What Are the 6 Emotional Stages of Divorce?

How Divorce May Affect a Person Emotionally

Divorce is far more than cutting ties with your spouse. It often involves “divorcing” from your daily routine, standards and expectations of cohabitation, and way of life overall. Once happily ever fades away, you may find yourself wanting to, quite literally, find yourself again.

While you enter a new chapter in your life as a single person, you must be gentle with yourself because whether you realize it or not, your mental and physical health are fragile. Some people feel confident about stepping into their post-divorce future while others take more time getting back up on their feet, but either way, the bottom line is divorce can take a toll on you.

Far too many spouses are caught off-guard by their own feelings and behaviors as they grieve their divorce, but you should know that it is normal for divorce to affect people emotionally. As such, our Dutchess County divorce lawyers explain the 6 emotional stages of divorce below so you can better understand the emotional rollercoaster you may end up on.

Disillusionment and blaming: You get a feeling that your relationship is “off” and begin developing vague feelings of unhappiness, resentment, anxiety, and guilt, among other negative feelings. You may start blaming your spouse for problems that happened years ago or problems that you anticipate facing in the future, and begin growing apart as you lose trust. This may occur days, months, or even years before you communicate your feelings. Altogether, this stage is full of mixed emotions and questions.

Dissatisfaction, anger, and resentment: The mixed feelings start to elevate in this stage, becoming more realized and impactful. You will express your discontent to your spouse and/or to your own family members and may decide to try marriage counseling. At this stage, one or both spouses have communicated their feelings to one another, creating added tension in the relationship.

Deciding to divorce: You transition from the “contemplating” phases to the “decision” phase. This emotional stage of divorce can get ugly as you and your spouse grow apart emotionally while thinking about the legalities of your divorce, including alimony, child custody, and child support. The thought of these things alone may cause you and your spouse to feel heightened anxiety and depression. You both may feel victimized and resort back to the feelings you felt in the first stage of divorce.

Acting on your decision: Initiating the divorce process is a difficult decision to make. It’s one thing to think about divorce and talk about it, but it’s another thing to act on it. As such, this emotional stage of divorce may physically and emotionally separate you from your spouse and encourage you to redefine yourself. This stage sets the tone for the divorce process as you publicize your divorce to friends and family, learn who is there for you and who isn’t, and talk to your children about your divorce. Ultimately, the divorce gets real in this stage.

Acceptance: The moment you can accept your divorce for what it is, the moment you may begin feeling peace of mind again. It can take people years to arrive at this particular emotional stage of divorce, but when they do, they regain a sense of power and control again. Acceptance can allow you to reflect on your past without experiencing “hard feelings,” build your new identity as a single person, and get excited about the future.

New beginnings: In the period between completing the legal divorce process to four years after, you will enter the final emotional stage of divorce. At this point, everything’s been said and done, so it is time for you and your spouse to leave the anger and depression behind and start to forgive each other. This stage involves the strongest feelings of acceptance and respect, allowing both spouses to confidently take on new roles in their new lives.

Are you contemplating divorce? Have you decided that divorce is best for you? Let our Dutchess County lawyers know so we can ensure you make sound and strategic decisions for you and your family. At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano Jr., LLC, we help clients amicably resolve their divorce and family legal issues so they can enter the future with peace of mind. To discuss your situation with us, contact (845) 605-4330!

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