Emotional Stages of Divorce

Emotional Stages of Divorce

Emotional Stages of Divorce

What are the emotional stages of a divorce?  No matter how amicable the separation, a divorce is the end of a significant part of your life and throughout the process, your emotions can and will change during this difficult time. You may be asking yourself what stage of grieving your divorce you are currently experiencing and what’s next. There are emotional stages that you need to be prepared to acknowledge and manage. These emotions can cause minds to be unclear and chaotic when decisions need to be made.

You could feel betrayal, guilt, distance, numbness, insecurity, and maybe even a small glimpse of hope that the relationship will reconcile. It can help the healing process if you know what emotions you have already gone through and look to see how you are making process moving forward.

Stages of Grief & Divorce

Common grieving stages of divorce you may experience:

  1. Denial – The shock of getting a divorce hasn’t settled in yet. Divorce can be against your moral and spiritual beliefs. It could be something that you never thought would happen to you. You may still be trying to fix the marriage, but denial is a coping tool used to hide the reality of situations.
  2. Fear – The feeling of anxiety and what is to come next. You are unsure of how the legality process works and what precautions you need to take. Everything can feel overwhelming, confusing and difficult to manage.
  3. Anger – You can feel anger towards yourself and towards your partner. Angry that the relationship ended when it did, feeling of betrayal, and having unresolved issues that never had a chance to be resolved.
  4. Depression – You may start to blame yourself and lose a lot of your self-esteem. Depression can set in because you are losing someone you loved and going through a very stressful process of grieving.
  5. Impatience – Being impatient with yourself and how you are feeling, or impatient with the process of divorce and the progress that has been made.
  6. Resentment – You may feel you were taken advantage of, feel unrecognized, or jealousy. You can resent your ex for getting married in the first place or putting you through a divorce.
  7. Relief – Relief that the relationship is over, that your divorce process has been filed and that you and your ex have separated. You don’t feel that you need an emotionally disruptive relationship in your life anymore.
  8. Acceptance – Letting go fully of the relationship and divorce and found the ability to move forward with your own life.

Tips on How to Move on From Divorce

There is no timeline for these feelings, and they could occur in a different order for each individual. Here are some tips to help you keep moving forward:

  • Know that you are not alone. Many people have successfully navigated divorce to reach their new beginnings. There truly is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Educate yourself on these emotional stages so you understand their potential impact on your decision-making. For example, in Tampa, and other courts in Florida, you will be required to attend mediation to attempt to come to an agreement on some or all of the issues that you have in your family law matter. Mediation can be traumatic for clients. In some situations, it is the first time a spouse has seen a significant other since a separation. As you experience the emotional stages, especially during a family law mediation, the art of listening patiently and reacting deliberately is not only a best practice but also a strategy to allow you to maintain your composure and avoid poor decisions, comments or actions. Understanding your emotions during your divorce is vital.
  • Because divorce is so traumatic, we recommend that all individuals at least consult with a family law attorney to obtain a general understanding of the process in divorce.
  • Remember to take care of yourself during the process. Use your family and friends as a support system and, if needed, seek professional help from a psychologist or family therapist.

Much has been written about the emotional stages of divorce but is rare to find a person who is both aware of the stages and ready to manage the associated stress and trauma of those stages, especially during the process of the divorce. Many clients admit that divorce is the most difficult experience of their lives. A good family law attorney will not only be aware of the emotional stages of divorce but also be equipped to help the client navigate decision-making during those stages.

Shannon LaFrance is an attorney in the Tampa Bay area of  Hillsborough County, Florida with over 25 years of family law, dependency and litigation experience. She is admitted in the states of Florida, New York and New Hampshire. Contact her at 813-930-5542 to schedule a consultation.