What is the name for the period of time from the end of a romantic relationship until the person emotionally recovers? During this period a person feels emotionally fragile, often thinks of their former romantic partner, imagines what he or she could have done differently, often lacks the motivation to do activities, etc. Most people get over this period after a few weeks or a few months (depending on the intensity and duration of the romantic relationship).

A google search proposed the term rebound, but I associate rebound not with the period of time after a breakup, but instead with a new relationship that begins shortly after an old relationship has ended. Are there any other terms to refer to this period of time?

  • 1
    Do you envisage a single-word answer, Joseph? If this is what you require (and the 'noun' tag specifies single words), you should add this tag and give a specimen sentence. // I've looked for antonyms for 'honeymoon' and found nothing suitable. You've wisely pre-empted 'rebound', and I'll downvote any ridiculously fuzzy non-collocations (eg 'emotional recuperation time') or DIYisms (eg 'vinegarmoon'). May 3 at 9:07
  • Could you please explain why you think such a word is necessary or or even needed or appropriate? If you Google 'articles on recovery from love' you get a host of material, including words like 'rejection' and 'romantic', sometimes 'romantic rejection'. I even find the phrase 'romantic rejection depression'. But your question might be broader than that. Breakup can be mutual but even then leave feelings of loss, and feelings of anger. But why expect a single word? The ancient Greek and Latin languages offer no obvious solution despite much poetry and even the tragedy 'Medea' about it.
    – Tuffy
    May 3 at 9:43
  • There are lots of words for the feelings or state of being upset after a breakup (things like heartbreak). Are you rejecting them? You want a word that specifically means a time interval?
    – Stuart F
    May 3 at 10:20
  • I am open to multi-word answers, or even phrases. (My apologies for using the "noun" tag incorrectly; I am new to Stack Exchange and I erroneously assumed that it could refer to noun phrases) However, I'm not looking for a word such as heartbreak, but instead a work that refers to the period of time. A fair analogy might be "trial period" or "probation" to describe the time period of a new employee before they are fully accepted at a new job. Another decent analogy might be "final days" or "last moments" in referring to an elderly person who is slowly dying.
    – Joseph
    May 4 at 13:37
  • I don't think that such a word is necessary; I merely want to ask if it exists.
    – Joseph
    May 4 at 13:42

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, the phenomenon you describe sounds very much like the period of time in which a person mourns the death of a loved one. It could also be called a period of bereavement.

The phenomenon certainly has the typical characteristics of grief that are triggered when a loved one dies. There is emotional fragility; there are poignant memories that flood the mind; and there are, perhaps, regrets from having said or done those things that cannot be unsaid or undone.

After his breakup with Carol, Fred experienced a period of mourning.

After the breakup came a time of bereavement.


It's the time when someone is on the rebound. According to Lexico:

still affected by the emotional distress caused by the ending of a romantic or sexual relationship.
"I was on the rebound when I met Jack"

This is in contrast to other phrasing like having a rebound that means you're with someone while still not over the last relationship.

Alternatively it's called the (post) breakup rut or slump.

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