Divorce is a long process, which does not end at the moment when the couple separates nor at the moment the papers are signed. The divorce ends when the pain and suffering caused by the separation have been healed. That moment we can confidently move forward leaving behind the anger, guilt, sadness etc. that is when we can say we have been successfully divorced.

After a divorce, an individual is often faced with different emotions. How you handle these emotional stages would determine how long it would take you to heal from the trauma caused by the break up. For some, they were able to get over it in a year while it took others four years to recover. The different emotional stages after a divorce include:

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Emotional chaos
  • Intellectual acceptance
  • Recovery

These stages are normal and do not have an order, nor an average duration. Each person has his own rhythm and emotional need. Do not compare yourself with others nor scold yourself when you think you are recovering slowly.

Shock stage

This stage occurs, mainly, when a spouse wants a divorce while the other doesn’t. On getting the divorce news, the ignorant spouse would be shocked. You would hear her make statements like; “Am I dreaming? Did he really sign those divorce papers?” When given answers to those questions, the victim might refuse to accept the truth. This situation can last a few hours, days or even a couple of weeks.

Denial stage

When you begin to become aware of reality, there is often the tendency to deny or dismiss it. It is a subconscious attitude. The mind might start creating false hope about the situation.

For example, you can have thoughts like; “I know he mentioned a divorce because he was angry with me but by tomorrow, he will forgive me and everything will be back to normal.”

Meanwhile, it is possible that everything is already broken and there’s no room for reconciliation.  This stage is characterized with alteration in sleep, memory, concentration and eating habits.  During the denial stage, the victim gradually realizes that denial doesn’t change the reality.

Emotional chaos

As we accept that our marriage is over, we begin to become aware of everything. We recognize the loss of the relationship, the shattering of our dreams, and memories of the good times spent together might start haunting us.

We might also be tempted to blame our spouse for not preventing the divorce especially when we are still in love with them. When all these thoughts accumulate they bring us into sadness and depression.

There is also the feeling of fear of the future. Who would cater for the kids? How would you survive being a single parent? What about the criticisms from people? Don’t let those thoughts weigh you down because you are strong enough to survive whatever tomorrow brings.

The worst of these emotions is the feeling of guilt. You might feel you didn’t put in your best to make it work.  Maybe, you were caught cheating and the guilt of the mistake wouldn’t set you free. Come on girl! Let it go. Besides, everyone deserves another chance to make things right.

Intellectual acceptance       

After the stage of emotional chaos, little by little we begin to accept and understand what is happening. We can give different explanations or justifications about the different aspects and people related to the situation. Our world begins to be structured and to have a bit of logic. However, we still feel bad.

At this stage, your emotions become less intense and you might begin to make decisions about your life. At this time, be careful of the decisions you make because due to your emotional instability, you are prone to making wrong decisions.

Recovery stage:

The fact that your first marriage failed doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It also doesn’t mean that your next marriage would fail. So get all those conflicting thoughts off your head. The earlier you did, the faster your recovery.

While waiting for your full recovery, be appreciative of the good things you have such as; life, kids, beauty, opportunities, good health, money, intelligence, etc. Do not isolate yourself instead make new friends.

If you have enough money, you can go on a vacation to that city you have always wanted to visit. You have the right to be happy and don’t let your past deprive you of the happiness you deserve.

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