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The Emotional Toll of a Divorce

The emotional toll of a divorce can often be much more than people anticipated.  Yes, there are those times in which one party sees the dissolution as a ticket to her/his new beginning.  While that may be the case, when you consider the stress and the disruption divorce causes, many people struggle – at least for a while.

Unfortunately, the divorce process involves a level of conflict where money and children are involved.  You’ll find yourself asking how you ever fell in love with that person in the first place. 

How you exit the marriage, when children are involved can determine how manageable the next several years are going to be.  Remember, like it or not, you’re going to have to communicate with your ex-spouse on matters involving schooling, extra-curricular activities, medical issues, holidays and a whole host of other issues.  Even though you’re no longer spouses, you are still parents.

Another issue involved is the breaking of extended family bonds.  If the marriage has been ongoing for a number of years, it’s quite likely that you’ve developed relationships with the extended family of your spouse.  The breakdown of the marriage, more often than not, also brings with it the breakdown of those extended bonds.  The disruption, and potentially the loss of these relationships adds to the emotional toll of a divorce.  After all, these are often the people with whom you spent holidays, vacations and other important life events.

I was interviewed on CNN about this exact issue.

It’s important that you find a healthy outlet for your stress and anger.  Consider joining a gym.  Take up a new hobby to occupy your mind and give you time to simply exhale.  You may consider going back to school as a way to channel that energy.  Whatever it is, focus on something that will help you to meet new people and inspire a sense of self-confidence, self-worth and fulfillment.

The emotional toll of a divorce might feel overwhelming.  Even so, it’s important to realize that what you’re feeling right now is temporary.  Wounds heal.  Feelings change.  New people enter your world.  Take your time in deciding what’s right for you.  Then, most importantly, take those first few, but important, steps in discovering and defining the new you.