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How long does it take to get over a divorce?

(8 Posts)
aurynne Wed 16-Sep-09 11:13:06

Hi all,

I have a wonderful partner, loving, caring, positive, understanding, supporting, and all the things I thought would be impossible to find all together in one person. Before meeting me, he had been married for 7 years to a woman who cheated on him twice (and passed him an STD... didn't even bother to use a condom), would scream at him and hit him when she was angry... well, you get the picture. My partner really took his vows seriously - apart from madly loving this woman - and tried his best to make the relationship work. After the last infidelity he decided he had taken enough and terminated the relationship. He was assertive enough, no matter how much he loved her, to say "no" when predictably, she asked him back when she got tired of her latest lover.

Starting a relationship with this man was the most touching life event I have ever had. When we starting dating he would react with so much gratefulness and wonder at anything I gave him or made for him... even the things I always thought were taken for granted in a relationship (kisses, cuddles, smiles, flattering comments), he took them as a precious gift. Despite what he has gone through, he trusts me completely and shows that everyday.

The only shadow in our relationship is his enduring sadness and mourning of his divorce. It has been a year since they separated, but there are still moments when he thinks about the things that happened and gets deeply sad. His contact with his ex is sporadic, though I never stopped him from trying to develop a friendship with her if he so wished (I try to keep my opinions about her to myself... with great effort!). He does not contact her that much, and always tells me beforehand if a contact is made. But sometimes, after talking to her or seeing her, that sadness comes back to him.

So, apologizing for the long preamble, the question I bring here is: in your experience (or that of your friends), how long does it take (for a man or for a woman) to get over a divorce and be done with the mourning? How long until you managed to talk to your ex without feeling like crying afterwards? Several men have told me that it takes 3 years. Do you agree with this?

I have never been married before and my longest relationship was just 2.5 years... and never spent a long time mourning, to be honest. But I assume that people who value their word must find a divorce soul-breaking.

Ready for your opinions on the matter

Hugs to all,


purplepeony Wed 16-Sep-09 13:30:49

I don't know personally, but have a friend who still cries, 5 years down the line even though she is with another man for 9 months and it seems to be working with him.

I don't think it's possible to put a one-size fits all time limit on this; everyone is different.

If you met him shortly after his M ended, then it would have been early days, and he was bound to be grieiving. Did he spend much time alone before he met you?

The last thing you want to be is his healer- and then him realise he has no need for you when he is over the ex.

Haven't got much advice really except to say that you sound very understandng, but don't be too understanding for too long- he needs to know he cannot "use" you to get over his ex, as you are now his partner.

It sounds as if he has very low self esteem if he is so grateful for every crumb of loving you throw his way. Would he benefit from talking to a counsellor, so he can try to come to terms with his loss and not put it all onto you?

bathcat Wed 16-Sep-09 13:33:13

I think it really depends on the individual and the circumstances of the split but I would say a year is a short time to be over something like this. He's still going to be experiencing triggers - first summer without his wife, first birthday etc.

It sounds like your partner had a lot to deal with in the marriage and that there has been a lot of hurt and anger. It would be a totally different story of they had split amicably. Maybe he should go for some counselling to help him come to terms with it - he has been bereaved and he might find professional useful in dealing with this.

hambler Wed 16-Sep-09 13:38:41

I have been with dh for 12 years but still cry when I think about exh whom I loved very deeply. It was an amicable split and I have no self esteem issues

It does not mean I want to be with ex, but I will always love him and never really get over the divorce, just try to think about him less and less

aurynne Wed 16-Sep-09 20:41:02

purplepeony: when we started dating and I learned how recent his split was I was wary... I didn't want to be a rebound girl. But when I got to know him I decided he was well worth the risk. His moments of sadness are very few, and I do not believe he is using me as a healer. And I definitely don't believe he has self-esteem problems at all. Maybe I expressed myself wrong here: it is not that he goes down on his knees and adore me for giving him a cuddle. It is just that, in early days, he seemed surprised and delighted that a relationship can be about both giving and receiving, in opposition of giving all the time and getting nothing back, which is what he had been used to all those years. About a counselor... he is still a man, and probably would only consider a counselor if he was crying every week and could not stop thinking about her, which is not the case. When she comes up in the conversation (as in "when you were on holiday with EX, how did you like Venice?) he can perfectly talk about it without flinching. It is just particular conversations or moments that sometimes trigger it (like "one year ago this time I came home and found out she was with someone else again"). Thanks for your words

bathcat: he definitely did not have a model marriage, but he can't say he did not try to make it work! Again, for some reason woman find it much easier to admit we need help. he is grieving in his own terms and time.

hambler: wow, 12 years! Your ex did leave a mark on you! I hope you are happy now, in spite of the moments of sadness.

Harimosmummy Wed 16-Sep-09 20:45:16

I think it's natural, after a year, to still 'mourn' a marriage.

As to how long it takes to get over it... who knows? My DH and his ex have been divorced over a decade now and she's still very very far from over it (even though she's had many boyfriends and is in a serious relationship at the mo)

Everyone is different. And I don't think that is particularly related to the new relationship... Certainly, my DH's ex can carry on her new relatinship easily while still being a fruitcake when it comes to DH and the kids!!!

hambler Wed 16-Sep-09 23:28:34

aurynne, thanks.
I am indeed happy now and the moments of sadness in no way undermine my current happy situation.

hambler Wed 16-Sep-09 23:31:15

by the way your man sounds lovely and it seems you have a very special relationship

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