How Long Does It Take For A Man to Get Over Divorce? 10 Factors That Affect Healing
By: Nicole Beasley
Updated March 10, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown
Getting over a divorce can be difficult for anyone, but research studies have shown that men have a harder time getting over a divorce than women in many cases. Several surveys and research studies have shown that men who go through a divorce are more likely to die at a younger age, have heart problems, and have substance abuse issues. In addition to these hurdles, men are often more emotionally attached in their marriage than women.
How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Divorce?
There is no real short answer to this question. How long it takes to get over a divorce depends on many factors. The general rule of thumb of most psychologists and therapists is one year of healing and recovery for every five to seven years of marriage. However, if you wanted the divorce, were unhappy with your marriage, or the decision to divorce was mutual, it may not take quite as long. Some men can get over divorce in just a few months, while others take years to go through the process.
Getting Over Divorce
Getting over a divorce is harder for men than it is for women. According to Mediate.com, men tend to hold onto a marriage longer and harder than their female counterparts. They tend to look at divorce more negatively than women at first, even though men tend to remarry faster than women. Men also must face more emotional adjustment challenges than women, primarily because of the loss of intimacy, loss of social connections, and reduced finances. Men also typically get the short end of the stick when it comes to custody and visitation, and in these cases, men must also cope with losing time with their children. Here are some more ways that getting over a divorce is harder for men than women.
Men Often Skip The Grieving Process
It is healthy to have a grieving process after a divorce or breakup, much in the same way as you would grieve a loved one who had died. The death of a close family member is the only thing that is more stressful than a divorce. If you skip the grieving process, you may find yourself at a loss with no idea what to do next.
Research studies have found that men often have more health problems following a breakup or divorce. Whether this is due to picking up or resuming bad habits, or some other unknown explanation, is not agreed upon in the psychological and medical community. But the fact remains that most men have their health decline immediately following a divorce.
In addition to coping with the stress of the end of a relationship, men have to spend time finding themselves and figuring out who they are alone. Men are much more likely than women to have few or no groups or activities, and they typically see themselves as half of a partnership. When they find themselves suddenly alone, they don't know who they are without their spouse.
Fools Rush In
Because men skip the grieving process, they are often in a hurry to get back on the horse. They don't want to be alone, and they will jump back into dating quickly. This makes it harder to get over the divorce because they are repressing their emotions and thoughts about the divorce, which means healing never truly begins.
It is unfortunate at times, but often, the mother gets custody of the children, and the father only gets some visitation. Because men are no longer in the same home as their children daily, they find themselves missing their children terribly. This can cause several problems, including the onset of depression.
Getting Through Divorce
Getting through a divorce is often much harder for men than for women. There are several reasons for this. Men crave emotional relationships and connections as much as women do. Research studies show that men are typically happier in their marriages than women. They also tend to be the one facing divorce unexpectedly, whereas more women initiate divorce.
Divorce also has more negative connotations for men than for women. A divorced man is more likely to have worse physical and mental health after a divorce than their spouse. Men are also more likely to develop feelings of hopelessness after divorce.
Part of the difference in the health of men getting through a divorce is that women encourage men to be healthier. With the woman out of the picture, men are more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and abuse other drugs. Another difference is that women tend to have better support in the form of friends and family than men.
In the short term, men often find it harder to start dating again after a divorce or breakup. Although men tend to remarry faster, it takes longer for them to get back on the horse. This suggests that men take longer to be ready to date again, but they have a much clearer idea of what they want and when they find it, they remarry quickly.
Moving On After Divorce
Moving on from divorce, how long it takes, and how well you can cope is based on several factors. There are at least ten different factors that can play a role in how long it takes for a man to get over a divorce. Other factors may also be present depending on your situation, but the most common factors to affect how long it takes to get over a divorce are below.
The Length Of The Marriage
Psychologists suggest that it takes an average of one year for every five to seven years of marriage to get over a divorce. It stands to reason that the longer you are married, the longer it will take to move on from divorce. The longer you are together, the more assets and belongings you have to divide, the more you have to think about children you have had together, and the harder the adjustment will be to living alone again.
The Element Of Surprise
If you didn't see the divorce coming, it can be a huge shock and take much longer to accept and move on from. If your spouse seemed to be happy, or even indifferent, and you didn't know there was a real problem, divorce could come as a complete surprise. In a perfect world, couples would communicate well enough that such a thing could never come out of nowhere, but in reality, often a divorce seems sudden and out of the blue.
Whether You Were The Initiator
Men who initiate divorce find it much easier to move on from divorce. Because men are less likely to end a relationship, if you did initiate the divorce, it probably means that you have already accepted that the marriage is broken, and you are no longer happy the way things are. Having that acceptance greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to get over the divorce. However, if your spouse initiated the divorce, you may feel betrayed, abandoned, or unloved, making it harder to get over and move on.
If your spouse cheated on you, it could make it harder or easier for you to get over the divorce. For some men, if their spouse cheats on them, it is automatically the end of the relationship. The man will often leave and accept that the marriage is over, and move on with his life quickly. However, for some men, the pain of their spouse being unfaithful could make the divorce that much harder as feelings of pain and betrayal muddy the waters of recovery. On the other hand, if your spouse didn't cheat on you and the problems were much deeper, it could take longer for you to come to terms with the divorce.
If there are children involved, you are much more likely to take a long time to get over a divorce. This is because you will still have to communicate with, see, and co-parent with your ex. You will not be able to completely remove yourself from the situation to heal, which can make that healing take longer. This is especially true if you and your ex have a very hard time getting along for the children's sake.
Income level affects divorce in a big way. If you are financially stable and make enough income to support a household on your own, you are much more likely to be able to move on from divorce quickly. This is because you have the financial freedom to set up a new household the way you want. You also have more options for legal representation when you have flush finances, which can greatly help to get through a divorce with fewer feelings of anger and resentment. However, if you lack in income, it can make moving on very difficult.
Having A Job
Most men do have a job, but if you are self-employed, retired, or disabled, you may not have that supportive work family. Research shows that if you have a job when you start to get divorced, you will have more support and be much more likely to adjust well to the transition from married to single.
Mediation vs. Litigation
If you can work with your ex-spouse to collaborate on a divorce settlement in mediation with a third party, you are more likely to get over the divorce more quickly. Not only is going to court for your divorce more financially draining and give you less control over the outcome, but drawn-out litigation could also be more emotionally draining and trying.
If you are generally resilient and optimistic, generally seeing the positive in things, you are more likely to get over your divorce quickly. On the other hand, if you are resistant to change and have a hard time coping with stress, it could take longer. Seeing a therapist can help you gain resiliency so that you can move on with your life.
Unfortunately, many men lack the support systems that women often have. Men tend to have fewer friends, and they tend to have less contact with the family. If you don't have a good support system of friends and family, and possibly a therapist, you will not have an easy time getting over your divorce.
How To Get Over A Divorce
In short, it takes time to get over a divorce. Your best option for getting over a divorce quickly and in a healthy way is to see a therapist. A good therapist or counselor can help you analyze your marriage and divorce situations, and give you good coping skills that will help you get over the divorce faster. If you don't have the time or ability to see a therapist in person, you still have options. ReGain is a great resource for online counseling that is available 24/7/365 for your convenience. Contact them today to get started
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to get over divorce?
Statistically speaking, it takes an average of two years to feel better post divorce. However, divorce recovery moves at different rates for everyone, and as stated above, this partially depends on the length of time you were married for. Additionally, everyone experiences different challenges and circumstances post divorce that can impact the amount of time it takes. If the partnership caused or contributed to trauma in any way, that'll likely be an added element to work through in divorce recovery, for example. Having a support system is vital during the divorce process. Support groups, talking to friends and family, and counseling are all great ways to gain support, and many people use a combination of the three to form their personal support system. To find support groups in your area, search for "divorce support groups near me" or look for an online support group. It can be helpful to have people that know what you're going through from personal experience in addition to those that are already in your life and support you but may not know exactly what you're going through on a personal level.
What are the five stages of divorce
The five stages of divorce are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five steps aren't always experienced in order, and you may return to one or several of these steps multiple times throughout the divorce or divorce recovery process. During the denial stage, part of you might deny that the divorce was final, even if you logically know otherwise. Denial doesn't always need to be overt; it could also be a matter of subconsciously pushing it out of your head due to emotional pain or overwhelm correlated with the experience. During the anger stage, you'll experience anger, and during the bargaining stage, you might try to "bargain" with yourself or the other person. Depression is rather straightforward, and people experience depression during the divorce process to a variety of different degrees. The depression could be extreme, or it could feel more like sadness. Acceptance, the final step, is where you start to accept the situation and gain hope. There is truly no normal when it comes to grieving or healing. Although some things are consistent, everyone processes and expresses things a bit differently.
How do you emotionally get over a divorce?
Divorce is hard; that's just a fact. While it may be tempting to push your emotions down, the first step to getting over a divorce is to simply let yourself feel your feelings. Things might get worse before they get better emotionally, and that's okay. It's important to process your emotions now rather than pushing them down. Another thing that can be helpful in dealing with the emotions that come with the divorce is to make sure to spend time with others and refrain from isolating yourself. Social support is a vital part of our emotional and physical well-being, so spend extra time with the people you care about and are able to have a good time with, if possible. Additionally, remember that the grieving process takes as long as it needs to take and that it's not necessarily something you can bypass, control, or halt. As painful as separation or divorce is, pushing things down will only hurt you. Be gentle with yourself and use compassion as well as self-care during this time.
Why is divorce so painful?
Any life shift or transition can throw you off, but divorce is particularly painful. First, it's factual that you built a life with this person. You shared a home together and have a lot of memories with one another. It can be hard to think of the good times or the future plans you might've had. This is something that changed the course of your life, and even if the marriage wasn't perfect, it can be overwhelming and somewhat of a shock. There might be added components that make it difficult, such as trauma, adjusting to new surroundings, or even a new schedule. For example, if you used to live with your kids, you might share custody now, which can be a massive adjustment to make. You might even have mutual friends that it's more challenging to see because you're worried about them bringing up your ex-partner. If that's the case, make sure to set boundaries and have some support that isn't connected to your ex-spouse.
How do I cope with divorce after a long marriage?
After a long marriage, you might need extra time to start feeling like things are normal. Divorce is hard, especially if you were in a marriage for a very long time, and it's likely that you'll experience a myriad of emotions. First, make sure that you take the time to grieve after separation divorce or a breakup. You can't push negative emotions down or away forever. Additionally, you don't need to push yourself into a new relationship right away. You might be dealing with a variety of new life circumstances during the divorce recovery process. Those could include being a newly single parent, dealing with property distribution, or going through the legal aspects of a divorce. Make sure that you have support during this time from friends, family, or support groups. You may also find it helpful to see a counselor. In time, things will get better post divorce. If you and your ex-spouse are having trouble negotiating or navigating anything during the divorce process, it might be helpful to see a divorce counselor in addition to a divorce mediator. A divorce counselor and a divorce mediator serve different purposes but are both extremely helpful during the divorce process.
How do I stay positive during a divorce?
The short answer is that you don't need to stay positive all of the time when you're going through something difficult like a divorce. Divorce is hard, and it's important to allow yourself to feel your feelings. If you're feeling down, confused, anxious, or angry, know that all of those things are normal. Take things day to day and allow yourself to experience the good moments in your life as well as the not so good moments. Look at the things that you are grateful for and try to spend free time doing things that bring you joy. Make sure not to bypass your emotions or tell yourself what you should or shouldn't be feeling. Taking things one step at a time is the best way to go. If you have a day when you feel down, even if it is later in the divorce recovery process, know that it's okay. Take this time to think about what you want your life to look like moving forward. You might focus on self-empowerment or thinking about your goals for your future. Additionally, consider trying new things, such as a new class or hobby. Make sure that you have some go-to coping skills such as friends you can call, music you can listen to, a creative activity you enjoy, or a physical activity you like to engage in, such as playing sports, running, or taking a walk outside. If you hit a sticking point and are experiencing depressive symptoms or feel like you're at a loss, therapy can help.
How do you feel after a divorce?
People may experience a variety of feelings after divorce. For the first couple of months, you could find yourself in numerous states, ranging from denial to anger to depression. Then, you might move on to another emotional state. There might be a lot of ups and downs, and it can be easy to start wondering what's going on or if you'll ever feel the same again. You might be overwhelmed trying to deal with certain specifics pertaining to your divorce, such as child custody battles, depending on your situation. The divorce process can be stressful in and of itself, but a lot of people have found that once a divorce was final, they were hit with another wave of grief. Often, people experience the five stages of grief following a divorce. All in all, remember that there's no "right" way to feel. Prioritize your well-being during this time, let yourself feel your feelings, ask for help if you need to, and refrain from turning to maladaptive coping mechanisms such as substance use. If you find yourself leaning toward a maladaptive coping mechanism or behavior, it's essential to reach out to someone you love, and if it continues, be sure to reach out to a mental health provider.
What are the stages of grief after divorce?
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some of us struggle to cope with feelings like anger, but they are a normal part of the grieving process. You might flip back-and-forth from one stage of grief to another for as long as it takes for you to get through your own personal grieving process. Know that healing, as well as grieving, is not linear and that there's nothing wrong with you if you find that things are taking longer than you'd like. When you're going through a separation or divorce, counseling can help, especially if you feel stuck or confused and aren't sure what to do. Therapy or counseling is also beneficial if you simply need someone to talk to. Don't be afraid to reach out for support from a licensed mental health provider, whether that's someone in your local area or through an online therapy website like ReGain.
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