Appropriate Healing Time After Divorce

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Will the emotional pain ever end?

If you have recently been through a divorce, you may be wondering how long is the appropriate healing time after divorce and when you will start to feel like yourself again.

The Effects of Divorce: Mentally and Physically

Whether you have been waiting for the divorce for years or you have left a marriage reluctantly, you will experience some stress from the event. This stress affects you mentally as well as physically.

Mental Effects from the End of a Marriage

A divorce marks the ending of a relationship, which is a loss. People who go through a loss usually go through a series of emotions. They may feel angry and then deep sadness. Depression may result. Due to these feelings, some people will experience lack of concentration, decreased motivation, lower self-esteem, isolation, insomnia, and chanes in appetite. These symptoms are usually temporary but may negatively influence daily functioning.

The Physical Effects: How Your Body Responds

Since you are going through mental turmoil, your body will respond to it as if you are in a threatening situation. When you encounter a threatening situation, your mind sends a signal to your body indicating a stressful stimulus is present. Your body prepares for a "fight or flight" response. This means that the following physiological responses may occur:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tense muscles

These physiological responses serve to help you either run from the stressful situation or stand up to it to fight it. The bodily effects from prolonged stress may be permanent. The increase in blood pressure and heart rate may result in a lifelong battle against elevated blood pressure. Diabetes and heart disease are some of the other medical problems people with chronic stress may experience.

The Appropriate Healing Time after Divorce

Now that you are aware of the effects of the stress after divorce, knowing the appropriate healing time after divorce may be even more important to you. The truth is there is no set healing time; everyone deals with the effects of divorce differently.

How to Know When Healing Time is Too Long

Even though time has amazing healing power, you may wonder if you have been recovering from divorce for too long. The only person who is able to determine if you have been suffering for an unhealthy amount of time is you. If you feel you have been dealing with it for a while, it negatively influences your life or prevents you from functioning as you normally did, it may be time to seek out assistance with the recovery process.

Seeking Out Help for Your Divorce Recovery

Sometimes you may need help with overcoming this transition in life. Marriage is one of the biggest steps in your lifetime and it's no wonder the end of it has impacted you so greatly. Here are some ways you can help the process of recovering from the end of your marriage:

  • Bibliotherapy

Reading books about others going through divorce or books on what to do after one can help comfort you and give you suggestions on what to do to decrease healing time.

  • Support from friends and family

You may not have wanted to reach out to your friends and family up to this point because you have felt that it is your problem. The truth is that friends and family members are some of greatest support systems available. Sometimes it's good to let go of your thoughts and fears. Your friends may just listen or lend some suggestions on how to feel better.

  • Time to reflect

Many people keep busy to help get over a traumatic event. Some people need to step back and examine how they feel to learn from it. Every moment in a person's life serves to teach something in the future. Looking back on the marriage, can help you understand what you need in the future.

  • Therapy

If you don't feel you are able to deal with this on your own, you can seek services from a therapist or counselor. A therapist will listen to you with an open mind and provide you an unthreatening place to share your thoughts. He or she may also provide you with suggestions to try outside of therapy to help improve your life.

How to Deal with Ridicule from Friends and Family

If you have been struggling for a while, your family and friends may make comments about how long you are dwelling on it. You may not feel you have a problem and just need a little more time in the healing process. You can try to explain to your loved ones that you appreciate their concern but you are dealing with the situation the best you can. Try to let them know you are taking care of yourself and will ask for help as soon as you feel you need it. Expressing your appreciation for their care for you and that you will seek out assistance if needed may help them stay supportive and calm their concerns.

Appropriate Healing Time After Divorce