This post was updated on Jul 20, 2023
Parting ways with your significant other after a hard time can be a daunting and traumatic stage of your life. You may feel like the very foundation of what you deemed the most stable aspect of your life has been shaken to the ground. However, for some people, it may be just a culmination of a dysfunctional and mismatched relationship and therefore a relief, and an entrance to a period of personal recovery.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to go in stages in order to accept the fact that you’re no longer married. Of course, leaving an unhealthy relationship sometimes requires professional guidance in order to gaining a significant amount of insight into your pattern of attachment, love addiction, and coping strategies. Read on to find out how to cope and overcome
Can Divorce Be Considered Traumatic?
While traumatic experiences are usually associated with drastic negative changes in the environment, divorce can bear some similarities with trauma for one of both partners, due to several reasons:
- It often comes unexpected, without clear warning signs for one of the partners
- You can feel powerless and shocked, as you put utmost trust in your relationship
- You may feel betrayed by your significant other, especially if there was an affair
- It can be a painful, confusing, and emotionally hurtful experience, especially if your partner left you in an intentionally cruel way
It is also worth noting that divorce can be traumatic for the divorcees and their children. At this stage, whether the parents divorce during their early childhood or teenage years, it may create a traumatic experience that will follow them well into adulthood.
What Is Lost Through Divorce?
Every case of severe stress or trauma includes some sense of loss. The process of overcoming trauma usually involves grieving. Some studies even use a dramatic notion of “death of marriage”, to emphasize the grief that comes after divorce. This is no wonder, as many aspects of the life you used to have together is now lost, including:
- Your ally in everyday activities
- Your companion in parental duties
- Your support in your career achievements
- Your partner in household tasks
- Your aid in times of hardship
- Your closest friend and roommate
- Your sexual and emotional partner
- Your audience for inside jokes
What Are The Stages of Recovery After Divorce?
As with any other overwhelming experience that demands in-depth processing, you are likely to go through the following:
- Encountering the Event
When you encounter the fact that your marriage has ended, it can be very difficult to grasp. Many people find themselves in a state of shock. The main question you may try to answer is “What happened?”. And, more importantly, “What does it mean?” and “Why did it happen?”
While you may be prone to see denial as purely negative, it does serve an important purpose: it buys you precious time until you’re completely ready to appreciate the gravity of your situation. If it lasts for a short period of time, it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. However, if you get stuck in denial about your divorce trauma, you’re likely to have unfinished business to complete later.
Once you realize the gravity of the situation, you may start to feel angry with yourself, your ex, or other people. Acknowledging these feelings and working around them does serve a purpose in recovery. While it’s only natural to go through the angry phase, it’s important to control open outbursts and avoid angry behavior towards your ex-spouse, children, or anyone else involved.
A temporary depressive state is a normal part of the recovery process. Grieving the loss and remembering the good aspects of your marriage is a good way to process this sadness. However, it may become problematic if you get stuck in this stage and if not resolved or addressed properly. If not addressed properly, it may develop into a fully-fledged clinical depression.
In this phase, you may have to accept that your former partner has moved on. This may be a chance to recognize your potential, embrace new opportunities, and pave the way for self-actualization. It may require a lot of work, time, and bargaining until you reach this stage.
How Does Divorce Affect a Woman?
Higher levels of post-divorce stress are associated with more chances of inflammation, according to studies. Women are also prone to experience stress for a longer time. On average, women take a longer break before they start dating, begin a new relationship, or remarry.
Often, women have to deal with financial inequality, they are more likely to risk career loss and social isolation after divorce. Sometimes, they need to fight to keep their parental rights, and this can add up to the overall divorce trauma. Women tend to need additional encouragement in order to overcome vulnerable times.
How Does Divorce Affect a Man?
There have been studies that show that men may develop more health problems as a result of divorce stress. The most commonly reported issues include weight fluctuations, cardiovascular disease, and susceptibility to stroke. On the psychological level, divorced men can develop depression and anxiety, and suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. Divorce impacts cardiovascular health negatively in both men and women.
Men also have to struggle with keeping up with their parental roles and responsibilities. This is one of the many reasons why working closely on personal growth and development is crucial for men.
How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Divorce?
In general, the normal process of overcoming divorce pain can take up to two years. This all depends on various factors:
- The previous quality of your relationship
- Whether you feel resentment towards your ex
- Whether you went through a legal battle over your children or property
- How much support you receive from your family and friends
What Can You Do To Overcome A Divorce?
When your marriage reaches a definite end and you get a divorce, it’s important to acknowledge the stages of recovery. There are several strategies to keep in mind in order to save your peace of mind and prepare for life as a single.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important aspects of your recovery from a difficult divorce is taking care of your needs, as well as physical, and mental well-being. You may use this time to write down your priorities and reorganize your life.
Reframe Your Marriage
Instead of jumping to conclusions and seeing your past marriage as a complete failure, waste of time and energy, you may have the chance to see it as an important learning experience, a lesson that will propel you to the next stage of your life.
Allow Time for Closure
Every wound needs time to heal. While the divorce will definitely have the legal and financial aspects to it, you’d probably feel the need to rush it. Consider allowing the whole process to unravel at a natural pace. Patience is one of the well-known roads to acceptance and peace of mind.
Construct a Positive Environment
Surrounding yourself with people and things that will associate you with your breakup and divorce may not be the best coping strategy. Instead, you can try to make a corner in your house or apartment that will serve the purpose of a physical foundation for your new life.
Seek Support from a Friend
This can be a close family member, a sibling, or someone with whom you have a close and sincere friendship. While you may go through feelings of depression, despair, and hopelessness, having someone to be there for you may be indispensable.
Respect Your Routine
Whether you unwillingly or deliberately decide to disrupt or forgo your daily rituals, you’d surely like to preserve at least some sense of control and normalcy. To this end, it’s useful to reinstate and try to stick to your daily routines. This goes hand in hand with taking care of your health, finances, career, and personal goals.
Take a Break From Dating
This can be a slippery slope, as you can feel unsure whether you’re dating to distract yourself from your post-divorce stress, to find comfort, or to find a new, fulfilling relationship. Instead of rushing into a new relationship, you may feel the need to devote more time to yourself. This way you’ll be able to determine your priorities, and start working on your self-growth.
Seek New Resources
Finding new ways to relate and cope with your current situation can mean a difference between recovery and further complications. You can find new potential by taking up a new hobby, meeting new people, or rekindling old friendships.
Who Can Help Me With Effective Divorce Trauma Recovery And Codependent Relationship Retreat?
Deciding to divorce isn’t easy, and going through the process sometimes requires professional support and coaching. With the help of our relationship advocates in the PIVOT retreat, you can tackle the most sensitive topics in supportive settings, which may allow you to make significant breakthroughs. Whether you wish to recover from divorce trauma individually, overcome challenges and salvage your marriage as a couple, learn how to foster authenticity in your relationship, our staff is here to help. You can also book individual coaching sessions and work on your potential. Get in touch with us to start a new phase in life!