You have to respect the process.
Everyone involved in the divorce is thinking it. You’re taking this huge step that will change your life forever, that will throw your day-to-day life into upheaval, and you want to know when, exactly, you can expect to find your way back to some semblance of “normal.”
The hardest part is that there’s no real firm answer to that question.
Every person’s divorce is different. Every marriage comes with its own unique set of circumstances, personalities, and variables. Even if your divorce is as amicable as possible, you might have your own issues with the post-marriage grieving process that could take years to resolve.
You just have to manage your expectations.
In our latest Expert video (which you can see at the top of the page), Senior VP of YourTango Experts Melanie Gorman asks a panel of professional divorce coaches to weigh in on what it takes to put a divorce behind you and move forward.
Our divorce Experts Sonja Stribling, Laura Bonarrigo, Cherie Morris, and Pegotty Cooper all agreed that everyone gets over a divorce at their own pace, BUT they also outlined several KEY factors that can affect the length of your divorce recovery period.
You can watch their full comments in the video, but here are 5 things that can definitely have an impact on how long it takes you to get over a divorce.
1. What’s your environment?
The type of marriage you had definitely plays a big role in how long the process takes — both the actual divorce filing and the post-grieving process. How long were you together? Do you have kids? Are things on friendly terms with your spouse or not so much?
All of these factors can contribute to how long it takes you to process the divorce, both legally and emotionally.
2. Are you leaving or are you being left?
This is huge. Unless the divorce is some kind of spontaneous mutual decision, most people do not start a divorce at the same place.
The person who files might’ve been preparing for months while their unwitting spouse only starts their process once they find out their partner’s intentions. So, give yourself allowances depending on your role in initiating the divorce.
3. When did you begin mentally preparing for the divorce?
The leaving/being left scenario can play into this, but it’s an important question to ask yourself. When did you check out of the marriage? When did you start preparing yourself for the fact that your union probably wasn’t going to last?
If you’ve been fantasizing about leaving your spouse for months, you might’ve already spent a fair amount of time internally working through some of the big emotional issues surrounding your divorce, so your grieving process will likely be shorter. But, if it hits you unawares OR if you decide to get divorced suddenly, you have to allow yourself the time to process all of the emotions surrounding your split.
4. Do you have help?
It can be hard to ask for assistance during a divorce, but having someone else involved to help you track and achieve your goals is SO important to getting over your divorce ASAP. A divorce coach can play a particularly big role — they can provide you with coping tools, set milestones, and make sure that you’re doing everything you need to do to get over the split.
Having someone in your life who can keep you honest is vital to making sure that you’re actually dealing with the issues surrounding your divorce — so, trust us, having help will allow you to put this thing to bed much sooner.
5. Have you done the work?
Sometimes, couples are so anxious to put a divorce behind them, they start looking towards the end before they’ve actually gotten started. This is important just in terms of keeping your expectations realistic. You can’t get impatient with the process — or yourself — if you don’t even have a signed decree yet.
You have to respect the process. Listen to your lawyer, do the arbitration, get the divorce details settled, and then start working on putting it behind you. But if you jump the gun and try to “deal” with your post-divorce life when you’re not even divorced yet — you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Divorce can be an amazing stepping stone to a happier life, but remember — just because a divorce is painless that doesn’t mean that it’s pain-free.
Allow yourself time to mourn, realize that some divorces take longer to put to bed than others, and accept that there’s no formula for how long it will take for you to get over your divorce. Everyone moves at their own pace, so trust in yourself and you’ll get through it fine.
If you’re struggling with a divorce — or just need help getting through the process — please visit the websites of our Expert divorce coaches and contact Sonja, Cherie, Laura, and Pegotty directly. They’re here to help.