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Dr. Lowenstein

Coping with Divorce Grief

It’s a natural, healthy process.

Most people associate grief with death and the loss that comes with it. But there are other kinds of losses that occur in life, and divorce is certainly one of them. Divorce grief can trigger strong emotions that are sometimes greater than those you experience when a loved one passes. The situation is more complicated because you and your ex-spouse are still very much alive. As a result, the grieving process may be longer and emotions could range from guilt to a loss of identity.

No matter the circumstances, grieving is a process. It takes time to navigate the various stages before you reach a level of acceptance that allows you to fully move on with your life. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to get through it in a healthy way–without turning to harmful behaviors or experiencing significant periods of anger and sadness.

  • Talk to someone you trust. If you’re like most people, you will benefit greatly from sharing your thoughts with someone who is willing to listen. It can be extremely helpful to express your feelings to another person–someone who is non-judgmental, trustworthy, and patient. It’s often not until you openly express your feelings that you’re able to move on. If you feel the need, seek the help of a mental health professional.
  • Embrace your new life. Things will undoubtedly be different after your divorce. You may only have your kids with you for certain periods of time. You may have added responsibilities. And there will be some adjustments to your overall routine. As you navigate the changes, be sure to make time for yourself. Try some new hobbies. Travel to a place you’ve never been before. Or simply kick back and enjoy the alone time.  
  • Let go of any anger or blame. When something as major as a divorce occurs, it can be traumatic. You may harbor thoughts of resentment and anger for a long time. You may even be angry with yourself. However, the sooner you can forgive and forget, the better. Your future depends on it. And your kids will benefit greatly from your new frame of mind as well.
  • Avoid jumping into a new relationship too soon. While a new romance may seem like just what you need to get over the last one, that’s almost always not the case. In fact, the chances of a new romance succeeding increase when you first take the time to focus on yourself. Before embarking on a new romance, embrace some of the activities you enjoy but didn’t have time for in your previous relationship.

Remember, it’s normal to grieve a divorce, whether the split was amicable or full of anger. Keep in mind that grieving can be healthy, and it can help you process your emotions and take on a new identity. You will eventually emerge with a strong sense of acceptance and new meaning for the life you want to live.

Image by Ingo Jakubke from Pixabay

Dr. David Lowenstein is a Columbus, Ohio-based psychologist with more than 35 years of experience. He conducts individual, family, and group therapy sessions in his German Village office and also via telehealth. Dr. Lowenstein is also available for expert forensic testimony, and for educational workshops and presentations. He is frequently called upon as an expert source for print, radio, and broadcast media. Contact Dr. Lowenstein at Lowenstein & Associates, 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206, or call 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.