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.

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

Many people find it challenging to get started with estate planning. From confusion about the process to denying that estate planning is necessary, there are various reasons why people do not want to create an estate plan. That said, estate…

After divorce, it is common to experience feelings of shame. That shame could arise from multiple sources, including feeling that you let your spouse or children down or because you are worried about what others may think of you. Regardless…

Estate planning can feel overwhelming, but it is necessary to ensure your assets are in order and your loved ones are taken care of. Establishing an estate plan can also make certain issues easier for you and your family during…

In Washington state, alimony is referred to as maintenance. Maintenance is court-ordered spousal support payments that one spouse makes to assist with the living expenses of the other spouse for a period of time and for a particular purpose.  Maintenance…

The homes. The boat. The investment accounts. During a high-net-worth divorce, the disposition of these and other assets (and debts) may be one of the most significant reasons underlying the contention between you and your soon-to-be-ex, making these types of…

This is part three of our three-part series, “Expecting the Unexpected.” You can read part one on catastrophic illness here and part two on chronic illness here. Estate planning may initially bring to mind the process of outlining the manner…

It seemed like it was going to be just another day. Get the kids off to school, do household chores, go to work. But then your spouse let you know it was over between you, that they want a divorce.…

This is part two of three in our series “Expecting the Unexpected. You can read part one on catastrophic illness here. For many, estate planning immediately brings to mind ways you can protect your assets and retirement funds for your…

When considering divorce, you may toy with the idea of representing yourself. For example, you may think your divorce will be relatively straightforward. Or maybe you consider yourself a savvy negotiator and highly intelligent. Or the idea of saving yourself…

While estate planning is often associated with enjoying assets while you are alive and then preparing for their disposition to inheritors after death, there are more outcomes estate plans can aid in to adequately protect the quality of your life…