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?
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the five stages of a divorce?
Couples process their emotions about separation or divorce in different ways, and as a result, may not experience the same emotional reaction to these events.
However, in general, the five stages of divorce mirror the five stages of grief. Therefore, acknowledging the feelings you experience throughout separation and divorce can help you find ways to move on.
Here are the five stages of divorce and grief:
The partner being left may not fully believe that their spouse is indeed leaving them. The partner may try to justify their spouse’s desire for separation and divorce by chalking it up to a personal conflict. By denying their marriage is coming to an end, the “leavee” uses a coping mechanism to prevent them from being emotionally hurt. This phase is characterized by being unsure about your decisions and feeling unable to accept that things are changing.
In this stage, the leavee paints the leaver as the reason why the relationship is ending. They may express their resentment toward the leaver via a variety of emotions, including anger. While these feelings may seem misguided, the leavee may find it better to get their emotions out to move along the grief process. Both parties may feel anger during separation or divorce, and you may find it hard to stand your former partner.
The leavee may try to salvage the relationship by finding out what went wrong. There is a chance that the two parties may reconcile their differences and resume their relationship, though this isn’t guaranteed. The separation or divorce, in many cases, is finalized after this point when both parties come to realize that they cannot make promises that will sustain their relationship.
Once an individual truly realizes that their marriage is over, they may experience symptoms of depression. As a result, the leavee and leaver may feel hopeless and possibly give up on pursuing another relationship.
The person finds the strength to move on from their divorce. While they are not done with the grief process, they are coming to terms with their newfound situation since they could jump back to another stage.
What should you not do when getting a divorce?
If you are getting a separation or divorce, please consider what you cannot do during a divorce. By respectfully following the legal process of divorce and avoiding a divorce, you are less likely to encounter legal challenges and other complications.
For anyone filing for divorce, the number one goal should be to carry out the proceedings as efficiently as possible without doing a divorce “don’t.”
Getting in the way of the divorce proceedings may extend the process or incriminate you for any inappropriate behavior. As such, you should not do the following when getting a divorce:
What are the stages of a divorce?
The stages of divorce include anger, bargaining, denial, depression, and acceptance.
These stages may not occur in the same order for each individual going through a separation or divorce. But by understanding each stage, you may learn more about your feelings and how to survive divorce with a little more ease.
How do I recover from divorce emotionally?
Recovering from divorce emotionally is complex, and it may take some time before you accept your feelings about the separation.
Here are a few methods for adjusting during this challenging time:
Do men regret divorce?
Both men and women may find themselves regretting divorce once the proceedings are over and they move on from their lives. It is a natural human feeling to think back on one’s actions.
However, many people feel that divorce was the right decision for them and benefitted from their separation.
It comes down to an individual’s feelings about the divorce. There could be a chance that someone starts another relationship only to see the same problems that led to their recent divorce.
Another reason someone might regret divorce is if someone has created their own reasoning for the divorce without further investigating if that reason truly exists. That is, we may not consider how accurate the conclusions we draw about others may be.
How do you know it’s time to divorce?
It’s time to divorce if you feel that you and your partner no longer have feelings for the other.
There are countless ways you can tell if your partner does not have feelings for you, but there is only one definite way of finding out for sure: talking to them. Ask if there is anything between the two of you.
By being direct and forward, you avoid incurring heartbreak, and healthy and honest communication will likely result in a smooth divorce process.