The emotional stages of divorce can be difficult and overwhelming to deal with. Everyone experiences divorce differently but understanding the various emotional stages can help you get through this process with more clarity and hope.
Letting go of someone you love, or once loved, is never easy. Whatever your reason for divorce may be, our skilled and compassionate team at New York Divorce Mediation Group can help you through this challenging time. In this article, we will discuss the emotional stages of divorce and how mediation can help your divorce be less stressful.
The Emotional Toll of Divorce
Divorce is considered to be one of the most stressful situations a person can go through, and it can wreak havoc on your emotional health. Most people expect to be with their partner for the rest of their life, so when someone is faced with divorce, they may experience a range of emotions from depression and rage to shame and hopelessness. If you are unable to deal with your feelings in a healthy way, the emotional toll of divorce can last for months or even years.
Divorce can lead to very strong emotions and even destructive behavior such as alcohol and drug abuse and other unhealthy habits. Often people do not realize that an emotional divorce can greatly affect your physical health as well. Going through divorce can be very challenging, especially if you are unsure how to approach your own feelings and your spouse’s feelings with honesty and compassion. We believe the best way to manage an emotional divorce is through mediation. Mediation is a collaborative approach to divorce that allows you and your spouse to discuss your issues and reach an equitable settlement in a low-stress, calm environment.
Here are the six major emotional stages of divorce.
Stage 1: Denial & Blaming
Denial and blaming are very common responses to getting a divorce. It can be complicated and painful to accept that your relationship isn’t where it should be or once was. You may even think divorce could have been avoided if you and your spouse could solve your own marital issues. But that is not always the case. Denial and blame can send you into an emotional whirlwind, which can hinder your acceptance of your situation. You may even place the blame on your spouse by thinking, “If my partner didn’t do X, Y, and Z, this wouldn’t be happening.” Thinking this way can cause you to harbor resentment and bitterness. It can also force you to suppress your emotions, which can make your divorce all the more challenging.
Stage 2: Anger & Resentment
Anger and resentment are very common emotions couples experience in a marriage headed toward divorce. You may be angry or resentful that things didn’t work out, or you may be upset with yourself or your spouse for getting to this point in your relationship. During this stage, people often painfully dissect every aspect of their marriage. After people suppress their emotions (like in the denial stage), their emotions can erupt and lead to feeling very out of control. It’s important to be patient and gentle with yourself and not to allow your anger and resentment to consume you. This can lead to harmful and vindictive decisions, so it’s best to feel these emotions and then let them pass. You don’t want to make any important decisions purely on emotion. Allow yourself the time and space to cope with the stress and remember what is in your and your family’s best interest.
Stage 3: Bargaining
The bargaining stage may feel like a bit of a shock, but a lot of people struggle with this, even those who initiate the divorce. As people weigh the odds, they may battle feelings of doubt and guilt. For example, you may be wondering if you made the right decision or if you could have done something differently. You may be questioning your decisions and analyzing the consequences. There is a lot of going back and forth during this stage.
Stage 4: Depression
Depression brought on by divorce is very typical for couples. This stage can last for a long time, and it can be the most difficult to grapple with. It is usually during this stage that the reality of this situation has settled in for both parties. Depression can be debilitating and overwhelming, which is why it is so important to lean on your support system and accept help from your support system. You may consider seeing a therapist for yourself or your children. Speaking to a professional can help you and your family work through this painful event and gain skill to learn how to cope in a healthy way, and heal.
Stage 5: Letting Go & Acceptance
Most people find peace during this emotional stage of divorce. When the negative emotions finally stop, you may feel like you can finally find happiness and contentment in your life. This stage is essential for self-reflection and growth. You will finally see that there is life after divorce, and there are positive things in your life that you can look forward to.
It is also common for people to briefly revisit a previous emotional stage during this time because it leads you to a mindset that allows you to move on. The stages of emotions are not always linear. Eventually you will be more able to embrace your reality and have hope for the future. Experiencing negative emotions is natural, but now, you are no longer consumed by those feelings.
Stage 6: New Beginnings
Now with new beginnings, you will hopefully feel a sense of joy and be able to reclaim some of your old self and feel more empowered by the changes in your life. This is the time to keep yourself motivated and spend time with yourself. Try to create the life you want and deserve. This could include finding a new hobby or taking a vacation. Sometimes, a change of scenery can change your outlook for the better and give you a chance to fully heal.
Mediation: A Low-Stress, Amicable, and Collaborative Approach to Divorce
Divorce mediation is a low-stress and amicable option for couples experiencing an emotional divorce. Our team of New York divorce mediators and therapists can help you cope with your emotional divorce so you can get through this difficult time and start your new life.
In divorce mediation, you and your spouse collaborate and work with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator acts as your guide through the divorce process so you can discuss and resolve issues in your divorce. Without divorce mediation, a litigated divorce with two adversarial attorneys might cause harm to your emotional wellbeing. Mediation is also less expensive than litigation and it’s less combative. If you would like to make your divorce go more peaceably, mediation is your solution.
To schedule a no obligation consultation with our team at New York Divorce Mediation Group, please contact us today.
We look forward to helping you start your new life!