Divorce Grief Stages: The Emotional Process, Simplified

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The wedding bells are falling silent. More than 600,000 couples got divorced in 2020. That’s more than 1,700 divorces a day. 

These statistics may make you believe that divorce is easy to go through. In reality, it is extremely difficult and complicated. You may go through a few different divorce grief stages, yet you can make a recovery. 

What are the stages of grief that people go through? How can your stages of grief affect the legal process for a divorce? What resources do you need to recover?

Answer these questions and you can start your single life the right way. Here is your quick guide.

Denial

During the first weeks of your grieving period, you may experience a sense of intense denial. You may refuse to talk to anyone about what you are going through. You may imagine that things will resolve themselves soon, and you will fall back in love with your partner. 

Anger

As the traumatic experience continues, you may start to externalize your emotions. You may become very angry at other people, especially your former partner, for perceived grievances. 

You may also become angry at yourself. You may blame yourself for feeling intense symptoms of grief or initiating the break-up. Even if you have good reasons to separate from your partner, you may forget those reasons.

Bargaining

Bargaining is one of the most complicated phases of grief. You may be negotiating with your ex about child custody, spousal support, and other terms. You may be able to make healthy and substantial bargains with them. 

But you may adopt unhealthy beliefs about those bargains. You may assume that once you negotiate your terms, you can get back together with your ex. You may think that you can get hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support or alimony, which can threaten your finances.

Depression

If your bargains fail, you may fall into a state of depression. You may give up on your job, hobbies, and personal connections. You may feel extremely sad or anxious, in spite of everything going right in your life. 

Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. Contact your doctor if you have extreme symptoms or emotional difficulties. 

Acceptance

It may take months or years, but you will reach a point where you can accept what happened. You may not have any relationship with your ex. Yet you can embrace that fact and move on with your life. 

You may want to hold off on dating after divorce until you reach a state of acceptance. You should be comfortable with having conversations about your past and working through difficulties with your partner. Contact a dating therapist if you feel you need a little help.

The Divorce Grief Stages

Divorce grief stages are more complicated than you think. You may start with a period of denial, during which you may forget that anything is wrong with your life. You then may swing into a state of anger, realizing that something has gone wrong and becoming enraged. 

But you may calm down and try to make compromises so you reclaim your life. When you realize you can’t go back, you may become depressed, yet you may accept what happened. 

Get help from a psychiatrist and keep educating yourself about divorce. Read more divorce guides by following our coverage.

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