When Couples Split—Therapy and Counseling for Divorce Recovery in Sterling, VA
When couples walk down the aisle after saying, “I do,” they would never dream of walking out of a lawyer’s office a few months, years, or decades later after signing papers that say, “I do not.” Of course, everyone dreams of a happily-ever-after at their wedding, but not all dreams come true, as many people know. Up to 40 percent of first marriages will end in divorce. The risks are higher for second and third marriages—60 and 70 percent respectively.
“And I’ll sign on
The line beneath my name
The road is gone
I can’t go back the way we came.”
—The Avett Brothers, “Divorce Separation Blues”
When couples sign those divorce papers, they are closing a road. There are many costs and many losses and many new dynamics to handle. On the practical side, divorce means decisions about housing, custody, finances, legal matters, just to name a few. All the while, people may be wrestling with difficult emotions such as guilt, fear, anger, loneliness, anxiety, confusion, and more.
Divorce closes one road, but many people learn to forge new ones. The process is not easy or quick or simple, but many who have taken intentional time to heal after their divorce know that it is worth the pain. They are often able to create a new path for their lives that leads to adventure and happiness.
No one has to walk the path of divorce recovery alone. People often lean upon their friends and family as well as a counselor.
Thriveworks Sterling’s counselors are well acquainted with the ups and downs of recovering from a divorce. We have helped many people find their happily-ever-after.
When a Marriage Ends
Couples end their marriages for any number of reasons (financial pressure, irresponsible behavior, infidelity, in-laws, unexpected medical conditions, and more). The particulars of why couples might pursue divorce are infinite, but in most cases of divorce, what lies just below the surface of those particulars is almost always the same.
Dr. John Gottman conducted a decades-long, now famous study of marriage and divorce. He learned how to predict a couple’s divorce with stunning accuracy. How did he do it? He learned that most divorce is actually cause by one of four dynamics:
- Defensiveness: Evading responsibility, blaming others, and shifting accountability means people do not own the choices and never experience consequences.
- Criticism: Attacking the person instead of the problems creates an environment of nit-picking and negativity.
- Stonewalling: Hardships that are denied, minimized, or avoided are never overcome.
- Contempt: Disrespect and superiority are intimacy killers.
Just one of these four can create a toxic environment that many people need to escape, and do so by ending their marriage. If you recognize defensiveness, criticism, stonewall, or contempt was at play in your former marriage, then you may need a time of intentionally detoxing.
What Does Divorce Recovery Involve?
Each person heals from a divorce in a unique way, and many difference circumstances will affect what divorce recovery will entail and how long it may take. A few of those circumstances include…
- Whether the family had children/how many
- How financially stable the couple was.
- What led up to the decision to separate.
- If the divorce took anyone by surprise.
- Each partner’s mental health, personality, physical health, and/or age.
- How long the couple had been together.
- If new liaisons have been formed.
Because each person’s journey is unique, the therapists at Thriveworks Sterling individualize a treatment plan for each of their clients. Among the many treatment options available, divorce recovery almost always includes at least two things: Grieving and Processing.
The loss of a marriage brings many other losses with it. Many people are forced to leave their home—often one they have lived in for years. With divorce may come financial strain and a lower standard of living. Relationships change as well. In-laws are no longer in-laws. Friends may choose sides. Children are affected as their parents share custody or learn how to be a single parent.
These difficulties may spark the grief cycle. Feelings like denial, guilt, fear, shock, sadness, bargaining, and anger may arise, and that is normal. Counselors can help their clients understand these feelings.
One of the hardest parts of divorce recovering is processing the marriage, but often the key to future happiness lies in understanding the past. It takes courage to understand where the marriage veered off course and why, but this is valuable information that people can use for future decisions. Often, when people are able to learn from the past, they can break free from patterns that are holding them back.
Setting Up Therapy for Divorce Recovery at Thriveworks Sterling, VA
No magic formula can make life instantly easier after a divorce. The process of recovering is difficult, but many people learn just how strong they are. Many people also learn that it is okay to ask for help.
If you are ready to meet with a mental health professional, know that Thriveworks Sterling has appointments for divorce recovery. Here are a few things that might be helpful for setting up therapy:
- We accept most insurance plans.
- A person answers our phone.
- Evening and weekend appointments are available.
- Most new clients see their therapist within 24 hours of their call.
Are you ready to get started? We are too. Call Thriveworks Sterling today.