Stages of Grief – Divorce

Stages of grief during a divorce


1.     Denial

During this phase you desperately search for reasons why you should stay with your spouse. Now may be the time you suggest that you both should “work harder” to stay together. Despite the fact that your marriage is ending, and probably for good reason, it is normal to deny that your relationship, and life as you knew it, is ceasing to exist.


2.     Desperation and bargaining

 You will say or do anything to get your spouse to change his or her mind about the divorce. If you are the initiator, you might concede that you’ve made a mistake and attempt to mend things one last time.  You will promise to see a therapist, or change your habits, or become less or more of any personality trait in order to win over you spouse. During this stage is normal to romanticize the idea of your previous relationship rather than focusing on the real and present reasons why it is ending.


3.  Anger

Here you will find yourself with a pit of fire churning in your stomach. You may want to reenact the revenge scenes from a Carrie Underwood song and make your spouse feel the pain you are feeling.  You might be tempted to tell anyone who will listen (friends, family, even your own children) what a horrible person your ex is in attempts to find allies in this lonely struggle. Find a few trusted friends to vent to and do your best not to tarnish the reputation of your spouse to your family, especially your children.


4.  Acceptance

As you accept the realities of your circumstance you may experience a myriad of emotions including some of the above-mentioned feelings. It is normal to feel sadness and loss at the end of a marriage, even if that marriage was hell on earth. Despite its downfalls, it had at the very least, an element of familiarity.  During acceptance you will come to understand how much you grew during the previous stages of grief and you will see your circumstances from a new and more nuanced vantage point.


Divorce can make anyone feel crazy or irrational but it is important to remember that you are strong, you deserve a loving partner (not your ex), and you will make it out of this alive.


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