'Time Limits' Don't Exist When Getting Over Someone, But You Can Still Lessen The Blow

Whether you were in a three-week relationship or a three-year one, breakups are painful. And we don't just mean romantic breakups; whenever a prominent person in your life is no longer there — whether they choose to leave or you end things — the hurt is inevitable. Parting ways with a significant other is upsetting, as is ending friendships or family relationships, whether because of conflict, a death, or any other reason. In all of these situations, you must accept that healing can be slow.

There's no timeline for how long it should take to get over someone, as everyone heals differently and every situation is unique. For instance, TikToker @maybebothstyles posted a video explaining that it took her about six years to fully get over a man she was friends with for over a year and dated for six months, and there's nothing wrong with that. Many viewers seem to relate and connect to this video, as people wrote appreciative comments, including, "I needed to hear this. Thank you," "Thank you for validating this. It's been 2 years and still hurts really bad," and "but how do you speed the possess of healing, it hurts so bad." While we don't believe there's a way to fully "speed" the healing process, we have some tips to help you feel better during your healing journey.

Don't compare yourself to others or get angry with yourself

You must understand that people respond to relationships ending in different ways, as no two situations and dynamics are the same. So, don't be upset if your best friend, sibling, or anyone else you know seemed to move on significantly faster than you. Their relationship wasn't your relationship, and you don't know what's going on in their head.

One movie that accurately demonstrates how every scenario regarding relationship endings is different and thus provokes different responses is "Someone Great." In the film, the main character frequently gets emotional and thinks about her ex whenever she sees or hears anything that reminds her of him. On the other hand, one of the main character's friends is barely affected by her breakup with her long-term partner, and both she and her boyfriend were more relieved than anything else about the relationship ending. Therefore, like these two fictional friends, you may move on from your relationship's ending at a different pace from your friends, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Don't get angry at yourself for taking what feels like a long time to move on, feeling angry or sad when reminded of the person with which your relationship ended, or if it seems like your best friend's post-breakup experience was all about thriving and yours is all crying. People handle and react to situations differently.

Distract yourself in healthy ways

While it might feel tempting to rely on excessive partying or alcohol to help you move on from someone, those methods aren't good for your physical or mental health in the long run, so it's best to avoid unhealthy coping methods. Instead, try to distract yourself in healthier ways, such as finding a change of scenery. Sitting around in your room and stewing in your emotions is normal, but going outside can be a pleasant distraction from your negative thoughts. You might even want to go on a fun trip! In the iconic "Gossip Girl" season three ending, both-single besties Blair and Serena decide to go to Paris together to lift their spirits instead of staying down (via YouTube), so why not take inspiration from these two fictional beauties? Of course, an expensive getaway to Paris isn't realistic for most people, but consider a more practical, affordable trip, such as hiking in the woods or a beach day for some fresh air and escape from your sadness.

Another healthy way to distract yourself is to focus on your career; put more effort into standing out at work, and who knows, maybe you'll end up with a raise or promotion. Or, consider changing your look. It seems cliché when women chop their hair after a breakup, but that new look can help you feel more confident, improving your mood when moving on from the person stuck in your mind.

Spend time with your loved ones

If you feel down about the person no longer in your life, it can make you feel better to spend more time with the people you enjoy being around who are still in your life. So, when you can't stop thinking about the relationship that ended — whether that dynamic was romantic, platonic, family-related, or anything else — reach out to your friend group, your family, your partner, your bestie, or anyone else whose company you enjoy.

"Having people in our lives and social support is probably the No. 1 thing helping people get through traumatic times ... Our ability to have social connection is so essential to our ability to live a healthy life," Marisa Franco, Ph.D., a psychologist, told Everyday Health. Therefore, you should say "yes" to plans with your favorite people when struggling to move on from someone else, as enjoying these healthier relationships can make you feel happier and less lonely or upset. Call your loved ones and make frequent plans to see them, as their love and attention can help lessen the pain you're going through.

Experiment with new hobbies

According to Dictionary.com, a hobby is "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation." And taking up hobbies can benefit your mental health, so, picking up a hobby can bring you joy if your mental health is struggling and even help you distract yourself and unwind during this stressful and emotional time in your life.

Some examples of hobbies include reading, coloring, drawing, working out, writing, cooking, and theater. Choose an activity that you think you'll enjoy most based on your interests and personality. If you have trouble picking a hobby to explore, think about the benefits each hobby presents and which sounds most appealing to you. For instance, if you want to get in touch with your creative side, an art-related hobby such as drawing or sewing might be the best fit. On the other hand, if you want a hobby that provides physical health benefits in addition to mental health benefits, exercise is typically the best bet. Meanwhile, reading is a convenient option if you want a relaxing hobby that's not too expensive.

Try talking to a therapist about how the situation is affecting you

In many cases, therapy is the most helpful resource for people dealing with breakups, grief, and other unpleasant circumstances they're going through. Being in therapy is nothing to be ashamed of, and you can opt for in-person or online sessions. While healthy distractions like hobbies, vacations, career-related achievements, and haircuts can be helpful, therapy is arguably the most serious approach to working through your emotions, stress, and grief.

"When I think of the process of engaging in talk therapy, I think of the analogy with writing ... The more you write, the more you know what you are trying to say — it clarifies your thinking," Marian Margulies, Ph.D., a psychologist in NYC and candidate in psychoanalysis at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education at the NYU Medical Center, told Forbes. "Similarly with talking and with talk therapy, one becomes more aware of what is making one feel anxious, sad, angry, or frustrated. And then one is freer to decide how to manage these feelings or take action to alleviate them." 

Thus, not only can a therapist provide an unbiased voice of reason as you talk out your relationship's ending and how the situation is affecting you, but the therapy process can also help you become a better communicator and determine how to understand and handle your emotions going forward.

Put yourself back out there

This next tip might be controversial, as many other articles about ending relationships will likely tell you not to try to meet new people when you're still moving on from someone. But we don't think you have to close yourself off from putting yourself out there in any way that appeals to you. You probably should avoid trying to find your future spouse if you just got out of a super serious romantic relationship or looking for a new BFF if you and your lifelong best friend parted ways, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't meet anyone new at all.

Let's say you and your long-term significant other broke up a while ago. When was the last time you had a one-night stand or went on a casual coffee date just for fun? Doing something carefree like that might help you feel more alive when your mind feels filled with darkness. Don't do anything you aren't comfortable with, of course. Just trust your instincts, and if something sounds appealing to you, why not go for it? 

Maybe you'll want to look for some new pals to hang with on a friendship app or social media if you're tired of spending weekends by yourself. You don't have to find a new ride-or-die, but some nice new ladies to chat with or even some party friends can improve your social life and help boost your mood.

Remind yourself why it didn't work out

Try to avoid romanticizing your former relationship. It's understandable to think about or miss the person as you try to adjust to life without them, but try to avoid making the relationship into something better than it was when you think back. There's a reason that person is no longer in your life. If they broke it off with you, that's out of your control, and you deserve someone who values you enough to choose to stay in your life. And if you were the person to end it, you did so for a reason, so don't second guess yourself.

Have you seen the "that's just embarrassing" audio TikTok trend? Some TikTokers share embarrassing past relationship-related situations, showing that they're better off now. For example, one TikToker posted a video with that audio and added the words, "might not have a Valentine's this year but at least I'm not begging a man to text me more than once a day." Another TikTok user shared a video following the trend with the story, "when I stayed with a man who was so insecure, he would accuse me of cheating anytime I had a bruise or scratch on my body." We're not saying to participate in the trend and put your private thoughts on TikTok, but maybe try creating an only-in-your-mind video to remind yourself of the reason why the relationship had to end.

Don't be mean

This advice might cause some eye-rolls — especially considering that we just brought up the "that's just embarrassing" TikTok trend, but it's important: don't be mean. While it might be tempting to throw shade on social media if someone hurt you in any way, cyberbullying doesn't help any situation, even if it feels good at the moment. Gossiping in real life won't help either, even if the person deserves it. Instead of wasting valuable time and energy trying to make the person's life worse, focus on your agenda and make your life better.

Ariel Frenkel, a Bachelor Nation fan-favorite, posted a video on TikTok explaining how focusing on yourself is the best approach. "The ultimate revenge on an ex is success," she said. "Success can mean many different things to different people — but whatever that concept is for you — if you're working towards a goal, you won't get derailed by people that re-enter your life from your past. This seems to be the season of ghosts, so the more yours come back just like mine have, just remember, focus on you, focus on what your metric is for success, and you'll feel fine when you see them." Frenkel's words are true. Why get in the way of your success by spending time trying to prevent someone else's success? Plus, acting like a teenager by trying to ruin a person's life could scare away people you care about or new people you might click with.

Think about what you learned and look to the future

One benefit that comes with the end of every relationship is that you typically learn from it, often about yourself and your patterns. "Romantic relationships are mirrors of the relationship you have with yourself," Radisha Brown, Ed.D., LCSW, a licensed therapist specializing in helping people heal from toxic relationships, told MindBodyGreen. "If you find yourself repeating the same relationship mistakes, you may need to heal negative beliefs about yourself ... if you believe you are not important, then you will find partners that will treat you accordingly. Healthy relationships require healthy individuals." So, if you look back at the relationship and recognize that your former partner didn't treat you like a priority, then you likely don't prioritize yourself enough and need to work on that before entering another romantic relationship.

What you learn from the end of a relationship can help you learn a lot, making the way for better future partnerships. For instance, maybe you discovered that having a partner who flirts with other people is a deal-breaker for you. Or, perhaps you learned that therapy helps you heal your negative thoughts that were projected in the past relationship. Therefore, instead of obsessing over the relationship's ending, focus on what that ending taught you and how it is preparing you for better future relationships.