Divorce is the second most stressful life event following the death of a spouse, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.
Divorce, or separation from a committed relationship, marks a dramatic and often painful change in one’s life. Each person must work through the emotional stages of divorce or the “emotional divorce.” In my practice, I provide online divorce coaching to help clients through these emotional stages toward their own emotional divorce before the physical or legal divorce.
Everyone’s divorce situation is different, so “emotional stages” vary significantly from person to person. In addition, these stages of grief do not tend to occur in any particular order. Consequently, divorcing people may feel alone as they seem to be the only ones feeling this way. For example, one spouse may have been grieving through the stages of divorce for years, trying to work through an unhappy marriage. By the time this spouse asks for a divorce, they may have already experienced a bit of each stage and be ready to move much faster toward acceptance.
Knowledge is power. So, to better help you understand and prepare for what lies ahead for you or a loved one, here is a bit about each of the five possible “emotional stages” during the divorce process.
Our brains have a protective power. It is called denial, meant to numb the emotional pain from a traumatic event. If the divorce was not your idea, you might be holding onto hope that you and your spouse can work things out. Generally speaking, when one spouse asks for a divorce, their mind is already made up, and there is little the other spouse can do to change it. The sooner you move past this stage, the sooner you can go on to heal and accept a new future. Be kind to yourself but realize that this is a normal yet confusing time.
Anger is another protective power that our brains use to deflect our feelings of vulnerability, fear, and sadness. You may feel angry if you were lied to, cheated on, abandoned, or broken trust. You may feel this anger toward your spouse, yourself, or someone else.
Anger can be good for breaking off the emotional attachment you may have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and it can be the catalyst you need to move on. Work through your anger but remember to stay in control of your emotions and take the high road so that you can begin to make decisions from a place of empowerment rather than scarcity.
Bargaining typically sounds like, “I promise to change if you just stay” or “Let’s just stay together until the children graduate.” While bargaining does have a chance of helping to save marriages, usually, by the time one spouse has asked for a divorce, it is too late. Perhaps bargaining can help both spouses to be authentic and honest and allow for some healing.
Everyone divorcing will experience some form of sadness. Divorce is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. It marks the end of a relationship and the loss of your hopes and dreams. You may feel like crying at unexpected, random times of the day. Sadness is essential for reaching the final stage of acceptance. If you feel that your sadness turns into lingering depression, speaking with a mental health professional may be a good idea.
After working through several previous stages, you will begin to come to terms with your divorce. You will start having better days and even begin planning for the future. You start to feel like yourself again, possibly your new self. This does not mean you will not experience periods of denial, anger, bargaining, or depression. But you will likely find that these brief periods are much easier to manage moving forward.
Emotional divorce is a separate stage in the divorce process that deals with the emotional un-bonding between spouses. If this stage happens before the physical and legal divorce, it can make some steps and the legal battle much smoother for everyone involved. If you or someone you know needs assistance managing their divorce and working through the emotional rollercoaster, I am here to help. My divorce coaching and life transition coaching practice is physically located in Florida, but I serve clients anywhere with my online divorce coaching services. Once you have worked through the emotional divorce, you will be ready to tackle your new life transition from a place of empowerment.
Begin Working With A Divorce Coach Near Tampa, FL
Separating yourself from someone you’ve been with for so long can take time to navigate. I can help you with this stressful moment in your life. In addition, I also assist clients with divorce mediation anywhere in the state of Florida along with online divorce coaching and life transition coaching. You can start your therapy journey with Successful Solution by following these steps:
- Contact me for a free consultation
- Get to know me and the therapy process
- Start working through an emotional divorce!