Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. It is a journey of definite lows and surprising highs. It leaves you feeling fraught and exhausted, and there will be times you don’t think your psyche will survive. And all of this on top of practical concerns and legalities. How will you cope?
Whether you are a man or a woman, separation and divorce are one of the toughest things you’ll face in life. Even if you are the instigator of the separation and you are out of the relationship, you’ll still experience heartbreak and grief. Anger at times is a given. But you need to know that you’re stronger than you think you are – and your resilience will win.
You can expect to experience a vast array of emotions during and after divorce. You may experience depression, anxiety, panic, anger, fear, regret, excitement, relief, satisfaction, and any other emotion – sometimes many in one day. Some will be contrary. For example, you may enjoy your new freedom yet miss the other person’s presence. You may hate who they are now but grieve for your lost love.
It’s really important to let yourself feel these emotions. You also need to work through them, otherwise in time your feelings can prevent you from moving on with your life. Some divorced couples, for example, allow themselves to hold on to bitterness and petty gripes even years after the divorce is final and each has moved on to another marriage or long-term relationship. This serves no purpose but to make themselves (and their children) miserable.
Statistically women adjust better emotionally after divorce than men do – and men re-partner much more quickly in general than women do. Yet both sexes suffer emotionally and both will overcome their grief – if they allow themselves to.
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Women have been shown to be prone to loneliness, poor health, insomnia, depression, memory issues, feelings of vulnerability and work inefficiencies in the first months after separation than men are. Men are more inclined to feel anxious, guilty and depressed, with need for dependency on another.
Part of surviving divorce is acceptance, mourning for the relationship, and embracing the challenges and possibilities for the future. It also requires breaking the emotional bonds held with your former partner.
Divorce is not the end – it is only the end of a chapter of your life. It might not even have been a happy chapter overall. But whether you’d go back in a heartbeat or never again, the Pandora’s Box of feelings you’re experiencing will abate in time. While heartbreak and anger may rule your mind some days, this time is a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop into a new you for a new life – a life that is hopeful, and full of unexpected and exciting new possibilities.
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