Realizing and/or deciding that your marriage must come to an end is one of the most difficult processes to undergo. Whether the difficulty stems from the fear of transitioning to a new lifestyle, from the separation of someone who once felt like home to you, the stress that comes from splitting your assets, or from the pending decisions based on child custody/access, the process is more than likely going to include grief. It is an important time in your life to seek support.
Feeling Your Feelings
The 5-step grieving process includes Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. While there is no guidebook on which of these stages will come first, or how long they will last, it is important to feel your feelings. It is true that experiencing depression may send you spiraling back into denial, anger or bargaining…but sitting with your feelings and coming to understand where they stem from is essential to the healing process, and healing will help guide you to the final step of acceptance.
So, How Do I Sit with My Feelings?
It is common to doubt yourself when making such a large decision, but the transition to separation will be made much smoother if you consistently remind yourself why you came to the decision in the first place. Sometimes, people find themselves confusing the truth of their situation with their desire for how things could have been. Maybe if you bit your tongue that one time, you may not have fought for so many weeks. Maybe if you were a little more patient, they would have actually understood what you were saying, and you wouldn’t have fought at all! What if you just did what they asked? What if they just did what you asked? If you find yourself in a game of a mental tug-of-war, then it may be helpful to confide in friends and family, or a trusted professional so that you take yourself out of the grey area and make your way back to the concrete facts. You will feel sad. You may feel regretful. Your mind will wander. You will ruminate. However, acknowledge these feelings; understand where your feelings come from, and remind yourself that you have a right to feel this way. It is not uncommon to make the decision to divorce, and yet have a heavy heart in doing so. Once again, seeking your support system in this situation is an important part of healing; the support may help you make peace with your decision, and allow you to replace conflicting thoughts with ones that are consistent with how you truly feel.
Sometimes you come to the decision of divorce, but you aren’t sure how exactly to go about confessing this to your partner. You may not know how to accurately convey your feelings, and you may even be afraid that you’re going to back down once you set the conversation in action. In these situations, it may be more beneficial for you to seek the support of a trusted professional to break the news and/or deal with the grief once the news is broken. Regardless of which stage you feel in need of extra support, taking action is the first step to healing and acceptance. If your feelings are consistent with any of the above mentioned, please connect with us here at the Vaughan Relationship Centre so that we may help you take this next step in the most confident, self-assured way possible.
Written by Maria Iannizzi