The emotional journey you undergo during a divorce is similar to a ride on the metro. To get to your destination, you must pass through specific stops. How long you spend at each station determines how long it takes you to get to the end.
Your spouse must complete the same journey. However, they might not be traveling at the same speed as you. Understanding the emotional route of your divorce journey in advance can help you prepare.
You’re going through a grieving process
Any divorce — no matter how amicable — changes your expectations of the future. You had plans. Now, you do not. You have to grieve that loss.
The psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler Ross created a five-stage model for dealing with grief. You can use it to know what to expect in your divorce. Here are the stages:
- Denial: Your partner may refuse to discuss divorce. They may still believe you can save your marriage. If you are further along the journey, you may already be sure it is over.
- Anger: Expect arguments here. There is likely to be a lot of blaming the other person. It is not the best time to try and negotiate things.
- Bargaining: Your partner may try to strike deals. “If you give me this much money, I will agree to you seeing the children more.” Divorce laws do not rely on such trade-offs. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights.
- Depression: This can affect other areas of your life. Watch out to ensure you do not damage your career in the process.
- Acceptance: Once you both reach this stage, you can move forward with your new lives in relative peace.
The smoothest divorces usually happen when both partners are roughly parallel in their journey. That is why honest conversation during your marriage is so important. If the news that one of you wants a divorce comes as a complete surprise to the other, expect friction. The person asking for divorce will be close to the end of their journey. The other may only be beginning.