How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Divorce? 9 Things That Emotional Recovery Depends On
Updated February 27, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown
Every person that goes through a divorce wonders how long it will take to get over a divorce. Often when a relationship ends, you feel as though you have lost something important. Even if you were the one to ask for the divorce, it could be difficult to let go of the life you built with your partner over the years. You may want the pain to stop, but the bottom line is that everyone has to go through a process of healing, and moving on that takes time. Several things impact your emotional recovery from divorce.
Getting Over Divorce
There is no definitive answer as to how long it takes to get over a divorce. It depends on many factors. On average, therapists say that it takes one year for every five to seven years of marriage for you to fully get over a divorce and move on. However, there are several things that impact your emotional recovery from divorce, and these things can make healing happen faster or slower, depending.
How Long You Were Together
The length of your marriage is not the only thing to consider. Some couples have been in a relationship for years before they got married. When you are thinking about how long it will take to get over the divorce, think about the actual duration of the relationship. If you were together for eight years but only married for four, you will more likely need two years to recover rather than one emotionally.
The State Of The Relationship
Clearly, if you are getting divorced, your relationship was less than perfect. However, the actual state of the majority of your relationship does dictate how long it takes to get over the divorce. If you were really happy in the marriage and are unsure of what happened that led to your divorce, it can be much harder to accept. However, if your relationship was awful and your spouse treated you horribly, you might find that it is easy to get over the divorce and move on with your life.
How committed were you to your relationship? This can also affect how long it takes to get over a divorce. If you married your spouse because it seemed like a good idea at the time and you knew you could get out of it later if you wanted to, then you probably weren't that committed and moving on will be easy. If, on the other hand, you fully expected your relationship to last until death does us part, you will have a much harder time grieving and moving on.
Surprise Or Not
If you saw that there were problems in your marriage and realized that a divorce might be imminent, you probably already started preparing yourself and going through the emotions that come with divorce. This can shorten the amount of time it takes to get over the divorce and move on. However, if the divorce was a complete surprise and you had no inkling that anything was amiss, you will have a much harder time accepting the situation and moving forward.
If you have children together with your spouse, this can make it more difficult to get over your divorce. Children mean that you have to co-parent with your ex for the good of the children. You will have to talk to them almost daily. You will have to see them whenever it is time for the children to go to the other household. And you will have to see them at school events and extracurricular activities. Even if you and your spouse seem to be able to cope with co-parenting with ease, this constant interaction can make it more difficult to get over a divorce.
When divorce is the result of infidelity, it may be that one of the two people in a marriage is already in a new relationship, perhaps even before they tell their partner that they want a divorce. If you are already in a new relationship, getting over the divorce will be easy because you have already moved on from the marriage. If your partner is in a new relationship already and you are not, it can increase feelings of abandonment and betrayal, which can make getting over the divorce harder.
Every single person is different, and therefore, it takes everyone their own time to get over a divorce. If your personality is a strong one, if you are a fighter, if you adapt well to change, you will be able to get over your divorce much more quickly. On the other hand, if you are generally subservient to your spouse, quiet and unlikely to state what you need, or you don't handle rapid change well, it will be much harder for you to get over a divorce. If you have the second type of personality, seeing a therapist can help you make changes within yourself to help you be stronger and more resilient.
Just as with anything else, demographics play a role in how long it takes to get over a divorce. While it is not always understood how the demographics influence this time frame, statistics show that it does make a difference. Different races, age groups, genders, and income brackets all handle divorce differently. A therapist can give you more information about how your demographics may affect your emotional recovery.
How You Handle Emotion
There will be a gambit of emotions that you go through as you go through your divorce. You will feel anger, resentment, abandonment, betrayal, sadness, loss, and grief. You may even feel nostalgic at times, heightening your sense of loss. How you handle these emotions will make a difference in how long it takes for you to get over a divorce truly. If you suppress your emotions and don't deal with them, it will take much longer for you to move on. Below are some ways that you can handle emotions that will shorten the amount of time it takes to get over a divorce.
Prioritize And Stay On Track
There are several things that you will have to do and deal with as you go through your divorce. It can be tempting to wallow in your emotions and depression, but real life is still going on around you. Chores have to be done, and there are things you have to do as you separate your households. Prioritizing and using lists to stay on track with the things that need to be done will help keep you from falling into a deeper depression.
Put Away Memories
As soon as you can, put away old photographs and memorabilia that remind you of your ex. Having these things around all the time will only make you feel more lost and lonely more frequently. When you put these things away, it signals to your mind that you are moving on and letting go.
Talk To Someone
If you have a good support system of family and friends, talk to them about your emotions and what is going on with the divorce. Sometimes even if they do not help you make decisions, it can help you feel better to get it all out to someone who wants to listen. If you don't have a good support system, you should get a therapist or counselor to help you with this.
Self-care is always important, but it is especially important when going through a major loss and life change such as divorce. You want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty cup. This means that you need to make sure you have a good morning routine, bedtime routine, and other routines to help you maintain your health and mental wellbeing. It also does, of course, include self-care things like bubble baths or yoga classes.
How To Get Through A Divorce
As you can see, there are a lot of things that impact your emotional recovery from divorce. However, there are some things that you can do to hasten the process. These dos and don'ts of getting through a divorce will help you heal and move on more quickly.
- Don't try to do it alone. Do ask for help.
- Don't suppress your thoughts and feelings.
- Don't count on others to tell you what you need or what to do.
- Don't ignore your problems and expect them to go away.
- Don't pretend that you are fine if you aren't.
- Don't be upset with yourself for your thoughts and emotions.
- Ask for help and allow people to help you.
- Talk about your grief and emotions with others.
- Get as much information you can about the divorce process, both legally and emotionally.
- Face each obstacle or challenge as they arise.
- Allow yourself to feel and think whatever comes without judging yourself.
- Be accepting of your new normal and your new life.
- Be optimistic and trust that things will work out the way they need to.
- Be willing to make mistakes without judging yourself harshly.
All of this can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you are trying to deal with it on your own. Instead, you should seek out help to cope with the emotional trauma of divorce. A therapist or counselor can be of great assistance during this time. If you don't feel like you have the time or ability to see a traditional therapist in person, you can talk to licensed therapists through online counseling. ReGain is a great online counseling resource with counselors and therapists that specialize in relationships and getting over divorce. Contact them today for more information or to get started.