Written by Kelly Greene M.Ed

“How long does it last?”

This is the question I get asked most often. Ironically it’s also the question I asked most often at the beginning of my own divorce.

“How long does the pain last?”

“How long does the divorce process last?”

“How long does the grief last?”

The answer? “I DON’T KNOW”. No one knows.

It’s not what anyone wants to hear but it’s the truth. Life after divorce is such a uniquely personal journey. When I first started my voyage I wanted a timeline. I wanted to know what others had experienced so I could expect to experience the same things. Sorry to say, it doesn’t happen that way.

My whole divorce process took about 9 months. I’ve seen it take 4 or 6 or 18 months or more. Every case is different and you can’t compare yours to others. You may agree amicably on everything or you may argue down to the last dish towel. Just accept the journey and take it. Make educated and informed decisions as best you can, but also remember that the faster you can get through this part, the quicker you can move into your new life. There’s no point in holding onto anger with the intention of poisoning your spouse. You know you are only poisoning yourself.

Someone told me it took a full year to “get over her ex”, then she was happily dating and had moved on. So I waited, I ran the course of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, 18 years of memories and after a year I thought I’d wake up refreshed and renewed and ready!


Of course, I had done a lot of healing. I had grown in ways I never imagined possible. I managed to visit 3 countries, find an amazing new job, start a side business and still be a darn good mom, but I still felt the ache and loss of my marriage. I was certainly not dating anyone, let alone happily.

Fast forward to year three. My would-have-been anniversary is this week. My wedding seems like it was someone else’s. My marriage- maybe a movie I saw once but can’t really remember? My ex, because we have children, I do still have to see him, but he’s no one I recognize anymore. To think we ever shared a bed, let alone our deepest darkest selves – it doesn’t seem possible. I do still slightly grieve what could have been- what might have been. But I don’t miss him. I certainly don’t miss the person I had become in the marriage.

A friend of mine recently told me that for her, year three was the toughest. I’m trying hard not to make that part of my timeline. In fact, I’ve thrown my timeline out the window and I’m just moving forward and enjoying my life. I take it one day at a time. I move through any grief or sadness that bubbles up. I live mindful and joyous. How long will that last?


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