Ways to get over a broken marriage
I suspect you’ve already been through a really difficult time and now you probably feel in limbo. You’re searching for: how to get over a marriage break up because you have no idea how to move on.
For the purpose of this article, I’m assuming you hadn’t been prepared for your spouse’s announcement that your marriage was over. As an experienced professional counsellor, I know that the pain of rejection is easily comparable with that of a physical stab in the heart. And the losses at the end of a marriage are huge!
So, let’s get you sorted!
My aim in this article is to help you come to terms with what’s happened, move on and speed up your recovery. Know, that the best way to recover after a marriage breakup is by actively being engaged in your recovery every day.
Let’s deal with your expectations firsts off…
How long will it take to get over a broken marriage?
How long it takes to get over a marriage breakup depends on many factors, such as – in no particular order:
- Whether or not the two of you have been growing apart for some time
- How long you’ve been aware your spouse has wanted a divorce
- How and when you were told they wanted a divorce
- Whether or not you or your spouse have a history of severe mental health problems
- Whether or not your marriage has always been an on/off relationship
- How you’re going to deal with the likely downturn in your financial situation
- Where, how and with whom you’ll be living
- How much social support you have – whether or not you have friends and family rallying around you
- What the parenting arrangements are if you have children (see my article on how to help your children through a divorce)
- What your divorce lawyers want for you each of you (see how to choose the best divorce lawyer)
- How well (or not) you generally behave towards each other.
All of these factors will influence to a greater or lesser extent how fast you’re likely to recover.
Take particular note, in particular, of those you have a measure of control over! However, know that the single most important factor is your general view of life:
- Do you experience life as punishing and completely out of control? Do you tend to blame others for everything without any reflection on your own role? Or…
- Do you reflect on your own feelings, thoughts and behaviours and take responsibility for them? Do you see people generally as having the best intentions? Do you have a sense that whatever happens to you, you’ll survive and be okay again? Are you a problem-solver or are you waiting for help to arrive?
If it’s the latter, you’re more likely to adapt and/or heal faster and better after a downturn in your circumstances, including a marriage breakup.
How to heal faster after your marriage has broken up
Don’t listen to people who claim – no doubt with the best of intentions – that you should be over it by now when clearly you’re not!
You’re grieving for the loss of not only what you had, but also what you’d been expecting to happen in your future together. Your experience of loss is very personal. Therefore, you’ll manage all your losses in your own unique way and in your own time.
There is no set time for getting over a marriage breakup and divorce!
Begin by accepting that you’re in the middle of a process. Here’s how to ensure you’re going to notice you’re making progress.
Your plan of action
- Use the online journaling programme such as Penzu or buy yourself a diary or journal
- Stop thinking in terms of good and bad days, but write in your journal in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. Writing a few short notes is all that’s needed.
- Write down what you took action on, did well or even enjoyed. Write down when you’d had a few hours or a day that you didn’t think about the breakup.
You’ll soon find that the hours and part-days you feel a little better will increase in number over the days, weeks and months ahead.
Why is this exercise important?
Well, as human beings, when we’re very emotional, we tend to think in black and white terms – we become at risk of becoming rather dramatic. I suspect there’s already enough drama in your life, so building on that in your mind won’t serve your recovery.
You’ll soon begin to notice how that black and white thinking happens in all sorts of situations for all sorts of people.
The next issue that’s potentially keeping you stuck…
Getting over marriage breakup by letting go of anger and resentment
You’d be forgiven if you’re thinking: “You’ve got to be joking!” But, read on…
You’ve been told “it’s over” and you’re unlikely to have had much say in the matter. You may not have had a chance to make amends and work on the relationship. You’ve been plunged into no-mans-land without a map, left waiting for your ex’s next step.
So, if at all you see the need for it, letting go of anger and resentment to get over your marriage breakup won’t come easy. It’s natural to feel angry about what’s happened.
And, if you know you’ve screwed up, you may also feel angry with yourself.
However, that anger is likely to be fueled by blame and it’s essential you let go of that blame.
Because all you’re doing by continuing to blame your ex is carrying on investing your energy in a marriage that’s over. And blaming yourself stops you from learning from what’s happened.
Continuing to spend that energy on churning over all that you perceive to be unfair, wrong and ‘mean’ will only serve to complicate and lengthen your recovery!
And just in case…
Revenge may give you a short-lived sense of satisfaction, but does nothing for your recovery long-term and will undeniably stuff your lawyer’s wallet!
So, if you notice you’re feeling more bitterness and resentment than pain and loss, I know you’re in trouble. In which case, I really want you to take action now…
Not getting over your marriage breakup?
I highly recommend you get the help of a licensed therapist as soon as possible. It’s easy to set up an online session.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION…
Manage your online behaviour
Keep the details of your divorce off social media
Nobody, particularly you, is going to be served by your pouring out all the details of your divorce and what you think of it. Refrain from publishing your sadness, anger and hurt not only because it could come to haunt you, but also because if you have children it could complicate their recovery too. And your preferred platform remembers! It may just remind you of the events this year, just when you’ve managed to give it all a place.
I understand you’re desperate for some loving kindness because you feel let down, abandoned and stabbed in your heart and back. A kind word from an online friend (or even a stranger) can feel soothing for an instant.
However, if you come to rely on them, there’s a risk you’ll continue to make do with those brief interactions. Real recovery can only come from your own efforts to get over your marriage breakup.
Don’t start tracking your ex-spouse’s progress
The two of you are finished. Use your time and energy on moving forward with your own life. Checking what your ex is up to, will take energy away from your efforts to recover and move on.
Later on in the process, when your situation and your feelings have stabilised, you’ll benefit from looking back at what happened. You’ll be able to do that in a more dispatched way, looking at both your roles in the breakup.
Let down by family and friends after your marriage break up?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already lost some family members and/or friends – people you thought you could trust and rely on but have disappeared. Of course, you feel let down, disappointed and hurt – you’re human, you’re allowed to have feelings.
Here’s what you need to know about family and friends…
- As human beings, friends, family and colleagues, we often make poor choices when emotions run high. That’s no excuse, but take it as a given.
- Some friends will have felt closer to one of you from the start and are therefore more likely to take sides – it is what it is.
- Don’t allow yourself to be guided, distracted or upset by people with ill-intent or who thrive on gossip and other people’s misfortunes.
- Don’t be tempted to ask loved ones what’s going on with your ex after the breakup. Don’t make it more difficult for them and/or yourself. Instead, focus on yourself.
- Expect to unexpectedly find new friends. Individuals who are empathetic and considerate of your feelings, and who’re happy to help you get back on your feet again.
Social support is vital in our recovery from one of life’s left-hookers! Different people can offer different kinds of support: a shoulder to cry on, a great night out or company that makes you cry with laughter.
Free printable download
Should you stay in touch after a marital breakup
If the two of you are breaking up reasonably amicably, then any contact after the marriage breakup is likely to be stressful, but generally without too much trouble.
However, when you’ve split up fairly acrimoniously, any contact can potentially be very stressful.
Here are a few pointers with regards to any future contact:
Refrain from having the odd intimate encounter
Just in case it should ever enter your mind (and I know for some people if will!) – don’t agree to be intimate with your ex for any reason whatsoever. Listen to the story you tell yourself about why you’d want to do it when you’re tempted – it’s a false one! You may consider it an act of revenge towards a lover or other person. You may think it’ll help you when you’re feeling in need of some love. But, trust me, it won’t help with either proposition.
Maintain constructive parenting contact
Of course, the two of you may need to stay in touch if you have children. I hope the two of you will have been able to devise a fair and workable parenting plan because your kids need you both to stay in their life (though not at all cost!)
For more information, help and guidance, see my articles:
Decide on your boundaries
Be very clear about what kind of contact you will accept from your ex and under which circumstances you’ll have contact with them. Talk it over with a trusted person to make sure you’re not making decisions you’re not going to be able to stick to.
Beyond the above, don’t keep contacting him or her. You’re likely to set yourself up for further disappointments and simply prolong the agony!
Were you in an abusive marriage?
Get advice from a specialist organisation (see below my article on how to know you’re in an abusive relationship.
Consider stopping all contact when you’ve been abused by your ex if you think that’s safe.
Getting over a breakup faster
Here’s what helps:
Don’t hold on to reminders
Jewellery, clothes, photos etc. are all receptors and containers of memories. It’s okay to look at them or hold them every now and then… but don’t build a shrine to your marriage. Pack them away (or return them to your ex preferably as soon as possible, but only if you’re ready to let go of them). If you have children, be considerate of their feelings – they may not be ready to see a priced possession go to the skip or sold on eBay.
Also, there’s a ton of advice in my other breakup articles:
You’ve joined a band of brothers and sisters who’ve gone before you. Those who’ve experienced the kind of pain you’re experiencing now following a divorce.
- your mobile phone or another listening device
- pen and paper
- (hypnosis download)
- Your coping tools:
- ability to ask for help
- connecting with family and friends
- creative activity
- Take particular care of yourself
Develop a daily routine to attend to your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being. Feel the pain of your losses, experience it, but avoid continuing to focus only on your sadness and all the reasons why your marriage ‘shouldn’t’ have ended and why you ‘won’t ever’ be getting over the breakup.
- Avoid jumping into a new relationship
I would totally understand if, by any chance, you were tempted to get yourself emersed in a new relationship. How soothing it would feel if you had someone courting you, listening to you and make you feel great again. Know then that this would be a transitionary relationship – one that’s very likely to end. Why? Because you’re not yourself, you’re still fragile and you’re likely to change by the day. Your partner choice in a few months time is likely to have changed. You’ll also need time to figure out what happened in this marriage, why it ended and what your role was in its demise. If you don’t reflect on the past, take the lessons, you’re likely to find yourself in similar trouble.
- Build up your social support network
Invest in friendships, consider doing some voluntary work, be there for your children, join a club, forum or interest organisation. The point is that you keep focussing outward instead of only focussing inward.
Seek professional help if:
- You’re deep-down, or even on the surface, consumed by hurts from past relationships, including those in your childhood (peers, parents, family, friends, teachers, etc).
- You’ve faced the ending of several relationships, and not looked for help in finding out why they ended, so as not to repeat the same pattern.
- You keep nurturing your memories of the good times with your ex.
I highly recommend you get some extra, paid-for, help if you can afford it. My recommendations are all very user-friendly, professional and cost-effective.
To discover how easy it is to get results with self-hypnosis, see: Hypnosis Downloads FAQ.
I recommend only carefully chosen resources/products. If you buy something through one of the links, I may earn a commission at NO extra cost to you.
I know you’re going through a really difficult time, that’s why you landed on this page on how to get over a marriage breakup. You might think you’d never get over the breakup, however, as a therapist, I also know that you will recover, you will feel happy again. It may not happen fast enough for you, but know that if you actively work on your recovery, you’ll do much better.
My wish for you is that you’ll have learnt from all this, have become wiser because of it and will find love again (if that’s what you want). You will get there, I’m rooting for you.
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