When couples plan their wedding, they choose the rings, the dress, the venue, the tuxedos, the music, the honeymoon. Their friends and family gather to celebrate a happily-ever-after. But the storybook wedding does not always lead to a storybook ending. As many as 40 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and 70 percent of third marriages end in divorce.
Amy Poehler illustrated the process of divorce in a way that many people understand: “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.”
Plenty of people know the feeling of seeing their world spin and experiencing the feeling that everything they hold dear will break. The legal decisions, the financial strain, the living situation, and the custody battles can leave people dizzy during a divorce. On top of it all, most people are also experiencing acute confusion, guilt, anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, and fear.
Life eventually settles, and many people find that setting aside time to heal after a divorce sets them up for a happy future. Divorce recovery is a unique path for each person, and many have looked to a mental health professional to guide their process.
Thriveworks Virginia Beach offers divorce recovery counseling because healing is possible. Our therapists understand the hardships that come with a divorce, and we have also helped many people overcome those difficulties to rebuild a beautiful, fulfilling life.
What Leads to Divorce?
Infidelity, financial stress, addiction, lying, irresponsible behavior, in-laws, health problems, and more are often cited as the reasons a couple splits. And yet, many other couples face these same circumstances but work through the challenge. What is the difference? Often the surface problems in a marriage are not the real issues driving a wedge between spouses. Instead, toxic behavior that underlies these surface issues is often the real reason people divorce.
In his famous study on marriage and divorce, Dr. John Gottman identified the four toxic behaviors that often lead to divorce. In fact, Dr. Gottman could often observe a couple’s interactions and determine whether they would still be married in 10 years—with alarm accuracy and based upon these four dynamics:
- Criticism: negativity, nit-picking, and put-downs attack the person instead of the problem.
- Stonewalling: denying, minimizing, and avoiding problems does nothing to solve them.
- Defensiveness: shifting blame and refusing accountability means no one is responsible for the consequences of their choices.
- Contempt: Disrespect and superiority may be the main reason couples divorce.
Can you recognize any of the behaviors and attitudes listed? Most likely, you can. If you are finalizing a divorce one or more may have been creating a toxic relationship between you and your ex-spouse. When people end toxic relationships, they need time to heal and detox. Divorce recovery has been just that for many people.
Divorce Recovery: Detoxing and Rebuilding
When a divorce is finalized, of course, a marriage relationship ends, but this is just the beginning of the costs. Other losses that may be incurred will vary from person to person but will likely include…
- Giving up one’s house (that had possibly been one’s home for years).
- A reduced standard of living (with many accompanying financial sacrifices).
- Shifting relational dynamics with in-laws/extended family (in-laws are no longer in-laws).
- Learning how to single parent or co-parent (this puts stress on the children as well).
- Forming new friendships (especially if friends choose sides in the divorce).
These are significant costs that need to be grieved. People may feel a wide range of emotions with their grief. It is normal to feel fear, bargaining, guilt, shock, denial, sadness, and anger, sometimes all at the same time. Whatever emotions arise, they are okay.
Feelings often are clues into the wounds that people have sustained and the type of healing they need. With time, these feelings may also be clues on how to escape unhealthy, past patterns and move forward, rebuilding a fulfilling and happy future.
There is no silver bullet for recovering from a divorce. Many people stumble. Missteps are normal, trying again is necessary, and asking for help is okay. Friends and family can offer invaluable support, as can a counselor.
Healing from a Divorce with Thriveworks Virginia Beach
If you divorce is being finalized or has recently been finalized, know that Thriveworks Virginia Beach know the ups and downs of divorce recovery. We have helped many people find happiness after their marriage ends.
If you are ready to schedule an appointment with a counselor at Thriveworks Virginia Beach, here are a few things that may be helpful to know when you call our office:
- We offer weekend and evening sessions.
- A person answers our phone.
- New clients usually have their first appointment within 24 hours of their call.
- Our office works with most insurance companies.
If you are ready to see a counselor, we are ready to help. Call Thriveworks Virginia Beach today.