Separation and divorce are a common source of trauma for modern American couples. That trauma is often very severe, especially when couples don’t take precautions to minimize the pain caused by divorce. Although separation and divorce are never trouble free, you can do things that will give you some control over the process. Your understanding of what happens during the divorce process — and your exerting control based on that knowledge — can lead to smoother negotiations, faster settlements and far fewer sleepless nights.
Emotional and financial disruption from divorce can also be long-lasting when a partner does not take adequate self-protective measures. To understand how best to protect yourself, you need to first understand the injury and hurt inflicted by divorce, where the hurt comes from and how it gets amplified. Only then can you implement self-defensive and constructive tactics and processes to reduce emotional and other pain. These tactics and processes are discussed throughout these materials.
The trauma caused by separation and divorce has many roots. Whether you initiate a separation, or whether separation is initiated by your spouse, your world changes in many ways. When you got married, you probably expected your marriage to last. Thus you find yourself experiencing anger, frustration or disappointment over losing a spouse with whom you expected to live your whole life. With that loss comes also the loss of dreams for your future together. You may also experience pain or guilt over thoughts that you could not make your marriage work out, even though such blame may not, in fact, be yours. All these feelings are internal sources of psychological bruising, which you can definitely take steps to minimize.
There are also more external sources of stress and trauma occurring during separation and divorce. The relationship with your spouse, and possibly other relationships, may be severed. Certainly a number of relationships will have to be modified. All these changes can cause you additional pain and anxiety. Your financial status may decline as well. Indeed, both you and your spouse may have a diminished standard of living for an indefinite future. Such an ambiguous economic future is also fraught with almost overwhelmingly painful uncertainty.
You may at first experience all this uncertainty, understandably, as frightening and very unfamiliar. You have been, either gradually or more suddenly, thrown into a major crisis that will require a revamping of expectations and careful planning. Yet you see yourself trying to make plans at a time that you may be at such an emotional low point that logical planning is very difficult, if not temporarily impossible. Despite the crisis and despite the confusion, you can find the help you need to survive separation and divorce and to set yourself on the way to a more pleasant and more predictable future. With thought and planning, you can save yourself time, money, and undue emotional suffering.
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Divorce and You