Many of us have been left with a shattered heart after a painful breakup with an ex. Family and friends will utter the cliche, "time heals all wounds", but days, weeks, months, and years later, we're still not over our ex — we either long for them or we're still angry at them. Time isn't what helps mend a broken heart; it's what we do in that space that helps us move on from a long-term relationship.

Patrick Wanis, human behavior and relationship expert, has developed a free online assessment, "The Breakup Test," as a tool to help us reflect on some of our interactions and behaviors, and articulate some things that we're feeling and doing that we may not consciously be aware of in our intimate relationships.

Read More: How Heartbreak Hurts Your Physical And Mental Health

"This is for someone who has come out of a recent break-up, and someone who experienced a break-up a long time ago," Wanis told Medical Daily.

This means a person who is taking this breakup assessment is probably affected by an ex, and isn't fully free. There are different levels of entanglement — if the breakup is recent, and if it's emotional, then the assessment is more relevant. However, there are people who break up with someone five years ago, or ten years ago, and even if they're in a new relationship, their ex is still relevant.

He explains two key reasons why breakups hurt so much: The brain processes social rejection the same way it processes physical pain; and we physiologically become one unit with our partner if we've gotten close.

"The more intense the emotional experience, the more challenging it's going to be to overcome the ex," said Wanis.

The Breakup Test analyzes eight key areas of our previous relationship, and how it's affecting us now in regards to our behavior, emotions, and beliefs, and how it's holding us back from moving on. The test goes in-depth into the experience of the relationship as a means of formulating a personalized report that will come with a score and place test takers in one of four categories, such as "You Are Almost Free", meaning you're almost psychologically free from your ex. This is followed by an explanation on areas that need resolving, suggested advice, and action steps to take to actually get over an ex.

"My intention here is to give you insight, tips, revelations, how you can get freer of your ex," Wanis said.

A key component of Wanis' test is it allows us to reflect on our past experiences. Previous research has found taking the time to reflect about the break-up can act as a way to heal quicker. In the 2014 study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, those who reflected on the motivation for the breakup over nine weeks had a easier time accepting the breakup, and they were less likely to feel lonely.

The test goes into a lot of detail about what was experienced in the relationship; how it ended; what we're longing for; how we're responding to it; and how it affects us. It's a comprehensive assessment that takes us through the relationship, and offers suggestions, and advice about us and how to get over our ex with action steps. According to Wanis, the way to speed up this process is by making certain choices, or else we won't fully heal.

Wanis admits he wants to "give people value and give them something they can actually apply in their life" in this comprehensive assessment. 

Read More: Getting Over A Breakup May Be Harder For Women, But They Still Recover Faster Than Men

"You get a score, you're almost free, now what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do to overcome this?" he asked.

Science backs Wanis' approach, finding breakups are opportunities for self discovery. In a 2010 study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers observed  the longer we're in a relationship, the more our identity gets intertwined with our partner, but a split can push us to new experiences, and try new activities. Similarly, Wanis' action steps serve as both reflection, and a push to explore within ourselves what we truly want out of intimate relationships.

The truth is our ex represents something to us on many different levels, such as a person we decided would determine how valuable we are.

"If we dated someone and constantly sought their approval, and then the relationship doesn't work out, you feel worse about yourself because it failed, 'my boyfriend/girlfriend dumped me, therefore, I'm (of) even less value (than I thought),'" Wanis said.

After taking the quiz, Wanis offers the opportunity to start the program "Get Over Your Ex Now!" an audiobook that can help us recognize the types of people to avoid who will only cause pain and disappoint, along with the "a-ha" moments. This allows us to gain insights into who we are and our ex. Wanis strives for us to feel empowered by what we learn about the dynamics of relationships, and how to ultimately be free of any past pain.

Simply taking a test to help us evaluate our past relationship, and following the action steps, could help mend our broken heart. A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found doing something that makes us feel like we're getting over our ex can actually help us get over our ex. Researchers noted a placebo can have strong effects in reducing the intensity of social pain, and influence whether we're over our ex or not.

In relationships, we talk more about "we" and less about "I," but in a breakup, we refocus our energy on the "I," so we can put ourselves first to get over our ex, and move on to the next.

See Also:

Broken Heart Mends 3 Months After The Breakup, Says Science

How To Get Over Someone Like A Scientist: Reflect, Detach, And Heal