Divorce: Finding Support and Adjusting to Changes
The end of a marriage is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. Divorce often involves a range of painful and difficult emotions, including grief, guilt, anger, confusion, fear, shame, and anxiety. If children are involved, the stress level for each parent may be even higher. People sometimes seek therapy to help them decide whether to stay in a marriage or end it. Others may seek support for the transition from marriage to being single again. Both of these goals can be addressed in individual therapy, couple’s counseling, or group work.
Many of us perceive divorce as a personal failure, and it can be challenging to de-personalize the blame for a relationship that doesn’t work out. Therapy provides a safe space for working through these feelings, making sense of the end of a marriage, and obtaining a new and positive perspective. Although divorce can feel exhausting and debilitating, it also provides an invaluable opportunity for personal growth and self-understanding. The work we do in therapy during and after a divorce may help us learn how to make better decisions and create healthier relationships in the future. At the very least, a therapist can help us address pressing issues that are part of a divorce process, including:
· healthy communication during conflict
· new relational boundaries with an ex-spouse
· adjusting to new living arrangements
· clarifying financial obligations
· establishing parenting responsibilities
· supporting our children during their emotional response to the divorce
Recovering from a divorce takes time and requires emotional support from significant others. Some of us need help finding or learning how to ask for this kind of support. Figuring out the best way to navigate relationships with family and friends can be challenging. It may be helpful to find others involved in a similar process or talk to loved ones who’ve been through a divorce previously. Too often parents talk about negative feelings toward their ex-spouse with their children; this places the children in a very difficult position. Therapy is a much better place to work through our hurt and frustration. Therapy is also potentially helpful for discovering new coping techniques, strengthening our support network, developing a healthy and constructive perspective, and taking care of ourselves as we adjust to change and prepare for what lies ahead. The outcome of a divorce process greatly depends on the effort we invest in understanding ourselves, taking responsibility for our part, and working to create a better future.
*Currently, Tanner EAP is offering a Divorce Support Group for Tanner employees. If you have interest in joining the group, please contact Betsy at Tanner EAP