The 5 Emotional Stages of Divorce

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation lawyers; California Divorce MediatorsMost of you might be aware of the five stages of grief that have been often cited in psychological studies as the basis of all human response to anguish. Those of you, going through the distressful times of a divorce or a legal separation, might benefit from having a sound understanding of what emotional turbulence you are about to witness. 

1. Denial

The denial stage is the starting point of the emotional roller coaster, which you will experience throughout and after your divorce proceedings. It is a stage wherein you would be aware of the issues at hand, but end up dispensing them as irrelevant to your life. It is a coping mechanism of your brain that protects you from getting overwhelmed at the very beginning of an emotional disaster. However, you must understand that living in a perpetual denial of the situation, is extremely harmful for your psyche, and that you must, at one point, acknowledge your grief.

2. Anger

When you move on from denial and enter into the anger stage, you tend to be emotionally vocal about your feelings of contempt and disdain for your spouse. It is period of conflict, wherein you end up blaming your partner for everything that goes downhill in your life. The anger stage is quite healthy from a psychological point of view, owing to the fact that it helps you release you pent up emotions.

3. Bargaining

Next in line is the bargaining stage, wherein you realize that you cannot cope up with the emotional trauma of your present life, and want to go back to your initial days with your spouse. In a last ditch attempt to make up with your partner, you tend to rethink your decision of taking a divorce, multiple times.

4. Depression

If you are one of those thousand who decide to go ahead with your divorce, post the bargaining stage, you might find yourself in a perpetual sea of sadness, all the time. You might end up feeling debilitated and devoid of any hope and happiness in life. It is extremely important at this stage, to surround yourselves with people you love, get therapy and indulge in your passions, to distract yourself from the anguish of the inevitable.

5. Acceptance 

The ultimate culmination of all that emotional turmoil and drama is the feeling of acceptance, which finally dawns upon you. You finally see that light at the end of the tunnel, and are ready to accept the harsh reality of life. The acceptance stage often marks the end of your grieving, and gives you hope for a better tomorrow.

You might feel exhausted by the time you finally accept your fate and decide to move on. However, it is utmost important to understand that a divorce is not the end of your life. Instead, it marks the beginning of a better one.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation