In my epic fantasy, the secondary protagonist goes through tragedy. Near the middle, the group is captured by the enemy, and she is forced to watch her girlfriend get slowly executed in an extremely brutal manner. They managed to escape, but she is heavily traumatized and she almost loses her mind. Eventually, she ends up in another relationship, but until then during her arc, how long would it take for a person to move on from something that horrible?

  • 3
    "heavily traumatized" and "almost lost her mind" does not sound like something one just bounces back from. If she moves on at all it is gratuitous Bury Your Gays trope.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 2:41
  • Another thing you need to be wary of is that some readers won't want your secondary protagonist to move on, regardless of how much time passes, and will see any new love interest as an inferior replacement. Look up the reaction to the final episode of the anime ERASED for a good example of this.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 18:46
  • @F1Krazy Would it work if the new love interest was a character that was already introduced, and it well-written?
    – Crafter
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


I would say that there can't be a definitive and quantifiable answer to this question. It depends on the person. You need to check how you portray her personality in the story. A strong person may overcome the situation to be able to move on to another relationship in a few months.

There are some people who like to feel like victims, and on the other hand, there are people who wish to self-help to move on. These factors would also affect any such timelines.

Actually, it would also depend on the person she enters into the relationship with. If she meets someone irresistible who also helps her overcome her problems, it would be much faster.

To be safe, any period less than six months would look odd.


While "moving on" quickly could be her way of coping with the traumatic experience, the loss and trauma would have a heavy impact on the new relationship.

Personally, I think that this is more likely to happen with someone she already knows and trusts rather than someone new. Also, whether the new relationship will sustain the pressure, strongly depends on how she and her new partner deal with it.

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