When you walked down the aisle and said, “I do,” you probably never thought there would be a day when you walked out of divorce court after saying, “I do not.” Divorce is not usually people’s plan A, but plans change. Many people are experiencing plan B because many marriages end in divorce. Up to 40 percent of first marriages split up, and up to 60 percent of second marriages experience the same.
Divorce comes with many challenges. Amy Poehler described her divorce in a way that many people can relate to, saying, “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.” Many others are watching their worlds spin and worrying that everything they hold dear will break.
When a marriage ends, pain, loss, and change are usually inevitable, but healing from a divorce is possible. New beginnings often lie on the other side of divorce recovery. When people take time to reflect and grow after their marriage ends, they are often able to rebuild a fulfilling, happy future. Counseling can often help guide the healing process, and many people turn to a therapist for wisdom and support.
Are you looking for Prince William counseling for divorce recovery? The counselors and psychologists at Thriveworks Manassas, VA have helped many people weather a divorce and go on to have new adventures and establish vibrant relationships.
What Can Lead to Divorce?
For decades, Dr. John Gottman conducted a study on marriage and divorce that has now become famous. As he watched couples interact, Dr. Gottman could predict whether they would separate and divorce within the next 10 years with alarm accuracy. How? Four dynamics are almost always at play when a couple divorces. The surface issues almost always vary (lying, irresponsible behavior, adultery, in-laws, financial stress, et cetera), but just below the surface there is almost always one of these four factors working against the couple:
- Stonewalling: Often, the presenting problem does not drive the couple apart, but minimizing it, avoiding it, or denying it does. Unaddressed problems can grow and may quickly overwhelm a couple.
- Contempt: Disrespect may be the leading cause of divorce. When one or both partners see themselves as superior to the other, the connection is lost.
- Criticism: Attacking the person instead of the problem can make difficulties exponentially worse.
- Defensiveness: Shifting blame and counter-attacking means no one takes responsibility, and opportunities for growth are lost.
If you are finalizing a divorce or have recently finalized one, you may recognize one or all four of these behaviors. If you do, know that these are toxic behaviors. Many people who come out of a marriage where they are present need a time of detox and healing.
What Is Divorce Recovery?
Divorce means the end of a marriage, but that is just the beginning of the losses. Each loss needs to be named, understood, and grieved. A few examples of the losses may include:
- One’s house: often, people must leave their home after a divorce, even a home they have live in for year or even decades.
- Standard of living: divorce can cause severe economic strain. Certain lifestyle choices may need to be adjusted or give up in order to make ends meet.
- Relationships: many people describe how their friendships changed after a divorce—particularly with friends who were close with both spouses. Similarly, family dynamics change with in-laws and other extended family members.
- Parenting: children feel the loss just as much as their parents. Transitioning to co-parenting or single parenting can be a challenge for everyone.
These losses will trigger grief, with all its varied emotions and experiences. During the grief cycle, it is normal to feel shock, anger, guilt, fear, bargaining, sadness, and denial. It is also normal to cycle through these several times until the difficult emotions are resolved.
How long it can take individuals to grieve losses greatly varies. Many things can influence a person’s recovery process, such as…
- How long the marriage lasted.
- The circumstances that led to the divorce.
- If the separation surprised one or both spouses.
- Whether the family had children, how many, and their ages.
- If one or both spouses have entered into new relationships.
- How the couple is doing financially.
- Each person’s age, personality, mental health, and physical health.
Divorce recovery can be a challenging process. There are many pitfalls and distractions that can derail healing. Missteps and re-dos are normal parts of rebuilding, as is asking for help. Family and friends can provide much needed support, but many people also lean upon a mental health professional.
Divorce Recovery at Thriveworks Manassas, VA in Prince William County
No one has to recover from a divorce alone. The therapists and psychologists at Thriveworks Manassas in Prince William know that grieving the loss of a marriage is difficult, but we also know that many people rebuild fulfilling, joyful lives. We know because we have helped many clients do just that.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist to process your divorce, know that Thriveworks Manassas has appointments available. When you call our office, a person will answer (not an automated response or a voicemail). New clients almost always have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We also accept most insurance plans.
You are not alone as you recover from divorce. Call Thriveworks Manassas in Prince William today.