We always hear about the five stages of grief a person goes through when a loved one passes away. They were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. Did you know that you will also go through these five stages of grief after a divorce?
Each person will go through the stages in their own unique way. The ultimate goal is to get to the fifth stage, which is acceptance. There is no set length of time. Some experts state that it takes one year for every 10 years of marriage to get over it. However, it may take you more or less time depending upon several factors, including who initiated the divorce, how happy you were in the marriage, and your own personal state of confidence and well-being. During the grieving process, you will often feel particular emotional effects of divorce as well.
What may surprise you is that even if you're the one who initiated the divorce, you will still grieve. This is because you are not only mourning the loss of your marriage, you are also grieving the loss of your hopes and dreams—the belief of what you thought your life was going to look like.
The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is no specific order. You may feel as if you are on an emotional roller-coaster during and after your divorce. This is because you are jumping back and forth between the various stages. Learning to recognize what stage you are in may help you to heal at a faster pace.
A review of the five stages of grief as they relate to divorce:
The denial stage often begins during the marriage. It may be hard to believe or accept the fact that your marriage is over. You hold on to a sliver of hope that things can be different—that he will change. You believe that the two of you will be able to spark that magic that once occurred in your relationship.
Other forms of denial include not believing he wants out of the marriage, not believing that he is in love with another woman, or finding it difficult to believe that this is really happening to you. After all, you never thought you would find yourself in this situation.
Know that denial is normal. It's a way to help you grasp the fact of what's happening without overwhelming emotions. It's a way for you to hide from the facts in order to deal with the pain.
During and after your divorce, you may experience anger directed in a variety of ways. You may be angry at your ex for cheating, for using alcohol or drugs, or for not caring enough to make things work. You could be angry at his boss for making him work long hours, or you could be angry at the other woman—the home-wrecker that lured him in. Keep reading...
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