Getting Through Divorce: Hurting, Healing, And Moving On

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated June 21, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

Regardless of how good or bad your marriage was or how long it lasted, getting through a divorce can be one of the most trying transitions in one’s life. Healing and moving on from divorce simply does not happen overnight. You have intertwined your life with someone else’s and moving back to two individual lives can be a transition that not everyone handles well on their own. However, most people eventually do move on from divorce. How long it might take and what you might need to do to move on will vary, but you can feel better knowing that the end will eventually be in sight.

How Long Does It Take To Get Over Divorce?

The Divorce Process Can Be Excruciating - Don't Go Through It Alone
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Getting over a divorce often takes time. Even if the relationship was awful or if your spouse did something horrible such as cheating, it can be difficult to let go of the life you have built. On average, therapists say it takes about one year for every five to seven years of marriage to recover from divorce and move on. However, several factors can affect this process and how long it takes to heal and move on from divorce.

Duration of the Relationship

How long you were with your spouse makes a big difference in how long it takes to get over the divorce. The longer you are with someone, the more intertwined your lives become. So even if your marriage only lasted a few years, if the overall relationship lasted much longer than that, it could be some time before you are ready to truly let go.

Another factor is the extent to which your lives have become intertwined during your marriage. If finances, home, cars, children, and other aspects of life have become fused, it can be very difficult to separate into two separate identities and households. The longer you have to deal with dividing property and money, the longer it will be before you can heal and move on. This process of dividing things up can often be the most difficult and hurtful time of a divorce.

If you have children together, getting over divorce might take longer. This is because you will have to make sure that the children are cared for and spend time with both parents. While healthy co-parenting is completely possible, it does require that you be civil and cooperative with your ex. When this isn’t the case, it can take longer to get over the divorce because you will see and interact with your ex regularly.

The State of the Marriage

If the marriage was particularly bad, you might be happy about it ending. People who are happy about leaving their spouse and beginning a new part of their life are more likely to get over a divorce quickly. Yet even these individuals may have a hard time truly healing if they hold a grudge against their spouse for how they were treated. Moving on and starting a new life doesn’t necessarily mean that you have healed from the marriage and divorce.

If you didn’t want the divorce at all, and it was completely your spouse’s idea to get divorced, it is likely to take much longer for you to get over the divorce and move on. Especially if you were blindsided by the divorce and didn’t realize anything was amiss, this can be a massive shock and upheaval in your life. In these situations, it will take longer to accept, heal, and move on.

How Resistant You Are to Change

Each person has an outlook on change. Some people handle change very well, accepting it and moving forward as best they can. Other people are resistant to change, and their mental and emotional state faces such massive change as divorce can be less stable than desired. Therefore, the first step in healing from divorce is acceptance. If you are resistant to change, acceptance can be extremely difficult. However, if that is the case, once you achieve acceptance, the rest of the process is usually much easier.

Willingness to Let Go

Some people are just unwilling to let go of the life they had with their spouse, and for those individuals, they may never truly get over the divorce. Some people who never wanted divorce may pine for their lost love for the rest of their lives. If you find that you don’t feel like you can or want to let go of your marriage, it can help talk to a therapist about your feelings to get some insight into how and why you should take these steps forward.

Getting Over Divorce

Getting over a divorce is a process of transition. It is similar to the grieving process when someone close to you dies. You have to be able to grieve, embrace the hurt, accept the situation, heal from the pain, and finally move on with your life. There are usually four phases that people go through when moving on from divorce.

Shock and Denial

If you were the one to end the marriage, this step might not apply to you. But if you were not the one to agree to or propose the divorce, it may have come as a shock. Even if you knew that things were not as good as they used to be, it could be a very big shock for your spouse to tell you that they want a divorce. You might at first argue with them and deny that there is anything wrong. Then, you might beg them to change their mind. Or, you might turn inward and shut out the world while you grieve for what is being lost.


The second phase is anger. No matter who decided to end the marriage, there is likely to be an element of anger or resentment when it comes to divorce. If you ended the marriage, you might hold anger and resentment for the behavior of your spouse that led you to the decision of getting a divorce. If you were not the one to propose divorce or it wasn’t a mutual decision, you may have anger toward your ex for giving up on your marriage.

Acceptance and Healing

Eventually, you will move on to the third phase of getting over a divorce: acceptance.  You will begin to understand your spouse’s side in the marriage and divorce, and you will begin to forgive them for their part in the relationship and the ending of it. Once you have accepted that it is truly over, you can begin the process of healing. Healing takes time and looks different for everyone, but it is often helpful to work with a therapist.

Moving On

When you have the true desire to move on with your life after divorce, you are in the final phase of getting over it. You may be excited about the future, making plans for your career, children, or other aspects of your life. You may feel a sense of profound freedom now that you are making decisions for yourself. In this phase, you may even begin to feel as though you are ready to start dating again.

Moving On After Divorce

So, what does moving on after divorce look like? It can be different for everyone, but as a general rule, you have moved on from divorce when you have finished grieving, accepted the situation, and begun to rebuild your life on your own. When you are no longer blaming anyone for what happened, when you are no longer blaming yourself, when you are no longer holding grudges, and when you are no longer waiting for something to happen—that is when you know you have moved on.

Some people think that the best way to move on after divorce is to start dating again right away. They think that moving on means that they have to completely leave that part of their life behind and start over again immediately. The problem with this is that these individuals never fully deal with the emotional trauma that divorce can cause. Until you deal with those emotions in a healthy way, you will not ever truly move on from your divorce. This situation that is created can often affect new relationships in a negative way.

How to Get Through a Divorce

You can do several things to help you get through a divorce, and it is the process of moving on. While everyone is different, these tips on how to get through a divorce can apply to almost anyone. Here are some of the best ways to get through a divorce.

Cooperation and Communication

When you are going through a divorce, you will often have feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, and other emotions running high on both sides. This can make the process of divorce very difficult. However, according to the American Psychological Association, it is important to keep the lines of communication open. If you cannot communicate effectively with your ex on your own, you can enlist the aid of a mediator to help you divide your assets, arrange custody and visitation schedules, and other aspects of ending the relationship. The more cordially you can handle these matters with your spouse, the easier it will be to get over the divorce when all is said and done.


You must use self-care to help you get through divorce. This is a very trying and emotional time. If you do not manage your stress level, it could affect other aspects of your life, such as your career and children. Make sure that you take time for yourself and protect your mental health. This can be different for everyone, but meditation, yoga, or other exercises can often help.

Getting Therapy

The Divorce Process Can Be Excruciating - Don't Go Through It Alone

Psychotherapy or talk therapy can often help you get through a divorce and begin the process of healing and moving on. A psychologist can help you see things through a different lens. They can also give you coping skills and help you work through the gambit of emotions that you are feeling. They can help you figure out how to get through the divorce on all levels and help you determine how to move forward in your life from there. For example, if you had a problem setting boundaries in your marriage, a therapist can help you address that so that moving forward in your life, you no longer have that issue in your relationships.

If you cannot get the help you need to get over divorce locally or in person, there is still help available for you. ReGain is a great resource for online counseling and therapy to help you get over divorce on your own time and schedule. With flexible options available through an internet connection, you can access therapy anytime and from anywhere. If you are struggling to get through a divorce, contact ReGain today for more information or to get started.

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