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What Are the 6 Emotional Stages of Divorce?

It is heartbreaking to go through the process of losing a marriage. In many ways, an individual going through a divorce exhibits some of the same feelings as someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. These stages bring out emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness, and depression, which can hit at any moment. Everyone responds differently to divorce, but one thing is for certain: it is easier to have a general understanding of which emotions you may face as you move forward with the process. Today, we will go over the 6 emotional stages of divorce.

Denial

At first, you may be unable to accept that you are going through the process of divorce. You may not want to address your feelings and turn away from anyone who wishes to speak with you about the divorce, including a therapist, friends, family, and other loved ones. Avoiding the truth will make the process more difficult in the long term though, so it is best to accept what is happening.

That does not mean skipping over this phase altogether though. It is okay to feel feelings of denial at this point and to express how you are doing. However, after a certain period, it will be appropriate to move on.

Shock

Divorce can be daunting to anyone. It also forever changes you family dynamic and life, so it makes sense why it would shock you to hear your spouse wants a divorce. At some point, you may feel an overwhelming sense of loss of control. This could manifest in various ways, such as anxiety, depression, lack of energy, and/or an inability to sleep or perform normal, everyday activities. It is normal to feel shocked at some point during your divorce.

Overwhelming emotions

You may have a hard time keeping your emotions under control while navigating a divorce. You might feel hopeless, sad, anxious, angry, depressed, confused, annoyed, and/or frustrated. Sometimes you might have contrasting emotions such as feeling angry followed by a couple days of sadness. At this point, you might focus too much on why your marriage failed. It would be beneficial to speak to a professional therapist at this time and practice self-care. Turn to your loved ones for additional support.

Bargaining

At this time, you may turn to drastic measures to get your ex-spouse back. You probably feel that you want your marriage to work out, so you will compromise anything to do just that. What you need to realize is that you cannot control another person though. Bargaining only delays the divorce process, which must continue.

Letting go

When you realize that you cannot force a marriage to work, you then take a step back and look at your marriage more objectively. You might start to gain a greater understanding of why your marriage ended. You could also feel a sense of freedom and might begin to be hopeful of embarking on a new chapter of your life. At this point, you start to let go of trying to save your marriage.

Acceptance

It may take some time, but acceptance will come. At this stage, you decide to accept the end of your marriage. You do not try to change what happened. Instead, you look towards the future and start making new plans for your life. This stage is typically accompanied by a period of growth and happiness.

If you require assistance navigating your divorce, contact our firm online or reach out to us via (512) 768-9737.

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