Divorce is a redefining of your normal. It shakes you out of your routine. The act splits two into one and some who’ve gone through it refer to divorce as a type of death. In a way, it is.
What once was no longer exists. Your routines are all up in the air and your once certain future now seems to balance precariously on an emotional cliff. The hardest part about a divorce is the emotions that swarm you.
Just like dealing with death, you’ll go through the five stages of grief. At first, you’ll want to deny what’s happening. You might put off dealing with legal paperwork or avoid discussing issues with your soon to be or former spouse.
This happens because people think by not dealing with it, the pain won’t be as bad. Anger is one of the stages of grief and a common emotion when coping with a divorce. You may be angry at your former spouse, with your new circumstances, and that you got “cheated” out of the life you imagined.
You may even feel angry with yourself. Bargaining is next and you might find yourself trying to make deals with yourself, your ex, the universe, God or whatever. You may think “if only” this could happen, then I would do better, be better, etc.
After bargaining, a deep sadness in the form of depression can set in. This is situational depression and once you go through the grieving process, and heal, you will feel better emotionally.
You just can’t see it now because the temporary situation and emotions feels permanent. Finally, acceptance comes. This is your new life. There’s nothing you can do to change it so you’re going to make the best of it.
There’s no set time for getting through the stages of grief. You might think you’re fine, then all of a sudden you burst into tears because something or someone reminded you of happier times.
There are several things you need to do to practice self care while you’re coping with a divorce. You need to let go of guilt or blame. “If only” and “could have been” are thoughts that serve no positive purpose. They’ll only drag you down into negativity and sadness.
Talking to supportive friends is another step in self care. It can help to talk to someone who’s been there, done that. They’ve walked the path and are living proof that you can survive a divorce and be whole again.
Be wary of people who ask you prying questions – set boundaries with them. Unless the person is a good friend or family member, it’s likely the person asking doesn’t have your best interest in mind.
Because your emotions can range from high to low when you’re coping with a divorce, practice self care in how you speak to yourself as well as how you speak to your ex. Stay off your former spouse’s, his or her friends and their family’s social media.
It won’t do you any good to see your former spouse’s new life. Make sure you spend ample time just being still and not trying to think so hard about everything going on. Just relax and rest so that you have the energy to get through it all.