Emotional Process of Divorce: The Five Stages of Grief

Many people have heard of the five stages of grief that we go through when a loved one dies: denial, anger, bargaining, loss, and acceptance. This grieving concept was introduced in 1969 by the late Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book, “On Death and Dying.” Although the concept was originally focused on how people handle death, these five stages of grief can also be used to help work through the emotional process of divorce. It is not uncommon to think of divorce as the death of one’s marriage. Even a spouse who wants the divorce can feel a deep sense of loss.


When one spouse is adamant about not wanting the divorce, it is not uncommon for that spouse to be in denial that the divorce is happening. Many times, he or she may ignore all legal documents and/or correspondence regarding the divorce. He or she often feels that by ignoring all of these things, the divorce does not exist.


At some point, the reality of the divorce begins to set in and denial is replaced by anger. The anger is often directed at the other spouse for filing for divorce and for breaking up the family. In many divorces, this anger becomes so intense that the spouse blames the other for everything and anything that is wrong–even for issues that the spouse who wants the divorce has nothing to do with.


As the anger begins to dissipate, the spouse may find him or herself trying to bargain with the other spouse to stop the divorce. Instead of negotiating divorce settlements, he or she attempts to negotiate a reconciliation. He or she bargains with his or her spouse, promising to change the behaviors that he or she believes is driving his or her spouse to pursue the divorce.


When bargaining does not work, the final reality of the divorce hits home, and depression often sets in. This is where having a strong support system around you–family, friends, maybe a therapist–can help tremendously in getting through this stage. Sometimes a person goes through this stage as he or she is going through denial, anger, and bargaining.


As you are going through the entire divorce process, it may feel as if you will never get to this stage. But one day, you wake up and realize that you are going to be okay–more than okay. Although there may still be a little bit of sadness or regret that the marriage is over, you will discover that that feeling of grief is gone, and you are ready to move on with your new life and accept your divorce.

Call a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Whether you are considering divorce or your spouse has told you that he or she wants to end the marriage, one of the most important steps to take is having a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney representing you. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at (630) 793-6337 for a confidential consultation.


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