The Five Stages of Divorce

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Divorce – it feels like your whole world has been turned upside down and there’s no time to plan an emotional response. Anyone who’s ended a marriage knows that to get through what might be one of life’s toughest challenges, you may have to go through five stages…

And forget a beginning, middle and end – you’ll probably visit each stage several times before you reach closure.

So, whilst attempting to manage your emotional recovery during and after the divorce, go easy on yourself. You’ll move through the five stages at your own pace, angry one week, bargaining the next. Just don’t forget, you may also later come to the acceptance stage.

1. Denial

There’s nothing like driving through a storm pretending all is well in the world. Denial is your psyche’s way of protecting yourself from becoming emotionally overwhelmed.

Denying everything can be a useful coping mechanism, but you can’t pretend forever. Refusing to face reality becomes a very unattractive trait after a while.

2. Anger

When your world is crumbling around you, who better to blame for everything than your ex?

During the anger phase, your old lover may become the worst partner you ever had and you may feel the need to let out some of that pent up anger in one way or another. A healthy way of doing so might be by taking up a sport.

3. Bargaining

Bargaining is an attempt to press the brakes on the runaway train and get your life back on track. Now, it may not have been a great life, but it was a lot better than what you’re experiencing now, that’s for sure. During this stage you might start to miss your ex partner, and you’ll reflect on all good times you’ve shared, not the bad ones.

The thing to remember in this situation is it may not be too late to undo it.

But if you’re sure you’re going to call it a day, then you may well need to seek some legal advice to guide you through the next steps.

4. Depression

Ah, depression. Say hello to your bed and TV ‘cause this is where you’ll be spending most of your time now! This is the stage we mostly expect – but what most people don’t know is that depression during a divorce can be much similar to the stages of grief.

You may not bathe or leave the house for a few days during the denial stage, so by now you may have started to look and smell a bit… different. Don’t neglect yourself in this stage – you are your own worst enemy. Make time for things you love doing and try to keep yourself distracted.

Be smart and surround yourself with a good support system. You may even want to look into therapy and counseling because the support of family and friends goes a very long way, but sometimes there may be no substitute for expert advice.

Don’t be scared to cry it all out and remember to talk, talk, talk!

5. Acceptance

Sometimes, you might also reach the stage of acceptance. You’ve moved through adversity and learned a few life lessons from it. Remember though, just because you’ve reached acceptance doesn’t mean you won’t still have negative emotions about your divorce. It’s normal to still feel some anger and sadness at the loss of your marriage. But nevertheless you may now be at a stage where you can also move on with the rest of your life.

November 22, 2017 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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