The process of divorce is challenging. It can consume every aspect of your life. While each divorce is unique, if you are contemplating divorce or going through one, you will most likely find yourself navigating common divorce emotions—emotions that almost everyone feels, regardless of why they are getting divorced. I call these divorce emotions divorce paths; paths you are most likely going encounter.
Everyone has their own unique order and length of time spent on each divorce path. I chose to write this article because knowledge is power! I believe that if you are aware of the 8 most common emotions/divorce paths experienced during the dissolution of a marriage, you will be more empowered to embrace acceptance and move forward in a healthier and more productive way.
Here are 8 divorce emotions/divorce paths you might be experiencing:
Denial is an emotional buffer that many individuals experience during and at the end of a marriage. It is a natural defense mechanism your psyche uses to protect you from becoming emotionally overburdened. Denial is usually the first reaction individuals have when divorce is discussed. Everything can feel surreal and hard to accept during this time.
There is a certain numbness, disbelief, and emotional shock that occurs. It is normal to convince yourself that the thought of divorce is temporary; your partner is still in love with you; your spouse will come back to you in the end, your children will keep you together, and the spark in your marriage can be reignited.
It is common during this period for individuals to go on with daily life as if nothing major is happening and to avoid talking to close friends and family about the impending divorce. Many want to escape the reality and the emotional pain by not acknowledging the actuality of the divorce. It is important to remember that denial is temporary. Pushing yourself to face the reality of your divorce will help you tremendously.
A Divorce Coach can partner with you to acquire skills necessary to avoid emotionally driven decisions which are usually not sound ones. You will also be assisted in developing goals for redefining your life during this major transition.
It can be painful and frightening to accept the reality of divorce. Many wish to turn back time or decide to do whatever they can to keep the marriage from ending. Bargaining occurs when an individual anticipates a great loss. It is a common desperate measure usually aimed to keep the marriage intact and to minimize the possibility of divorce from happening. Bargaining can also occur through replaying everything that went wrong in the marriage and letting one’s mind overthink different “What if?” questions and scenarios.
There are many reasons why a person bargains during the demise of a marriage. Aside from wanting to keep the long-term relationship together, some want to avoid the loneliness and sadness that comes with divorce. Others want to circumvent all the gossip and stigma that goes along with the end of a marriage. Additionally, individuals bargain to preserve the family unit because of the children and the desire to avoid going through the overwhelming legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce.
During the bargaining stage, people often allow their fears of the unknown to override the reality that ending the marriage could be the healthiest solution for both parties.
It is important to recognize that getting to the bargaining stage makes you closer to accepting the dissolution of your marriage. With endings, comes the possibility of beautiful beginnings.
A Divorce Coach can assist you in exploring the reasons why your relationship did not work so that you are clear about what you desire moving forward. Recognizing and owning your contribution to the end of your marriage will create the momentum you need to start the next chapter of your life.
When your marriage is coming to an end, you are at a crossroad in your life and there are no guarantees. It is normal to feel lost, confused, and alone. Give yourself time. It takes a lot of soul-searching and introspection to become clear about what you really want to manifest in your life moving forward. Allow yourself to dream. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Know that anxiety and fear are a natural part of the human experience. It is important to recognize that good things often come from reaching out into the unknown. You have control over every decision you make.
A Divorce Coach can guide you to develop an action plan that will strengthen your resolve and lead you forward. The partnership will provide you with tools to help you to grow in your own truth.
The process of divorce requires making decisions and accepting the inevitability of change. People experience a variety of emotions during this time and often feel like their lives are out of control. Your power to choose always exists. You can become the creator of your desires.
You are never really stuck. All crossroads require you to ask yourself whether you are a victim of your situation or a creator of your future. Choice is an option you have every single time something happens in your life. It is important that you make decisions that support your goals, happiness, and well-being. Only you have the power to choose what serves you and what defeats you. The right to react in a less emotionally disruptive way is up to you.
A Divorce Coach can teach you skills to enhance your ability to exercise your power of choice. You will develop tools to control your thoughts and actions to show up as your best self, someone who is always evolving, growing, and learning. You will discover who you are so you can develop confidence and trust in yourself.
Many people live in a cycle of decision and indecision before they get the clarity that is needed to step toward what they want. People often deny, minimize, or rationalize the reasons for the end of their marriage. It is important to understand that everyone who goes through divorce is vulnerable and conflicted in some way. Recognizing the conflict and owning that there are different parts you will be struggling with at various times, is part of the process.
There are many important decisions to be made, and it is challenging to problem-solve and think clearly while inundated with emotions. Taking a step back in the process and looking at the situation from a distance has proven to be extremely effective. Clarity requires you to be objective and detached enough to see reality as it is without judgment. Fostering your truth will make it easier to take effective action.
A Divorce Coach can assist you in gaining the clarity and confidence needed for you to negotiate for your future from a position of strength, understanding, and respect.
Life does not end after divorce. It is a very hard time and marks the end of your marriage, but the experience does not have to prevent you from dreaming again. The change is an opportunity to create new possibilities. You have the power to move forward toward a more fulfilling life. Allow yourself to honestly face where you are at the present moment and begin to accept your new role as a single person. Know that having hope about the possibilities to come and honestly facing your vulnerabilities will help you to start healing and moving into the next chapter of your life.
This is a precious time and an opportunity to rediscover who you are and what makes you happy. Remember that the pain will not last forever. It will pass. Be kind to yourself and empower your soul to take small steps towards positive change. Value yourself and all that you have to contribute. Finding hope is how you’ll make it through the most painful part of your divorce journey and move on to happiness again.
A Divorce Coach can partner with you to develop the fortitude and skills needed for you to embrace your new chapter with positive energy and hope for all that is possible.
Accepting your divorce is a matter of choice and a critical component to your recovery. It doesn’t mean that you like that it is fair. The only thing you have control over is how you choose to see things and how you react to the curveballs that life delivers. Mourning the loss of your marriage is natural. It is challenging to move past the pain of divorce and to begin to rebuild a life you never intended to live.
Not accepting your divorce as a reality keeps you stuck in the past and doesn’t change anything. It is very difficult to live a productive life in the present moment and plan for the future if your head and heart are focused on what used to be. It is about self-worth. Perspective is everything. Learning to accept the reality of your divorce and to consciously focus on your blessings will help you develop the clarity you need to begin to live your life to the fullest.
Changing is a matter of conscious choice, desire, effort, and commitment to oneself. The truth is that you have two choices: You can remain stuck in your pain, or you can do the challenging work that it takes to move forward. There are four steps in learning how to come to terms with your divorce:
1. Accept where you are right now.
2. Take responsibility for your actions and own your own mistakes.
3. Practice mindfulness and gratitude.
4. Take advantage of the opportunity for a new beginning.
Through these steps you will learn to let go of the negative emotions of anger, blame, resentment, and regret. This practice will allow you the freedom to move forward in creating a life based on your curiosities and values.
A Divorce Coach can guide you through self-help activities and will teach you skills to overcome obstacles so that you feel empowered to move through your divorce.
8. Embracing the Single Life:
After divorce, it can feel like you have been stripped of your identity and the world, as you know it. The dissolution of your marriage is not the end of your life. It is just a detour. When you have mourned and grieved properly for the end of your marriage, letting go and moving on will become more bearable and realistic.
Your new status will feel like the natural way to move forward, and you will begin to embrace your life as a single person. This stage will be the beginning of a new journey towards finding personal fulfillment and happiness. Take this time as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons and to improve yourself. Nurture what you are grateful for, give time to your children and other loved ones, reconnect with family and friends, explore new possibilities, and reinvest in yourself.
A Divorce Coach can support you through the transition of being married to being single. You will be guided to explore many different paths so that you can create a life for yourself that is fulfilling.
You are strong. Set the intention of taking brave bits as you move beyond your story of divorce. The future is yours to create! I am here if you’d like to reach out for a complimentary consultation.
About the Author:
Jennifer Warren Medwin, MS is a CDC Certified Divorce Coach, Supreme Court of Florida Family Mediator, and a Certified Marital Mediator. Her private practice in Pinecrest, Miami is called Seeking Empowerment: Clarity through Partnership.
Jennifer specializes in working alongside individuals and couples who are contemplating divorce and are fearful of high conflict and with those who hope to save their marriages. She partners with clients to develop the clarity, confidence, courage, conflict management strategies, and communication skills they need to move through the process. Jennifer uses her knowledge of coaching and mediation to help her clients emotionally prepare for the dissolution of their marriages or the reconciliation of their relationships in the most organized, time efficient, and productive manner.
Jennifer is a member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals (NADP), a member of the SupportPay Advisory Council, and a contributing writer for Your Tango, Thrive Global, and OurFamilyWizard. Her approach to divorce coaching and mediation is one that provides clients with guidance and compassion through a difficult time in their lives. Learn more on her website, or buy her book, “Strategies and Tips from a Divorce Coach: A Roadmap to Move Forward” on Amazon.
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