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  • How long does it take to get over a breakup?

  • The good news is I've done the research for you.

  • The bad news is that you might not like the answer.

  • [Am I Normal? with Mona Chalabi]

  • See, a few years back,

  • a number of publications were touting a study

  • telling their readers that it takes 11 weeks to get over a breakup.

  • That's nearly three months spent listening to depressing music

  • while putting on a brave face.

  • It might feel longer than it is,

  • but it's only a few swipes on the calendar app.

  • No big deal, right?

  • Well, unfortunately, it's not so straightforward.

  • See, those articles drastically misrepresented that study.

  • In fact, the study never said anything

  • about how long it takes to get over a breakup.

  • It only focused on the aftereffects of ending a relationship,

  • specifically among undergrads,

  • which is a whole other can of worms.

  • To really answer that question

  • of how long it takes to get over a breakup,

  • you would need to do a longitudinal study,

  • a study that would basically follow a ton of people

  • from the moment of their breakup

  • and track their progress year after year after year.

  • But studies like that are expensive and complicated to carry out.

  • So with no adequate data,

  • I decided to seek professional help.

  • I went to couples therapists, Dr. Hod Tamir.

  • He has anecdotal experience with countless people in relationships

  • and, full disclosure, he was my couple's therapist, too.

  • So I asked him how long he thinks it takes to get over a breakup.

  • "I don't think there is a magic number ...

  • If we feel like we can express ourselves in how we're feeling,

  • we don't have to keep it bottled up.

  • Once you're doing other things

  • that you're engaged with and distracted by,

  • then at some point you look back and like, 'Oh yeah, that's my ex.'

  • And you notice that the feelings that you have are not as raw.

  • You can bump into each other and not feel pain."

  • And the data supports Dr. Tamir's theory.

  • One study looked at different strategies for love regulation.

  • In other words, can a few simple methods change how much you love someone?

  • The study found that when participants were distracted into thinking

  • about something other than their ex,

  • like, their favorite hobby or ideal career,

  • their love feelings for their ex stayed the same,

  • but it did make them feel more pleasant.

  • Using distractions to start to feel better is exactly what Dr. Tamir has suggested.

  • The study also found that a negative reappraisal strategy,

  • essentially remembering all of the shit things your ex said and did,

  • does decrease love feelings for your ex.

  • But it also makes you feel "unpleasant,"

  • and I'm guessing that means sad.

  • Finally, a third, more zen strategy known as reappraisal of love feelings.

  • For this, participants had to muse over statements like

  • "Love is part of life"

  • and "It's OK to love someone I'm no longer with."

  • Yeah, that changed nothing at all for them.

  • Overall, the researchers concluded,

  • and I'm not using the scientific language here,

  • that concentrating on the bad things about your ex

  • can help you to feel less in love.

  • While distracting yourself with other subjects,

  • as my therapist suggested,

  • can actually make you feel better.

  • However, the research and Dr. Tamir would both tell you

  • that while distraction is good in the short term,

  • it is not a long-term solution.

  • "Taking that time to process and understand it

  • is actually a much quicker way to heal than ignoring it."

  • Eventually, for the sake of ourselves and our future partners,

  • we're going to have to face up to our feelings.

  • So how long does it take to get over a breakup?

  • Well, we don't have enough long-term studies to know.

  • But more importantly,

  • I've learned that instead of counting down the days,

  • we're much better off reconnecting with the things we love to do.

  • Finding something to distract us

  • and unpacking our feelings when we're ready.

  • If we can do all that,

  • then one day hopefully we'll come out of it feeling OK.

  • And in the end, isn't that what we're really after?

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How long does it take to get over a breakup? | Am I Normal? with Mona Chalabi

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    たらこ posted on 2022/02/02
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