeutic interventions to help individuals navigate breakup-related challenges. Online therapy platforms like Rocket Health offer convenient access to licensed therapists, making it easier for individuals to seek help from the comfort of their homes.

In conclusion, navigating breakup recovery is a multifaceted journey that varies widely among individuals. Factors such as emotional resilience, coping mechanisms, support systems, and professional help can significantly influence the duration of healing after a breakup. By understanding the psychological aspects, adopting healthy coping strategies, seeking support when needed, and allowing oneself time to heal, individuals can gradually move forward and embrace new beginnings.

Ready to navigate the complexities of breakup recovery with support and guidance? Explore Rocket Health's online therapy services today for personalized assistance from licensed therapists, empowering you to heal and embrace new beginnings with resilience.