Breakups, separations, and divorce can be tough to cope with. For most people, it can be draining, traumatic, and very painful.
It leaves scars that even time can’t heal.
However, if you allow the pain you’re experiencing to rule your thoughts and actions; you could end up isolating yourself from your family and friends, neglecting your job, and even disregarding yourself in the process.
While there’s no cure for heartbreak, there are specific approaches you can do to ease the pain. There are ways to help you cope, heal, and get through this challenging time of your life.
So if you’re ready to start over in life, you need to let go of the past and begin to focus on yourself and the future ahead of you.
But the question still remains, how long does it really take to get over a divorce?
Let’s find out:
Psychotherapist, McNulty Counseling & Wellness
Divorce can be a crippling experience. I see many clients struggle to move on with their lives after their marriage has ended. The biggest factors in determining how long it takes to get over a divorce are the coping skills and support system the person has in place.
If the person has a good way of dealing with stress before the divorce, chances are they will continue to incorporate these positive coping skills during the divorce. When a couple divorces family relationships and mutual friendships can be severed. It is important for anyone going through a divorce to reach out to their support system when they are in need because the more they try to get through it alone, the harder it will be.
Many women who go through a divorce find that they have been in the role of wife and mother for so many years that they do not know how to function in any other way. This makes it difficult for them to navigate through the divorce, rebuild, and move on.
Many women have not had a paying job in years and do not know how to work the latest simple computer programs needed in the workforce today. Dating and sexuality is always an issue because going from mom’s brain to divorced and looking can be a difficult transition.
Trust issues may be a factor as well as body image when it comes to when a woman will start dating again. I encourage my clients to get closure and move on with their life. They have the opportunity to do and be whomever they want, even discover new parts likes and aspects of themselves that they never knew existed.
Once clients become excited about the future then they stop looking to the past for validation. This is when they are ready to move on.
Heather Z. Lyons, PhD
Psychologist | Owner, Baltimore Therapy Group
As a psychologist in private practice, I’ve worked with clients who have really run the gamut in recovery times.
I’ve worked with clients who have recovered even before they were officially divorced. These aren’t people who just swept it under the rug. They did the work of mourning their relationship and the roles they inhabited as part of the relationship and prepared for what was ahead of them. These are usually the ones who initiate the divorce (and who have been proactive enough to get engaged in therapy to prepare).
At the other extreme, I’ve seen other clients take on abandonment or a sense of unlovability as part of their identity following divorce. If not challenged, this group can remain entrenched in reliving the divorce.
I’ve noticed a couple of factors that can differentiate the first group from the second.
The first group weds (so to speak) the intellectual with the emotional experience of the divorce and they stay in the moment. They do the uncomfortable emotional work as it comes rather than putting their life into neat little boxes.
The second group can look emotional at times but their emotions are not spontaneous. Instead, their emotions can be connected to old wounds, usually from childhood.
Templates were set in place when they were children that were only confirmed by something as devastating as a divorce. Maybe they were made to feel that true love wasn’t something they deserved or that betrayal was always a possibility.
Other times, when divorce catches people by surprise (maybe they had been in denial about the relationship problems, maybe there was a surprising affair, or maybe they didn’t initiate the divorce) people can have a hard time making sense of the experience and then find that their worldview and sense of trust is challenged.
Consistent with research, I’ve also noticed that men have a harder time recovering (emotionally, at least) from divorce.
Licensed Relationship & Marriage Therapist
Getting over a divorce will depend on many different factors, but most people fall into two different camps with it comes to divorce: Those who are glad for the divorce and those who aren’t.
Obviously, those who are glad about the divorce because it signifies the end of something bad and the beginning of something good, will be able to get closure and move on rather quickly.
Now the effects of that “something bad” may linger for a while, especially if there was broken trust as in the case of infidelity or abuse, but getting over the divorce can be rather quick in these circumstances – by quick I mean typically less than a year. The relief of having an end to the difficulties in the relationship often overpowers any sadness and, for the most part, only require a short period of adjustment.
For others, however, the divorce is undesirable or non-mutual and for those folks, a divorce can trigger a grieving process that can last a long time. If someone abandons their partner, for example, the one who was abandoned will go through a normal grieving process. The first rule of grieving is that you shouldn’t put a time frame on it. Each person grieves a loss in their own way. Sometimes grief can last for years.
For someone who’s considering entering into a new relationship after a divorce, my typical recommendation is to wait for at least a year. As a general rule, if someone is still struggling with adjusting to their divorce after a year it can signify something more serious such as an attachment disorder or a dependency issue.
So to summarize, you should plan on about a year-long recovery process after a divorce on average. Some people can recover in a little less time than that while others take much longer. On average, though, you can expect to have a recovery and adjustment period of about a year.
Chief Habit Scientist | Author | Coach
This is a great question, and I often get asked a similar one when people are changing habits – which is my coaching niche. And the answer is – it depends! There are a number of components to consider here.
One of the first is how long the relationship lasted – the longer the relationship, the longer it will take for you to get over it.
The second is how it ended – was it a slow separation or was there a cataclysmic event? The cataclysmic relationship-endings can have more PTSD associated with the healing.
Then there is the issue of whether you have to maintain a relationship for your shared children, which can cause past issues regarding communication to keep on rearing their ugly heads.
And the one that is, in my opinion, the most key, is how resilient you are to change.
Resiliency is something that can be cultivated, like optimism. We used to think that the brain stopped evolving once we became an adult. But research into neuroscience in the last 30 years has shown us that the brain is a magnificent and adaptable piece of extraordinary software.
Some of the best tools for developing resiliency are:
- Meditation – it teaches you to let go, to be kind to yourself and helps boost your empathy brain centers.
- Journaling – shown to be hugely beneficial to do before a stressful event and in processing PTSD symptoms.
- Boundaries – being super clear on your own boundaries and then sticking to them, particularly in reference to your ex.
Sarah A. Intelligator, Esq.
Divorce and Family Law Attorney | Founder, Law Offices of Sarah A. Intelligator
The length of time it takes to get over a divorce obviously varies from person-to-person. It depends on the following:
- The duration of the relationship.
- The individual’s desire and ability to move forward with his/her life.
- How or why the relationship ended.
For instance, in my experience, I have found that the duration of the relationship directly correlates to the amount of time it takes to grieve the loss of the relationship. Ostensibly, the more time 2 people have spent with one another, the more experiences they have shared and the more foreign it may feel to be on one’s own or to be in a relationship with another person. Just by way of example, a 10-year relationship may take 6 months to a year to get over, while an 8-month relationship may take 1-3 months to get over.
So, too, the reason the relationship ended is equally significant. One whose spouse is unfaithful may have a more difficult time recovering from the divorce because he or she feels hurt, wrong and betrayed. Often, when one’s spouse is unfaithful, he or she may experience irreparable, or at least long-lasting self-esteem and trust issues, such that he or she feels unattractive, inadequate and unlovable. Even if he or she is able to overcome these insecurities, he or she may still have difficulty trusting a new partner. As such, it may take years to get over the divorce — if ever at all.
On the other hand, a marriage that ends after the couple mutually grows to realize they are incompatible will likely have a relatively short grieving period–perhaps, only several months, of course, depending on the length of the relationship.
Naturally, each of us comes to the relationship with different histories and emotional scars that may exacerbate the divorce wound. Some are more resilient. Some prefer to hold on to the hurt, as to let go would mean to truly let go of the relationship. I see this most often when clients prefer to litigate issues that they should and could settle. They would rather spend money fighting than to go their separate ways and settle.
In some way, it keeps them connected to one another. Seemingly, by doing so, they may continue to play out the dysfunctions in their relationship through the legal process. Instead of moving forward, the anger grows and festers. It becomes virtually impossible to “get over” the divorce because each will continue to harbor resentment for the other in perpetuity.
Letting go is difficult. Moving on may prove a daunting task. It is important to take the time to appropriately grieve and reflect. However, after several months, or, perhaps, in the case of a longer relationship, even a year, the decision to get over a divorce is a personal one.
Each of us has the power to make that choice. It is not an easy choice. I know several individuals who, even after 10 years, still have not gotten over their divorce. They choose to hold on.
We all have the power and ability to let go. We simply need to decide when that happens and get over it.
Helen M. Dukhan, Esq., LL.M.
Divorce and Family Law Attorney | Founder, HD Family Law
How long it takes to get over a divorce is a tricky question to answer. The length of time it takes one to get over the loss of a marriage is unique and specific to each individual.
Typically, the person that decided to end the marriage has a much shorter recovery or bounce back period, as I like to call it, then the spouse who did not want the divorce.
That being said, after 15 years of practicing Divorce and family law I have recognized certain steps that individuals can take to lessen their bounce back period significantly.
In fact, most of the steps should be taken in preparation for the divorce and throughout the divorce in order to be emotional and mentally strong before, during and after the divorce process. Those steps are as follow:
Seeking Therapy: It is imperative that in preparation for divorce, during the divorce and following the divorce that each spouse, especially the spouse that did not want to get a divorce or was blindsided by their spouse’s decision to get a divorce, seek a therapist that they can speak to.
Many individuals do not believe in therapy and would rather seek out friends and family. However, this can backfire and make everything much worse, including recovery time. Those who love us most tend to add to our anger in their attempts at support. It is very hard for family and friends to stay impartial and provide us with the guidance we need to get through something as arduous as divorce.
If an individual seeks therapy before, during and after the divorce, much of the work that they have to do to get over divorce will already be complete when the ink on the divorce papers is dry and their bounce back will be short or even non-existent. Most of my clients who follow this step are not mourning the loss of the marriage, but rather are celebrating it (whether or not they were the initiator).
Activity: I often urge my clients to start an activity that they can count on throughout the divorce process. I ask if they have always wanted to learn a language, learn to paint, learn to sew, take on a sport, or start going to the gym or becoming physically active. Maybe they have always wanted to write a book and wish to take a workshop or classes to learn how.
I think it is so important for individuals to take on new activity in order to prepare for, survive and get over a divorce. Their emotional energy and anger and thoughts can be diverted into something else while accepting and processing the rough stuff.
Gratitude and Acceptance: I think these two go hand in hand. I think each divorcee must accept that the divorce is happening, or has happened, own up to whatever role they may have plaid in the breakdown of their relationship, have a moment to grieve and accept the marriage as over.
However, directly in combination with acceptance, they should form a practice of gratitude. The reason I say a “practice” of gratitude, because this is on-going, daily, continuous gratitude. I advise each client to write down all of their negative emotions and thoughts each morning or before bed.
All of those thoughts they are experiencing on their journey to acceptance and bounce back. Then, I ask that they flip those negative thoughts into positive ones. That they feel grateful for the positives that are going to come from the negatives and feel their gratitude completely. The individual must understand they must choose to be positive in order to get over the divorce and move on with their life.
In conclusion, I think the stronger a person is, the more it makes themselves regard their mental well-being and the more in control they are able to be of their emotions, their ability to remove negative thoughts or switch them easily into a positive future outlook, the quicker their recovery period is.
Family Lawyer | Empowerment Trainer | Author
First of all– what does it mean to get over a divorce? Dating? Remarrying? Forgetting your ex?
My definition of getting over the divorce has everything to do with moving on, starting your life over without regrets or recrimination (of oneself and your ex), forgiving without holding grudges and giving no thought to the life left behind, so you can focus on building a new life without your partner.
How long it takes to get to that point is a personal matter, which depends on a variety of factors, such as the emotional health of the individual, the circumstances of the break up (who left whom and why) and the kind of divorce they had.
An emotionally fragile person will take longer than a resilient one.
Also, a person who’s had the time to evaluate the marriage and get prepared for divorce will have an advantage over the spouse who may have been surprised by a partner’s desire to end the relationship. Quite possibly, this person may have already started the grieving process and divorcing may feel liberating. That was my case.
The circumstances of the break up are key. For example, if abuse and infidelity are involved, these problems are likely to cause deep wounding that may take longer to heal.
Finally, an acrimonious divorce is likely to engender negative feelings and keep the individual stuck in useless emotions such as anger, resentment, hatred and, let’s face it, revenge fantasies.
I would hope these issues can be worked out in a year or two. Unfortunately, many people stay stuck in divorce mode and spend years–or a lifetime–seething over their divorce… Therapy with a qualified counselor may help move the process along.
J. Alex Jacobson
Lawyer | Owner, Jacobson Mediation Group
Following a divorce, there is a “new normal” that must be established. One spouse may now have responsibilities for the children that he/she did not have. A spouse may now be responsible for financial matters that were not his or her responsibility during the marriage.
The length of time it takes to “get over” a divorce – or to establish this new normal – ties directly to how amicable (or not) the divorce process was. For example, there are highly litigious cases where the parties are unable to reach any agreements on their own.
In these instances, judges are called upon to decide issues such as the proper parenting schedule and the appropriate amount of support to be paid and often significant legal fees are incurred as a result. The adversarial process fuels emotions.
Following the divorce, the parties are often unable to let go of those emotions. However, there are alternative ways that a divorce may be resolved such as in mediation.
Mediation is a non-adversarial, confidential and cost-efficient process where parties are able to resolve their differences with the assistance of a mediator.
Because the parties are crafting their own agreements, they are able to do so in a manner that takes into consideration the unique circumstances of their family.
As a result, parties often feel that their concerns are better addressed are able to better transition into their new normal post-divorce life.
Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator | Lawyer | Owner, Divorce Harmony
How long it takes to get over a divorce really depends on many different factors – the ones you can’t control and the ones that you can.
You obviously can’t control the behavior of your ex. But you can absolutely make things easier by arming yourself with the knowledge of what to expect, the right professionals and supportive friends and family.
You must also make a conscious decision to want to heal and get better. This may mean starting to exercise and finding special interests that add meaning to your life whether that’s volunteering or a new art class.
Of course, each person’s particular demeanor and personality can affect how long recovery takes. As well as the specifics of the marriage like the length of the marriage, kids affected and the circumstances of your divorce.
Certified Divorce Coach | Founder, Battle Free Divorce
Divorce is a very complex and difficult process fueled by intense emotional upheaval. For most people, their lives get turned upside down or even shattered.
Feelings such as anger, hurt, hopelessness, confusions, anxiety, fear, shock, denial, grief, etc. tend to punctuate the experience. It’s no wonder moving on after such a difficult and painful ordeal can be a challenge for many.
There are a lot of factors that determine how long it takes for one to get over a divorce:
- Where one entered the divorce journey
- How long they get stuck in one phase
- Their overall outlook and resilience
- Whether or not they believe they got a fair outcome
- Complexities of what’s been contested
- Clarity and preparedness around the legal process
- Their own fear
- Intensity and nature of the conflict
- Being emotionally “married” to the situation etc.
To put this into perspective we must first understand the nature of the divorce journey. Divorce is a process of transition that takes place in phases, each with its unique characteristics and implications.
Phase 1 is the shock and denial stage. People who find themselves here typically talk about being blindsided. They struggle with trying to understand “why” this is happening.
Phase 2 is characterized by feelings of anger, confusion, frustration, fear. Someone in this phase is trying to make sense of what is happening, and they tend to see themselves as victims.
Phase 3 is where they begin to shift the relationship with the experience, become more proactive and work towards a resolution.
Phase 4 is marked by hope and enthusiasm as one prepares to move on and rebuild.
How long it takes for one to get over a divorce depends to a greater extent on how quickly they move through the phases. It’s difficult to narrow down an exact time frame since it varies from individual to individual and case by case.
For instance, there are cases where it takes clients only 6 months to breakthrough, get to acceptance and move on. Meanwhile, others can stay stuck in phase 2 for 7+ years, despite the fact that they were legally divorced.
Dawn Burnett, CSA
Transformational Divorce Coach | Author | Founder, A New Dawn Natural Solutions, Inc.
Divorce Recovery involves the commitment to self, the conscious decision to put one’s self first, taking the time to deal with past issues so you can heal. Everybody’s journey is different and there is not a set time one can put on healing and get over a divorce. A great measurement of progress is when you find yourself no longer talking about the marriage, divorce or your ex.
So here are 5 steps to progress in healing after divorce:
- Take inventory of your life: Where did you go wrong in the marriage? Yes, it takes 2 to tango, reflect back on what caused the derailment. Usually, it is due to our upbringing and something that happened to us along the way.
- Plug into a support group: This is the new tribe that will hold you accountable all while showing you love and support during your healing journey.
- Make a list of what makes you happy: Start focusing on the list, when we keep our focus on things that make us happy we take our mind off the negative which is the past relationship.
- Forgive – First, forgive yourself. You did the best you knew to do at the time. Write out your expressions in a journal and get it out. Purge from toxic thoughts.
- Focus on gratitude: Write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for and as you expand your list you will open your heart to all the magic that the Universe has to offer.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin
Certified Imago Therapist | Founder, The Marriage Restoration Project
Recovery from divorce varies from couple to couple as there are so many variables involved. The nature of divorce can play a big role.
Was it amicable or was it contentious? Did one spouse want to stay married? Was there betrayal involved or did they just not get along?
Depending on the answer to those questions, recovery time could be much longer.
Another factor is the length of the marriage. For some, ending a brief relationship can be traumatic. Yet for others, being married for forty years and calling it quits can take a while to get over.
Another external factor is children and/or legal proceedings that could exacerbate the situation. Ongoing legal proceedings or custody battles will keep the divorce fresh in everyone’s mind. If that’s not the case, then it is sometimes possible to quickly move on with a new life.
A final factor that can determine the impact of any of the aforementioned factors is the individual in question.
Some people are more resilient than others or not as emotional and can recover sooner. They may have the ability to just close that chapter in their life and move on. Others will be affected for years by the divorce and let it impact them emotionally. Even after remarriage, it could have an impact.
The bottom line, no two divorces or people are alike and there is no hard and fast rule for recovery time.
Couples Consultant & Coach, Foundations Coaching
The short answer is however long it takes you to move through the grieving process. The person who files for the divorce usually has done a lot of this work while they are still married. By the time they get to the acceptance stage of the death of the marriage, they are ready to move on and the divorce is often just a formality.
If, however, you are the partner who doesn’t want the divorce, the divorce will occur somewhere during your grief process. If you had no idea your partner wanted out, you will be in the Shock/Denial stage. If you knew there were problems you might be anywhere in the next three stages: anger, bargaining, or depression.
Unfortunately, many people get stuck in the anger stage and never get over the divorce. These are the people who are still bitter towards their ex and lay all problems at their feet. Continuing to hold your hurt to you, instead of processing it, will keep you stuck.
It takes time to grieve and it can be made worse because your ex is still around and you may have to interact with them frequently. Making a concerted effort to work through the pain, even if you didn’t want the divorce in the first place, is the only way to “get over” it and move on.
You will have healed when the pain becomes a memory and you can wish your ex well. You will have healed when you can remember the good times and be thankful for what you have learned about yourself.
Content Developer | Founder, Managing Midlife
Divorce starts with grieving. After all, it’s the death of a relationship. Grieving–comes in many forms, from sorrow to anger to relief to joy.
Sometimes all are combined in a very complicated recipe of turmoil. These emotions ebb and flow from the moment a divorce is requested to even years after the divorce is final.
The longer one is married, the tougher it is to recover, especially if children are produced. If money, visitation, and possessions create a tangled mess, then the more negative emotions linger for much longer. If the divorce was amicable, moving onward is *slightly* easier.
What makes the process so difficult is the fact that our heart, trust, and dedication has been shattered. It isn’t easy to quickly recover from that.
Money–this is likely the area that is toughest to recover from. When a divorce is announced, it immediately becomes a toxic mixture of emotions (see grieving above) and money battles. Even though a few marriages end in an amicable way, both money and emotions take a huge hit.
The longer a couple has been married, the more assets they have accumulated. Dividing these possessions and accounts is very different from deciding who gets the last piece of the pie.
Family repercussions–family members (other than children) may carry differing opinions and emotions as well. In-laws are likely to verbally attack the ex-spouse, and this attack can differ depending on which one initiated the divorce.
Some parents and in-laws put the divorcees through massive guilt trips, others let bygones be bygones. All these influences recovery.
Children–depending on the cause behind the divorce, children may have varying emotions as a result. If they are relieved or happy the parents have divorced, that helps with emotional recovery. If any of the children (if more than one result from the marriage) carry anger or resentment, this makes the healing process more difficult.
In addition to recovering from divorce, a parent must make peace with the child. If the grudge goes on for years, so can recovery.
New relationships–with so many factors leading up to a divorce, seeking new relationships may take a while to form. There is a sense of “once-burnt, twice-shy” and sometimes a lot of resentment and trust issues regarding the opposite gender. Having a successful second relationship and/or marriage will be dependent on how one emotionally handles all the points stated above.
What’s most important is to learn to love yourself, not wallow in self-guilt, or guilt imposed by others, and then realize that the divorce is the best thing to happen–this last thought takes a while to realize, but it is true.
Owner, Equine Encounters
In my experience of having been married for 16 years (total 18 relationship years) and two kids, I don’t know that you’re ever “over it”.
Divorce was a learning experience of grief and loss. I honestly had never had anything bad happen to me before; the pain of the loss started as a knife to the gut, and I kept waiting for it to stop, to end, to be over. The pain gradually subsided to a dull thud with a butter knife and stopped taking such a big space in my body.
Now, 11 years later, I’m in a happier and healthier relationship than I was in my marriage. This new relationship came after a lot of personal work — work that had to be done on my own and by myself. I had to let go of the side of the pool and swim.
The lessons have been rich, and the person I am today is barely recognizable to the person who was in that marriage 11 + years ago.
I am more me than I’ve ever been. (I went back to my first love of horses and now have an equine-facilitated consulting/education business where I help women get through transitions in their life.)
I was having a conversation with another equine educator one day who had lost her daughter in a plane crash, and we were talking about grief.
I mentioned that I was thankful for the lessons and who I’d become, and up until that point, I thought I was supposed to be grateful for the loss because of what it had taught me. She gave me permission to feel grief when I needed to and to know that I may always feel loss at certain times.
Despite how happy I am today, there are triggers: Christmas, certain places we used to go, a shared book. A wave of grief and loss will wash over me; I meet it and greet it and then it’s gone. And I am OK.
Author | Owner, Kimberly King Books
How long does it take to get over a divorce?
The answer is different for everyone. I was a child of a collaborative, cooperative divorce. In this divorce, my parents put us first. They worked together on parenting plans, holidays, birthdays. My parents never spoke an ill word of each other and were highly supportive and encouraging towards each other.
When kids are put first, things go a little easier. However, introducing a new boyfriend or girlfriend or new spouse can stir up many mixed emotions and be confusing. It can cause resentment and anger.
Kids and parents need some time to settle and emotionally accept the difficult life transition. There is a mourning period for kids to get through a divorce and process the situation. But, I would argue that as a child of divorce and a divorcee myself that the kids never fully recover. Timing has a great deal to do with this.
For instance, a two-year-old will do a whole lot better processing a divorce because he has no real memories of mommy and daddy together. Teens, on the other hand, will need to have time and space to adjust and process emotions.
My parents both seemed to get over the divorce once they thought the kids were alright. That took about a year. They both respectively moved on, remarried and started over. In their case, these second marriages have lasted and all parties involved are still inclusive, collaborative and kind.
There are some very important proactive things parents and kids can do to get through a divorce.
- Hire a good therapist (for the parents and the kids).
- Read collaborative parenting books.
- Read books to your kids that help them understand the family change.
- Open the lines of communication with all family members.
- Never speak an ill word of an x spouse to your kids.
Owner & Founder, Career Solutions
I think the answer is “however long it takes you to get to your new normal, that’s the length of time it takes to get over a divorce”.
Let me explain what I mean. I was married for 25+ years. In November of 2015, he told me he wanted a ‘break’ and if after a few years neither of found anyone we could have an agreement to get back together so we would be alone in old age. (I declined that offer by the way).
He moved out in February of 2016 and our divorce was finalized in June of 2017.
We still had one child at home who was a junior in high school. I knew we’d need to sell the house but wanted her to finish out high school in the family home.
It’s not a long time but long enough that you’d think I’d be past pretty much everything. And I thought I was. I have a great guy I’ve been dating. I have my own place. My daughter is a sophomore in college while my son is almost 2 years out of college and has a great job, a new car and a serious girlfriend.
Everything should be grand right? What I’m realizing is that this is the first year of being “normal”.
You see, in 2015 our holiday was the way it had been for 25+ years because the only people who knew about the separation were my ex and I. Then in 2016, it was the first year with “shared” holidays, but I was still in the house so logistically it was the same. In fact, we’d had many holidays where my ex wasn’t there because of work. Then in 2017, I was in my own place; my daughter was a freshman in college and my son was in his new place as a college graduate. That was weird. This year, 2018, was the second year of my new normal. And it created a long of sadness and anger for me.
As you search to get your life back in order and on track it’s hard to be mad or sad – or at least really address it. For me anyway, I had a son finishing college, a daughter finishing high school and starting college, I had to clean out a house, sell that house, buy a new home and learn how to live alone again.
I didn’t have time to think I just had time to act and react. Now, I’m realizing all the things that being divorced means to me – both the good and the bad. My kids won’t have a family home to bring their kids to, I have to start new shared memories with a partner, and I have to face the real possibility of being alone in retirement.
All the things I ever wanted my personal life to be – they were. And now, they’re not. As I work through all this muck and mire and come out on the other side – that’s when I’ll be over my divorce, when I’m at my new normal and I’m okay with whatever that ends up being. I think that’s how long it takes to get over a divorce – whatever the length of time it is to get to your new normal.
Author | Social Visionary | Relationship Expert
For me, there are phases to the “getting over it.” There is the initial upheaval which takes 1-2 years. This has to do with the transition of separating, the legal proceedings, making sure the kids are taken care of, discovering all of the nuances that make a difference, and that is separate from even beginning to do the emotional work to deal with a break-up.
In my case, it took about 5 years to be completely over it. I was fortunate in that my ex-wife and I were committed to having things be amicable for the kids and for ourselves. The more emotional support, the better. Having a good group of friends, as well as a good therapist, made a huge difference.
Through all of this, we have been able to even do holidays together as a family. But it has taken work, and there are still things that come up that cause friction– after all, there is a reason we are divorced.
Financial Advisor | Founder, Breaking Bonds
Some therapists believe it takes about a year for every five to seven years of marriage to get over a divorce. Some people bounce back more quickly and others never quite recover.
Taking responsibility for your own happiness is essential and will raise your self-esteem. Some tips for resilience after a divorce setback:
- Live in the present moment. Focus on what is going on right now instead of rehashing the past, which you can not change. Practice gratitude every day, even when it’s hard.
- Being only human, you are not supposed to be perfect. The ability to forgive yourself as well as your former partner for mistakes is essential to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and let them go. Focus on positive memories and leave the negative ones in the past where they belong.
- If abuse was involved, there is a good chance that you were traumatized or have PTSD. If so, relief is possible with EyeMovement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or some other therapy.
- Allow yourself to feel all of your feelings, including anger and grief. Express your anger safely. I took up boxing during my divorce! Many people grieve over the partner and marriage that they should have had, not the one they actually did have. You have to process your emotions to release them. Remember that emotions are temporary and you will survive them.
- Make self-care a priority, even when you don’t feel like it. Not jumping right into another relationship will benefit your personal growth. You get to choose what to do, how you spend your money, and who to spend time with. Figure out your likes and dislikes, what makes you happy, and what gives your life meaning. When you value yourself, you have confidence. And that is very attractive!
Related: Why is Self Confidence Important?
Founder, Number Cruncher LLC
How long does it take to get over a Divorce? It is different for everyone.
I have been divorced 11 years and there are times I am still sad over the whole thing, I don’t know if I am over it or not.
There are definite steps that most divorced people go through, each person will do them in their own time and there is not a set order to do them.
For me first, it was unbelief that I was actually going through a divorce. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me because I was a good person. I did all the right things, how come this is happening? Then came anger, anger at God, anger at my ex, I was just angry at a lot of people because those who I thought would be there for me, weren’t.
Along with the anger came hurt or maybe the hurt brought on the anger, I am not sure which came first. Deep sadness and grief over the death of my dreams was my next step. It took me many years to be able to have dreams again. My dreams now are much different than they once were, but at least I am looking forward to the future with hope again and I working towards my dreams.
Regret is another step I dealt with. Regret for marrying the man, regret for not ending things in a better way, and regret for not handling things better. It also took me a lot of years to accept my decisions and be at peace with them and how to stop feeling sorry for myself. All the while I was doing crazy and stupid things trying to deal with all the emotions. Nothing illegal but just stupid teenager kind of things.
Most everyone I know who gets divorced goes through this phase. It is part of the healing and figuring out who we are now. I am still single. I find it hard to really trust men, which is sad as I know there are lots of good single men out there. My children are estranged from me and that brings its own set of sorrows.
My advice to anyone contemplating divorce, if there is ANYWAY to save your marriage do it. Divorce is not fun and sometimes the effects of the divorce will stay with you for years, maybe a lifetime.
Legal Domestic Abuse Coach
How long does it really take to get over a divorce depends on when you stop going to court. It is hard to stop going to court because the lawyers keep you and the other party in a conflict so they can make money.
Remember that family court is a corporation that makes money. Lawyers make money off from parties and the court makes money off from fees.
Your judge makes money from Federal incentives known as “kickbacks.” Judges get a kickback for how much child support they collect. For every amount collected, they get a percentage back in an incentive. Most citizens do not realize that this money comes from a fund for Social Security. You can look up Title IV D funding. While you are there you can also look up Title IV B funding for the incentive for adoption/foster care. Then you will learn why there will be no retirement funds when you retire.
Some parents are in the family court system until their youngest child is 18 and that can be 30 years or more. Parents fighting to keep their children safe from an abusive parent will be in the system for so long that they will get PTSD.
When first in the family court system, parents state it is like a nightmare and they are in the twilight zone. Stay in the family court long enough and you will come to understand how no one is following the law. You will learn more about the family law that you will ever want to know.
Lawyer fees are outrageous and the Bar does little to discipline dishonest attorneys. If you complain to the Bar you are put on a list and other lawyers can look you up and you will never get another attorney unless you pay a high retainer fee. If you start exposing the corruption no one will touch your case period and you are left to represent yourself.
Most parents end up representing themselves because they no longer can pay high attorney fees and no results. Parents are exposing the attorney’s conflict of interest in their cases and following attorneys advice that later lands them in big trouble with the judge.
“When I followed the money trail I discovered the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) attorney for the children placed in my case by the judge, sold custody to my abusive former spouse. At that point, I learned this is not a father or mother issues, it is a who has the most money to buy custody.“
Relationship Therapist and Coach | Author
For most people, the grieving process after the divorce is difficult and long. While some relationship experts may tell you to allow one month of healing for every year you were married, the recovery process after the divorce is totally individual and depends on the number of factors:
- The time a couple spent together.
- Their age.
- How committed they were to each other.
- Whether one or both partners were involved in an affair.
- Whether they have children.
- The couple’s socio-economic status and other factors.