Divorce is a blow to our self-identity and confidence. The feelings we encounter during a divorce can range from anger, sadness, and depression to relief. The decision to divorce a spouse is either made due to an unhappy marriage, realizing one or both partners are no longer in love, an affair, or mutual agreement. There are many reasons why divorce occurs, but regardless of the decision, it still hurts.
Marriage and divorce rates fluctuate over the years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keeps a detailed account of marriage and divorce rates by state, age, ethnicity, etc. The overall results for 2018 are:
- Number of marriages: 2,132,853
- Marriage rate: 6.5 per 1,000 total population
- Number of divorces: 782,038 (45 reporting States and D.C.)
- Divorce rate: 2.9 per 1,000 population (45 reporting States and D.C.)
Divorce involves many factors, and it’s difficult, to sum up how to cope with divorce by using lists and tips. We asked two women about their divorces.
Celeste is a sports mom in her 40s. She works, spends time with her friends, participates in school and sports events. Celeste talks about her marriage and divorce.
“I thought everything was okay. We went on vacations, spent time together, we were involved with the kids’ school and sports; I even belonged to the Booster Club. We worked our schedules to allow us time to get out without the kids.
I noticed he was preoccupied and was spending time at work, but he was always there for the kids’ events. He was active, happy, and present, you know? The kids knew he was there for them.
Our personal life wasn’t sizzling, but with everything we did and our commitment to our kids, I didn’t think about sizzle. Who does? We’re in our 40s, trying to pay the bills, be everywhere, work, and everything. We had our date nights, and I thought we were close. We stopped having sex because we were tired, or so I thought.
He came to me and, out of the blue, asked me for a divorce. There was another woman—what a liar. He was good at hiding the affair. After the kids came, it was my job to take care of them. I thought I made time for us.
When your world comes crashing down, the emotions range from anger and sadness to hurt and despair. My husband announced he would stay in the house until we sell it. He told me he couldn’t afford to move out because he was still paying the mortgage. We talked about co-parenting. He didn’t want to co-parent or have partial custody.
The kids didn’t understand why he no longer wanted to raise them or speak with them.
I realized then that I was becoming a single parent. My focus needed to be on the kids and making sure we would be financially and emotionally secure. I worked with my kids to fix up the house and yard so we could put it on the market. Now the kids and I take day trips. I want them to feel loved.
There is a realization when your life turns upside down. You realize you need to look inside yourself and work on your emotional well-being. The thoughts of self-doubt were flooding my waking moments. Was it my fault? Did I lose my appeal to him? I know I gained weight, but so did he. He lost all of his hair; I didn’t cheat on him.
My journey to peace includes an exercise program; I lost 15 lbs already. The most important part of my journey began in therapy. I sat and talked to someone who listened. I don’t know why I didn’t start therapy years ago. Do you know how nice it is to speak to someone? My kids are starting therapy. They need to talk about their feelings. Maybe someday their Dad will join them, but I want them to speak to someone right now.
We are considering home sessions. Maybe having someone in our home, seeing the dynamics we experience will help. All I know is therapy helps. I no longer doubt or blame myself for the choices he made.”
“My ex and I weren’t angels. We loved each other, but not enough. We were in love at one point, but now we’re more like a brother and sister. Does that make sense? I thought I was finally making the right choices when it came to men. I used to love ‘bad boys.’ My ex, he is a good guy. I don’t want anyone to think any less of him; we agreed to be friends throughout this divorce.
I had an affair. I met the guy when I missed my bus and had to wait for the next one. There was a bar near the stop so I went in for a drink. A guy near me complimented me. I looked at him, and we began to talk. The affair lasted a little over a year. I told my husband the truth. He couldn’t say anything since he had several relationships during our marriage.
For example, two days before we got married, a woman called to say wanted him to call off the wedding. She told me they were together for over a year, but he wouldn’t call off the wedding. I asked him about it, and he admitted he was sleeping with her. He’s a good guy, though. He never hit me like my ex-boyfriends.
My decision to begin therapy helped me work through my self-esteem issues. The act of talking to someone opened my eyes. Individual and group therapy is a place of comfort.”
Divorce is difficult. Whether the divorce is mutually agreed on or one-sided, the result is learning to accept your new life. As you go through a divorce, there will be open wounds, self-doubt, anger, hurt, and depression. Seeking help is part of healing. Talking with a therapist isn’t selfish; it’s positive. Healing begins with learning how to cope with feelings like depression, betrayal, anger, and relief. Every emotion felt during the divorce process is valid. You deserve to have a place to process your thoughts and feelings without worrying. Therapy also gives you the chance to learn more about you. At Achieve Concierge, we offer treatment for those going through a divorce. We can come to your home and help you evaluate the dynamics within your environment, or you can come to our offices. If you have any questions, call us at (619) 393-5871.