There’s no denying that divorce can feel downright devastating.
Amongst the pain of loss and the upheaval of change often emerges a fearful voice in the back of your head that nervously questions:
Will I ever find love again after divorce?
If you’ve recently separated or divorced, then you may be feeling unsure about what comes next for you.
I hope this article will reassure you that life after divorce can be more fulfilling, happy, and filled with love.
Will I be alone forever after divorce? What the statistics actually say
As a journalist, I have a mixed view of statistics.
I think they are helpful up to a point. They can offer you a snapshot of reality, but they will never present the whole truth.
The fact will always remain that you are so much more than a statistic. You are an individual. And you play a far more empowered role in what will happen in your own life.
But in this case, I think generally looking at the statistics of life after divorce can help to offer reassurances that keep certain negative stories like “what if I never find love again?” at bay.
Because they show that reality is very different from your mind’s most fearful projections.
So what do the stats say?
There aren’t any specific statistics on finding love again after divorce, but there are figures on how many divorced people go on to remarry.
So that seems like a good place to start.
Stats do vary, but they still present an overwhelmingly positive picture for anyone hoping to find love again after a divorce.
According to a 2014 report from Pew Research Center at least one spouse in every four out of every ten couples who got married had already been married before.
Meanwhile, the Divorce strategies group claims that:
“About 70% of people who walk through divorce will wind up remarrying once again at some point in their life. If cohabiting couples are included in this figure, the statistics show over 80% of people take the chance on another relationship.”
Going against the myth that finding love in later life could be more difficult, the stats also highlight that the older you are the more likely you are to remarry after a divorce.
But here’s the thing:
Looking at remarriage rates doesn’t equate to love.
Increasingly these days love and marriage certainly doesn’t go hand in hand, as more committed couples are choosing to not walk down the aisle.
Figures have shown a drop in remarriage rates over time. And that fits with the downward trends of marriage in general. Between 1990 and 2019 the remarriage rate decreased by as much as 50%.
But it’s very likely that this comes down to personal choice and less societal pressure to tie the knot, rather than any drop in finding love again.
It’s always challenging to glean certainties from statistics.
But what research definitely does point to is that the overwhelming majority of people after a divorce will enter into new romantic relationships again at some stage.
So in that sense, the stats say the likelihood is that, yes, you will find love again after a divorce.
Either way, you’re going to be happier…
Nobody has a crystal ball and can predict the future. The unfortunate truth is that uncertainty awaits every one of us in life.
And that goes just as much for the people happy in a relationship right now as it does for those who are currently single or have just left a relationship.
The winds of change blow in everyone’s direction at some point.
But, seek comfort in this:
What the stats also say is that regardless of what happens after divorce, you are statistically speaking going to be much happier than if you had stayed in an unhappy marriage.
One in-depth study found that people went on to lead happier lives once they left a destructive long-term marriage.
The authors concluded:
“Remaining unhappily married rather than divorcing is never beneficial to the psychological wellbeing or overall health of the individuals in this study.”
Fears about finding love again are totally normal
Although I’ve never been married I have had several long-term relationships. And as each and every one ended I was always struck with the terrifying thought of what if I never find anyone else.
What if my shot at love and happiness has passed me by?
Despite personal experience telling me this isn’t true, I know it’s hard to silence those fears.
It can be difficult to look for the light at the end of the tunnel when life feels so uncertain.
A year ago I found myself consoling a close friend whose abusive marriage had finally come crashing down. The circumstances of which were incredibly traumatizing for her.
After having spent 17 years with this man, he was all she had really known. She was left as the sole carer of their two young children and was understandably terrified about what her future would hold.
The prospect of even dating, let alone finding love again seemed impossible from where she stood.
The best I could do was to try to reassure her that although she couldn’t see it right now, and even if it was still some way off, that light at the end of the tunnel is still there.
I think we were both pretty astonished at just how quickly that light emerged for her.
One year on and she is very much head over heals in love with a wonderful man and already looking forward to a new and exciting future together.
I tell you this not to take one anecdotal story to try and offer concrete proof that love is absolutely waiting after divorce.
But more to highlight that from a place of loss and fear, it can be incredibly difficult to envisage new love, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.
Almost half of divorced women say they’re scared they won’t find love again…
A 2019 survey from Worthy looking at dating after divorce for women found that a roller coaster of emotions is typical.
Feelings about finding new love after divorce can be conflicting and confusing. Being scared and unsure is totally normal.
In fact, up to 45% of women said they were scared about not finding someone after divorce. But many also talk about a sense of hope and excitement:
“With over 70% of the women surveyed between the ages of 35-54, and over half dating within the first year of being divorced or separated, emotions do range and run the gamut of hopeful and excited to scared, insecure, and overwhelmed. While 68% state that they are scared about getting back out there, the same percentage of women say that they feel excited and hopeful in their new dating journey.
“However, only 40% of the participants claimed to feel confident about dating after divorce. This indicates that while women feel excited and hopeful (both of which can be empowering emotions), they are still recovering their personal confidence that may have been damaged during their marriage and the divorce process.”
How long does it take to fall in love after divorce?
I know that whenever we’re faced with upheaval what we really want is the comfort of conclusive answers. But unfortunately, life rarely wraps things up so neatly for us.
Deep down we know there isn’t a defined timeline we can fall back on to know when love will arrive again.
But again, maybe we can take some clues from what the research says.
Psychology Today suggests that it can take around a year to put the pieces together again after going through a divorce.
“As a general rule, many therapists will tell their clients to wait at least one year before jumping into a new relationship. Taking a year allows you to re-adjust to a new life, mourn the loss of your divorce, become confident in your independence, and sort out any housekeeping issues, such as finding a new place to live, adapting to a new financial status, selling off any joint property, and ironing out any custody details if children are involved.”
But like with all things in life, the timeline is going to be a personal one and so will differ depending on how you feel.
Looking again at that research from Worthy, 78% of women said they had already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers were signed.
And despite the common view around rebounds being doomed to fail, this isn’t actually the case.
One study found that breakup rates aren’t any higher amongst couples who get together relatively quickly after going through a divorce.
What matters more is your own healing journey and your attitude towards finding love again.
Why we shouldn’t fear being single
We’ve already seen plenty of evidence to suggest that finding love again after a divorce isn’t only possible, it’s incredibly likely to happen.
And there’s nothing wrong with wanting love.
But there is a danger that we place too much emphasis on romantic relationships as being our savior in life.
Societally, we have a tendency to mistakenly think of single life as one that is depressing, lonely, and devoid of fulfilment and happiness.
But research implies that this skewed picture couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, the real picture of single life for many of those living it is a positive one that involves making your own choices, enjoying your own autonomy and power, and thriving on both solitude and friendships.
If you decide you do want another relationship, then being single is likely to only be a temporary stage in your life.
But according to Psychology Today, learning to love, rather than fear, being single is always a good idea.
“The fear of being single can lead people to settle for less ideal romantic partners and less ideal relationships (Spielmann et al., 2013). Such settling reveals a sad paradox: those who most closely link happiness with being in a relationship may, out of a fear of being single, reduce their ability to find happiness within a romantic relationship.”
The message is that for however long you are single before finding love again, you can still be happy whilst sewing the seeds to welcome healthy relationships into your life.
“Being single can confer a desirable degree of independence and come with strong and intimate friendships and family relations (Spielmann et al., 2013). Focusing on the social connections one has, developing one’s own interests and passions, and finding joy in the opportunities that come with being single, may help people embrace the many different ways people can live happy and healthy lives.”
How do I find new love after divorce?
As cheesy as it may sound:
Finding love again after divorce starts as an inward journey before becoming an outward journey.
- Give yourself time and space to heal and grieve the loss of your marriage. Don’t be tempted to put artificial timetable pressures on yourself over how long it should all take. There is no “normal”. Your timeline is unique.
- Be aware of your own negative thoughts and stories that can derail you. This might involve some mindset work to dig deeper into any unhelpful beliefs that have crept in about yourself, love and relationships.
- Allow yourself to be single in order to rediscover yourself. Get to know yourself again without someone else in the picture. Get in touch with your own pleasure and all your likes and dislikes.
- Ask yourself some honest questions about what you are looking for from future relationships. What do you need? What are your deal breakers?
On the more practical side of finding love again, the reality is that love can appear at any time.
Whether it’s online dating, meeting through friends of friends, or a variety of other ways that we can meet someone (that don’t involve online dating).
To conclude: Will I ever be able to love again after divorce?
I hope this article has put your mind at rest that if you want it, love absolutely is waiting out there again after divorce.
Whilst whether love strikes can feel like a lottery, the truth is that you decide your own fate far more than you may realize.
The attitude you cultivate, the proactive steps you take to support yourself, and the choices you make determine your future.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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