Getting a divorce isn’t easy. Every divorce is filled with emotion, especially in the beginning. However, as you might guess, not everyone experiences the same emotions. The emotions one feels can vary depending on a number of factors, such as whose decision it was to get divorced and the circumstances surrounding what precipitated your divorce. Once you make the decision to get divorced, everything becomes very real. Once you grasp that it’s actually happening, you have this “deer in the headlights” moment where you almost feel like time stops. You realize that from the moment you commit to the decision to divorce, life, as it existed during your marriage, will be irreversibly changed.
Everyone Experiences Different Emotions When They Are Getting Divorced
Most often, the emotions experienced by those going through divorce are fear, shame, guilt, sadness, or anger. This is because in almost every situation when you decided to get married you made a lifelong commitment and did not expect the marriage to end in divorce. You thought everything would work out and be great. And, of course you did. Who doesn’t? Yet, here you are – feeling guilty or ashamed for deciding to get divorced, or fearful about what will happen once you tell people you’re getting divorced, or sad about the loss of the life you were supposed to have, or pissed off because of the betrayal by your spouse.
Any human being is going to feel some type of emotion when the relationship that was supposed to last “forever” ends. The decision to divorce is so private. Even though you know in your heart that this is what you are going to do, most people will be very selective about with whom to discuss it. Here are some tips on how to persevere and protect yourself, your children and your finances when you’re getting a divorce.
Get Your Mind Right
Everyone has a different emotional experience when they are getting a divorce. Your feelings surrounding your decision to divorce, or your acceptance of the fact that you are getting divorced, are unique to your situation. Remember: whatever feelings you have are normal and part of the process. The most common emotions associated with getting divorced are guilt and shame, especially when there are children involved. Even though the emotions are common and to be expected, be aware that you are not able to make the best decisions while you’re in the middle of beating yourself up. You also are not able to make the best decisions when you are filled with fear, sadness, or anger. That’s why there are expressions like “paralyzed with fear,” “debilitating sadness,” and “blind rage.” It is absolutely necessary for you to acknowledge and name the emotions you are feeling, understand why you are feeling them, and then move forward so that you may have a productive relationship with your divorce attorney, which will result in a more satisfactory outcome for your divorce.
Let’s unpack what I just said. Whatever your emotions are, it is imperative that you address them so that you can plan. You cannot think clearly when you’re upset, sad, or angry about whatever it is that you’ve experienced. It’s just a fact. You cannot concentrate when your head is filled with emotions. I’m not saying that you’re not going to be emotional throughout this divorce. You absolutely will be. But in order to plan effectively and achieve your goals, you must act with a clear head.
If you go to this link, you will find that I have created forms for you to utilize throughout your divorce journey to get your thoughts and your divorce plan organized. The GET YOUR MIND RIGHT© form will help you identify your emotions. On the form, write down or type in the emotions that you are experiencing. Is it fear, shame, guilt, sadness, anger, or a combination of some or all of those emotions? The form asks you to identify what is causing you to feel those emotions. The most important thing is to acknowledge that you are having those emotions and to identify each emotion by name. Once you identify what your feelings are and what they are causing you to do, then you can work to manage them effectively.
This article has been edited and excerpted from You’re Getting Divorced…Now What? (Law Offices of Sandra M. Radna, P.C., 2020). The book is a comprehensive guide to divorce proceedings. From emotional and financial assessments to court day and child custody advice, Radna’s book has all the information anyone would need to manage a divorce.