The end of a love relationship is not only emotionally painful; it also makes us feel a loss of control over our lives. That is why it is normal for those who are going through these experiences to ask themselves a question that practically all those who suffer from lack of love ask themselves: how long does it take to get over a break-up?
In the following lines we will see what is known about the duration of this psychological recovery process.
How long does it take to get over the breakup?
No psychological change occurs overnight, either in theory or in practice. Simply trying to force oneself to stop feeling bad immediately is at best ineffective, and at worst harmful.
In the case of a breakup, this is very clear. The love story that has been lived with another person leaves a very powerful emotional imprint that does not have to disappear just when it suits us, as if it were a computer file. Our brains do not work by obeying our wishes, because they are there long before we started thinking about the emotions we feel.
Thus, time is a key element in overcoming a love break ; whether we want it or not, we need this ingredient to feel better when we realize that one of these chapters of our lives is closing. And how long does this period last?
According to research carried out by University College London and Binghamton University, the results of which have been published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences , it takes between six months and two years for people to consider that they have overcome a break-up in most cases. However, there are many factors that seem to influence the time needed, and the sex of the person is one of them.
Women recover sooner after falling out of love
Reflecting the data collected from this research, based on questionnaires administered to over 5,000 people in 96 countries , women suffer more intensely than men when the breakthrough has recently occurred, but they also recover before the latter. In fact, as far as we have seen, it is relatively common for men to start another relationship without having completely overcome a previous break-up.
A possible explanation for this difference between women and men is the following: they tend to invest more in each relationship, given that their well-being is more compromised by the possibility of becoming mothers and by the cultural pressure associated with the female gender role, while men tend to assume that they must adopt a competitive mentality in love . This would make many women suffer the break-up in a more punctual way, while men always carry the pressure of having to call the attention of a potential partner.
The importance of resilience
It is true that time is an important factor in overcoming a break-up, but it is also true that everyone has a different way of coping with adversity. This ability to deal with the shocks (metaphorically speaking) that life gives us is what is known as resilience.
Strangely enough, there are those who are almost totally lacking in resilience. It’s not that they are people who don’t want to make an effort to get out of that kind of bumpy situation; precisely when we are at our worst it is very easy for us to lose control of our attitudes and our habits , and as a consequence there are those who, when going through a bad time, feel totally incapable of doing anything else but trying to resign themselves, or even fantasizing about their own miseries.
It is quite possible that resilience has a genetic component in part, so that different people have different degrees of ease or difficulty in coping, but there is no doubt that the environmental and learning aspect is basic. Therefore, internalizing a series of skills may shorten the time needed to overcome a break, improving our resilience, but it may also be that voluntarily or involuntarily learned behaviors unnecessarily lengthen this period of suffering .
Therefore, some people will need to go to psychological therapy to have a kind of “emotional training”; others will only need the support of family and friends, etc. The important thing is to be clear that resilience, whether applied to disaffection or any other aspect of life, is an individual thing, and that research focused on the time it takes to recover psychologically after a breakup is a widespread trend, a result of statistics and not of the functioning of one’s brain. In emotions there are no clear rules that anyone can break; everyone must explore the ever mysterious jungle that is their own mind.