How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Divorce? Emotional Recovery's 9 Factors

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated June 16, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Amy Brown, MSW, LCSW, RPT-S

When going through a divorce, it is common to wonder how long it will take to make it through and process the situation. 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 any pain or sadness to stop, but the bottom line is that there is frequently a process of healing and moving on that takes time. Several things may impact your emotional recovery from divorce.

Divorce Can Be Painful and Overwhelming
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Getting Over Divorce

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long it will take to get over a divorce. It depends on many factors, including the length of the relationship, whether you have children, how amicable the separation was, and a variety of other considerations. There are several things that can impact your emotional recovery from divorce and make healing happen faster or slower.

How Long You Were Together

The length of your marriage is not the only thing to consider, but it can be an important factor when it comes to how long it can take to get over a divorce. Some couples were 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 two, you may still need quite a bit of time to recover.

The State Of The Relationship

While most relationships that end in divorce included a certain amount of conflict, the degree to which there was discord will generally affect how long it takes an individual to process the divorce. A divorce that involved a lot of spite may take a longer time to work through emotionally. Or, if you were really happy in the marriage and are unsure of what happened that led to your divorce, it can be hard to accept that things ended. On the other hand, if your relationship was unhealthy and your spouse treated you poorly, you might find that it is easier to get over the divorce and move on with your life.

Commitment

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 fully committed, and moving on will likely be less difficult. If, on the other hand, you fully expected your relationship to last forever, you might have a much harder time grieving and getting over the divorce.

Surprise Or Not

If you recognized problems in your marriage and realized that a divorce might be imminent, you probably started preparing yourself and going through the emotions that come with divorce. This can shorten the amount of time it takes to grieve afterwards. However, if the divorce was a complete surprise and you had no inkling that anything was amiss, you may have a much harder time accepting the situation and moving forward.

Children

If you have children together with your ex-spouse, this can make it more difficult to get over the divorce. Children mean that you will probably have to co-parent with your ex. You might have to talk to them quite frequently. You will probably have to see them whenever it is time for the children to go to the other household, as well as at school events and other activities. Even if you and your spouse seem to be able to cope with co-parenting easily, this constant interaction can make it more difficult to get over a divorce.

Your Personality

Given that everyone brings their own specific experiences and traits to a marriage, it makes sense that the time it takes to get over a divorce can vary. If you are resilient and adapt well to change, you might be able to get over your divorce much more quickly. On the other hand, if you don't handle rapid change well, you may end up grieving longer than others would. Regardless of your personality, seeing a therapist can help you cope with the divorce and address your emotions surrounding it. 

How You Handle Emotion

There will likely be a range of emotions that you experience as you go through your divorce. You may feel anger, resentment, abandonment, betrayal, sadness, loss, and grief. You may even feel nostalgic at times, which can heighten your sense of loss. How you manage these emotions will make a difference in how long it takes for you to get over a divorce. If you suppress your emotions and don't deal with them, it might take a lot longer for you to move on completely.

Below are some ways that you can cope with your emotions that may shorten the amount of time it takes to get over a divorce.

  • Prioritize And Stay On Track

There are several things that you will usually have to deal with as you go through your divorce, so it can be easy to focus only on your divorce and neglect other aspects of your life. After all, chores have to be done, and there are things you have to work out with your ex as you separate your households. Prioritizing and using lists to stay on track with the things that need to be done can help keep you from ruminating on the past.

  • Put Away Memories

Consider stashing away old photographs and memorabilia that remind you of your ex. Having these things around all the time can make it difficult to let go of the relationship. When you put these things away, it can help signal to your mind that you are moving on.

  • 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 make you feel better to get it all out to someone who wants to listen. If you don't have a good support system, consider seeking the support of a therapist to help you with this.

  • Self-Care

Self-care is always important, but it is especially crucial 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. Practicing self-care can mean creating a good morning and bedtime routine, exercising, eating healthy, and doing other tasks that help you maintain your physical and mental wellbeing — anything from taking bubble baths to attending yoga classes.

Divorce Can Be Painful and Overwhelming

How To Get Through A Divorce

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that may impact your emotional recovery from divorce. However, there are some things you can do to hasten the process. These dos and don'ts of getting through a divorce can help you heal and move on more quickly.

Do:

  • Ask for help and allow others to help you.
  • Talk about your grief and emotions with others.
  • Get as much information as you can about the divorce process, both the legal and emotional aspects.
  • Face each obstacle or challenge as it arises.
  • Allow yourself to think and feel 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.

Don't:

  • Try to do it all alone.
  • Suppress your thoughts and feelings.
  • Count on others to tell you what you need or what to do.
  • Ignore your emotions or expect them to go away.
  • Pretend that you are fine if you aren't.
  • Be upset with yourself for your thoughts and emotions.

Getting Help

Navigating a divorce can be extremely challenging, especially if you are trying to deal with it on your own. Consider seeking help when you’re ready to cope with the complex emotions surrounding divorce. A therapist 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 an online therapy platform like ReGain. ReGain is a great online therapy resource with providers who specialize in relationships and healing after divorce. Contact them today and take the next step on the path to recovering from divorce.

“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.”

“Dr. Anstadt is amazing. I appreciate him always reaching out to make sure things are going smoothly in between our sessions. He follows up and genuinely cares about my situation. I would recommend Dr. Anstadt to anyone who is seeking insight on coparenting and new relationships after divorce. Thank you for everything!”

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