How long does it take to get over a breakup?
How do you make it through as fast as possible, even IF you still love them?
Before I tell you exactly what to do, let me first explain how NOT to do it.
The longest time a student or client suffered from a breakup before coming to me was 30 years. That's 30 years of longing, missing them, and falling victim to the terribly obsessive, self-doubting, overthinking process.
That's a lot of lifetime wasted for nothing.
The main mistake this person made was keeping her alive in his mind for so long. He never disengaged consciously, which is one of the main stages of a breakup and a vital step you must take.
People Often Suffer Longer Than Necessary
Why do people suffer for such a long time so often? (30 years is an extreme example, but three to five years is not an exception.)
The main reason is that most people make the wrong choices early on in their recovery — momentous mistakes that lead to a wrong path. As a consequence, people end up identifying with the pain, which adjourns the recovery.
A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology says that it only takes three months to see the positive aspects from a breakup. But my personal, professional experience suggests otherwise.
The participants of the study were all young adults, and it is safe to say that the younger you are, the easier it is to get over an Ex. Also, it is my firm belief and observation that how fast you make it through depends on one thing:
The choices you make along the way (a theory that has been backed up by a study conducted by the dating site, “Fifties”).
In other words, if you can avoid the common mistakes in your breakup healing process, you will heal fast.
How to Heal Fast
Right after the breakup, there's the first difficult obstacle waiting for you:
It's impossible to make the right decisions, because all we want is for things to go back to how they used to be. We are panic driven by our “Lizard Brain” that's in charge of fight and flight.
There is an unorthodox solution to that problem:
In the very first week of the breakup or divorce, do what the “lizard” part of your brain commands you to do (see #1 of the following list).
But once you get past that (what I call the “Mad Phase”), you can use the following steps as a guideline of what to do and what to avoid. This way, you'll make the right decisions, ones that will lead to a thorough recovery, as opposed to the next painful breakup.
12 Things That Will Speed Up Your Healing Process
This is a list of actions that have proven to be successful in years of coaching clients. It's based on feedback and input from people who have actually been there.
Following the first seven principles alone will cut off a huge part of your healing time. You'll start feeling much better, much sooner.
1. Get It Out of Your System
As mentioned above, in the first week, do what you have to do to feel better (when you feel like you're in the “Mad Phase”). If you must, ask them to come back, beg, even plead. Do anything that your dignity allows you to do.
Yes, you will probably hate yourself later for it. But the knowledge that you tried everything to fix things will make it easier in your subsequent recovery. Trust me about that.
2. Find a Support System
Find someone you can talk to at any time, be it a family member, friend(s), coach, or online community. It's important to get out what is bothering you and to receive feedback.
You are not alone in this: there are people around you going through the very same thing you are. Draw power from that realization.
(Here at LovesAGame, we pride ourselves on having one of the most inspiring and caring community for breakup survivors on the internet.)
3. Maintain/Establish Daily Rituals or Routines
You cannot trust yourself right now — not your feelings, not your thoughts, not your needs. You are panic driven and highly irrational at the moment.
A routine will help you, even if you are more advanced in your recovery. Having a baseline, a daily ritual of doing the same things, will keep you on track.
I encourage you to try a particular morning routine that has proven to be very effective for recovery:
- Get up early.
- Do some meditation (if you are a DETOX Course student, then listen to the “Healing Meditation Audio”).
- Exercise (running, yoga, fitness).
- Repeat positive affirmations.
I guarantee that if you start your day in such a manner, the obsessive Ex-Overthinking Cycle will have a much harder time getting a hold of you.
4. Get All the Ex Affairs in Order
Does your Ex owe you money? Do you need your Ex to resolve bureaucratic matters? Do they have important items that belong to you?
Now is the time to get all that taken care of. You don't need this bothering you later in your recovery. It will only cause fallbacks, depressive periods, and destructive doubts.
5. Clean All the Ex Stuff Out of Your Place
Wipe your place completely clean from all the stuff that reminds you of your Ex.
Be thorough, put everything in a box, and deposit it in your cellar — or better yet, at a friend's. I don't recommend throwing it away, since you might want to take a look at it years later as a reminder of how far you've come. For now, though, get it out of your sight and reach.
6. Go No-Contact With Your Ex
This is the most important step. Cut off contact with your Ex completely:
- Don't call.
- Don't accept calls.
- Don't write.
- Don't do drive-bys.
- Don't internet-stalk.
- Avoid places they hang out.
- Avoid mutual friends or their family.
Make them disappear from your life for a period of 60 days.
I know this is not easy, and if you need help with this, consider subscribing to my newsletter.
It is my belief that going No-Contact is an absolute necessity. This is backed up by 10 years of experience coaching clients.
I know you have many objections why you think that you can't do it. But trust me, you CAN. It may be the hardest thing you've ever done, but you will be grateful that you did it.
And remember: following the No-Contact Rule is NOT the same as “Ghosting.” (We are adults, not pubescent children suffering through their first love.)
7. Have a Distraction Plan in Place
Free time is very challenging (you know that already). It's usually the time when thoughts flood our minds and lead us into unsafe territory.
Night times are particularly arduous, so it's beneficial to have an Ex-Safe distraction plan in place that you can execute immediately without hassle.
Know what you can do or whom you can call to prevent yourself from ruminating. It will save you during these hard moments.
8. Un-friend Your Ex on All Social Platforms
One of the main rules of No-Contact is to not internet-stalk. Once you open that Pandora's Box, a world of pain awaits you.
So, the best thing to do is remove all temptations by un-friending or deleting them. Don't fall into the trap of caring whether this might be perceived as rude by your Ex.
Put yourself first now! Believe me, this will lift a huge weight off your shoulders.
9. Practice Thought Control
The vicious cycle of negative thought processes is one of the biggest dangers in your recovery — the “what-ifs” and “if-onlys.”
Sometimes it feels like a compulsion to act on memories, thoughts, and emotions. We blow them out of proportion. It's like quicksand: the more you struggle, the more it sucks you in.
If you manage to nip these in the bud, you've made a big step forward.
10. Make a List of All Your Ex's Flaws
A main characteristic of the first phases of our healing process is idealizing the relationship and the Ex-partner. We put them on a pedestal and kneel in front of it daily, head bowed in awe.
Make a list of their flaws, big or small, and study it on a daily basis. This will help you put things into a more realistic view, and emphasize the necessity of getting over someone who doesn't love you back. This also leads us into the next step.
11. Make a List of “10 Reasons I Love My Ex So Much”
We do many things to sabotage ourselves during our recovery. One of them is instilling the self-limiting belief that we LOVE them so much.
Of course, this is often an excuse to prevent ourselves from finally getting over them — because that would mean losing them for good.
Working out a real list, with all the reasons why we think that we love them, is often a sobering reality check.
12. Use These Two Affirmations Daily
Using affirmations is programming your mind consciously.
There are two short affirmations you should use daily throughout your recovery. These will help you reach acceptance and self-love (two critical components during breakup recovery):
- “I accept that my relationship with [name] is over.”
- “I love and accept myself unconditionally.”
You will be amazed by the positive difference these statements will make. The only difficulty here is having the persistence to do it on a regular basis.
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How DO you heal fast?
What are the things holding you back? And what's delaying your healing time?
It starts with the right mindset:
Do you actually want to heal, or are you holding yourself back without even knowing it? Have you fallen victim to the belief that getting over them equals losing them?
That's the first obstacle you have to overcome. Your recovery won't progress as long as you haven't decided this for yourself.
After that, you have to make the right decisions and avoid the mistakes that 99 percent of all breakup survivors make, the most fatal being to try and stay friends with an Ex and hoping that things will change over time. It doesn't.
Devote yourself to the 12 steps I've laid out for you, and you WILL be better — much sooner than you think.