The Emotional Stages of Divorce

During the process of divorce, nearly everyone experiences psychological phases very similar to the death of a loved one. It’s common for some to have an easier time with the stages than others, moving through them quickly. While others may get stuck in one phase longer than most, each person’s journey is different.

Understanding what these phases are will help you navigate your way through this time in your life and although difficult, will offer you hope for your bright future.

Denial

During this first phase, it’s hard to believe that your relationship is over. You feel out of control and are searching to find solutions to “fix” the marriage.

Shock

You may feel like you are going crazy. You swing from having hope for your marriage to complete hopelessness. Coping with these emotions can be challenging. You may even be asking yourself, “Why is this happening?” Fear of being alone, the future and worry are also common during this phase.

Rollercoaster

This is the battle between emotion and logic. Emotionally, you swing back and forth between hope and despair. Logically, you intellectually search for the answers as to why the marriage failed. You may ask yourself “What did I do?” or “Did my spouse ever love me?” During this time of reflection and analysis, depression is common.

Bargaining

You still have hope for your marriage and that there is some solution to be found. After such deep self-reflection in the rollercoaster stage, you are willing to offer up anything and everything to save the marriage. “Maybe if I gave up sleeping with the TV on, he’ll come back.” The problem is that you can’t control the thoughts and feelings of the other person.

Letting Go

You finally come to the realization that the marriage is over and there is nothing you can do to change it. You accept the things you did wrong in the relationship and you become more willing to accept the things your spouse did wrong. At this time, you start to feel a sense of optimism for your future.

Acceptance

During this final phase, your mind is less focused on the concerns of your marriage. You are moving forward and making plans for a bright future. You have a sense of optimism, want to explore new interests and discover wonderful things about yourself. It’s a time of personal growth and renewed confidence. You feel strong and ready for the promise of the wonderful future ahead of you.