- Do you find yourself struggling with the decision to divorce?
- Is it clear that there is no room for reconciliation?
- Did you make the decision or was it your spouse? Or mutual?
- Is the decision to divorce inevitable?
- Was the decision “forced” on you or were you given “little choice”?
- Does the thought of reconciliation stir up conflicting feelings?
- Are you battling to stay calm and keep yourself together emotionally?
- Is the facing of finances overwhelming and difficult?
- Are you having to sort out decisions about your children? About your pets?
- Are you having emotional battles as you try to cope with the finality of this relationship?
- Do you find it very hard to consider a part of your life story ending with the need to move on into the future?
- Does the inevitability of not being in this relationship create high anxiety for you?
If you have positively affirmed many of these questions, you are among a multitude of people going through this even now. Although each person’s story and journey are unique, there are many common thoughts, feelings and decisions associated with separation and divorce. In our experience as counselors, we have seen many clients who recognized the problems, conflicts or issues (whether subtle or obvious) in themselves or their spouse long before they realized they needed to determine a solution. Whether you just discovered an affair or have been off and on in conflict with your spouse, you are now facing many ugly or difficult decisions. We are here to help you walk through this time in your life with hope, compassion, empathy, understanding, and strength to endure with self-dignity.
The thought and impact of major relationship change
Separation and divorce are considered significant life events impacting every aspect of your being. The reality is that no one initially commits to another in marriage with the idea that it will end in divorce. Sure, you may have witnessed divorce in your family, but those were their choices and you did not want separation or divorce to be like that for you.
Maybe at some point in your relationship you or your spouse recognized you were not doing well in relating with each other. Arguments may arose out of choices you or your spouse had made and thus there was strong disagreements between you. Further unresolved conflicts, mistrust grew and grew and not dealt with in healthy ways. Perhaps there was just a slow drifting cold growing distance between the two of you like two ships passing in the night. Although ignoring your lack of connection, along with arguments and unresolved conflicts are very common, they became more of your relationship’s undoing. Thus, the impact of relationship changes emerged.
There may have been a possibility (and maybe a little bit now) the consideration of marriage counseling. However, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen or didn’t work out too well. Roadblocks, excuses, the fear of more “stuff” getting stirred or the reality of just one of you being really invested in getting help for the relationship.
Changes in your routine and other relationships
In the face of all this, you may have found yourself to be the one receiving “the news” about your spouse actually wanting to separate. Confusion, disbelief, sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety seeped or flooded into your mind. Everything and everyone around you may have seemed out of place or distorted. Good days, flat or blah days along with bad days feel like they are circling around you. Then, if that’s not enough, the “To Do” lists seem to pop up out of nowhere leaving you exhausted not to mention the demands of your daily work routine and responsibilities.
Even if you were the spouse who initiated the break-up, it may be that you are finding changes in your physical and emotional well-being that are taking a toll on you. While this separation or divorce may have been on your mind for quite some time, your feelings of sadness, regret, guilt and resentment are still commonplace among many people in your position.
You may also find that your mutual “couple” friends begin to distance themselves from you. They may not know all of what’s going on but notice a difference in you and/or your spouse. A few may ask what’s going on while others give you your “space”. Most of the time they just don’t know what to say or how to respond to you or may be feeling some of your hurt along with you.
It is common to have doubts and fears through a divorce
Even when you were about to marry your spouse, more often than not you may have had some doubt or felt some fear about your decision to marry. Those doubts and fears probably left. Now, when you are at a point of separating from him/her, doubts and fears return. Whether your relationship had a solid foundation or a questionable one, as you enter the divorce process, the perspective of a committed relationship is thrown into chaos. Until you find solid footing for yourself, the path before you will be filled with questions and uncertainty. You may tend to worry about your finances, your relationship with God or others, your life after the “dust settles” not to mention you mental and emotional well-being. In your darkest valleys, you may wonder if you are going to make it through this. Remember you are not alone. This is where you may seek counseling for yourself for your mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational healing.
The transition process
As you may have entered the separation and divorcing stages, you will eventually need to get to the “letting go” stage. This may seem a long way off or seem “impossible” to see right now. Recognize this stage will be a grappling struggle over the course of time. Your buoyancy in this process will depend on your current and history with your spouse, your history of coping in difficult situations, your current coping strategies, strengths (internal and external), support, and plan to get through it. As you look to becoming the “new you” post-divorce, recognizing and working through your thoughts, feelings that lead up to the decision of the divorce. Further, seeing what prompted your actions or reactions will be beneficial in future decisions.
Divorce Counseling Can Help Be Grounded, Recover Faster
Many people seek counseling for the first time after recognizing the brokenness of the relationship with their spouse. They don’t want to burden their friends or family any longer or at all. They want to be strong for them (including their children) yet they realize they need and want professional help.
Each of our clients come to divorce therapy with their own wounds, needs and vulnerabilities. Developing a greater awareness of these unique parts of yourself will greatly assist you as you work towards your new uncoupled life. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to this moment, getting help and support at this time of turmoil is a sign of good health and sound mind.
In your work with your counselor, you may find yourself wanting to “unload” everything all at once or be somewhat closed and guarded with your emotions and thoughts. Each person is different in how they express themselves. Taking the first step is courageous and frightening at the same time. Anxiety, sadness and anger can cloud your ability to think clearly. However, as you enter a warm, receptive, neutral place where you are accepted as you are, then you have the freedom to express yourself at your own pace and in your own time-frame. Talking through your thoughts and emotions freely, without fear of negative repercussion, allows for a release of the yuckiness inside.
Our past and current counseling experience with various relationship situations and changes, strengthens our care and compassion as well as gives us an ability to walk with you through these distressing times. We have been helping individuals and families navigate separation and divorce for over the past several years. During this time, we have seen multiple individuals muster the courage and be encouraged in hope for a brighter new beginning and emerge well.
Maybe You Have Some Questions
Shouldn’t My Ex Be the One in Therapy?
This may be absolutely true. The choices he/she makes are up to them. However, even if you believe your ex is responsible for most, if not all, of the problems between you guys, you focusing on you now and through the aftermath will benefit you tremendously over the long haul.
Am I Going to Have to Talk About Childhood stuff?
In divorce counseling, as part of relationships, we may talk about how your past relationships affect you in the present. At times, you may discover how your own childhood experiences give you insight into how you came to be with your spouse and learn more about yourself moving forward. However, we look to tailor your counseling to what you are ready and willing to address.
Will My Friends or Family Think I’m “Weird” for Going to Divorce Counseling?
Good question. You may wish to share none, a little or a lot about your counseling experience with those you trust and who care about you. It’s common to feel a bit of worry about how others may (or may not) feel about you seeking help. What we have found is that many friends and family that our clients love and trust are all for them getting help. Focusing on what you need for your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being creates opportunity for your health and healing which positive friends and supportive family will embrace.
Time to take the first steps to a better you. Time to clear out the muck, the ugliness of how you feel and get the relief you so much need and want. Please, let us know how we may be of help for you during this time in your life. Call us at 520-292-9750 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.