Why Does It Take So Long To Get Over A Guy You Know Was Awful For You?

There’s no cut and dry way to get over a breakup, and there certainly isn’t a set timeframe, either. Everyone is different and all relationships are too, so it makes sense that moving on would look different depending on the circumstances. But what about when you break up with a total jerk? Why the hell would it take so long to get over him? Here are a few possibilities:

  1. You don’t want to let go. You didn’t think you could hold onto this dude with the hope that he might return but also manage to get over him at the same time, did you? That’s not how it works, unfortunately. Before you can truly move on, you have to let him go. There is literally no other way.
  2. You’re addicted to the D. If the sex was the best you’ve ever had (or even consistently great), it makes sense that it’d be a little harder to leave that behind — especially when you never know if and when you’ll find that again. Orgasms, endorphins, hormones — no one can see straight through all that! It can take time, but luckily the photographic memories of your favorite sex moments tend to fade.
  3. You have to look at his face on social media. It would be a lot easier to move on if you just never saw the guy again, but these days, that’s not usually how things work. In reality, it’s more like you see him post across five social media platforms all day long. Of course you won’t be able to forget about him when you’re seeing him nonstop. Unless you delete and block him on every possible platform, you’re going to struggle to move on.
  4. You’re scared of never finding someone better — or someone else at all. You can admit it. You don’t know if there’s someone else out there that can compare to this guy. The thought of the unknown — that you might be alone for a while, possibly forever! — scares the crap out of you and you’d rather not think about it quite yet so thinking about him is an easier choice. Come on, you know better than that.
  5. He was your friend as well as your boyfriend. He was more than your friend, but he was also a friend and when someone that you care about is no longer in your life, you’re bound to be affected by that even if you know it’s for the best. You can hardly go without a couple hours of sharing memes when your best friend is in a meeting, so yeah, it’s an adjustment when you can’t call your boyfriend anymore.
  6. You don’t know who you are without him. A breakup isn’t just losing a guy, it feels like a piece of you is gone as well, especially if you allow the relationship to become part of your personal identity. There’s a part of your life that will forever remain in your past, so you’re essentially saying goodbye to who you were when you were with him, as well. Now you’re stuck trying to figure out who you are now, and that’s scary.
  7. Other people won’t shut up about it. Everyone loved your ex, and they still love him even though things didn’t work out. Great. You’d never want them to think any less of him, but their constant questions and bringing him up doesn’t exactly let you forget about him either.
  8. He was your first, in one way or another. Even if he wasn’t the first person that you slept with or even the first person that you loved, you probably shared a first with him of some sort. That thing will forever remain linked to him in some sense, and while you will stop being reminded of that fact eventually, it just hasn’t happened yet.
  9. You just feel lonely. When you have moments of boredom or loneliness, he comes to mind because he used to help fill those voids. Now he doesn’t, and you haven’t replaced him with anything (or anyone) else yet. He was a habit, but he was a bad one. It’s time to create a new one that’s actually right for you.
  10. The breakup wasn’t clear. Good luck getting over him if the breakup was vague or confusing. You deserve to hear the whole truth so you can form your own opinions about it, not be left hanging wondering what the hell happened and where it all went wrong.
  11. It’s not actually over. Getting back with someone should not be the immediate plan when he just dumped you, but occasionally this does happen. Sometimes the fact that it’s impossible to move on is because there’s still some unfinished business that’s coming back around. Considering how badly things ended the first time around (and how bad things were to get you to the point of breaking up), you need to find the strength to put a stop to this for good so that you can move on someone who’s actually worthy of you.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com