Divorce affects everyone differently. There is no right or wrong way to cope with the tidal wave of emotions that hit you when you are coping with divorce. There are stages that are very common for individuals to progress through and they are comparable to the stages that someone goes through when they lose someone they love to death.
It brings a small modicum of comfort to have some idea of what you can expect to feel as you go from one day to the next during this tumultuous period of your life. In much the same way as grief and mourning, it is common to go back and forth from one stage to another. Some people stay in certain stages longer than others. Some stages will be easier to make your way through than others. As you cope with what is happening to you, keep in mind that eventually you will come through all of the stages. Healing, hope and the promise of new beginnings will then await you on the other end.
The emotional stages of divorce include:
- Roller Coaster
- Letting Go
Let us take a look at each one of these stages.
No one wants to believe that this could be happening to them. In the denial stage you refuse to believe that you are facing the end of your marriage and you look for ways to convince your spouse not to leave you. The feeling of being out of control makes you feel wretched and you fight it with all of your might.
A feeling of numbness as well as panic and rage will overtake you at this stage. Fear will assail you and you will alternate between feeling despair at the ending to your marriage and still hoping that there is a solution to be found.
Your emotions will be all over the place at this stage. One minute you are imagining that your spouse never really loved you and then you are going over every last detail of the past few months. This is the stage where you mentally revisit many aspects of your marriage. Depression often sets in at this stage and crying is often a major by-product.
At this stage you still have hope that you can save your marriage. You are willing to do anything it takes to hold onto your spouse, even if it means changing who you are. This is the stage where you come to learn that you are not capable of controlling the emotions, thoughts or behaviors of other people.
This is the stage where you come to the realization that what is done is done and your marriage really is over. At this stage you are able to admit your part in the failure of your marriage, and your ex spouse is not the enemy he or she appeared to be earlier on in the stages. This is the stage when you begin to start to feel like you again. You feel your sense of empowerment returning and there is a glimmer of hope for the future.
You are no longer obsessing at this stage. Your equilibrium is returning and so is the feeling that your life holds possibilities. At this stage you begin to make plans for your life and you begin to grow. You are now able to move forward and to embrace your strengths and talents. You realize that there is such a thing as life following divorce.