Change is expected, but sometimes these side effects aren't.
Heartache is a normal side effect of divorce. After all, divorce marks the end of something intended to last 'til death, making separation seem like ultimate failure. It is seen as the inability to stay with someone, to have someone choose you over anyone and anything, and, as if that weren't already hard enough, if children are involved, divorce is also seen as the disheartening inability to keep a family together.
But with divorce as common as it is (researchers estimate that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce), it's surprising that some of its effects often go unrecognized.
1. The fear of being alone is emphasized.
Whether loneliness was or wasn't a major concern in the past, there's nothing like a failed relationship to emphasize the possibility of getting to old age alone. According to an AARP survey, 45 percent of divorcees interviewed agreed that being alone was their biggest fear. However, 76 percent of those interviewed also said they felt they made the right choice to dissolve their marriage.
2. Responsibilities will be shuffled.
It's a fact that two household incomes differ from just one, but sometimes, especially if one of the parents is staying home, the greatest financial challenge comes with realigning responsibilities. Whereas in the past, the man might have taken the helm when it came to paying household bills, after the divorce, the woman may find herself tackling all logistics on her own.
Change is to be expected, but exchanging responsibilities may prove difficult.
3. Children can and will learn from this experience, too.
Many studies focus on the damning effects divorce has on children, but focusing solely on one possibility diminishes the work parents put in beforehand. If parents going through a divorce remain mindful, respectful and overall civil, there's a good chance their children will learn to do the same, even under strenuous circumstances.
4. The process doesn't always look the same.
Though a divorce itself can be quite lengthy at times, the emotional and psychological process of overcoming the end of a marriage can look different from one couple to the next, as well as one individual to another. Some couples manage to remain amicable, but for others, old wounds reopen when trying times unleash harsh words.
Readjusting implies re-learning something, so ups and downs are to be expected.
5. Divorce adds perspective.
It's not all fear and gloom! Because each marriage is different, so is each divorce. For some, the denial phase of divorce looks a lot like postponing the inevitable, taking a month just to sign the divorce papers. But for others, denial is replaced with positive thinking, creating a term or mindset to erase the negative connotations toward divorce.
When Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin ended their relationship, Paltrow referred to it as "conscious uncoupling," while Martin recently said, "I don't think about that word very often — divorce."
This article was originally published at Latina. Reprinted with permission from the author.