Divorce is a rupture and loss, and spouses often experience grief. Grief is a complicated process involving distinct stages or cycles, some of which can be experienced simultaneously. It does not work in a particular order. Many times, after feeling you have made some progress, you might find yourself slipping back, experiencing emotions you thought you had already overcome. However, with support and help, most people can process their grief and accept how their lives have changed, moving on toward happiness.
The Kübler-Ross model of grief
There are a variety of models of the grieving process. However, a widely accepted one is the Kübler-Ross model, which involves five stages or cycles in the grieving process. These include:
- Stage 1: Denial
- Stage 2: Anger
- Stage 3: Negotiating
- Stage 4: Depression
- Stage 5: Acceptance
How the grieving process works
Grieving is not a neat process. Additionally, while the grieving process starts with the struggle to accept that the marriage is ending, anger and blame often come soon after, in the middle of the experience of anger, you can also find yourself trying to negotiate the situation, trying to save the marriage by justifying many of the things that led to the divorce or blaming yourself for these things. Finally, once the divorce is finalized, there is often a period of depression, where you might feel lonely and scared for the future, unable to move on with your life. This stage can take a long time to overcome, and some people might need professional help from a therapist. However, eventually, you accept the situation in your new life post-divorce and move on.
When you are in the middle of a divorce or just after, it might seem like your intense feelings of grief are impossible to overcome. However, with time, you can find your path or happiness.