Regardless of the final straw and who made the tough decision to uncouple, the end of the relationship results in many uncomfortable emotions. The emotional adjustment to the new reality can be the hardest part of the process. If left unmanaged and to rage out of control, it can derail everything else. Not all of the emotional baggage has to be unpacked but it is important to be aware of the different stages that you will go through.
Having lost a loved one and been through a tough separation, I can safely say it feels the same. After all, you imagined a life together, a full future together and that is coming to an abrupt end. To put it in stark terms, it is the death of your joint future. All the dreams and hopes that you shared now have to be recalibrated. The stages of grief are helpful to process the end of an era.
The stages of grief are:
- Denial/ Shock: “You’re just upset. You will change your mind tomorrow,” “This can’t be happening to me,” and “You are just being emotional.”
- Anger: “How dare you leave me,” “I hate you. You will rue the day you left me,” and “I vow to destroy you if you do this!”
- Bargaining: “If you stay, I’ll stop xyz behavior,” “Please don’t leave me, I promise to never cheat on you again,” and “If you just give me another chance, I will make everything right.”
- Depression: “Why go on,” “My life is hopeless and I will never be whole again,” and “I don’t know how to live without her.”
- Acceptance: “Wow I can’t believe how much better life is,” “This was the right move for both of us,” and “I enjoy life again!”
Grief is not linear and is more like an abstract piece of art that looks different based on the eyes viewing it. Each spouse processes the emotional end uniquely. Some get stuck at a particular stage and other jump right over them. The timing of your emotions will be different than your spouses. A good counselor or divorce support group can be extremely useful during this time. Especially if you find daily life becoming unbearable or if communication deteriorates.
Awareness of the how everyone is processing the emotional divorce is essential for avoiding costly and length cases. It is a tough process but having a little presence of mind will infinitely help keep the process moving forward.
Good books to read are:
- Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life by Abigail Trafford
- The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart by Constance Ahrons
If you would like to replace fear with facts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402.430.3092 to schedule a free 30 minute conversation today!
Please note: This is general knowledge and is not tax/ legal/ or financial advice. Work with your professional team to find out what is best for you.