Ranking just above death in severity of stress, divorce is a very emotional process. Just like a death, the divorce process has several different stages.
1. DENIAL: "This isn't happening. We can get through this."
2. ANGER AND RESENTMENT: "I don't deserve this! How can he/she do this to me?"
3. BARGAINING: "I'll change. I'll do whatever you want me to do, just stay."
4. DEPRESSION: "This is awful. I can't fix this. I give up."
5. ACCEPTANCE: "Alright. I am ready to move on."
Guilt and shame are also normal emotions when facing divorce. We have these feelings because we feel like we have failed. Depending on our culture, the guilt and shame we feel may be appropriate or can be problematic. It is common for spouses to blame each other and not accept responsibility for their part in the failed relationship. Guilt and shame causes spouses to make agreements that they later regret. Fear and anxiety are also present and it helps to have an attorney that is able to counsel you through the divorce. A therapist or marriage counselor may be helpful. Being aware of your emotions will help you understand what's going on and help you to make the best decisions.
There are many reasons marriages lead to divorce:
- Physical, mental or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse or controlling behavior
- Alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography
Major Life Changes:
- Major illness
- Loss of a job
- Financial problems
- Different financial or personal goals
- Money management styles
- Whether or not to have children
- Fighting over discipline
- Different parenting styles
- Step-children issues
- No respect
- Fallen out of love
- Constant fighting
- Lack of commitment
- Midlife crisis
- Sexual Incompatibility
- Lack of sex
- Sexual orientation issues
- Criminal behavior
- Mental Illness
- Child abuse
When you are thinking about divorcing, take a good look at your relationship and figure out if this is something that the two of you can resolve. First consider getting professional help. Then, think about your children, your career and finances, cost of divorce and being single again.
- Have you tried counseling?
- Have you and your spouse tried to determine what are the real problems in the marriage?
- Are you a team?
- Are you both willing to work on your issues?
Thinking about these questions will help you decide if divorce is the right decision. Divorce is a hard choice, but sometimes facing the pain of divorce is easier than living in pain.