Going through an uncontested divorce is an emotionally complicated experience. You and your spouse may not have done anything “wrong” or intentionally hurt each other, but one or both of you recognized that your marriage wasn’t working — and that can be a difficult realization.
Like many of life’s most challenging situations, it often helps to know that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. In fact, it’s perfectly normal to feel a range of positive and negative emotions that can fluctuate depending on where you are in the process.
Below are some common thoughts and feelings a person can expect to experience during the separation and divorce process, as well as how to cope with those feelings. As you read this list, remember that the emotions of a divorce are not linear, and you may not experience these all of emotions in order, or at all.
Throughout the divorce process (and afterward), both parties often feel grief for the loss of their marriage. Even though you’ve agreed to end the relationship, you may still love and care for your spouse and feel sad that they will no longer be a significant part of your life. Grieving the life you are leaving behind is normal, and it’s OK to look back fondly on the good times and happy memories you shared. Allow yourself to feel that grief, but know that your divorce is an opportunity to find a new version of happiness and fulfillment.
Divorcing couples may feel a lot of guilt about splitting up their family, especially if they have minor children together. The party who asks for the divorce may doubt their decision, whether it’s because they want to avoid putting their spouse in a difficult financial position as a single parent, or they don’t want their children to grow up in a “broken home.”
It’s important to remember that you’re getting divorced, not your children. After the divorce, they will still have two parents who love them, and hopefully, they will continue to have strong relationships with each of you. While you may feel guilt about the family separating, you may also realize that co-parenting separately is better for your children in the long run than keeping all of you together in an unhappy home.
Most couples don’t go into their marriage expecting to get divorced, so you or your spouse may be in denial when one of you initiates a separation. It may be difficult to accept that your marriage is over and start the process of moving on, especially if you and your spouse were together for many years.
Even after the divorce, some people are in such denial that they believe doing something differently or the passage of time may change their former spouse’s mind. It’s important to accept the reality of the situation and respect the fact that your relationship is in a different place than it once was.
When any relationship ends, it’s easy to get angry and resentful toward the other person. You may blame your partner for ending the marriage (or behaving in a way that made you end the marriage) and upheaving their life.
Anger is normal during a divorce, but left unchecked, it may cause one or both partners to seek “revenge” by demanding unfair terms in a settlement agreement. If you find yourself feeling enraged during a conversation about the divorce, try to take a moment to cool down and revisit the discussion when you are both in a calmer place.
Once you’ve come to terms with your pending divorce, you can start to heal and move on. You’ll accept that the marriage is over and feel confident that you are more emotionally prepared for the future. This period of growth allows you to make self-discoveries and move towards the path that is best for you and your family.
At some point in the divorce process, you may begin to feel a sense of relief. You may feel a weight off your shoulders knowing that you don’t have to pretend to be happy or fulfilled in a situation where you weren’t. You might even feel excited about all the possibilities that are now open to you as you walk away from a marriage that wasn’t working. If you are in this stage, know that you deserve to feel that sense of relief as you move toward a new chapter of your life.
Going through a divorce is emotionally and mentally taxing, but you don’t have to go through the legal process alone. My Legal Case Coach is here to help you along the way with your DIY Virginia divorce. With our easy-to-use legal case form packets, one (1) free hour of 1:1 virtual legal coaching, and the option to purchase ongoing blocks of coaching time, we can help you feel confident about navigating the court process, so you can take care of your family and your emotions. Contact us today to set up your free 15 minute consultation.