Why Grief After a Divorce is Normal
You put yourself out there and decide to start dating. When you find someone you truly click with, you choose to be exclusive in a relationship. After some amount of time, you find yourself falling in love.
Fast forward and you get married, start a life together, and maybe have a few children. You have the life you always dreamed of, or maybe never imagined you could have. Everything is blissful. Til death do you part.
Then the unimaginable happens and you grow apart. Despite efforts, you ultimately decide to proceed with a divorce. It’s surely one milestone in life that you didn’t plan on reaching.
No matter the reasons for said divorce, you’re likely feeling a slew of emotions. Whatever feelings you have toward your former life partner, there is likely some pain that comes with this process. For this reason, you have to process it and accept the loss.
There are five stages of grief and each one can apply to a divorce as they would any loss.
Losing a Past Love
The nitty-gritty of divorce can overtake all the emotions during the process. It can be emotional, traumatic, ugly, positive, and every other feeling along the spectrum. While it is happening, it is a legal process, which can be financially costly, and takes a decent amount of time and resources to navigate.
You or your ex might become the villain for the other. But at the end of the day, there is love being lost. At one point in time, you loved that person wholeheartedly and created a life with them.
That anger (or any negative emotion) that you feel might be just what you need to get through the thick of it. Holding on to that anger, though, will only prolong the negative narrative.
Divorce is the loss of a type of love. It is the loss of a partner. Accepting that love was here and fell apart can be harder than remaining angry. In order to do so, you need to spend time grieving the loss of a lover.
Losing the Dream of the Future
In losing your love, your partner, you also are losing the ideas for your future that you may have created in your head. It is those hopes and dreams that allow us to get through the hard times. When you find a partner to spend your life with, they become intertwined with those dreams of the future.
The loss of that future picture is equivalent to a death of a loved one. It also requires time to grieve and move through the steps. Those options are no longer available in those specific terms. Not saying you can’t have that again, it will just be different.
Losing Additional Relationships
Divorce will affect more than just you and your ex-partner. If kids are involved, it will absolutely touch their lives. Depending on their ages, they may need more time to adjust than you expect.
After spending significant time with this person, you more than likely developed shared friend groups. Divorce means that there could be a loss of friendships that have been established during your marriage or because of your ex-partner.
In-laws get a bad reputation sometimes, but divorce also means possibly losing parental or familial figures. Loss of these collective relationships can take a toll, but it is important to remember that with loss comes the opportunity for new things to come.
Whether it was decided amicably or drawn out in a legal mess, it is something that you generally aren’t prepared for or know how to handle. Grieving is important to move on to better and happier times. If you are having difficulty navigating your divorce, schedule a consultation for help through the process.