Emotional stages of Divorce

Emotional Stages of Divorce

Emotional stages of Divorce

Divorce hurts. No matter what anyone tells you about what to expect, they can never accurately predict the pain because that pain is incommunicable and affects everyone differently. It’s your own personal pain and no one can ever know exactly how it’s affecting you – all they can know is that you’re hurting in a way you never have before and hopefully never will again.

As a busy Firm of Divorce and Family Law Specialist Attorneys, we listen carefully to our Clients, and work in close co-operation with them. Over the years we’ve gained the understanding that although everyone reacts differently; generally speaking their reactions usually fall into seven basic emotional stages of divorce.

When you know what to expect and you understand that these are normal emotions experienced by almost everyone undergoing divorce, it doesn’t make it less painful, but it does make it easier to endure.

It seems that these phases are rarely clean cut, so you might not necessarily move out of one phase and smoothly into the next one; in fact you might experience some of the segments over again and not in any particular order. Some of the sections might be easier to bear than others but, remember this is grief and it’s the sort of grief you may well experience at the death of a loved one.

Ask your Specialist Divorce Attorneys and they will tell you that the tough thing to do throughout the entire experience, is to try holding on to the hope that that you will finally pass through all the stages and start healing and preparing for your new life. It may be hard for you to accept in the beginning because you’re holding on tightly to the past but, at some point along the way you will turn the corner and begin to breathe again and that when you realise that you will have a life beyond this pain – a happy life.

Here are the emotional stages of divorce:


You can’t quite believe that this is really happening – it’s like being in the middle of a living nightmare and you can’t wake up. It’s like drowning in your own panic because you flat refuse to accept that your relationship is over and you keep struggling to find solutions to the problems in your marriage. You are sure that your marriage cannot end in divorce and are convinced that if you change yourself and become that person your Spouse has always wanted you to be, then all will be forgiven and your Spouse will come home. You feel out of control and swamped with fear an outrage. You don’t talk about this much because you’re certain a bad mistake has been made and things will be back to normal soon.

You normally wouldn’t approach Divorce Attorneys at this stage unless you’ve been served by the Sheriff with a Combined Summons and Particulars of Claim.


Just a few of the intense emotions you’ll experience at this stage are panic, rage, and a conviction that you are going over the edge of sanity. You will swing between despair that your marriage is over and hope that it will be restored. You’ll feel overwhelmed and defeated and unable to cope.

You’ll have visions of being so emotionally scarred from the divorce that you’ll never commit again and you’ll be alone forever. You think the pain might never end and you’ll never be able to feel true love again.

At this point if you are consulting with your Divorce Attorneys, you’ll probably be listening to their words of re-assurance but not really believing them.


Your emotions swing and switch between hoping the marriage can be fixed to despairing of ever leading a happy normal life again. You will over think the marriage and its failure to survive and spend every waking moment exhausting yourself with these thoughts.

You are convinced there is more you could have done to save the marriage and eventually you could drive yourself mad imagining it was all your fault and maybe you even think that is was all a lie and maybe your Spouse never really cared for you.

Obsessing like this over the failure of your marriage, you could sink into a depression and end up withdrawing from a greater part of your normal life, engulfed in despair and sadness and crying without any warning.

By now you are most likely to have instructed Divorce Attorneys and could well be having second thoughts and telling them to hold off on the Divorce for a while. If you are opposing the action you may find yourself trying to delay the matter.


Still holding onto the hope that your marriage will be restored, you are constantly trying to change anything about yourself or trying to do anything that could make your Spouse consider returning to you to patch up things and restore the marriage. However, during this phase you are beginning to realise that you’re losing ground – why else would you be bargaining? You start to learn the all-important message that your Spouse cannot be controlled by you or any other human being.

During this phase you could find yourself returning to your Divorce Attorneys and telling them to go ahead with the Divorce.

Letting Go:

A good stage to arrive at is the Letting Go phase, because now you will arrive at the realisation that your marriage has ended and nothing you can do or say will change that fact. Eventually you become more willing to accept and forgive the faults of your ex Spouse and begin slowly to take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of the marriage. This is the stage were you will begin to feel a sense of release, liberation, and some hope for the future.

By now, you will probably be requesting your Divorce Attorneys to proceed with your Divorce matter with all haste so that you get it over and put it behind you.


At this stage you’ve stopped obsessing about getting back together and come to terms with the fact that divorce is inevitable. You’ve even begun to feel as if you could have a future. You’re beginning to feel hopeful and making plans, following through and feeling more confident about yourself and your life.

You start finding new interests and during this period of growth you find positive things about yourself that help you to look forward in spite of the fear you’ve felt. Pain starts to give way to hope and you begin to discover there is life after divorce.

You may try some new clothes in a different style, a different hairdo, join a gym or some clubs or just adopt a new hobby. The changes you make now are for yourself only and for your new future. You are able to face forward with a happy and positive attitude.

This is the final stage where you’ll find yourself pushing your Divorce Attorneys to speed things up so you can move on and happily forward with your new life.

You’ll be stronger than before; more resilient and more confident. You’ll be ready to take on whatever the world puts in your path.

Martin Vermaak Divorce and Family Law Specialist Attorneys guide you through all of this because they care about getting you a divorce with the best provision for your future; and they also care about you, your health and your emotional wellbeing throughout the divorce process.