The “five stages of grief,” which were first theorized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, have been common knowledge for years. While many thinkers have made changes or additions to the original list of stages—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—understanding these five steps can still be a good starting point for anyone dealing with loss. Even though they originally applied to the grief resulting from a person’s death, these stages are relevant to any type of loss, including the loss you will experience when you get a divorce.
How to Address Divorce-Related Grief
With the stages of grief to guide you, here are five productive tips to help you manage the grieving process when getting divorced:
Be prepared. The end of your marriage is a major life event, and as with a loved one’s death, it is a significant loss in your life. As such, it must be handled with the same degree of care and awareness as bereavement. You need to be prepared for many of those usual grieving stages. Most importantly, you need to know that it will take time for your world to settle into some semblance of stability again. If you are not mentally prepared, you could find yourself suffering through the grieving process much longer than necessary.
Embrace change. Once you have ended your relationship with your spouse, just about everything in your life will change. Rather than ignoring the fact that you are divorced, revolting against the divorce and your ex-spouse in anger, making desperate decisions to attempt to get things back to the way they were, sulking in sadness, or acting in other unhealthy ways, you need to be open to the possibilities that this major life change presents. Once you fully accept the divorce, the odds are that the changes resulting from the divorce will improve your life vastly. You will want to do your best to welcome these changes rather than working against them.
Seek guidance from experts. When you first file for divorce, you need the right lawyer. However, the help of skilled experts does not end there. If you are struggling with your emotions after the divorce, you may need to find a psychologist, counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional who can give you the freedom to discuss all of your feelings and concerns. Their impartial and enlightened perspective could give you the push you need toward acceptance.
Be good to yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Get enough restful sleep. Stay healthy. Go to doctor appointments. Do not let those heavy stages of grief weigh you down so much that you make life even harder for yourself by picking up bad habits or indulging yourself too much in activities that tear you down rather than building you up.
Make sure you have a support system. Friends and family can be a tremendous help during difficult times. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, friends might have divided themselves up, siding with you or your spouse. However, you need to make sure you have some friends whose dedication to you is unwavering, ensuring that you will have the emotional support you need to get through this challenging time. Stay close with your family for those same reasons.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive; there are plenty of additional ways to cope as you adjust to life without your spouse. The most important thing is to figure out what works best for you and what will most successfully pull you through the process toward a healthy sense of true acceptance of your new reality.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
The ramifications of divorce are innumerable, and it will change your life in many ways. As you go through the divorce process, the emotional toll can be taxing. If you are prepared for the consequences of getting a divorce, including the possibility of a long and difficult grieving process, you should contact our Wheaton divorce attorneys at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. The knowledgeable team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will help you address the legal aspects of your divorce, allowing you to focus on managing the emotional aftermath and moving on with your life.