How Long Does It Take to Get Over a 20-Year Marriage?

When a marriage that has lasted for two decades comes to an end, it can be an incredibly challenging and emotionally taxing experience. The process of healing and moving on after such a significant period of time spent together requires patience, understanding, and self-care.

In this article, we will explore the factors that can influence the healing process, the stages of recovery, the importance of support and coping mechanisms, and the various factors that affect the time it takes to get over a 20-year marriage.

Factors Influencing the Healing Process

Emotional Attachments

After spending 20 years in a marriage, it is natural to develop strong emotional attachments to your partner. These attachments can make the process of getting over the marriage more difficult and time-consuming.

The emotional investment made over the years creates a bond that requires significant effort to untangle.

Length of the Marriage

The length of a marriage plays a significant role in the recovery process. A 20-year marriage involves two decades of shared experiences, memories, and intertwined lives. Disentangling oneself from such a lengthy and deeply rooted commitment takes time and effort.

Level of Emotional Investment

The level of emotional investment in a marriage also impacts the healing process. If both partners were emotionally invested and deeply connected, the recovery can be more challenging.

The more emotionally intertwined the individuals were, the longer it may take to heal and move forward.

Stages of Recovery

Shock and Denial

The end of a 20-year marriage often starts with a period of shock and denial. It can be difficult to accept that a relationship that has lasted for so long is coming to an end. During this stage, individuals may experience feelings of disbelief, confusion, and a sense of being lost.

Anger and Resentment

As reality sets in, anger and resentment may surface. It is common to feel anger towards the former partner, yourself, or the circumstances that led to the end of the marriage. These emotions are a natural part of the healing process but should be managed in a healthy manner.

Acceptance and Adjustment

After navigating through the initial stages of shock and anger, acceptance and adjustment become possible. This stage involves coming to terms with the end of the marriage, finding inner peace, and starting to rebuild a new life. It is a period of personal growth and discovery.

Support and Coping Mechanisms

Professional Counseling

Seeking professional counseling can greatly assist in the healing process. A trained therapist can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies to help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with the end of a long-term marriage.

Supportive Network

Having a strong support network is crucial during this time. Friends, family, or support groups can provide a safe space to share feelings, gain perspective, and receive emotional support. Surrounding oneself with understanding and empathetic individuals can make a significant difference in the healing journey.

Self-Care and Personal Growth

Engaging in self-care activities and focusing on personal growth is essential for recovery. Taking care of physical and emotional well-being, exploring new hobbies, and setting goals for the future can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Factors That Affect Recovery Time

Individual Resilience

Each individual’s resilience plays a crucial role in determining the recovery time. Some individuals may naturally possess a higher level of resilience, enabling them to bounce back more quickly from the end of a long-term marriage. Others may require more time to process their emotions and heal.

Previous Relationship Patterns

Previous relationship patterns can also impact the healing process. If the individual has experienced previous divorces or significant relationship breakdowns, they may find it more challenging to recover from a 20-year marriage. Past experiences can influence coping mechanisms and overall healing time.

Level of Emotional Support

The availability of emotional support can greatly impact the recovery time. Having a strong support system, including friends, family, or therapists, can provide the necessary encouragement and understanding needed to heal and move forward.


Getting over a 20-year marriage is a complex and deeply personal process. It takes time, self-reflection, and the implementation of healthy coping mechanisms. While there is no exact timeline for healing, understanding the factors that influence the process and seeking support can expedite the journey towards emotional well-being and a fulfilling future.


  1. How long does it typically take to heal after a 20-year marriage ends?

The healing process varies for each individual and depends on several factors. It can take months to years to fully recover from the end of a 20-year marriage.

  1. What can I do to expedite the healing process?

Seeking professional counseling, building a support network, engaging in self-care activities, and focusing on personal growth can help expedite the healing process.

  1. Is there a way to predict how long it will take to get over a long-term marriage?

Due to the individual nature of the healing process, it is challenging to predict precisely how long it will take to get over a long-term marriage. It varies from person to person.

  1. Can the recovery time differ for each individual?

Yes, recovery time can differ significantly for each individual based on various factors such as emotional resilience, support systems, and previous relationship experiences.

  1. What are some signs that indicate someone is making progress in their healing journey?

Signs of progress in the healing journey include acceptance of the situation, a decrease in intense negative emotions, a focus on personal growth, and the ability to envision a fulfilling future.

Before you continue, here's something you should consider: Ignite the spark in your marriage with "Seven Principles Making Marriage Work." Don't settle for mediocrity when you can experience a fulfilling and deeply connected partnership.


By Honey Let's Talk

I'm a certified relationship expert, professional counselor, and pastor. I've been helping people with their relationships for over 6 years. I'm passionate about helping people find and maintain healthy relationships.