Experts: Two Years Heals (Almost) All Wounds

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When humans hurt, they're often comforted by other non-hurting humans who say "time heals all wounds."  According to experts, the "time" they're referring is actually (give or take) 730 days. 

"Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job," reports The Wall Street Journal's Elizabeth Bernstein. Though she adds this caveat: "[I]f you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer."

Bernstein interviewed a bevy of psychologists, researchers and doctors who claim there is no getting around this two-year period. Bernstein explains: 

It is perfectly normal, they say, to feel depressed, anxious and distracted during this time—in other words, to be an emotional mess. (Getting over the death of a loved one is more complicated and typically will take even longer than two years, experts say.)

If we're checking our calendars correctly, people should finally now be getting past that awful thing that happened to them in the summer of 2011. The two-year recovery period kinda debunks the fuzzy, mythical formula that proclaims that it takes half the length of the relationship to get over someone you were dating (e.g., four-month relationship = two-month recovery period). 

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If nothing else, the two-year window gives people a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. "Hearing that was actually a relief ... It gave me a finish line and a goal to work toward," a man who was going through a divorce told Bernstein.

Bernstein has some tips to make that two-year stretch a little easier to bear: 

Don't make any major, permanent changes, if you can help it, such as moving to a new city. Therapy can help, so you won't have to go through the process alone. As for a new relationship—forget about it.

Photo by: wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.