What to Expect After a Divorce

August 22, 2019
After a divorce, everyone looks forward to opening their eyes one day and leave all of that pain behind. However as with everything, it takes time to process and eventually overcome it.

Nobody gets married thinking it won’t last forever. So, after a divorce, it’s very difficult to accept that you’ve “failed.”

It doesn’t matter if you sought it or not, Divorce marks a symbolic end of a dream and is therefore painful.

Know that overcoming it is never simple and that it will take time to heal.

How complicated it is to end a relationship depends, to a large extent, on the depth of the bonds that bound it. Also, it depend on other factors such as the time you were together, the quality of your relationship and commitment to each other, and mutual connections such as children, pets, property, and other common goods.

Even your age, position, and social relationships will be of influence in your recovery. The more ties you had to one another, the harder it is to untangle them. The same goes for any other relationship.

As you can see, there’s no magic solution to overcome a divorce. Keeping that in mind, we’ll offer a few general tips to help.

How to Get Over a Divorce

What does Science Say?

A broken picture after a divorce.
The acceptance period of an emotional breakup and subsequent divorce depend on the couple. They can be more or less long, and expensive.

Even though it’s difficult to measure human feelings, there are social scientists who are trying to understand the divorce process as well as the time needed to overcome it.

Some studies at Binghampton University in New York indicate that most people overcome a divorce about 6 months to 2 years after their separation. According to this research, women feel a more severe emotional impact but often recover faster than men. In fact, men have more difficulty overcoming a breakup altogether.

This study reveals there are 6 phases in the process of overcoming a divorce:

  1. There is a mixture of depression and anger against one another and moments of anxiety about the separation.
  2. Disorientation, caused by change and uncertainty.
  3. Pain and sadness, mourning over the precious thing you could’ve had.
  4. Reflection. This is about looking for reasons, explanations, and trying to understand why it didn’t work.
  5. Assimilation. At this stage, you begin to accept your divorce and break ties with the past.
  6. Opening. This is the moment when you finally overcome your divorce and are able to meet new people. You begin to face the future without resentment or ties to the past.

Read also: How to Recover from a Breakup

Tips to Get Over a Divorce

A couple looking at each other.
Proper emotional management during the acceptance process can benefit your self-esteem as well as your self-acceptance, maturity, and decision making.

What to Do

When you divorce, you lose a valuable support system and connection. However self-sufficient you may feel, divorce is like losing part of yourself.

To better recover from a divorce, there are several steps you can follow:

  • Confide in someone about what you’re feeling.
  • Seek help from anyone who can understand you. Don’t suppress your feelings or your sadness, and don’t try to disguise them. If you speak in a sincere and objective way, you’ll soon find answers that’ll help you cope.
  • Find a positive story to tell. If you constantly talk about your break up and rejection and your loss of happiness, your recovery will be slower. However, if you look for a positive approach to your personal history, you’ll heal faster. Learn from your past relationship and subsequent separation. Any personal lessons are good lessons for your future.
  • Find yourself. Don’t focus on the part of yourself that you think you lost when you separated. Instead, redefine yourself and establish who you are in spite of your relationships.
  • Recover those parts of you that you sacrificed for your past relationship. Start seeing yourself as a complete person and not as a half that was incomplete without another.
  • Find your own path. Search and approach anything that interests you. Set goals and paths to achieve them and follow that route. When you find yourself on that path, connect with yourself and with new people.

You may be interested: Solitude is Enjoyable When You Seek It

What Not to Do

A seemingly upset woman.
Don’t isolate yourself nor hesitate to externalize your feelings about your breakup. Thus, your final acceptance will be more bearable.

Therapist Susan Pease also recommends situations and actions you should avoid:

  • Don’t isolate yourself or keep your feelings to yourself. Seek help and try to share how you’re feeling.
  • However, don’t expect others to tell you what to do. Yes, talk to others but, in the end, remember that the solution is up to you.
  • Also, don’t expect the recovery to happen spontaneously. Take action to overcome your divorce.
  • In addition, don’t pretend you’re fine when you don’t feel fine. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad. It’s normal to feel anger and sadness. Accept it as part of the healing process.
  • Finally, don’t be a perfectionist and think you didn’t make mistakes. A relationship is made of two people and you both made mistakes. Accept yours, but don’t spend too much time blaming yourself and feeling guilty about it. Take it as a learning experience.

Some experts believe that people who take more than two years to get through a divorce probably do one or more of the things they shouldn’t.

Therefore, keep in mind all of the above and take your time to overcome your grief.

  • The Breakup Project: Using Evolutionary Theory to Predict and Interpret Responses to Romantic Relationship Dissolution. Craigh Harris. 2015. https://orb.binghamton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1001&context=dissertation_and_theses
  • Participating in Research on Romantic Breakups Promotes Emotional Recovery via Changes in Self-Concept Clarity. Participating in Research on Romantic Breakups Promotes Emotional Recovery via Changes in Self-Concept Clarity. Grace M. Larson, David Sbarra. Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USADepartment of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. (2015). Volume: 6 issue: 4, page(s): 399-406