The Emotional Stages Of Divorce

Emotions can be difficult during and after a divorce. But know that you are not alone….


The end of a marriage is a traumatic and emotionally turbulent time. This is often compounded by the fact that both partners are not always in the same place emotionally during the process. The initiator will often feel conflicting emotions, ranging from relief and sorrow to resentment and guilt. The receiver, on the other hand, may experience shock, betrayal and anger. Sometimes they even the desire to “get revenge” for the pain they are experiencing.


A marriage doesn’t fall apart overnight and it’s almost never the fault of just one person. A divorce is usually the result of years of marital dissatisfaction and, while both parties usually contributed to the breakdown of the relationship, it is not uncommon for one spouse to actively seek to end the relationship before the other partner is ready or willing.


It’s been recognized by many experts that there are typical stages in the process of ending a relationship. These are normal and to be expected. Regardless of where you may be in the process, it may be helpful to know that what you are experiencing is quite normal and that, with time, it will pass.


  1. Disillusionment

This is the period in the relationship when one or both parties begins to feel that their needs are not being met, and that they are unfulfilled and unhappy. It’s a time in which resentments begin to fester and arguments occur without successful resolution. It’s also likely that divorce may be considered during this time, but not verbalized.


  1. Expressing Unhappiness

During this period the partners in a struggling marriage begin to talk about their discontent. Couples may try counseling or seek out other tools in a last ditch effort to save their relationship. Emotions during this time run the gamut from guilt and anguish to relief that the problems are being acknowledged.


  1. Choosing Divorce

During this phase one or both partners will come to the decision that the relationship either isn’t worth saving, or is too broken down to be able to fix. This is often the period in which the most anger and resentment begins to manifest. Sometimes one partner will work to vilify the other in order to feel better about leaving them. It’s also the most likely period in which an affair may occur.


  1. Acting On Decisions

At this stage the legal process begins. The spouses will seek out legal counsel and often go public with their decision. It is also the period in which loyalties are divided and sides are taken by friends and family members. There may be a lot of fear and shame experienced in addition to the already present frustrations. Expect the “blame game” to be played by both parties.


  1. Growing Acceptance

At this time, after the divorce process is complete, life will be an emotional roller coaster. The newly divorced couple will be trying to create plans for a new future and redefine their sense of self, all the while adjusting to their new status as “no longer married”. While it is an emotionally turbulent time, it can also be empowering and positive.


  1. New Beginnings

By now, hopefully both parties have moved past the anger and resentment, and have created new fulfilling lives for themselves. They have accepted their new roles and different responsibilities and no longer struggle with their former spouse as a person. Ideally this phase is lifelong and each person can find peace in their individual lives.


If you are contemplating divorce, it can be helpful to sit down with a Michigan family law attorney to discuss all of your options. The divorce attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have been aggressively and effectively representing people all over Michigan during their divorces for decades. Call us at 517 886 1000 to talk to someone about your situation. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.