Why Is It So Hard To Get Over An Ex?


broken heart
YourTango Experts answer your biggest breakup questions.

How long should it take to move on after a breakup?

Some people say that healing from a breakup requires half the time spent in a given relationship. If only it were as simple as a mathematical formula! The amount of time it takes to move on varies, whether you dated your ex for 10 months or 10 years.


Unsurprisingly, your role in the breakup determines how quickly you move on. Dumpers recover more quickly than dumpees. The length and intensity of a relationship, as well as the identity and support system you had outside the relationship, are other important factors.

Dr. Lee Bowers, author of Divorce-Proof Your Marriage Before You Say ‘I Do'Seven Essential Conversations, thinks the biggest factors to moving on are ego and self-esteem.

"If a person recognizes that it's better to learn sooner rather than later that a relationship is not going further—and that differences don't mean that either party is a bad person—then he or she will move on much faster," he says.

Why can't I get over my ex?

Yes, it's hard to get over a breakup, but it does happen. And if it's not happening for you, you might be holding yourself back. To get over a breakup, you have to take some personal responsibility, even if you were wronged.

"If I see myself as the innocent victim that got cheated on and dumped, then I'll never move from the place of unforgiveness," says Dr. Wade. "But if I take some responsibility for ignoring bad behavior when I saw the signs, or for trusting too easily, then I'm empowered. I know I was at-choice with my ex. I just didn't see it at the time."

Relationship Coach Catherine Behan co-wrote The Breakup Cleanse, which encourages a 28-day emotional detox after a breakup, starting with ending conscious "couple-esque behavior."

"To move on, you need to do everything differently," she says. "You can't be the same person you were with your ex. It takes time and effort to stop checking your cell for messages, looking at your ex's Facebook page, or driving by his house." Will Erasing Your Ex's Footprint Mend Your Broken Heart?

Is there a golden answer for getting over an ex?

Unfortunately, no. We would've told you a long time ago if there were.

In a breakup-related survey YourTango conducted last year, 71 percent of respondents (including those who were married) said they think about their ex too much and 50 percent had called, texted or IMed an ex "when they shouldn't have." Experts agree unhooking one's physical and digital connections to an ex are important steps on the path to being "over" him or her. As Break Up With Your Ex Day (February 13) approaches, we are encouraging readers who are hung up on exes to take the following steps:

-Break off contact (email, phone, or social networking) with your ex or his family and friends.
-Get rid of (or temporarily store away) items, including pictures, that remind you of your ex.
-Stop having sex with your ex (as if you didn't already know this!).
-Give yourself a "breakover"—i.e. cut your hair, plan a trip, see a therapist, start an exercise routine, take up meditation, date that guy who's not entirely your type—in other words, do whatever you need to feel whole, happy and positive again. Can A Post-Breakup Haircut Help Heal A Broken Heart?

YourTango Experts unanimously agree that it's important to give yourself time to grieve after a breakup. Go through the stages of denial, anger, and loss at your own pace. Sweat, talk, and cry the pain out. Don't feel pressured to date immediately, but don't feel discouraged to pursue love again.

And know you're not alone ... even when you're newly single.

Do you need to break up with your ex? Tell us about it for your chance to win "breakover"-themed prizes, aimed at helping you get over your ex for good. Find out more: Contest: Tell Us Why You Need To Break Up With Your Ex—And Win!

Break Up With Your Ex Day is February 13. Learn more at BreakUpWithYourEx.com.

Must-see Videos
Most Popular