Rachael Scharrer, founder of online resource, DivorceAnswered.com.au, reflects upon the ‘how soon is too soon to move on after divorce’ question and offers some self-reflection considerations before taking the leap.
“When is it the right time to move on?” is one of the biggest questions faced by every separated individual. Everyone you ask will have an opinion and position on this question and the answer is unique and personal to each individual. The answer is solely up to you, how you are feeling following the separation and why you are wanting to move on.
For some individuals, they have spent years grieving the marriage during the union and visualising life after the marriage ends. While for many others, the separation comes as a complete shock and it takes these people much longer to process the news, grieve the end of the marriage, perhaps try to salvage it before ultimately reaching acceptance and feeling comfortable with their new life chapter.
If you are wanting to move on to just have someone take care of you or pay your bills without making a significant contribution of some sort to the other individual, then the relationship is less likely to work. However, if you are looking for someone to positively contribute to your life and you reciprocate equally, then that mutually beneficial recipe may be more successful. So, when considering whether it is time to ‘move on’, it is worth reflecting:
The prime example of not waiting any time before moving on is those who have coupled with the person that they had a marital-affair with. I am sure we all know stories like this! The people that I know have had long-term, successful and loving relationships for many decades. On the other hand, some individuals struggle to find an appropriate next relationship.
One reason for this, is that for some people their self-worth and self-love has been damaged in the marriage or divorce and this takes a little time to repair. Following separation, many individuals benefit from some sort of counselling, therapy or life coaching to process what went well in the marriage, what didn’t and why, to process the grief and hurt as well as taking the time and space to repair and feel comfortable being an ‘individual’ again. This counselling doesn’t need to be a long-term arrangement; however, it does help many people reach acceptance and re-establish their sense of self and confidence.
Seriously consider the complexity of the marriage and separation and take that in to account when planning to move on. For some people in very contentious separations they find it hard to move on with a new partner when there is constant drama, anxiety and stress. Often this doesn’t allow the best version of you to be presented to the future partner.
Similarly, depending on your ex-spouse, openly moving on may cause them to become more aggressive and retaliatory towards you. It could even hinder any settlement or agreement processes. Try to be discrete with the new partner until you are certain that it is a relationship that you want to have made public.
There is a common saying “it takes 4 years to get over a 4-year marriage.” This means, for as long as you were married, it often takes equally as long to recover from the marriage. What we can take from this saying is that we need to give ourselves the space and time, taking away external pressures, to overcome the marriage and move on when we believe that we are ready, whenever that may be.