Dealing with the Emotional Pain of Divorce

What Are the Emotional Stages of Divorce?

When our lives change, including during the divorce process, we often have an emotional response. That response may be happiness or relief and/or anger, betrayal, or sadness. Even if you wanted to get divorced or have an amicable relationship with the other party, you can experience a wide range of emotions because of your divorce. Because of the loss of your marriage, you may have to grieve not only your relationship but also hopes and dreams, friendships, and a host of other people or things.

During and after your divorce, you may go through the following five emotional stages.

  • Denial. During this stage, you may refuse to accept either the divorce itself or the effects that the divorce is having on you and your life. You may feel incapable of accepting or working through what’s happening, which leads to denial.
  • Anger. You may be angry for any number of reasons, and you may be angry at a number of people, including yourself, because of what’s happening.
  • Bargaining. In this stage, you may struggle with “what if’s” and “if only’s” in a struggle to find answers or find meaning in what’s happening.
  • Depression. Depression can manifest itself as a feeling of emptiness, immense grief, loneliness, or sadness. In processing your divorce emotionally, you may experience some level of depression.
  • Acceptance. In this final stage, you will accept that the divorce is happening or has happened. While this doesn’t mean you won’t have any bad days or feel nostalgia or loneliness at one point, you may feel more clarity and peace.

It is important to note that these stages are not always linear, and you may experience two or more stages at once. There is also no specific time frame for how long you will experience each stage.

How to Emotionally Deal with a Divorce

When you are served divorce papers and throughout the divorce process, you may feel a wide range of emotions. Here are a few tips that you can use to help manage your mental and emotional health before and after your divorce.

  • Be kind to yourself. Many people ask, “Why am I so sad if I wanted the divorce?” You may wonder why you feel any number of emotions if you are the initiator or not. Whatever you may be feeling, give yourself grace and avoid punishing yourself for your emotions.
  • Establish a support network. During and after your divorce, you should have people in your corner that you can turn to for emotional support. Consider joining a support group or reaching out to friends and family to ask for support and explain what you may need from them.
  • Create a financial plan. Your financial health can impact your emotional and mental health. While getting divorced can sometimes be expensive, you can budget and plan to help you avoid feeling stressed, angry, or overwhelmed financially.
  • Give yourself time and space to grieve. Everyone’s grieving process feels and looks different, and there is no timeline concerning how long the grieving and emotional process will take. As we mentioned, you are grieving more than just your relationship (i.e. your dreams, sense of normalcy, sense of control, etc.).
  • Support and honor your children’s feelings. If you have children, your divorce can impact your children emotionally. They will need your help and support to process their emotions in a healthy way, and depending on their age, they will have different emotional responses. While you won’t know how they will respond until you share the news of their divorce, you should prepare for them to have an emotional response; you can also ask their teachers and other adults in your life to help you monitor them.
  • Prioritize self-care. You should have a self-care routine that allows you to recharge and relax.

Getting Divorced? Contact Our Firm For Help.

While you focus on your emotional health and well-being as well as your mental health, the team at Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office can handle the case legalities. Backed by decades of legal experience, our attorney is equipped to offer you individualized strategies and legal solutions to protect your interests. Whether you or your spouse file contested or uncontested, we are here to help you. We also handle same-sex, military, and high asset/net-worth divorce cases.

You don’t have to handle your divorce alone. Let us help. To schedule a case consultation, call (727) 312-1112 or reach out online today.


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