What's a reasonable amount of time to give someone who's broken up?

Okay, so recently I was involved with a woman who, it turned out, had just gotten out of a major relationship, much more major than I realized when we met. Turns out she’s not quite over her ex. Okay, my own bad luck, I’m stepping away from things and maybe some sunny day I can reapproach this. What can I say, aside from that we really get along very well, and so far neither of us has done anything to make ourselves permanently undateable.

I was having a conversation about it with a female friend and we were talking about a reasonable timeframe for getting over someone. She said half as long as the relationship lasted. I say that’s BS because I know a lot of divorced people who were married 10+ years and remarried two or three years afterwards. I’d say eight months is a reasonable period for getting used to be single again. What do you think? For what it’s worth, I’ve also heard my ex say “half the length of the relationship.”

I don’t think there’s any rule of thumb. It really depends on the relationship.
In some relationships, you know they’re dead long before they officially ended and it’s not that hard to bounce back. In other relationships of the same duration, the breakup is hard to accept for some reason (like it was unexpected or you have kids together and have to stay in contact with each other), so it takes a lot longer to move on.
Plus some people are just better at coping than others. If you have the attitude that there are plenty of fish in the sea it’s much easier to let go than if you think there’s only one true soulmate for everyone.
Sorry to hear that this happened to you. I too had a promising relationship end thanks to my baggage from the last guy…sometimes I still wonder what could have been if I had met the new guy at a time when I was more prepared to jump into a relationship.

Varies a lot.

Heck, a friend of mine apparently still mentions me in his sleep sometimes :smack: and we never so much as dated. His wife finds it funny, thank God.

3.5 days for me.

Surely it all depends on the person?

Some people hang on in a relationship that is over but they just can’t bring themselves to pack up and leave, I think sometimes that’s because the very act of leaving is a final admission that things didn’t work out and you got it wrong. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to admit to failure.

What about if you end a relationship that was on the rocks because you meet someone who you think is totally wonderful and perfect for you? That’s just jumping from one to the next, with virtually no breathing space except that which allows you to make the decision to leave.

I really don’t think you can quantify a reasonable amount of time, depends on who left who, why it happened, whether it was over long ago and the issues never addressed…it’s a shame when it impinges on a potential new relationship but different people deal with things in their own way.


My general assumption is, for a major relationship – marriage or other relationship that is at that level of importance – a full year. The person needs to learn to live alone – and that includes doing a full cycle of holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc., alone. Anything shorter than that, and my take is that the person is just looking to plug the hole in his or her life.

I do, however, put a perhaps excessive emphasis on the ability to take care of oneself.

I think “rule of thumb” is a useless concept here. There are way too many variables. It depends on the length and quality of the relationship, the reasons it ended, and to what extent the expectations for the relationship were or were not met, and that’s *before * you consider the emotional landscapes and personalities of the individuals involved. Some people really don’t handle failure and/or rejection well. Others have issues with change or endings in general.

Regardless, if you feel like she’s not over it, you’re right to back off a bit. Whether that means being her friend, or dating her casually, or simply going away will (and should) depend on your feelings for her, not her feelings for you. In any case, you can’t impose a time limit on her healing process, and you should keep in mind that other people seldom conform to our plans for them.

And I’ve heard many people say “twice the length of the relationship”.

That may be something of an overstatement, but I think overall, it takes longer than you would think.

I got in a rebound relationship shortly after my longish marriage broke up. The other party was very persistent, and I finally caved in.

It was a bad idea for both of us - a year and a half of long-distance commuting, with one partner in the position of not being over a previous relationship.

In short, a time-consuming, expensive mess.

Here’s how I see it: if there’s a genuine click, there is no minimum time. She’s ready to go. Honestly, if Brad Pitt walked through her door tomorrow, do you think she’d say, “Sorry, I need more time to get over my ex?” No. She’ll find a way to fight through the pain, somehow she will manage. Dude it’s like the eye of the tiger.

Getting over an ex can be responsible for alot of things, but entering a metaphorical convent is not one of them. Breakups suck but meeting and falling for someone new helps to dull that pain and distracts you from what you’ve lost. Unless you’re not falling in the first place.

There is no minimum time for fresh nookie, just a minimum time to find some nookie good enough to make you forget the ex was even there.

And if all you want is to get in her pants, that may be fine. But if you want an actual relationship with this woman, you need to wait till she’s done dealing with whatever shit she’s got to deal with coming out of this relationship – and that will probably take at least a year.

I do think there is a stage where meeting someone new and amazing is the final step to forgetting an old love.
However, for me at least, there is usually a period of mourning for the old love that is necessary before I can open my heart to someone new.
In the early stages of a breakup it’s so easy to idealize the person and think they were so perfect that nobody else can compare. OR…to be so hurt that you’re afraid to invest yourself so deeply in someone new again. It takes time to get the perspective needed to remember that nobody’s perfect and that love is worth trying even though 99% of the time it ends up blowing up in your face. :stuck_out_tongue:

Eh, I see no reason why you can’t be one of the poeple she talks to and hangs out with during that year. As mentioned, it is different for everyone, and even if they are still coming to terms with the ending of the old relationship, they can still be out exploring new options.

Some people can handle it, some can’t. If you wait a year, all that means is that someone else is likley oging to get to him or her before you are.

It took me months to get over someone who I only dated for a short time.
It took me no time to get over the second-longest relationship I’ve ever had.

The difference was mostly in the ending. With the former, I was dumped by a man I was still crazy about, and I needed a long time to work through it. The latter was a case of two people who discovered over several years that they really had almost nothing in common, but neither of whom could get up the motivation to end it. By the time we finally agreed to part, we had been well and truly over each other for such a long time that was more of a formality than anything. I honestly can’t even remember the date we split or how long it was between when we called it quits and when I started my next relationship because the end was so inevitable, so expected and so right that it was practically a non-event.

So I’d say it varies from person to person, and from relationship to relationship.

I’m confused by the question. What do you mean “a reasonable time to give her”?
Do you mean how much time to wait to see if she gets over it so you can start pursuing other options? If so, I wouldn’t wait at all.

I would just treat it as a “no thanks” regardless of the stated reason. You can now choose to be her friend (and if you do so you should not have some personal timer counting down before you jump ship, that’s not what friends do) or you can not continue the friendship. I wouldn’t blame you for not continuing, platonic friendship doesn’t sound like what you signed up for.

If you find someone else let her know and if she’s still not over her ex enough to object, you’re probably better off.

I think a year, minimum would be reasonable. When we started hanging out I knew she’d just broken up and that she’d wanted to marry him. I didn’t find out until later that they’d been together six years, they were engaged, he broke off the engagement, and they stayed together for several months after that. I don’t think she’s letting anyone get close to her for a while.

I’m not spending time with her, at least not right now. Maybe in a couple of months. I think after six years she probably needs to go out and enjoy her freedom, and I doubt I’ll be helping her or myself if I hang around and expect her to dance around my feelings.

I’ll check up on her a year from now. In the meantime I’m 25 and a freshman in college, so it’s about time I threw myself into my work.