Five phases of divorce, a route map of the rocky road to a great life after divorce

Divorce rarely creeps up upon you like a thief in the night, softly and slowly.  Rather it arrives without warning like an earthquake shaking every part of your world and destroying so much of what has taken years to build.

earthquake one of the five phases of divorceReactions to this trauma can follow a pattern of changing emotions and create turmoil at the very time you need to remain focused.  Not everyone will go through these.  It is possible to have a civilised and dignified divorce.  However, understanding these emotions can help you cope in these turbulent times.

Denial
This is a typical first reaction to the news that your partner wants a divorce.  The brain shuts off and refuses to acknowledge the reality of the situation, denying both that the divorce is going to happen and its consequences.

Denial is not a good place to be.  This is a time when you need to be thinking clearly and taking on board that your life is about to change out of all recognition.  This is the time to start thinking how to get through this with as little damage and as much dignity as possible.

Anger
When the reality of the situation finally hits you the dominant emotion will be anger and a great deal of hurt and anguish.  This destructive emotion can get out of hand and become directed at those who are offering help and comfort.  Anger is very hard to control and it's easy to let it spill over into your relationship with your children.  This is not good at all.  They are innocent and deserve better than being embroiled in the firestorm of your divorce.  Seek advice if this anger begins to get out of hand.

Bargaining
This phase is the last chance of trying to turn the impending divorce around.  It's a bit late but it's never too late.  Counselling is always a good way to seek advice and support.  Don't forget a reconciliation is possible all the way to the end of the divorce process.  Desperate pleading and last ditch bargaining is not the way to go.  There does unfortunately come a time when the marriage is beyond saving. 

Depression
This is a dangerous mental state which can leave you feeling helpless, powerless and empty with a lack of energy and purpose.  This is by no means a typical of every journey to divorce.  It's not a problem that everyone will experience.  However, if you do feel you are depressed rather than  just very unhappy then seeking medical advice is definitely a good idea.  There is something you can do straight away to help you feel better.  Take exercise, anything from walking more to serious stuff in the gym.  It really works and is so much better than antidepressants.

Acceptance
There is only one way to be able to recover from a divorce and that is to accept that it is a reality and will have consequences which will need to be managed either gently and calmly or in a pitched battle with your soon to be ex partner.  The journey to acceptance will be difficult, painful, and can take some time.  However, when you get there you will be much more able to deal with all the challenges of the divorce process and come through it to a better life after divorce. 

 

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