Recently I did a survey of the literature around Emotional Stages of Separation and Divorce. The emotions associated with separation and divorce were consistently the same as the feelings triggered by the death or loss of a loved one. For those of you facing a separation or divorce this observation will come as no surprise. What might surprise you is how profound the grief feelings may be.
In an earlier blog I noted the separation and divorce experience is different in tone and set of feelings depending on whether you have initiated the marital disruption. Still the core experience holds true for both parties. When one party has moved from disatisfaction to action ” I want to separate” or “I want a divorce” both parties enter a nether world in which a rollercoaster of feelings and stages await. Denial, Hope, Shock ,Bargaining,Letting Go and Acceptance all line up to greet you and they may greet and accompany you on various parts of this journey. The reason It Feels So Bad at the beginning is the feelings and stages do not ask for your permission to appear they just show up and continue to show up as each party works through the end of the relationship and the formalizing of an agreement that outlines what life will look like during the separation or post divorce, post marriage.
Denial may be the stage that uniquely affects the marriage partner who has not initiated the separtion. I can’t believe this is happening”, “surely we can go to counselling and work this out”, “I know he/she still loves me” are just some of the thoughts that come to mind during the Denial Stage.
Shock is experienced as a kind of mind/heart numbness, replaced at moments by intense rage, only to be swept aside by waves of panic. Fears may dominate raising questions like how will I survive financially, will the pain ever end and is it possible to love again?
Bargaining, Letting Go and Acceptance Stages still wait to greet you and accompany you on your Separation or Divorce journey.If the intense roller coaster journey was all one could expect then we might say with Dante” Abandone hope all you who enter here” but it is not.
Skilled and caring mediators and family lawyers also wait each person on the Separation Agreement of Divorce journey. They are present to provide a safe place to talk,mediation services,and out-of-court family agreements. If you chose to seek a mediated agreement using Smartsettle Family you will have the additional power of a computer software working to make sure your agreement is fair and in your best interest.
Yes it will feel bad.Yes the stages will be difficult but there is help available in your situation.