No matter the details, the end of a relationship is rarely smooth. In the aftermath of a breakup, you may wonder how long these feelings—sadness, anger, loneliness, regret, jealousy, and the list goes on—can possibly last. Fortunately, researchers have been working to find the answer.
According to one study, it took 155 college students approximately 3 months to start feeling better after a “low-quality” relationship. Other research indicated that for those going through a divorce, the timeline to healing was closer to 18 months. One (admittedly less scientific) source even came up with an elaborate formula to help you predict how long your pain will last, taking into account a slew of details to help hone in on the light at the end of the tunnel.
While a reliable heartbreak equation may still be out of reach, it is a good idea to consider the specifics of your situation.
Some questions you can ask yourself to help you determine how long it will take you to get over your breakup include:
Who decided to end the relationship?
Were you in love?
Were you cheated on?
How long were you together?
Can you start dating again? Do you want to?
Did you live together, or own property together?
Do you have children with your ex, or children who have a relationship with them?
All of these factors can affect how long it takes you to get over a breakup, along with many others. Everyone is unique, and we all react to heartbreak differently. What’s more, giving your feelings a deadline—even one based on research—can end up stunting the emotional process you need to go through to truly heal.
The most important thing to remember is that, no matter how long it takes, you will get over your breakup eventually. Time may not heal all wounds, but it does make old experiences hurt less by introducing new opportunities to feel love and happiness in all kinds of ways.