How to survive a divorce.

How to survive a divorce.

Surviving a divorce can be emotional and challenging, even in the best of circumstances. You must prioritize self-care and engage with family and friends as you adapt to your new circumstances.  Keeping an agreeable relationship with your ex-spouse will benefit you and your children.  Divorce mediation can facilitate a collaborative environment and enable productive and effective communication between parties.

How long does it take to get over a divorce?

Sadly, there is no set amount of time to get over a divorce. The pain of divorce and the subsequent healing process varies significantly. The recovery and assimilation back into society also differ between men and women, while each faces a single life once again.

Divorce is a significant loss even when both parties agree. The loss can trigger mourning and grief, not unlike the death of a spouse. The website regain.us explains that “there is no definitive answer to the question of how long it will take to get over a divorce. It depends on many factors, including the length of the relationship, whether you have children, how amicable the separation was, and various other considerations. Several things can impact your emotional recovery from divorce and make healing happen faster or slower.”

  • How long you were together
  • The state of the relationship
  • Commitment
  • Surprise or not
  • Children
  • Your personality
  • How you handle emotion

Dealing with a divorce you did not want or initiate can create thoughts of depression and stress. 

What are some divorce stress symptoms?

The stress, anxiety, and uncertainty after the divorce is final can trigger emotional responses.  According to Oklahoma State University, The loss of the “ideal marriage” is a crisis similar to losing a spouse by death. You may feel alone, unloved, and rejected. You may experience deep pain as you try to understand the reasons for the divorce. You may also experience:

  • Physical symptoms or illness.
  • Sleep-related problems—too much or not enough sleep.
  • Appetite change—loss of appetite or overeating.
  • Mood swings—anger, sadness, clinical depression.
  • Substance abuse of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
  • Thoughts of suicide. (Seek counseling immediately.) 

Individuals may go through several stages of mourning or grief. This period’s emotional intensity usually peaks within the first six months of separation. However, the grieving process may take as long as two years. Although you will likely experience all the grieving stages at some point, they may not occur in the same order for each person. It is expected to have the feelings described below, and they may return at sentimental times of the year, such as a wedding anniversary or holidays.

What is divorce recovery?

Divorce recovery involves the process of emotional healing and recovery and the rebuilding of your life. The website sasforwomen.com shares a simple but pointed definition:

Divorce recovery describes the all-encompassing process of emotional and practical restructuring and healing throughout the phases of divorce. It is a constant, cyclical process in which you are broken down and built back up numerous times until, finally, you are whole again. Divorce recovery is painful, yes, but it is also an opportunity.

In the article, the three phases of divorce are defined as:

  • Contemplating
  • Navigating
  • Recovery

The author continues with 46 sound and thoughtful tidbits of advice.  Below are a few that we thought would be of interest based on our years as divorce mediators:

  • Understand that you are grieving (or will be, at some point) and that this is your unique divorce recovery path.
  • Accept that it’s okay right now not to have all the answers.
  • Avoid making radical decisions for at least a year after your divorce.
  • Make a list of your most critical financial questions.
  • Help your children along their divorce recovery path by getting educated and taking action for you and them.
  • Reach out for professional, compassionate support (if you need it). It is okay to ask for help.
  • Reconnect with old friends, engage in new activities, and allow yourself to trust again,

To read more on divorce recovery, visit the website sasforwomen.com. 

How to move on after divorce.

If you are reading this and going through a divorce right now, you may not think you will be able to move on…but you will…in your own time. We have offered some information and links to learn about recovery and stress, but the fact remains that it is your journey and your path for moving on. Getting out of a depression funk, grief, or emotional hurt is no easy feat. Choosingtherapy.com shares insight on “what might keep someone from moving on after divorce.”

A sense of stagnation after a divorce is typical. Divorce can shatter someone’s sense of identity and livelihood. It’s reasonable to feel somewhat untethered and uncertain afterward.

While there isn’t a timeline for moving on, some people feel frozen for many months or years after the divorce. This frozenness can be detrimental, resulting in low self-esteem, declining mental health, and physical ailments. Divorce can adversely affect a child’s development if the couple has children.

People feel stuck for different reasons, but some common risk factors that prevent individuals from moving on include:

  • Unresolved anger related to the nature of the divorce
  • Trauma resulting from a betrayal
  • Feeling like a victim of the divorce
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of moving on and fear of letting go
  • Unwillingness to contemplate or explore future relationships
  • Dealing with a midlife crisis
  • Intense loneliness
  • Co-occurring mental health issues like depression or anxiety
  • Substance abuse

Any of these variables may impact someone’s ability to heal from the ramifications of a divorce. Combined variables can add even further complications.

Be kind to yourself and patient with the healing process.

If you have yet to begin the divorce process, consider divorce mediation. Divorce mediation can be favorable. However, it may only be suitable for some situations. Litigation may be more appropriate if there is a history of abuse or significant instances of conflict.

In the context of post-divorce healing, mediation can help individuals transition into their new lives with greater emotional stability and a more positive outlook. Collaboration sets the stage for a less hostile process. Please feel free to contact me to learn more.

Divorce Mediation in Buck's County PA

 

Resources: Oklahoma State University, Choosingtherapy.com, sasforwomen.com. regain.us