Divorce is the legal process of marital dissolution. According to the Office for National Statistics, the most common reason for divorce is unreasonable behaviour. However, there are many other reasons to consider a divorce, and every reason is acceptable in the process of bettering your wellbeing.
Divorce is more common than you might think. Since 1964, around one-third of all marriages have ended in divorce. And as of 2021, 42% of all marriages are expected to end in divorce. Despite this, many men and women may feel ashamed to leave their long-term partner.
We’re here to tell you that divorce is okay. If you’re searching for divorce help, here are some expert tips to guide you through the legality of separation. This article will explore ways you can process your emotions and cope with the stresses of divorce.
Recognise the five stages of divorce
Realising your emotional responses are valid is the first step to coping with a divorce. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, an acclaimed psychiatrist, theorised the five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying (1969). This is often compared to the five stages of grief. If you’re going through a separation, acknowledging these stages may help you understand your emotions.
- Denial – At the beginning of the process, you may find yourself in a state of denial. This will enable you to separate yourself from overwhelming emotions, such as stress and anxiety.
- Anger – Overwhelming emotion often translates into anger. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the next stage may lead to feelings of hatred and betrayal. It’s in your best interest to process every emotion before moving on to the next stage.
- Bargaining – You may begin to blame yourself for the events leading up to your divorce. During this stage, you may attempt to find a solution and ‘mend’ your broken marriage. Quite often, this won’t work, but it’s all a part of the process.
- Depression – After the emotional whirlwind of denial, anger, and bargaining, you may fall into a state of depression. This stage could last the longest and be the hardest to overcome.
- Acceptance – During this stage, you may begin to find peace in your divorce. Negative feelings, such as anger and depression, may continue.
Reach out for help
Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences you can go through. According to the Social Readjusting Rating Scale, divorce is the second most severe life stressor, preceded by the death of a loved one. Permanently separating from your partner may lead to a number of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even PTSD. Therefore, it’s important to ask for help if you’re going through a divorce.
Take a deep breath, recognise your emotions are valid, and remember you’re only human.
If your mental health is declining, reaching out for help is going to be challenging. And that’s completely understandable! Speaking about your emotions is daunting and can leave you feeling vulnerable. In this instance, try reaching out to your closest friends and family members. This is a great way to start your emotional recovery. And that’s what friends and family are for!
You probably don’t want to hear it, but if you’re struggling with your mental health for a prolonged period of time, you should consider seeing a therapist. Despite being daunting, therapy is definitely worth your time and energy. Therapists are trained to help you through the emotional turmoil of your divorce. You can receive a number of therapies, including CBT, DBT, and exposure therapy. If necessary, you may be prescribed medication. And that’s okay, too!
Prioritise your wellbeing
Don’t let the stresses of divorce distract you from what’s really important: your mental and physical wellbeing. Prioritising your wellbeing will reaffirm your value during this turbulent time. As well as exercising, eating healthy, and getting an adequate amount of sleep, self-care comes from doing what makes you happy. Whether it’s watching your favourite film or spending time socialising, taking time for yourself will help you cope with your divorce.
And why stop there? After separating from a long-term partner, you’ve probably got a lot of spare time on your hands. Fill your life with the things that make you happy! This could be adopting an adorable dog, cooking new and exciting recipes, or attending pottery classes. Really, the possibilities are endless, and each solution is unique to you and your experience.
Overall, take some time to feel at peace with your divorce. We hope this article has reassured you that divorce is a normal process, your emotions are valid, and your wellbeing is the most important thing. Everything else in your life – your family, friendships, and professional life – will fall into place when you have taken the steps to care for yourself.