How to Move on After Divorce


Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences for a person to go through. You shared a home, finances, and maybe even children with the person you once committed to. Splitting all of that is going to be painful.  It doesn’t matter if your marriage ended on good terms or if the break was messy – you didn’t picture this for yourself when you got married. Even if your partner was unfaithful or spiteful in the end, you still loved them once. It’s okay to mourn that loss; it’s okay to take some time for yourself. You should also know it’s okay to question how to move on after divorce.

Yes, divorce is a difficult thing to go through, but you are not alone. Many people have walked your path right now and come out on the other side happy, hopeful, and whole. It may be hard to believe right now, but there’s light on the other side of the tunnel. 

How Long Does It Take to Move On After Divorce?

Those wondering how to move on after a divorce may also wonder how long it takes to do so. 

The loss of a marriage can be traumatic – it completely changes the structure of your life. You may have had to move or get a new job to support yourself. If you took your spouse’s name, you may have even chosen to change your name after divorce. All these changes happening back to back can create instability in your life, weaken your sense of self, and make you feel stressed.

Psychology experts say that it can take up to two years to recover from something as emotionally traumatizing as a divorce or the loss of a job. Two years may sound like a long time, but don’t let that scare you – instead, take comfort in the fact that you will heal, and it will get a little bit easier every day. 

How to Move On After Divorce: Steps to Move On

Below, you’ll find six steps you can follow to help you move on after a divorce. Just remember that everyone heals differently and at their own pace – healing is a journey, not a race.

1. Let Yourself Grieve  

The first step to healing after divorce is to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage. Don’t try to “tough it out” – bottling up your feelings will only make you feel worse and can even hurt your physical health. Acknowledge your emotions and let them out safely and constructively, such as telling a friend or writing down your thoughts in a journal.

While it’s important to grieve, you can’t let that grief take over your life. If you start feeling overwhelmed by your negative thoughts, the next step will help you change your thinking patterns and return to recovery. 

2. Sit Down with a Therapist  

Unfortunately, seeking divorce counseling is still something that many people avoid because they don’t want to seem “crazy” or “overdramatic.” But if you’re struggling with grief, anger, or lowered self-esteem after a divorce, sitting down with a therapist can help you untangle these feelings, make sense of them, and work through them. 

You may be able to tell a mental health professional things that you don’t feel comfortable opening up to friends and family members about. The more you can get off your chest in a safe, judgment-free space, the lighter your emotional burden will be. The collaborative divorce process even includes neutral mental health professionals to help things go more smoothly.

3. Don’t Jump Into Another Relationship Right Away 

For some, the thought of being alone post-divorce is too much to bear – but before you start downloading dating apps, consider giving yourself time to heal first. 

After a divorce, you may find it harder to trust others or feel confident in yourself. These feelings can make dating difficult. And because you’re in a more emotionally vulnerable place, you may find it harder to handle heartbreak if things don’t work out. 

Rebuilding yourself after divorce takes time, and you may never feel truly “ready” to jump back into the dating scene. Or, you may feel ready right away – everyone’s different. Whatever you decide, dating should feel like something fun you want to do, not something you do because you feel like you “have to” find a new partner ASAP. 

4. Focus on You 

The words “self-care” are often associated with bubble baths and sleeping in, but caring for yourself is much more than simply relaxing. Use your newfound free time to focus on your interests. Maybe there’s an activity you stopped doing because your partner didn’t like it – throw yourself back into it! Whether running, painting, or traveling, focusing on what you love will help boost your confidence and make life more enjoyable.

“Focus on you” also means “don’t focus on your ex”. Don’t compare yourself to them – you’re on a different journey. Mute their social media accounts so that you don’t bog yourself down with minute-by-minute updates on their life. Put all of your energy into focusing on yourself and your own recovery.

5. Don’t Isolate Yourself 

While it’s not a good idea to immediately jump into another serious romantic relationship, that doesn’t mean you should completely cut yourself off from the world. Constantly being alone with negative thoughts is one of the worst things you can do for your well-being. 

If you and your former partner had a lot of mutual friends, it can be difficult to reach out to them – you may feel embarrassed or worried that they’ve taken your ex’s “side” instead of yours.
Making new friends after a divorce can be as simple as asking a coworker out for an after-work beer or reaching out to an old friend you’ve lost touch with over the years.

A strong support network will provide comfort and encouragement when needed. You may even consider joining a divorce support group to meet people who are going through a similar experience.

6. Keep Things Civil With Your Former Spouse

The divorce process can get just as heated between child custody battles, financial disputes, and equitable distributions that aren’t always equal. 

It’s not wrong to feel angry – what you choose to do with that anger can make it more difficult to move on with your life. No matter how they wronged you in the past, it’s in your best interest to keep things civil with your ex-partner, especially if you have children with them. Not only will you be setting a good example for them, but you’ll also be able to let go of your anger and make room for more positive thoughts.

No one expects or wants their marriage to end, but sometimes separation is necessary. Healing is not going to be easy, but it is possible. Consider a collaborative divorce if you’re about to go through the divorce process.  Unlike a litigated divorce that takes place in a courtroom, the collaborative divorce process is private. It also includes assistance from a team of legal, financial, and mental health professionals to make the transition into post-divorce life easier.

The Tampa divorce lawyers at Quinn & Lynch, P.A., are experienced in collaborative law as well as pre-divorce planning, mediation, and child custody law. Reach out to our compassionate Tampa legal team to learn more.

Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.