Divorce can bring about a variety of complicated emotions that can make your life seem really off-balance.  You may wonder if you'll ever feel like yourself again.  Sometimes it helps to know what you're feeling is really common and that there is an end in sight.  

There is a series of emotional stages most people experience as a result of divorce.  How each person experience these stages of emotions differs from person-to-person.  The process is a personal one.   But, in order to process our loss, we need to come to terms with our divorce, all that lead to it and learn to cope with the aftermath.

While you may confide in friends or family for emotional guidance and support, you own your pain, grief and anger.  You are the only one who can expel these emotions.

It helps to know and understand the stages you may experience before, during and after your divorce.  While there isn't an official divorce guidebook, the 7 stages listed below can help you identify where you are in the grief process and better prepare you for upcoming stages.  It gives you a destination so that you more readily process your emotional pain in order to reach the final stage of divorce, acceptance.

Unfortunately, many of us stay in the beginning stages of divorce well after the divorce has been settled.  Some will completely skip some stages or get stuck in others.  So, obviously the stages aren't certain and the order may vary.  However, to free yourself of the emotional baggage from the past in order to find personal happiness and to prepare for a healthy new relationship, you'll need to find your way through these common periods of emotions in order to let go and finally move forward.

Be patient with yourself, but remain proactive in your personal pursuit to good health, wisdom and prosperity.  Let's get started!

Stage 1

Denial & Shock - You may have heard or said the words that divorce is the only option, but in your heart and mind you still can't accept it.  It's a brand new concept and the overwhelming changes haven't sunk in yet.  Sadness and frustration may begin to seem unmanageable without counseling.  

Stage 2

Anger, Blame and Sadness - These emotions are the emotions that start to sever your attachment to your spouse.  They begin with anger and blame.  They develop into sadness and mourning.  As noted above, we all experience them differently, but they are strong emotions that begin before you emotionally end your marriage and continue throughout your divorce.  These emotions occur for multiple reasons specific to each spouse and married couple.  The need for treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety disorder(s) and/or hormonal imbalance(s) is common by this stage.  

Stage 3

Multipolar - This is a stage where you can't seem to get your bearings.  You bounce from one emotion to another and start looking for ways to stabilize your life.  While some are only slightly affected by this stage, many of us experience a great deal of conflicting emotions that are further disrupted by drastic changes in housing, family, physical relations and financial hardships.  It is a dangerous time that can include poor decision making, bad habits and atypical behavior.  

Stage 4

Regression - Ending your marriage takes a great deal of your identity.  It isn't unusual to rebound away from a committed relationship toward a "less mature self" and misperception of responsibility or goals.  You may also gravitate toward the behaviors and choices your former spouse disliked.  This stage can be a false sense of "anew".  You may still be experiencing denial that this is a permanent change; conversely, you may wish you would have not remained in a bad relationship as long as you did.

Stage 5

Hope - This stage surfaces when the world seems to reject you and your new single life. You may feel apologetic or develop feelings towards your former spouse that make you want to get back together. You reflect on the loss and problems the divorce is responsible for inducing.  You develop ideas and ways to reconcile despite the toxicity of the relationship.  Some couples go through many break-ups that reach this point only to reconcile without addressing the problems.  This can cause the couple to repeat a viscous cycle of "near ending" separations that are painful and degenerative of a healthy marriage.

If in counseling or on prescription medicine you may think you are ready to quit.  You may be correct.  But, it's also possible your treatment and/or medication have just reached a plateau.  Be cautious, discuss how you're feeling with your counselor and/or physician and never cease any medication abruptly (unless advised by a physician). 

Stage 6

Letting go - All the anger and sadness, the mixed emotions, changes in lifestyle, home & money have come to a head.  You have severed your feelings for your spouse & marriage.  Now, like a handful of balloons, you have to let it all go.  One-by-one or all at once is dependent on you.  As much as it seems like the hard part is behind you, letting go can be the hardest thing to do. 

It's not uncommon to hoard all this pain and anguish.  You keep it in front of you like a barrier to any such thing or person that could possibly cause you to experience such hardship again.  However, in doing so, it blocks you from experiencing true happiness and personal growth. 

It makes you bitter and depressed to hold onto your experience from your divorce.  Letting go is an essential stage for all divorcees and sometimes the hardest to get passed.

Stage 7

Acceptance - Your life has changed.  You've let go of the major feelings that prevented you from experiencing a "better life".  You've accepted what you've lost, acknowledged new opportunities and initiated a plan to achieve the new normal in your life.  You continue to develop lasting relationships and have fewer negative thoughts of your former spouse, your divorce or your past.  When negative feelings arise, you have an action plan in place to help you acknowledge and attend to the problem that initiated such feelings.  You no longer see your life through the window of the past. 

You are ready to let go of "letting go" in an effort to add more of what you need to be happy and truly move forward.  You continue to realize positive changes in your life and are dedicated to building upon these changes to achieve personal happiness.


While you may not be affected by every stage, it's good to be aware of the grief cycle that many people experience when affected by a divorce.  Hopefully, it can help you understand why you feel as you do and know that you're not alone.    -OurDMK.com



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