Divorce Advice for a Young Person With No Kids

divorce advice

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Divorced Girl Smiling received this e-mail from a young woman seeking divorce advice. It made me realize how little I write about divorce with no kids involved (with the exception of second marriages that end in divorce with no kids.) But what I want to say is that divorce is painful whether the couple has kids or not. I think people tend to minimize the intensity of a childless divorce, comparing it to a bad breakup, when in reality, it’s still a divorce; a broken promise of a life together.

Jackie, I came across your blog today and noticed that most of the articles are
geared to people who have been in a marriage for a long time and/or have

I am 26 and going through a divorce after 5 years of marriage (no kids).
We’ve known each other for 10 years. Even though the divorce is amicable
it’s been extremely painful. He’s relieved and happy while I’m left
feeling like my heart has been ground into the pavement. He has also
already moved on with someone that he’s apparently loved since high
school. Part of me is happy for him because he is happy and I love and
want the best for him but the other side of me is crushed, confused,
angry, humiliated, and hurt.

How do I move on? It’s been six months since he said he wanted a
divorce and 4 weeks since he moved out. I feel like things are getting
worse, not easier.

Thank you for your help.

The first thing I want to say to you is that there is no way he is “relieved and happy.” Yes, he’s connected with some other girl, but that’s just a temporary Band-Aid he’s putting on.



When a couple gets separated and one of them enters into a new relationship, it’s like a punch in the stomach for the one who is still single. Trust me, I’ve been there. It feels really isolating, it feels unfair, and it makes you feel alone, like he is going to live happily ever after and you are never going to get over this or meet someone.

The good news is, nothing could be further from the truth! I think it’s really healthy that you are saying things like “my heart has been ground into the pavement.” You are letting yourself grieve the pain. That is so important before you move on.

Your soon-to-be ex, on the other hand is seemingly “relieved and happy,” and basically has chosen to jump into another relationship to cover his pain. See the difference?

You said “It feels like it’s getting worse.” I think that is very normal. But one day, you are going to wake up and realize things are getting better. There will be less bad days, less crying and more good days. You will meet some guy when you least expect it and you will feel like you just woke up out of a coma. Life will seem really great again.



The best news is, you are only 26. You have your whole life ahead of you, and you might not want to hear this, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I have lots of friends in their late 40’s who got married young, got divorced, got married again and now have kids and are happy. Their first marriage is like a distant memory, and I can tell you firsthand from a close friend, she has only positive memories of it. In other words, there is no bitterness or anger. It’s just something that happened in her life and I don’t want to say it’s insignificant, because it isn’t. But, it’s not something she really thinks about too often, and when she does, she smiles in a nice way.

My last piece of divorce advice for you is, I’m going to give you a “to-do” list, so here goes:

1. If you aren’t already, begin doing yoga. Like this week.
2. If you are feeling pain, write down your thoughts. (but please don’t send them to anyone, especially your ex.)
3. If you aren’t ready to date, that’s ok, but please go out with your girlfriends—the ones you really love and trust—to a movie or for coffee or a drink.
4. Go to church or synagogue and discover your spiritual side.
5. Do whatever it takes to love yourself. In other words, make decisions that will cause you to be proud of yourself. Be kind and thoughtful. When you like (and love) yourself, you will ultimately be a happier person.

Big hugs and best wishes on your journey to a happier, better life!

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    30 Responses to “Divorce Advice for a Young Person With No Kids”

    1. Thelma Carley

      This article is “spot on”. I am 42 yrs old, and divorced after 12 yrs of a good marriage but tragically 7 long years of alcoholism in my life. After many attempts of getting him help, myself going to Alanon for 2 yrs, it was the hardest decision in my and our two beautiful daughters lives. Through great family and friend support, the girls and I are now living healthier and happier. This blog once again confirmed I made the right decision. thank you

    2. mashudu

      I. Can relate, I’m 28 year old woman. With no kids. Been married for almost 2 years.. My husband is 34. It hurts so much. This person I thought was my soulmate..
      We are still in process of divorce. Living in the the same house. I am currently unemployed and studying.. Its very stressful for me. Trying to focus on my upcoming exams and going through all this..I sometimes feel like its just a dream (nightmare) this is really happening to me. My husband looks at me with hate.like he can’t stand me.. Its so hard, painful..

      • Lena

        i have the same story, could you please tell me how this whole nightmare ended ?

      • Hurt Soul

        Omg !! Same here…I’m 28, my husband 33 and married for 2.8 yrs. Him and his parents want a divorce from me. They broke the news the next day after Christmas. I’m unemployed too but will have to look for a job soon to support myself. We don’t have children. It looks like reality hasn’t sunk in for me. I want to be happy and not let myself be depressed and hurt.

    3. TrueSelf

      I think this is a really great article! I love point four on the list “discover your spiritual side”. I went through a hard time after a break-up (not a divorce) a couple of years ago. It felt like the end of the world to me. But it lead me to acutally discover my spiritual side. And the key thing I’ve learned, is to build an incredible relationship with myself. Nothing to do with being selfish or egoistic, but more with just getting in harmony with myself, completely accepting and loving who I am. This changed my world completely and it affected everything, not just my romantic relationships. I’ve also started to help others to overcome separations and divorce, and it always comes down to the same point to get happy again, create an outstanding relationship with yourself. I love how much this can change our life.

    4. liveagain

      Thank you so much for this article. I have searched all over for information on divorce and no kids. this is spot on. I recently wen through the exact same except, my divorce was unwanted. My eh filed for divorce so he could be with a new woman he worked with after a separation. Most people expect me to get over it like it was a bad breakup and not a marriage because we didn’t have kids. Its sad and i pray one day to move on with someone else but like the article says at the moment it feels lonely and hopeless like he has the best of everything. He also took everything in the divorce and i was left with nothing but my clothes. so starting over from scratch with nothing while he lives with all our things in a new house with his girlfriend.

    5. Kate

      I need advice. I am thinkingnof divorcing my husband. I am 28 and he is 39. He just doesn’t make me happy anymore. We constantly argue and I’m fed up of being run into the ground and spoken to like dirt. My only issue is that I love our house and dont want to leave the little life we have! This is so hard! I cry at night with confusion and hurt. But I cant take anymore hurtful comments, or mood swings and controlling behaviour. Any advice please?

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        How much have you talked to your husband about how you feel? Have you told him about his hurtful comments? mood swings? controlling behavior? My advice would be to really open up to him (in a nice way) and tell him how you feel. If you have already done so and he is unwilling to try to change your relationship, then my advice is, you can still have “the little life you have.” It seems everything else is going well, so who is to say it won’t be that way for you as a single person? If you are happy now then you will be happy regardless of your marital status. I wish you the best in your decision.

      • Emily


        I know this is almost a year later but, I am in the exact same boat. Just waiting to have enough courage to finally say that I want a divorce. We have a loveless marriage and he’s controlling and manipulative and treats me like dirt. That being said, he’s also my partner and we have a beautiful home together. What I’m curious in is, did you find a way to either fix it or get out? Just looking from some advice since you seem to be in the same boat. I’m 26, he’s 28.

        • Jamilah

          Hi Emily & Kate, Both of your comments sound like my story. I’ve been married for 2 years. I met my husband 5 years ago when I had just turned 28. We’ve always been pretty up and down. I still don’t understand why I thought things would get better and still got married. I’m approaching my breaking point. I scared of struggling financially and being alone. And most of all I’m afraid of not having children. I’ll be 33 and I want children so bad but we argue so much I just can’t imagine being preganant and arguing and crying as often as we do. I just need courage and hope to leave. How are you both doing now?

          • J

            I can relate to this so much! My ex husband and I finally separated after 4 yrs married 9 yrs together. I was almost 32, no kids. He was a perpetual cheater, I felt awful about myself, and I sunk so much energy into figuring out how to keep a man who did not want what I did. I feared being alone, I feared being childless. At some point, I decided that if the misery, deception, and lies were all required to have an ongoing marriage and a potential father for my future kid, it was not worth it. I read blogs on divorce, read about women having sperm-donor babies, read about women not having kids, read about women taking solo-vacations. Most of this process I went through totally alone; I spent a lot of energy protecting our relationship from the scrutiny of others. Then, one day I was ready and I finally left. Now, 1.5 yrs later, divorced, I feel SO much better. I have been in therapy (almost 2 yrs now!), clocked many hours walking the dog in the park, take a dance class weekly, spend time w/ friends, and am meeting milestones in my career ( I am a doctor, recently finished residency!). I am kinder to myself now than I have ever been. And I have a kind, sweet, handsome boyfriend, with whom love is so much easier than it ever was with my ex. I am now 33 y/o, and I am so much happier. I hope to be a mom, and if I do get there, I think I will be a better one than I ever could have been in my last relationship. To those reading these blogs, good luck on your journey.

            • Jackie Pilossoph

              I LOVE your story!! Thank you so much for sharing it. God bless you and your strength. You’re incredible. You did all the right things. By the way, I didn’t get married until I was 35 (it was my first marriage) and I had kids at 36 and 38. I know countless women who had kids around that age and even into their early forties. Don’t worry! You have plenty of time. You’re still a baby!!! All my best to you.

    6. Mary

      I’ve been with my current husband for 7 years since the age of twenty. I moved in with him about 22.23 years old while he and he sister lived together. I was facing some issues at home and decided to move in with him. Anyway I always expressed that I did not want to stay in the apartment with him and his sister for long and hoped to move out. I’m now 27 and still live with his sister and him. We have no issues however I’m just fed up with this lifestyle. I want my own space and want my own home. I have fallen out of love with my husband as I feel this has interfered with our intimacy as far as living together. His sister often cooks and does her thing on the weekend leaving no room. For me to enjoy because I feel obligated to be respectful. I don’t bring friends over or have fun nights in my home I usually go out by myself. My husband is anti social and does not like to do much. I’m scared and fear life alone my husband is kind and loves me but lately I have pushed him away so much he’s very angry and I am as well. He wants a child but there’s no room for one and he just doesn’t seem to understand living with his sister has just overwhelmed me and I just want to experience the life I always seen myself to have. Independent free of family and in laws! My husband is also 9 years older than me! Insight anyone?,

    7. Lauren

      I think getting divorced at any age truly is heart breaking. I hate when people say “at least you didn’t have kids.” I truly don’t know whats worse to dream of something and never obtain it or obtain it and have it be ripped away from you. I believe pain is pain. I wish young men still had the values that older generations do. One bump in the road and then they are out.. and on to a new woman…

    8. Lee

      I am in my early, almost mid 30s, divorcing with no kids even though I really want them and I have wanted them for some time. Everyone says “at least there are no kids” and that is so painful. I don’t really have years to find someone new, marry them and start a family. This divorce was unexpected for me, and I feel shocked and betrayed. He told me he wanted to wait until we saved up, he kept pushing it back by 6 months or a year. And now I don’t know how I will have time to heal and still have “good enough” eggs. I don’t have the money to freeze my egg. So on top of all the hurt from the divorce, there is now this real possibility I will never get to be a mom. I feel left out of the discussion.

      • Alice

        I’m in the same predicament, though not divorced yet, but heading in that direction, at age 34. I really really want kids and partially wonder if I should stay in a marriage where he constantly is angry and criticizes me, where there is zero emotional connection…but I could have kids now. I wish there was more advice out there for people in this situation.

        • Matilda

          Can I help? I will be 34 in November, and in February ’17 my husband of nearly 7 years walked out. We didn’t have children. I assumed we would have a child, but I changed my mind 3 years into my marriage. Best decision I ever made. He is emotionally and physically abusive. Yes, he could also be sweet, caring, affectionate. But then BOOM! He lost his temper and threw me with objects and once locked me out in the cold to get back at me. And so I put it off and off and off. And now he walked out, claiming my lack of desire to have children as the prime reason. Good riddance! Yes, I am a little sad that I don’t have children. And I won’t. Because after the trauma I will not be getting married, and if I ever do, I will be past 40. But the ability to, one day, break free 100% from a toxic person who i love but who will never love me back is something I would never ever trade. Alice, don’t do it. Children won’t make it better, it will only trap you and do you not think your unborn deserve better? My unborn deserve the best- and so they will stay in my ovaries where nobody can hurt them. Life goes on, and I no longer define myself by my uterus. No, I am smart, kind, talented, and I can enrich my life and others’ in many ways other than giving birth. Maybe one day I will mother someone else in another way?

          • Alex Johnson

            Good for you! That is a lot of work to come to that thought process and you sound like you have been put through tough times to get there. I hope you are still doing well!

      • Abbey

        I am in the same position as you – early 30s been together 8years and married for 4 1/2 years. He has always known I’ve wanted children and he has been putting it off “after we’ve been married a year” “after we’ve done this or after we’ve done that”. It’s gotten to point where I’ve told him that it’s not fair and it’s emotional abuse to keep saying those things. He has now owned up that actually he doesn’t want children. I’m furious hurt betrayed upset and do not know what to do – how did you deal with this?

        • Deepika

          I am in the same position but I make my mind for divorce. I know it’s a toughest decision but I have to.. I have done everything for our happy life but he is not ready cos he has daughter from his first wife… how can be he so selfish ? I am broken in side but I can’t live like this anymore…

    9. Kai

      I so relate to this… I got married three years ago after being engaged for about two years… we argued so much before we got married about it… neither of us was sure it was what we wanted to do but i wanted to come home to Australia and we were living in the states so we decided to just do it. We really should have broken up then but it seemed so sad to break up just because we were headed in different directions in life. We could never agree on where we wanted to go in life. I wanted to travel, go to uni together, get great careers, save to buy a home and start a family. He just wanted to surf, paint and smoke pot (which i hate). Now we are seperating after almost two years of not having sex, living together more like roommates… we are really good friends and i do care alot for him but i just can’t keep going feeling like i’m alone and dying inside. I am in the process of learning to love myself, my life and open up to the possibilities of the future… I am going to go after all the things that i want in life and maybe one day i will meet someone when im ready that will fit into the life I actually want to be living instead of trying to fit into the life someone else wants… I’m going back packing indefinetly in Feb, have enrolled in online uni modules for now and am excited to create a life for myself that i love regardless of if i am alone. I love to travel, love meeting new people, history, the arts, society and culture, travel, hiking, nature, photography… so many things that make me happy but have been minor parts of my life the last few years. I also have realised how important my family is to me. I would rather travel and save to buy a home for my mum and baby brother at the moment but there is still so much time ahead of me. I was so afraid when i was in my early twenties that i would end up alone and i think that is why i stayed in a relationship that was safe but didn’t really feel right. Slowly the little voice inside saying that I wanted something different got louder and louder until i just couldn’t keep going through the motions even though i was terrified of being alone and being the first person in my year of school to both marry and divorce. I know it will take a long time but i’m also very excited to live more authentically and just do what i need to without having to worry about looking after a man. In hindsight, i think i was trying to change him into the man i needed… i thought that because we were both good people we could just get married and create the love and the life that i wanted. I was trying to change him without realising. I went out with one of my best mates the other day (a gay guy) and one of his friends i hadn’t met before. I laughed so much and felt so free…. i hadn’t realised that it had been almost 5 yrs since someone had made me honestly belly laugh like that. I am excited to have the time and freedom to really get to know and love myself. Im going to surround myself with people who make me laugh…. that felt so great.

    10. Alexandra

      I want to hear success stories of young women without a children that survived a divorce and are now happy.
      I’m on the same boat that many of you here, I’m 30, turning 31 in 2 months, he’s 39 and we’ve been married for a year and he’s super negative, always complaining about his job (or lack of), about where we live, about everything, constantly puts me down and criticizes me for everything.
      I have tried talking to him, expressing how I Feel in a calm friendly way but he just gets defensive and tells me that if i don’t like it i should leave, I’ve suggested therapy or marriage counselor, but nothing works.
      I’m emotionally hurt and I can’t move forward with my life, I feel like he’s holding me back, it all feels so toxic. Yet, I love him, I love his touch, his free spirit, how he helps at home and he’s sooo handsome! which makes it hard to leave… plus I want children, he wants them too but “just not yet” and I fear that if i leave him i’ll lose my chance at having children.

      Part of me knows that it is better to leave now than keep wasting time trying to fix someone that is broken. That I’ll be happy again, that I’ll find a partner in life and that i’ll be able to have children.

      It’s so scary and confusing, my friends and family tell me to leave him and so does my rational mind, but my heart doesn’t want to give up on us.

      Can anyone share divorce stories with a happy ending??

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        The case for staying: have you tried therapy? it might help. Have you told him he is a downer and constant complainer? How can someone be these things and be a free spirit? Also, there are going to be negatives with every man on this earth. If you have a lot of good in the marriage, why not work on it? Unless you already have. The case for leaving: I had kids at 36 and 38. Never settle. Hope that helps.

    11. Chels

      Thank you for this. I have been searching the internet to find other people to relate too with my break up.
      September 6th, 2016 I found out that my fiance had cheated on me and was living a double life with a 25 year old hair dresser. We had been together 5 years, bought a home and built a life together. The day I found out, it was from her actually, not him. She thought I was the crazy ex that just wouldn’t let go or get out of his house, when in actuality I was finding out in that moment all of this. Our wedding was planned, I had my dress, photographer, caterer, decorations…. everything was ready to go for June.
      I had always considered myself a strong person, but when I found out I broke into a million pieces. I fell into such a deep depression I was out of work on medical leave for a month. I lost 30 pounds in that same month. I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not live. He proceeded to quit his job and pack a duffel bag leaving all his other belongings in our home on Christmas Eve of that year and he never came back. I had to sell our home and it took me almost a year to do (I could not afford it on my own, and I did not want my name connected to his any longer) and moved into a tiny apartment about 6 months ago. I thought once I rid myself of his belongings and our home that kept us in connection would help me move on for good, but it did not.
      To say I was or even still am broken is an understatement. I met someone and started dating them for about 7 months, but it did not work out. He is a great guy too, we had a lot of fun together, I loved his family and friends. We had a lot of good times together but something was still missing. I need a best friend and a partner in a relationship. Someone I do not feel self conscious around, that I can talk too for hours on end and never have a dull moment together. Someone I can play card games with for hours and be content with. Someone who wants to know all of me, inside and out and enjoys listening to me ad understands I am trying to rebuild myself and my life. After everything I have been though I am not willing to settle for less then exactly what I know I need in a relationship. I am not sure I will ever be able to fully let someone in or give myself to someone again.
      I have good days and bad days still. I thought by now I would be in a much better place. my friends are always telling me how much better I am now, but it does not feel that way to me. I smile and I agree with them, but I do not feel it. I am turning 30 this year and I am scared to death that this experience has changed me so much. I do not feel like I have the ability to love again.
      My lifelong dream has been to be a mother. Everyone always says well at least you didn’t have kids when they learn of my break up, but that hurts even more. I do not think my pain would be any more or less if there had been children. It is hard to find anyone or anything that can relate to me.
      Many of my friends think I should just be over it by now, hell its approaching 2 years, I think I should be over it too, but for some reason I am not. All the stories I find are of people with kids who feel the same, but its not the same as they have to stay in contact with the man who left them. I do not, and have not spoken to him since the day my house sold in October of 2017, however I am still just as hurt. I don’t want him back, that I know, but I don’t know why I still feel SO much pain. Why I still care so much about what she has that I did or do not. How he could just walk away from me, when I thought he was my soul mate believed he felt the same for me. I did not see it coming, I did not ever think he would leave me and our life. I really thought he was the one. You would think I would find comfort that he also stopped talking to most of his friends and family too when he walked out on me and our life. But for some reason I do not. I think the issue is I cannot wrap my head around it and I still cannot believe that this happened and I feel stuck in this place where I am happy to a degree, but I also still am not. I think I also do not trust myself anymore. I gave all of myself to this person who I trusted and loved with every bit of my being and he threw me and our life away like it was nothing. How did I not see it, how was I so blind? How can I ever trust myself to give my love to another?
      I am hopeful, and I really do want another great love. But what if you only get one great love in your lifetime? Maybe I have already had mine? Should I settle for anything less than perfect again? If I don’t I risk being alone and not ever having my dream of being a mother and having a family.

      • Sarai

        I can relate.i have no children. 30 been marrid 10 yrs. Together since i was 16. Its so complicated loving someone so selflessly.adjusting and adapting too make them happy. Until one day it hits u .. He wouldnt do the same for you.. Do u value yourself and walk away or settle for the crumbs of love they give?? The problem was and always has been the full love dive we tend to take. We want to believe that they love us the way we love them. Foolishly. To our surprise they don’t and it hurts. But the worst part is the end. They make u feel guilty when u did all u could to make it work. To add the cherry on top they give u no closure thats why it hurts so much. they so easily dismiss your feelings and emotions only fo fuel their own ego when its over. No explanation.

    12. Emmanuel Adeayo Omotosho

      I most times had this thought within me that i have engaged myself in an unsure relationship which could lead to regret in marriage. I just did wedding nine months ago but ever since i have been in dark confusion and hatred why because I realized some errors that happened before wedding. I realized i was never loved her as she seems to be to me during our courting says. Now i failed to share my feelings with people for help or advice each time i went for counselling i failed to speek out the true feeling within me. I kept this hot feeling to myself even when i was supposed to say it out in fact on our wedding day when we were about to be joined together, i look at people eyes still i couldn’t speak out the hot burning truth. Now i don’t stay at home, I left home early in the day and back lately just in order to avoid any eruption. I sees myself as if i being bewitched. I can continue to write on and on though my constant question is “why i find myself in this realm?”. I’m set to move out of this depression…. I think I need help!

    13. Hurt Soul

      I’m 28, my husband 33 and we are married for 2.8 yrs. Him and his parents want a divorce from me. They broke the news the next day after this Christmas. I’m unemployed too but will have to look for a job soon to support myself. We don’t have children. It looks like reality hasn’t sunk in for me. I want to be happy and not let myself be depressed and hurt. I really don’t know what divorce procedure is, what happens, nothing. I know nothing about it, but I want to be happy and not be hurt and sad and crying and depressed. I want to survive. I want to live.


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