Separation is emotionally draining for all parties, but it can be even harder for those who didn’t see it coming. If a divorce was your spouse’s idea, you might have difficulty separating emotionally from him or her, especially if your relationship was fairly long. When so many aspects of your life are shared with another person, how do you manage the confusing feelings of letting go and starting over?
While there isn’t any advice that can speed up the separation process or automatically relieve your grief and stress, there are many strategies that can help you manage your feelings.
If your spouse wants a divorce, he or she has probably developed some pretty strong reasoning as to why your relationship needs to end. Even if you’re still emotionally attached to your ex, you should remain realistic about how he/she feels. Because divorce is a serious request, the person will most likely not change his or her mind once it’s been brought to the table. Plus, he/she has had time to think about it. Try not to let yourself fantasize about a potential turnaround. Focus on handling the current situation and putting a healthy mental and physical distance between you and your ex.
Be Aware of the Emotions to Come
Ignoring your emotional response to separation won’t help you handle it. You may experience a variety of feelings, including anger, depression, or even denial, but remember that these are natural. Separation is a painful experience for many people, and emotional reactions are a reasonable response. The intensity and longevity of these responses vary from person to person, but it’s important to let yourself respond regardless. Keeping emotions contained will be more painful than simply accepting them as part of life. (Consider journaling to help you through the process.)
Know Your Resources
Many people find that their suffering is somewhat lessened when they can share their hurt feelings. If you’re struggling to emotionally detach yourself from your spouse, make good use of your resources. Don’t feel embarrassed to seek out help from a counselor or therapist; they are trained to address situations just like yours and can offer professional guidance. Especially if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your situation with friends or family, a counselor or therapist can act as your listening ear. There is also an abundance of online and print resources which you can access whenever and wherever you feel like it.
The best way to avoid thinking about something is to distract yourself. If your divorce is causing you too much stress, put your best efforts into your work, hobbies, chores, or anything that keeps your mind busy. While it’s important to confront your situation, it’s unhealthy to let negative emotions simmer in your head all day. If you don’t have anything on your schedule, try setting up a lunch with old friends, or taking your kids to a local sporting event. Even something as simple as cleaning out your closet can be a refreshing step away from your problems.
If you have questions about divorcing emotionally, Triangle Divorce Lawyers can help. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our divorce professionals today, or attend one of our Second Saturday divorce seminars, held on the second Saturday of each month.