Whenever someone gets divorced, of course, there are certain emotions one can expect to go through. A grieving process might include denial, bargaining, etc. However, there will be emotions you did not expect to feel in such moments. Getting divorced can make you go through a rollercoaster of emotions, psychologists say there is as much pain as there is a promise. 

I’d like to stop for a moment here and let you know that: all emotions are valid. Divorce might bring up things you did not know you could experience during the process. And no, it doesn’t matter how “amicable” you want to do things. You are still going through a separation and it is going to be hard and unexpected at times.

Whenever you find yourself thinking “But I should not be feeling this or that way…” please stop. Let yourself feel the feeling. Explore why you might feel this way process it, talk about it in therapy, or write an angry illegible letter and move on

Unexpected Emotions During A Divorce

Excitement

It might sound crazy at this point, but you might feel excited about a new phase in your life starting. Starting over can seem daunting, but it can bring a lot of healing to plan and think about the things that will come once you get divorced. That is why you might feel excited about getting over with it and you might even get some congratulations from people who have been there or can relate with you.

Pride

It’s no surprise that after going through such a heart-breaking disruptive experience you notice that are stronger than you ever imagined. Probably one or two years ago, you would have never imagined such a thing. Now, look at you, getting a new apartment, total control of your finances, your time, and other perks of divorce. And don’t try to minimize it. It’s actually something to feel proud about.

Guilt

There are plenty of things one can make you feel guilty about . But you might feel this sensation even more so if you are a parent. On one hand, you might feel worried about the disruption of your children’s lives. And at the same time, happy you can start again and provide them with better attention and less stress at home.

Regret

As months go by, you might start to wonder if you could have done things differently , if you could have fought harder to save your marriage, and even if you could have waited a little more to get divorced so it could’ve been more convenient. If you could have changed anything. And while it is normal to feel these things, it might also be that the time for feeling them, has already expired.

Failure

It’s no surprise that inside our brains , divorce might be associated with failure . It’s a bit hard to get over the notion that marriage is not a test that you can pass. And even though we stand on the idea that all emotions are valid, you should take a look at how you can change this perspective. 

Denial

This is an unexpected emotion that affects those who initiate divorce. If you file for divorce, it is generally expected that you have clarity on ending your marriage. It’s, therefore, unexpected when time goes by, and you start questioning what you have done.

Denial can sink in unexpectedly at any time. In most cases, it can affect you when the entire process has taken off, and you seem to be finalizing the divorce. Denial can bring forth many other emotions and responses. It can take decades to get clarity on whether or not you did the right thing.

Passiveness

Divorce can also make one, or both parties involved unexpectedly passive. This trait is characterized by inactiveness. There may be numbness, indifference, or “spiritlessness” in you or your partner. Generally, you may lack enthusiasm for anything and everything in life for a while. Things you held so dearly may fail to motivate you completely. In some cases, you may even pass on life-changing opportunities you get amidst a divorce and start questioning your sanity.

Rage

While anger is expected for obvious reasons, rage is unexpected. You can become “heavy” with anger when you think about your partner. Rage is usually the result of suppressing emotions for a while. If you choose to deal with everything internally and “bury” emotions, you can enter the rage stage when you are unable to hold everything together.

Rage can cause extreme actions like threatening a spouse and even committing criminal acts. To avoid rage during a divorce process, practice patience. Rage can result in vindictive and hostile decisions, which are bad in every way. Give yourself time to ensure you make decisions that are in the best interests of everyone. Time also relieves stress and prevents emotionally charged decisions.

Double Life

This emotion is usually common when you are co-parenting and have to “act” for the sake of your kids. Forcing yourself to get along with an ex for the sake of your kids can be a challenge. You must balance time with the kids, communication with an ex, and may even be in another relationship that you want to give time before introducing your children to a new spouse.

The circumstances of a divorce may force you to conceal certain aspects of your new life from an ex and/or your children. Some people start feeling like they are living a double life in the process. This emotion is common among people who love leading open lives but can’t because of their circumstances.

Bargaining

This may not be an emotion intrinsically but a struggle during the divorce process. Bargaining mostly affects initiators of divorce as they struggle to agree to certain aspects of their decision. Bargaining affects individuals feeling doubtful or guilty. As you analyze the entire divorce, you may begin questioning the consequences and having a back-and-forth session with yourself.

Peace

It’s also not expected to feel peaceful in the midst of a separation. Peace can be unexpected even in the midst of challenges. You may not mind the hard decision and even look forward to getting down to the details. Peace comes to those who embrace the future. While peace can still be “invaded” by episodes of negative emotions, it dominates negativity about the process. Some people feel unexpectedly peaceful and unbothered by any negative feelings regarding an ex or their old life.

Over-Awareness

The divorce process can trigger an awareness journey. Having been in a relationship for years can make someone less aware of some things internally and externally. You may start noticing how your environment had changed by comparing your city before you were married and how everything is different now. New additions to your environment vs. How things were in the past may take you down a memory lane with your ex. Over-awareness is particularly common with past and present comparison in relation to an ex. The best ways of coping is by creating fresh memories.

Uncontrolled Reminiscing About Your Old Life

Divorce can “wipe out” in-laws and mutual friends from your life completely. It is natural for families and close friends to take sides. While some in-laws and mutual friends may remain impartial, you can unexpectedly reminisce about your old life if you don’t get the support you expected from your in-laws after a divorce. Expecting to maintain a relationship with in-laws may be far-fetched for obvious reasons. However, when those in-laws you trusted so much cut communication, the sense of loss can be overwhelming.

Comments from kids can also trigger uncontrolled reminiscing about your old life. For instance, if your kids miss their old home, neighborhood, etc., you should expect to reminisce for a while.

Depression

Depression isn’t particularly an emotion in itself but a combination. Depression can be particularly surprising to individuals who had clarity before initiating a divorce but slowly have doubts. Depression can also be triggered by many other events, occurrences and emotions combined. For instance, having to deal with work stress, financial stress, physical abuse, emotional abuse, co-parenting, etc., all at once can overwhelm even the strongest person.

Depression is undoubtedly the hardest thing to cope with during and after a divorce. It is normally the darkest period of a person’s life. Unlike other emotions discussed above, depression is a mental illness that professionals must address. The importance of seeking professional help can’t be overlooked. Divorce attorneys make a point of suggesting counseling to be able to cope with depression and related emotions discussed above.

In summary, you can’t be 100% prepared for divorce. Even if you plan everything, there are some unexpected emotions you are bound to feel. Besides hiring a seasoned divorce attorney, think about your mental health as well. In fact, a divorce process should be handled by professionals exclusively. It should begin with hiring the best divorce attorney you can find and leaving the rest to them.

Seasoned divorce lawyers know what their clients need. They can deal with custody matters, property disputes and even recommend divorce counseling

If you are in Northern Alabama and would like advice on your divorce process, give us a call: 256-804-0084

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    About The Author

    Charlotte Christian, Esq. is a family and divorce lawyer and founder of Charlotte Christian Law. Born and raised in the Yellowhammer State she still calls home, Charlotte is committed to helping those who experienced loss overcome their hardships and build a new life, stronger and more resilient than they were before. No stranger to trauma herself, including enduring the sudden losses of her father while a young child and husband after 10 years of marriage, Charlotte knows what it means practically and legally to put the pieces in place to create a future filled with security, hope, and opportunity, and find happiness once again. An avid sports fan, you can find Charlotte supporting SEC Athletics.