What You Need To Know About Moving On After A Divorce

Updated March 26, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Divorce can be an emotionally traumatic experience that leaves you feeling many complex emotions you may not know how to handle. Read on to explore healthy methods to help you move over after a divorce and how therapy can help you heal from emotional trauma. 

Are you having trouble moving on after divorce?

How long does it take to move on after divorce?

There’s no set amount of time to get over a failed marriage. You'll likely experience multiple stages of mourning as you process your feelings after the divorce. Many people find that the most emotionally intense phase occurs around six months after the divorce. However, according to Oklahoma State University researchers, grieving can last up to two years

Whether you initiated the divorce and the level of closure you've attained can affect how well you feel after the divorce. Closure acknowledges what you've been through, how it makes you feel, and how your experiences affect you moving forward. 

"By knowing the reasons why the relationship isn't working, the initiator of the breakup has already sorted out his or her story. However, the person being broken up with is thrust from being in safe psychological territory into an abyss, particularly if the relationship was seemingly safe, secure, and serious."— Why We Need Closure From Broken Relationships

Divorce can impact mental and emotional health in the following ways, for example:

Tips for moving on after a divorce

Letting go of the love you shared with your ex isn't always an easy process. Many people struggle to move on after ending a marriage. Try these tips to help you find your new emotional baseline and move on with your life. 

Give yourself time and space to heal

You likely invested a lot of your mental, physical, and emotional energy into your marriage. Allowing yourself time and space to heal from your emotional pain can be crucial. Your feelings are valid, but you will likely have difficulty moving on until you recognize and process them. 

Go no-contact for a while, unless you have kids

Unless you have children together, going no-contact with your ex may be helpful for a few weeks after the divorce. Moving on when you’re not seeing and talking to them every day can be easier. If you have children, communication is unavoidable, but you can choose to only engage with topics related to the kids. 

Adjust to life as a single parent

One of the most significant changes you’ll need to adapt to is learning how to function as a single parent if you and your partner had children before the divorce. Try putting your focus on spending quality time with your children and ensuring they feel loved and cared for during and after the divorce. Kids often experience a wide range of emotions when their parents separate. 

Build a co-parenting plan

Even if you and your ex aren't on speaking terms personally, you'll always be part of each other's lives if you have children. Your children may be the ones to suffer most if you can't be civil to each other and develop a co-parenting plan to handle issues your kids could face. 

Develop your emotional intelligence, awareness, and literacy

You may find it easier to work past the lingering emotions you feel after your divorce if you strengthen your sense of emotional intelligence, awareness, and literacy. Developing these skills can help you recognize, understand, and express your needs and feelings to the important people in your life. 

Take time to feel what you feel

There is no specific way you “should” feel after a divorce. Your feelings are your feelings—and they’re neither right nor wrong. Recognizing that your emotions are valid and giving yourself time to examine, process, and move past your feelings can be essential. 

Set a time limit on your misery

While it’s impossible to know how long it will take before you feel like you’ve moved on from your divorce, it may help your healing if you set a time limit on how long you’ll allow yourself to feel miserable. Divorce can be heartbreaking and traumatic, but so can wallowing in your misery. Give yourself six months to mourn your marriage and then shift your focus to establishing a positive, productive outlook. 

Find ways to stay busy

Distraction can be a helpful tactic to make it easier to pass the time, especially if you're feeling lonely. Reconnect with family members you haven't seen for a while, friends who've dropped out of touch, or expand your social circle by taking a class or attending public events. 

Make self-care a priority

After a divorce is an excellent time to reevaluate your self-care routine and how you can safeguard your mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. Find the little things that make you feel better and work them into your daily routine. Care for yourself by eating a balanced diet, maintaining healthy sleep hygiene, and getting regular physical activity. Prioritize yourself and your needs. 

Fall in love with yourself again

Going through a divorce may have you feeling bad about yourself, so as you’re healing, it’s the perfect time to fall in love with yourself all over again. You'll likely not be ready to date anyone for a while after the divorce, so point all that love and attention at yourself. Take time to evaluate what you want and set the standard for how you’re willing to be treated in future relationships. 

Accept and adapt to changes in your life

Divorce usually brings an unprecedented amount of change to your life, whether you want it or not. After investing so much time and energy into entwining your life with your ex's, it can be challenging to accept the difference in your situation and adapt to the changes in your life and routine. 

Understand that you may lose some friends

You likely shared friends and acquaintances with your spouse. One of the unfortunate realities of divorce is that some of your friends may choose sides—and you need to be prepared if they don’t pick you.  

Focus on personal development

Learn a new skill or find another way to improve yourself. Studies show that people who focused their time and attention after a breakup on personal development often showed higher levels of confidence and independence, with many reporting that the distraction helped them feel more emotionally stable through the process. 

Decide whom you want to be and reinvent your life

When you're going through a divorce, it's the perfect time to reevaluate who you want to be. When you already have to reshape your life after your divorce, why not reinvent it to fit your vision? 

When you’re ready, start dating again

Don't push yourself before you're ready but start dating again when you feel like the time is right. If you've done the work on yourself, you know what you want from a relationship and have firmly set the boundaries for the treatment you're willing to accept. 

Examine what went wrong and learn from the experience

If you’re working with a therapist, try examining what went wrong in your marriage and learn from it to prevent the same problems in future relationships. A therapist can offer the support and guidance of a mental health professional as you look back over your marriage and determine what negative thoughts and behaviors of yours contributed to the divorce. 

Avoid blame or fixating on the divorce

Fixating on the divorce and focusing on who’s to blame isn’t likely to help you recover, and it may actively hurt your progress. 

What stops people from moving on after divorce?

  • Unresolved anger about the circumstances leading to divorce
  • Comorbid mental health issues
  • Feeling victimized by the divorce
  • Intense loneliness
  • Trauma due to betrayal
Are you having trouble moving on after divorce?

How therapy can help you move on after divorce

If you’re having trouble moving on after going through a divorce, consider working with a licensed therapist online through a relationship-centered virtual therapy platform like Regain Therapy can help you identify what’s stopping you from moving on and help you find healthy ways to process and express your emotions. A therapist can also teach practical coping skills to help you manage stress and communication skills to ensure your next partner understands your feelings and needs. 

Recent studies from the American Psychological Association show that online and in-person therapy offer comparable results. Generally, virtual treatments are more cost-effective and have shorter wait times before you receive treatment. Teletherapy platforms provide access to a comprehensive variety of licensed therapists, making it simple to find someone who fits well with your personality, situation, and emotional needs. 

Counselor reviews

“He’s amazing - he’s gotten me through some tough times and reminds me I’m not made of super human strength - that I’m human with normal emotions and it is in fact okay to cry. He has been an amazing support through a horrible breakup.”

“Lisheyna is amazing person with really beautiful insights. I was struggling with my separation and she helped me to regain new insights which helped to become friends with my ex-wife again and also understand her perspective. I am grateful to Lisheyna for her support and would highly recommend her to anyone seeking any kind of personal or relationship counseling.”


While you and your spouse may decide to end the marriage after a single conversation, years of emotions won’t fade as quickly. The information provided in this article may offer insight into various ways you can get over your ex and move on after divorce and how therapy can help you regain your emotional stability after losing your marriage. 

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.