When planning the dress, the wedding party, and the cake, everyone also plans for a happily-ever-after. But all too often, this does not work out, and people find themselves facing the reality of plan B and a divorce. If you have recently ended a marriage or are currently in the process, you understand that plan B brings a lot of fear, confusion, anger, loneliness, depression, guilt, and anxiety. It also brings a host of new realities to navigate: legal decisions, custody issues, extended families, circles of friends, financial issues, and housing circumstances.
Reflecting upon her divorce, Amy Poehler explained the experience, 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.”
If your life is up in the air, spinning, you are not alone. When a marriage ends, safe landings are possible. The process is painful, but when people embrace recovery, they often find that joy and love return to their lives in full force. Therapy has helped many people navigate the painful process of healing from a divorce.
Navigating a divorce can feel very lonely, but no one has to do it alone. Thriveworks Westborough in Worcester provides therapy for divorce recovery, and our counselors understand the dangers and opportunities involved in ending a marriage.
Reasons for the Divorce
Having studied marriage and divorce for decades, Psychologist John Gottman identifies four foundational causes and predictors for divorce. He has dubbed them, “The Four Horsemen.” The last straw that leads to the divorce may be an affair, abuse, addiction, or more, but when people look closely, these four horsemen are usually present, fueling the disconnection:
- 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.
Being in a marriage with one or all of these can harm a person, and a time of healing and recovery may be necessary to move forward with new dreams and new relationships.
What Is Involved in Divorce Recovery?
There are many costs when a marriage ends, and divorce recovery usually involves embracing the grief cycle. Of course, the marriage relationship ceases, but divorce comes with other losses. Such losses are too innumerable to be counted, but a handful may include…
- Loss of a home
- Reduced standard of living
- Changed extended family relationships
- Shifting to co-parenting or single parenting
- Lost/changed friendships
People may feel denial, anger, shock, sadness, guilt, bargaining, or fear as they grieve, and it is normal to bounce quickly between these feelings. In the grief cycle, it is important for people to be honest about whatever they may be feeling and to be curious about why they may be feeling that particular emotion.
How Long Does Healing Take?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for healing from a divorce. Many different circumstances will determine how long a particular person takes for recovery. Some of those circumstances may include…
- Whether it was a surprise.
- Each person’s personality, age, mental health, and physical health.
- Why the divorce is occurring.
- If/how many children are involved.
- The status of a couple’s finances.
- How long the relationship lasted.
- Whether one or both partners have established new relationships.
Healing from a divorce is not an easy process. Along the way, there are pitfalls and dangers. Blunders are normal, to be expected, and often become opportunities. There is rarely a straight-line, comfortable path to healing.
It is also okay to reach out for help—both from friends and family and from mental health professionals. Experienced therapists can often guide their clients through common pitfalls as they face the ups and downs of divorce.
Divorce Recovery Therapy at Thriveworks Westborough, MA in Worcester
Are you in the midst of a divorce or have you recently come through one? Our counselors are familiar with the rollercoaster that is ending a marriage. Thriveworks Westborough has helped many people come through the pain and the loss to reclaim joy and happiness in their lives.
If you are ready to meet with a mental health professional, know that Thriveworks Westborough offers weekend appointments. New clients often see their counselor within 24 hours of their call, and we accept insurance.
Divorce can be hard. Scheduling counseling for divorce recovery should not be. Call Thriveworks today.