On your wedding day the intention is to be with that person forever. But sometimes things do not go as planned. You may realize that it’s no longer possible to live with your partner.
Going through a divorce is overwhelming and stressful. It’s easy to get bogged down with feelings of shock, frustration, grief, anger and depression. But these feelings are normal, and experiencing them will eventually help emerge from the relationship in a healthy way.
Keep reading this post as we tell you about the emotional stages of divorce and how to deal with them.
Six Emotional Stages Of Divorce
These are also called six stages of grief, which you may experience after you lose a person to death, or other situations, such as divorce. The duration of each stage during the divorce proceedings may vary from one person to another based on how your relationship was, how long you were married, and the reason that led to divorce.
Denial or refusal is the first stage of emotion you may experience a few weeks before the divorce. In this stage, you may find it difficult to accept that you are about to be divorced. This feeling is usually a triggered defense mechanism to the shock you experience on realizing that your marriage will be over.
As you refuse to accept what’s happening, you may try to hide your feelings and refuse to express your emotions even through words. You know things are not going as planned, and your spouse’s behavior has changed. Your love and other feelings slowly fade away, leaving heaviness in your heart. That heaviness is resentment as you see your dreams crushed, and have no plan on what you are going to do after the divorce. You may feel anxious and guilty, too.
Denial is also the stage when you come closer to reality. It can be considered a powerful stage as it helps you cope with the situation. Eventually, you come out of the zone of refusal and accept what has happened or is going to happen.
The second emotional stage of divorce is anger, which could result in masking feelings. Anger hides your feelings of sadness and pain. You may wonder ‘How can they do this to me?’, ‘Why is it me who is always hurt?,’ ‘Life has never been fair to me.’
You tend to blame your family or friends and channel your anger in a different direction. Anger is a natural response, and it is okay to go through this stage. Let the feelings of grief come out as anger, which can help you stay grounded to reality, and, in due course, will give you the strength to overcome the pain of divorce.
At this stage, try and understand that these feelings are temporary. You can deal with your anger by crying it out, talking to somebody and expressing what you feel, writing down your thoughts, and indulging in a physical activity, like walking, running, or yoga.
3. Conflicting emotions
‘I feel good, but after some time, I cry.’
This is the emotional roller coaster stage. You may be annoyed or frustrated with the experience, but at the next moment, you become relieved or filled with hope. You may break down and then help yourself rise. Sometimes, you blame yourself for the split, and the next moment, push the blame to your partner. In short, you experience a chaotic jumble of emotions.
It is fine to feel confused like that. It occurs as you try to gauge between what you have assumed to happen in life and what is actually happening. During this stage, you may also worry about legal and financial issues related to divorce. You may have to make decisions regarding expenses, living, and parenting if you have children.
Move on and talk to trustworthy people, seek help from professionals, but don’t hold on to your emotions or isolate yourself.
You may try to negotiate with your partner or the situation, yearning to make things work in your marriage. There could be feelings of helplessness, and you could become vulnerable. The stage is called bargaining, and it gives you false hope. You may think, ‘What if I apologize?’ ‘I would do what my partner wants me to,’ or ‘I would not complain.’
You try to change yourself and compromise just to save your marriage. But remember that the threads you are using to bind the ties are too thin. Pushing things too hard with bargaining may even brunt your self-respect. Therefore, the best thing to do now is to leave the past and try to get on.
It is also called the silent stage of grief. After worrying, getting angry, and trying whatever you could, you finally understand that your marriage has come to an end. You would be tired of running away from people, all the emotional chaos, and now surrender to reality. But as you do so, you slowly sink into a state of morbid self-depreciation and gloom, and ultimately depression.
Depression is a difficult phase. You may feel your life is over, and there is no solution. It is an imperative stage, but remember that it is not a forever feeling. At this stage, you need to release yourself from the burden of your marital relationship.
Reach out to people; it could be family or friends. If not, you can talk to a therapist and seek help. Meditate, write, and focus on yourself, and you can gradually step out of a depressive state of mind.
The feelings and thoughts of divorce are temporary since you will reach a point when you start accepting the fact that your marriage is over. There is a solemn acceptance of the situation, and you learn to focus on the path ahead. You will understand that it’s just the end of one chapter, and it is time to begin a fresh one.
Why Is It Difficult To Get Through The Emotional Stages Of Divorce?
The answer is simple, and it is that no one who gets married ever plans on getting divorced. Most people envision married life and think of their future with children, buying a new house and other important milestones. When marrying your partner, you probably never thought that the relationship would break one day. You make your plans with your spouse in mind. You love them and build trust over the course of time.
When such a relationship comes to an end, all your dreams and plans shatter. It becomes difficult to process the thoughts of separation, broken promises, and love fading away. And that’s why getting through the emotional stages of divorce is burdensome. Nonetheless, it’s a phase that you will cross over for a new beginning.
Divorce is often the only solution when one of you or both are not happy. Marriage is not an obligation. You don’t have to struggle or compromise your life just to save your relationship. Eventually, you might tell yourself, ‘it’s okay.’ Embark on a new journey with a positive perspective and with your newfound wisdom. Open yourself to fresh avenues. Travel, take up courses, workout, visit museums, dance, and do anything that would help you build confidence and define yourself. You will love life again.