The 5 Stages of Grief: Divorce Edition

It's odd to think that divorce can feel like a death In your life, but it's a natural emotional reaction. You are essentially losing a massive part of your life regardless of who chose the divorce. If you're going through a divorce, it's essential to take time to go through the grieving process and acknowledge each step to heal from the pain you are experiencing. Follow along as we go through the five stages of grief: Divorce Edition.


In a divorce, you can experience denial in two ways. First, as the initiator, you may deny that you may have hurt your spouse by asking for a divorce. You may tell yourself that they should have known or they are fine, and for the most part, you may be right. It's important to acknowledge that divorce is difficult to process, especially if your ex-spouse did not see it coming and can be hurt. Like anything, it will take time for them to heal.

Secondly, you can experience denial as the recipient of a divorce request. You may find yourself avoiding the topic or denying that it's happening. For many individuals, denying divorce may give them hope of reconciliation. Unfortunately, doing this does not change the reality of the divorce. It just prolongs this stage of the grieving process.


Again, there are two sides to bargaining in the divorce grieving process. The initiator may try to bargain with their ex-spouse to lessen the guilt of the divorce request. This can come in the form of a divorce agreement. You may find yourself requesting for your spouse to keep assets you shared during the marriage.

Alternatively, as the recipient, you may start to bargain with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to keep the marriage alive by questioning what you can do to change. You may also find yourself trying to rekindle what's left of the romantic relationship, like doing things that you know your spouse always wanted. Trying to change the reality of divorce is not easy and, often, not possible. It is essential to stop and think about why you're trying to save your marriage and if making changes to keep the marriage alive will make you happy. It's important to ask yourself, "If you didn't take the initiative to keep the marriage alive during the marriage, why do you feel like it's important now?"


This part of the grieving process can be gut-wrenching and explosive. As the recipient of the divorce request, you may find yourself angry with not only your ex-spouse but with the world around you. You may feel like the whole world is falling apart, and the anger can transform into an isolating depression. It's imperative to find support at this stage of grief and not fall into a disruptive pattern that can hurt you emotionally and physically. If this means going out for an aggressively fast run to calm emotions, it's safe to do so. Finding safe alternatives to cope with anger can help you immensely as you go through your divorce. It may even make you feel a bit healthier.

As the initiator, anger can strike at any moment, especially if you thought you were doing everything right. It can come as a surprise that your ex-spouse might request your kids' full custody or assets that you are not looking to divide. This is where a divorce can become toxic, particularly if your ex was not the best parent and is looking to hurt you. It's eminent to keep a cool head and rely on your attorney for guidance. Your attorney can give you an idea of what could be your expected outcome.


Now that you've gone through the anger stage, it's essential to evaluate how the divorce came to be. As the initiator, ask yourself why you felt divorce was the right thing to do. Was it to help take you out of a toxic marriage, or did you fall out of love?

As the recipient, you should take a moment to acknowledge why you felt the marriage fell apart. Remember, this is your reason, and it's completely okay to be at fault or not see a reason for the divorce. We can't change why divorce happens, but we are in control of our own emotions.


For both parties, the acceptance stage is a clear indicator that the marriage is over. You may have completed the divorce process or are in the final stages. You see a new life for yourself and feel optimistic about the future.

For more divorce tips, read our blogs.

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