In our country and around the world marriage is a common occurrence. Research shows that, in Western cultures, 90 percent of people will have been married at least once before 50 years of age. Unfortunately, divorce has become an almost equally common occurrence. Between 40 to 50 percent of all first-time marriage will eventually end in divorce with the rate increasing for subsequent marriages.
No one enters a marriage believing that the marriage will end in divorce. The expectation is that the commitment to the relationship will be forever. However, statistic show that the marriage vows that are given that day have an equal chance of being broken as they do of being kept. Stressors that will impact that marriage negatively include:
- Differences in parenting styles
- Financial pressures
- Variations in family backgrounds
- Extra marital affair
The comedian, Amy Poehler, described the experience this way, “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”
Trying to control all the valuables that seem to be spinning out of control is not a task to take on alone. Talking to a professional who has had training and experience helping people navigate through these difficult times can be vital is surviving through similar ordeals. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Franklin help in divorce recovery understanding the dangers and opportunities involved in ending a marriage.
Reasons for the Divorce
Psychologist John Gottman, prominent marriage specialist, identifies four foundational causes and predictors for divorce that he termed, “The Four Horsemen”:
- Criticism: When nit-picking, negative interactions, and put-downs overshadow encouragement, kindness, and support, then divorce is often the result.
- Defensiveness: If one or both people do not own the consequences for their actions, then that is often a recipe for divorce.
- Stonewalling: Denying, minimizing, or avoiding issues allows problems to stick around and grow.
- Contempt: The bedrock of any relationship is respect, and when one or both partners disrespect each other, tension will grow.
If even one of these issues are present in your marriage, left untreated the results can be very damaging to one or both spouses. A period of time, intervention and recovery may be needed for healing to occur.
What is the process of Divorce Recovery?
Divorce results in many life changes and stressors that may trigger a sense of loss and grief. There is, of course, the loss of the relationship itself. However, there are multiple number of other changes that may include:
- Changed extended family relationships
- Lost/changed friendships
- Shifting to co-parenting or single parenting
- Loss of a home
- Reduced standard of living
Someone going through this cycle can experience denial, anger, shock, sadness, guilt, bargaining, or fear. While one may recover from these more detrimental emotions with the passage of time, having a professional to help guide you through the grieving process can result in an experience of personal growth.
What is the Typical Duration of this Healing Process?
Not everyone goes through the process the same way so the length of time for recovery from divorce varies as well. Studies have indicated different situations and conditions that may affect how long the recovery process will take. These factors include:
- The suddenness of the change;
- Whether one spouse did not realize the marriage was in danger;
- The spouses age, mental and physical status;
- Personality strengths and weaknesses;
- If and how many children may be involved;
- Whether infidelity was a factor in the breakup of the marriage;
- The present financial situation of the couple;
- The length of time the couple has already been together;
- If one or both spouses have already developed other relationships.
The healing process following a divorce is difficult. There is a flood of mixed emotions, both support and criticism from others, and a tendency to judge ourselves in ways that may provoke shame and self-doubt. On our own it may be difficult to discern what decisions and actions will bring healing and even growth or which decisions will simply prolong the pain. Mistakes will happen. But input from a trained therapist can help us learn from those mistakes and take the difficult process of divorce recovery and turn it into opportunities for growth and well-being.
If you are going through the difficult life changes that divorce brings, reach out to one of the professional counselors at Thriveworks Franklin. They can help you take what is an emotional and trying time and help you through the recovery process, so you can heal, even grow and eventually thrive. The mental health professional at Thriveworks are available evenings and weekends and can often be scheduled within 24 hours of your call. They accept most major health insurances.
Divorce can be hard. Scheduling counseling for divorce recovery should not be. Call Thriveworks today at 617-360-7210.