You are in: Home > Divorce

The Joy of An Ex - Four Emotional Stages of Divorce

04th April 2011
By Jackie Rahmler in Divorce
RSS Legal RSS    Views: N/A

Copyright (c) 2011 Jackie Ramler

Do you want to thrive after divorce? If so, it is important you know and understand the four stages of divorce because when you understand them you improve your chances of reaching the final emotional stage of divorce: RELIEF.

Some say that the emotional stages of divorce are the same as when you grieve a death. Although grieving occurs during a divorce, there is more to it. The stages of grieving are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You will see that these occur during the stages of divorce too.

The first emotional stage of divorce is called SHOCK. This stage commences when you first start to consider that the marriage is in trouble. This stage could last for years. Some enter into this stage long before they talk with their partner about terminating the relationship. Others enter this stage when they hear their partner say "this relationship is over" or "I'm done". No matter when this stage commences, each person's life may be riveted with shock. You will be heard to say "I can't believe this is happening I really thought this was for life" or "I just feel numb". Or you will feel denial: "I don't think things are that bad that we have to end it" or "She/He is just going through a midlife crisis" or "She/He is spending too much time with his/her divorced friends she/he will get over it". Another common aspect of the SHOCK stage is bargaining. This is a feeling or even an urgency to want to save the relationship. "I'll do whatever it takes to save this marriage" or "Please don't leave me I will change I promise" or "Maybe if we move or I change jobs then things will get better".

The SHOCK stage is stressful and the stress may affect your thoughts, behaviours, emotions, and body. The signs of stress are different in each person. You may notice changes in the way that you think like memory problems, negativity, constant worry and indecisiveness. Some experience changes in their eating or sleeping patterns during this stage. You may experience emotional changes and become moody, agitated, cry a lot or become hypersensitive. Or perhaps you will experience physical symptoms such as sleep problems, headaches, body pain, and skin outbreaks. Coping with the stress means that you recognize the signs and you do something positive to deal with it. You need to take care of yourself and get help from a professional. Unfortunately some people don't realize what is happening and things spiral out of control eventually culminating in a complete and devastating breakdown.

The second emotional stage of divorce is CRUMBLING. You realize the relationship is over and your identity as married person is shattered. You start to think about all the changes that have to be made. This can be scary and overwhelming. You relive the marriage in your mind, discussions, or even arguments. You will look to place blame in an attempt to understand the reason for what feels like a failure and justification to move forward. Commonly this stage elicits a variety of very strong emotions such as anger, hatred, devastation, blame, guilt, justification, shame and/or fear. During the crumbling stage you may experience symptoms of depression such as sad, anxious or "empty" feelings, hopelessness, pessimism, decreased energy, change in appetite, sleep problems, thoughts of suicide, difficulty concentrating or remembering details and making decisions. You reach out to those you feel you can trust not to judge you. You will turn to professionals or written materials to gather information. Spouses may engage in a battle for their future or give up everything out of guilt.

ACCEPTANCE is the third emotional stage or divorce. This is when you realize the relationship is definitely over and you have the ability to envision life after divorce. There is a sense of understanding that it is not about looking at the past and finding blame but more about looking forward. You engage in helpful coping behaviours like healthy eating, exercising, seeing a therapist, joining a support group, engaging in new or old hobbies, journaling, and you use favourable ways to release emotions. You feel like moving on is possible and you just might be okay. You can consider others as you have the ability to choose courage, forbearance, recognition, and kindness over fear, blame, shame and doubt. The separation becomes a little more public and you are okay with that. You are taking the steps to physically, mentally and emotionally separate from your partner in a positive way.


Divorce Choices
This article is free for republishing
Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article

powered by Yedda