It’s been said that divorce (used in this article as the ending of a marriage and any significant romantic relationship) is as difficult to handle and survive the death of a partner. And in many ways, separation and divorce ARE deaths.
There’s the death of your life as you knew it and as you imagined it would be. It’s the death of the family you had. Your family will never be the same and change is difficult, even if you’re the one who instigated the change. It’s the death of the person you were within as much as that they will never be who they were to you – your husband is no longer your confidant, your lover, yours; your wife is now a stranger who’s life you don’t know anything about. It’s the death of the relationship you had with your children; they now sleep in beds that aren’t under the same roof as yours. Divorce is like a death.
And just like dealing with death, you’ll go through the 5 stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance*. You might not just go through them once. You might cycle between them for weeks, months or years. Most people I have spoken with say that it takes about 2 years to come through the other side. For me, I felt like a different person after 1 year, and by 3, I had it together with a new focus and new spirit, happy and excited about my new life. But that doesn’t mean that even now, 5 years on, there isn’t, on occasion, a lingering moment of sadness about what was lost. When my children cry for their Daddy and wish we were still living in the same house, I feel sad for them. I am still thankful that I no longer have their father in MY life. But my kids … they miss their Dad sometimes, and they miss me when they’re with him. We have a good life together. A great life, even. It’s just not the life I wanted for them.
Divorce is like death, except that with divorce there can be rebirth if you let it. It’s hard to see the positive. It’s hard to be thankful for the time you had together and the good times between you. Remember, the good times brought you your children. And that’s who you need to focus on now. Even if all you can manage is to make sure your children have healthy food, clean clothes and a clean house with lots of hugs and cuddles and love. When they’re crying, hug them. When they’re angry, hug them. When you’re sad or angry or anxious, hug them. Fill your house with hugs and love and time will heal the rest. Good luck. Divorce is like death, just remember the re-birth is up to you. You can make it as wonderful as you can dream it can be.
If reading this had made you sad, anxious, angry or you just need to talk about what’s going on for YOU, call Life-line on 13 11 44.