Divorces are nasty business. They might be unexpected for some and the only solution to a failed marriage for others, but in either case, one perhaps undergoes the same emotional turmoil. It is inevitable to feel broken when the dreams of a beautiful future and solemn promises of a lifetime come crashing down. No one expects or desires a divorce, but if you are facing this crisis, it is important to emerge from the heartbreak and carry on with your life. We tell you how.

STAGES OF DIVORCE

Being aware of the psychological implications and stages of a divorce is the key to accept yourself and initiate the recovery process. An understanding of your psychological condition will help you manage your mood and feelings. Psychologist Thomas Whiteman, co-author of Starting Over (with Randy Petersen, Piñon Press, 2001) outlines 6 stages of divorce:

Denial: Initially one finds it hard to face the trauma and continues to hope for a redressal.

Anger: Once the reality sets in, you might find yourself feeling unbearable rage and animosity towards your partner.

Bargaining: You may want to gain back your spouse through various means and promises of ‘improving’ in the future.

Depression: While some people undergo sadness and grieving, others may slip into depression after their divorce.

Acceptance: This is when you begin to acknowledge your new life, without your partner.

Forgiveness: Finally, you are able to take an overview of the situation objectively and let go of any grudges or animosity.


TIPS TO DEAL WITH THE HURT

1. Make plans. It is imperative that you keep yourself busy in order to distract your mind from focusing on the pain. The plan can be as simple as picking up groceries or going for lunch or even visiting that flea market you always just passed by. Use this time to do things you always wanted to; things that bring you joy. Staying cooped up in the house and wallowing in self-pity is a sure shot path to depression.
2. Embrace change. A divorce will bring innumerable changes to your lifestyle. It will touch every aspect- finances, other relationships, children, profession- and your reaction will decide if the impact spills to these areas of your life. The best way to deal with this would be to accept the change, adapt to your new life and pledge to make it even better.
3. Seek support from friends and family. Yes, divorce means the absence of that special person in your life, but you still have people around who love and cherish you. There is no shame in reaching out to them in troubled times. Feelings of loneliness will only aggravate the emotional wound and delay the healing process.

4. Engage in endorphin-releasing activities. Nothing like the release of endorphins to uplift your mood. Some easy ways to release this ‘feel good’ hormone is to eat your favorite food, relax at a spa, join Zumba or gorge on a bar of chocolate. Endorphins help alleviate stress and pain and give the person a euphoric feeling. Although a seemingly short-term remedy, a continued pattern- like joining a fitness class- will make you mentally stronger.
5. Constructive thinking. Indulge in some positive thoughts, and do away with the blame game. Even if you did not initiate the divorce, there certainly must be a hundred things about your spouse that made you doubt your compatibility. Trust that whatever happened was for the best and work on letting go. Understand that divorces stem from incompatibility and not from any shortcomings in people.

Just remember that divorce is not the end of your life, but just the beginning of a new one, so make it count.

By Khyati Shah

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