The Stages of Grief During Divorce
Is it normal to experience grief during divorce? Even if the choice to divorce was yours or the divorce proceeded amicably, it can be hard to deal with the resulting losses and changes in your life. A divorce is a life-altering event and can bring about a host of emotions—it can even leave you feeling isolated in those emotions.
You may be surprised to learn that grief doesn’t just result from death. After divorce, your life and lifestyle are very likely changing. This loss—along with countless other losses from divorce—creates a very real, very normal grief. Grieving after divorce is painful, but it’s important to properly process your grief and experience your emotions so you can grow from your experience. Only through dealing with your grief can you begin to move forward. By working through your emotions in a healthy way, you can adapt coping techniques and get through this hard time.
Is It Normal to Feel Grief During Divorce?
We all experience loss and grief at some point in our lives. Dealing with grief is an entirely personal thing, and no person experiences it in the same manner. Grieving is the emotional process experienced following any loss, and it’s important to note that going through a divorce is undoubtedly a loss.
Divorce is a life-changing event. As such, there are a number of things lost in divorce that you may be grieving, including the absence of your spouse in your home, the loss of their friendship and companionship, a loss of security and stability, financial loss, or even a loss of time. For that reason, after a divorce, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge what you’ve lost.
How Long Do Stages of Grief Last In Divorce?
After the loss of a loved one, you’ll often hear the adage that there is no timeline for grief. That means that there’s no set timeframe within which you should feel “over” the loss of someone close to you. It’s important to remember that, even if the divorce is a welcome end to a tumultuous marriage, you are still losing someone you once held close to you. Your loss is real, and deserves the time necessary to process this grief.
There’s no official timeline for your grief, though you may experience grief in its five stages.
Understanding these stages may help you to understand the complicated and conflicting emotions you could be experiencing.
Stages of Grief After Divorce
Going through the five stages of grief after a divorce is a common way people deal with divorce losses, but it’s not the only way. For that reason, while understanding these stages can help you recognize and deal with them as they happen, the stages you experience might not be in this order. Some people may skip some stages, while others could experience several at once.
However, knowledge about what may be to come can still help you work through this difficult time of loss. Consider flipping through some books on divorce to gain perspective from different authors. If at any point during the grieving process you feel stuck and unable to move on, that may mean it’s a good time to talk with a friend or professional to deal with those emotions.
How Do I Overcome Grief During Divorce?
While there is no one way to manage your grief and work through the grieving process, there are some coping strategies you can use. These can help you deal with the pain of loss while letting time do its work to move you forward. By finding healthy ways to deal with your emotions, you can begin your new life and move on from loss.
Be Kind To Yourself
Emotional reactions can be unpredictable, and your feelings are likely to be confusing, complicated, and even contradictory. Be aware that this is both okay and normal for people experiencing grief. Don’t put pressure on yourself to recover immediately or even behave like “normal.”
Acknowledge Your Emotions
Loss and grief lead to unexpected and difficult emotions. It could be helpful for some to talk with a friend to voice your emotions, keep a journal to write your emotions, or speak your emotions out loud. Simply recognizing the emotions you’re dealing with can help you understand them.
Create Rituals for Mourning
By creating rituals or ceremonies to honor the lost aspects of your life or symbolize your transition to a new one, you can help yourself move on from loss and embrace a new life. You could create rituals to find a way to honor your marriage, move away from the trauma and negative emotions from your marriage, and reinvent the life you now have. Any action you can take to symbolize the loss and the new transition you’re undertaking can help you move forwards.
Seek Professional Support
Grief and loss are very isolating emotions, so it’s important to find the support and help you need to process them in a healthy way. Talking to a therapist or other professional can not only help you process your emotions but also make you feel less alone in your experience. Be honest about what you need for support and how your grief is impacting you and your life. There are many different methods of experiencing professional support, and just as many resources for understanding grief.
Find Meaning in Life
Part of moving on from grief, loss, and your old life is creating a new life. Whether you’re moving to a new city, seeking new job opportunities, building new friendships, or developing new hobbies and activities, it’s important to make full use of your new life. Understanding who you are as a person, what you love, who you love, and the things you enjoy, can help you discover this new stage of your life.
Get Experienced Representation
Taking action can have a stabilizing effect on emotions related to divorce. Get educated about Arizona divorce law, learning the difference between a divorce and annulment for example. An experienced attorney helps ease anxieties by educating you upon the topic of divorce law, and more specifically, the options related to an Arizona divorce.
Moving Beyond Grief During Divorce
If you’re considering divorce, know that you can handle it, and you are capable of dealing with the loss afterwards. Everyone experiences grief differently, so be sure to be kind with yourself as you work through it. Find support as you continue the process, and always look forward to the new life you have ahead of you. Divorce can be an emotional journey and starting over is hard. Never forget there is more hope on the other side-a fresh start! By envisioning the end dreams and goals you can feel your way to the path of living your best life possible.
Jonathan Roeder, Co-Founder of The Valley Law Group, is an Arizona native who has dedicated his life and career to the service of others. After graduating salutatorian of his high school class, Jonathan attended beautiful and prestigious Pepperdine University, where he majored in Political Science. During his tenure at Pepperdine University, his passion for helping others grew after securing a clinical position with a residential treatment center for juveniles with substance addictions. Post-graduation, Jonathan returned to Arizona and served as a residential manager for mentally and physically disabled homes.