Healing After a Divorce Takes Time, But How Much?
You might expect for your healing journey after divorce to be straight and steady forward path, but as with all things in life, you’re likely to have setbacks and even unexpected waves of grief. Some say being prepared for these moments and knowing they’re normal can help as you walk through them. The healing process won’t last forever, but the truth is, no one can tell you exactly how long it will take for you. According to author Jenny Kanevsky one of the most important things you can do is let go of the high expectations you have. You can read more of her thoughts in the article below.
Ways to care for yourself as you heal from divorce
Just when I thought I was doing better, I was hit with a tsunami of sadness. Why? The sun is shining, but it’s not the dead of Texas summer anymore. The kids are in school, we are in our new home, just the three of us. I’m sleeping again. The divorce is almost final. I am slowly moving on. It’s walking weather. What’s the matter with me?
Healing from divorce is not linear. It comes in waves, it’s different for everyone, and it’s unpredictable. And while that’s hard to swallow, it helps to understand because you can be prepared for setbacks and know, this won’t last forever, but you can’t force it, no more than you could force marriage. Healing from divorce takes time. How much time? No one knows precisely but some experts claim that after the loss of a marriage, people should give themselves two years to recover. And if you were blindsided by the event, it could take longer.
This is more time than most expect. And, it is certainly more than I expected of myself. Two years. This makes me feel better, and also worse. I’m only eight months in, not even 1/3 of the way through the healing process. And the early days are the hardest. This has been the most stressful, painful, emotionally, and physically draining thing I have ever experienced, as an individual and as a mother. I expect so much of myself, when in fact, I deserve more patience, fewer expectations, and a heck of a lot more grace.
I don’t know if being married longer or having kids means it takes longer; I’d imagine it does. I would also think that having been through rocky marital times adds to recovery time. If only people were like math and we could determine rates of change based on proven theorems. But, no. People are more complex. They grieve and heal at different rates. I would posit that the length and complexity of the union do have an impact on the healing process, as does the level of intensity, and the way in which a marriage ends.
I do know how it has been for me. It was an unexpected ending, and therefore will likely take me longer to heal. I was with my ex seventeen years, almost half my life. I thought it was to be forever. We have two sons, ages thirteen and ten. We moved several times together, we traveled, we went through illness and job loss and years and years of living. There is history and muscle memory. That doesn’t just go away.
Divorce has not just changed my routine such as where the kids are on a given weekend, my financial situation, and how I spend my free time, it has touched me at a deep level that, at first, I did not notice. After a few months of being separated, I would wake up and not know if I was alone in my bed; I’d slept with a partner for so many years. I started having strange, emotionally upsetting dreams where my subconscious created events that scared me. And when I’d wake up, it would take me some time to realize my reality was now different.