The Psychology of Divorce
Copyright © 2009 StraightDivorce.com
To say that there is emotional upheaval when a marriage comes to an end would be an understatement to the people going through divorce. In fact, divorce can almost be compared to the death of a very close friend. So, if you are in the midst of a divorce, or are thinking about divorce, just like any other change in life, there are steps and stages that one goes through before acceptance takes place. Acceptance of divorce may take a good long while, but no matter how long it might take, each person has to go at their own pace as they get on with their lives.
The Different Feelings Experienced When Dealing With Divorce
Besides all the ups and downs and emotional conflicts individuals go through during and after the divorce process, added to the struggle are the many emotional issues relative to children and money related situations. Deciding on child custody, child support, alimony, property division and payment of bills, adds even further to the emotional turmoil. For the one who gets full custodial care, a whole new set of responsibilities opens up particularly that of raising children alone. And for the one who doesn’t get physical custody of the children, not seeing the children on a regular basis is a huge adjustment. There are also many other situations that have to be considered, which can range from how much child support has to be paid, all the way to whether the home the family has lived in has to be sold. These and many other issues surface as couples go through divorce, all of which can create a lot of emotional confusion.
Friends and Family Involvement During Divorce
Friends and family do not usually understand what happens when a person is going through a divorce, unless they’ve been through it themselves. As each person handles grief differently, so too do people handle the grieving process of divorce. And although friends and family may try to offer support and love, very often the people going through the divorce process withdraw from family and friends, as they try to work out their own emotional feelings. As with any type of letting go, there are several stages a person goes through before getting to acceptance. In fact, for some people the stages can take four to eight years to complete before recovering from the turmoil of divorce.
Stages Leading to Divorce
Generally speaking, at the first stage many people are in denial about their marriage problems, therefore confronting the situation is often avoided. The marriage may be in trouble, but the couple may not be ready to take action. During the denial phase, there are often lots of arguments between couples, as well as feelings of discontentment. But, usually at this stage most of the marital problems go unacknowledged. It can take up to one to two years before real feelings about the marriage itself are actually verbalized and confronted. Once they have been verbalized, the couple can no longer deny their feelings, at which time they usually begin to express anger and dissatisfaction with the marriage. At this stage, if the marriage can’t be saved, it could take another year before the legal process begins. Often, one of the partners may decide to try and fix the situation in the hopes of saving the marriage. Promises are made to be different and marital counseling is considered, but often once they couple has reached this stage, the efforts are usually short lived. Once realizing that very little can be done to save the marriage, some individuals may become depressed. The depression usually lifts after a period of time, as the person draws closer to accepting that the marriage is really over.
Acceptance of the Divorce
Each person gets to the acceptance stage in his or her own time, but usually as they get through the different stages, they come to a place where they can accept that the marriage is over. Upon arriving at the acceptance stage, they finally have the emotional strength to accept that life has now changed. During the legal procedure or once the divorce process is over, people can more readily acknowledge that it was definitely time to move on. It is then that people begin planning for the future. They may even get excited about discovering aspects of themselves they didn’t even realize existed. At that point, individuals have moved beyond anger and blame, recognizing that they are ready and excited about a new beginning.