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Coping with Divorce

Dealing with a divorce can be one of the most painful life experiences. Meaningful Minds Psychologist, Gregory, looks at how to deal with this emotional process.

When we say the words “I do” to our fiancés, and sign the papers that legally bind us together, we usually imagine that this is a union that will last for the rest of our lives. As this is a commitment unlike almost any other, facing the concept of a divorce can be a bitter pill to swallow for some. A number of emotions might come up during the run up to the decision, the processing of the divorce paperwork, and in the aftermath of returning to singledom. It wouldn’t be unusual for feelings of hurt, anger, regret and desperation to arise for many, and not necessarily in the same order, severity or frequency as it did for other people who have gone through the same.

For those that have experienced both, they may recognize that the feelings and emotions around divorce are quite similar to those we experience when grieving, and this is not without reason! Psychologically, our hearts and minds are grieving the loss of a special relationship, in much the same way we would do if the person had died. While that person may still be alive in a divorce scenario, their presence in our lives is at the least completely altered, if not absolutely removed.

It can be difficult to reconcile the desire to have a clean break with the strong negative emotions that are brought up around divorce, but this does not mean it’s an impossible thing to do. Some tips for managing the process more effectively are:

*Consider whether divorce is your only option, or if you might not be able to resolve your differences through couple’s therapy. There are a number of well-qualified psychologists at Meaningful Minds who can assist you in potentially rediscovering and rebuilding the good that your relationship once had.

*Recognize your emotions for what they are – while it might feel convenient to brush them aside (and many of us do this at times without even thinking), these feelings are not going to disappear on their own.

*Allow yourself to experience your emotions when possible – while you might not be able to scream in rage in front of your boss, there’s no reason why you can’t turn up the car music volume and let it out on your commute!

*Find trusted friends or family members that you can talk to about how you’re doing. While they may have useful advice for you, it may be even more useful to have them there simply to listen to your frustrations.

*It’s definitely tempting at times to act vindictively towards your former spouse, but ultimately such actions are not likely to make you feel better, and they definitely don’t help in getting the type of civility you would probably prefer from them.

*If you find it particularly difficult to face your ex, you could consider bringing a third party into the equation. Depending on how amicably you and your ex are able to negotiate, this does not necessarily need to be a lawyer – you might get away with only bringing in a lawyer to complete the final paperwork, after you have worked through another third party (mutual friend?) to negotiate the terms of your divorce.

*Look out for your own interests in this process! If you need time out, or a break from the negotiating process, or an evening out with your friends, make time for you!

*At the same time, it is probably in everyone’s best interests to finalize the divorce as quickly as possible, once you are certain about it as the option you want to pursue.

It is unlikely to be an easy process, if you do decide to go through with a divorce, but there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel! Plenty of previously divorced people go on to start a new relationship, and potentially live happy lives with their new partners. This is only one step amongst many in your journey towards a happy and fulfilled life. While you may be closing one door behind you, you are presenting yourself with a multitude of others to enter thereafter.

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