Why Is Divorce So Painful?

A wedding often represents a celebration of love and represents the beginning of a new page in life. This is a page full of anticipations of happiness, fulfilment, purpose, and sharing of life’s joys with your significant other. But sometimes these hopes and dreams are demolished and turn into big disappointments, making divorce so painful to bear.

Very rarely do people picture a divorce while getting married. But this is the harsh reality – things might never turn out as once envisioned. Unfortunately, one in every two American marriages will end up in divorce. And this ratio even gets worse for subsequent marriages.

Any way you slice it, divorce is tough and hard. It’s usually a tough process to go through, and emotional tremors can still be felt weeks, months, and even years after the initial divorce quake hits.

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Going through a divorce can hurt so deeply that sometimes you may feel as though you’re being stretched beyond your limits – emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. And even though both of you decided to part ways peacefully, divorce can sow all sorts of pain, which might take a long time to heal.

Clean and dirty pain

After going through a loss such as divorce (or any other loss such as death, separation, etc.), the natural byproducts are grief, physical pain, sorrow – which are commonly called “clean pain.” But the more onerous “dirty pain” is the type of pain we exert on ourselves as we process this pain. This might come from our internal dialogues and sometimes can include self-reproach, blame, feelings of unworthiness, and views of being judged by others. Staggeringly, it is this dirty pain that keeps us trapped even longer.

While divorce will cause some level of pain, it’s important to note that mental anguish is relative, and each divorce is unique. Here are some of the reasons why divorce is so painful, even though you’re the one who pushed for it.

One of the ways to reduce exhaustion and stress during a divorce process is actually finding a divorce lawyer near me who could offer professional advice. You will avoid unnecessary exhaustion once you know there’s someone else who thinks rationally on your behalf.

Suffering from a huge loss

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Divorce means the one you once loved is gone – and perhaps you still love them. The kind of pain felt following divorce is similar to what we experience when we lose someone to death. This reality brings forth anger and you might be angry at just about anyone. You might even withdraw from friends and family in an attempt to protect yourself from any future hurt.

A divorce puts your life on a complete 180-degree turn. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by memories, in a new place, without the joys of marriage.

At this point, you need an honest self-reflection and, in some cases, a therapist to help you process such a grievous loss.

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You feel like a failure

A broken marriage has a way of reminding people that they lost. Suddenly, you start feeling like you were not able to keep your marriage or work hard enough to keep it intact.

Most people begin to isolate themselves at this stage out of fear of being ridiculed or questioned. Others just stay away from people because they can’t wrap their minds around the thoughts of a future relationship.

Your family is fractured

Many parents today cling to the perfect family illusion – and when their families break, they are forced to see that they were never really perfect. A significant amount of time goes into raising the kids and keeping the family intact. But when divorce happens, people deal with the emotional fallout. And even though some try to devote time and energy towards their kids post-divorce, you’ll always feel like they’re missing out on something and you will continue to drown in guilt.

You have unrealized dreams

Every marriage lives in the present and future tense. Couples often lay down goals that give them some sort of direction. But suddenly, divorce revokes all these dreams that you two shared, leaving you all confused and forcing you to start building a brand new life that doesn’t carry your ex. This is the reason why newly divorced people find it difficult to move forward because they are stuck and caught up in their past as they continually replay in their minds what might have gone wrong.

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You feel ashamed

Experiencing feelings of failure is normal after a divorce. They are part of the process and are the casualties of personal accountability – the role we played in the ending of the marriage. This admission to failure can leave a person with a huge amount of guilt. Even though divorce is common nowadays, there’s still a level of shame and embarrassment people feel because they feel “less capable” since they weren’t able to save their marriage. Facing your family members, friends, colleagues, or church mates can be extremely daunting as it brings forth your perceived shortcomings – especially if you perpetually beat yourself up over the issue.

Helpful tips

Experience your emotions so you can release them

Managing your emotions is different than controlling your emotions. When you manage your emotions, you allow yourself to experience them, but you contain them. For instance, you might tear up at work but you shouldn’t push them down and pretend to be okay. Allow them to flow and then wait to get home so that you can cry as loud as you want.

People who feel uncomfortable experiencing such negative emotions try to control these emotions and try to make them go away. Unluckily, these negative emotions never go away until they are expressed and acknowledged. Controlling and stuffing up emotions actually lengthens the grief process.

Talk to someone and share your feelings

Humans are social beings and asking for help is okay. Sometimes all we need is someone to talk to and share what we feel. Friends and family can be a great pillar to start with or even a support group that has people who have similar issues. Don’t allow your feelings to eat you inside as this can significantly damage you.    

Divorce can be so painful and tough. But the extent to which it can affect you totally depends on you. We must cultivate a willingness to heal from loss so that we can finally behold the happiness that waits.

Also, take a look at these steps to thriving after divorce.

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