The term, “divorce grief” is a relatively new term, but when we think about it, grief, even the grief of a divorce, is a common feeling. After all, grief follows loss, and the more significant the loss, the larger the feeling of grief. This is at the heart of divorce grief, and this is even true in unhappy marriages that lasted for decades. The end of the marriage is the loss and not, necessarily, the spouse.
Divorce grief is a unique form of grief though, because the marriage is the loss. The ex-spouse is still alive, but the relationship is gone. The person one was in the marriage is gone. That shared-life is gone. But, the person, the ex-spouse is still, very much alive. This can make it seem like divorce grief cannot be healthily handled. That is simply not true. Acceptance, like with any form of grief, is the key.
Understand, this is normal
Keeping track of and dealing with the grief is the first and most important step in acceptance. Talk to a professional or trusted person about these feelings. Some even find journaling helps because naming those emotions can help one cope. Remember, these feelings of grief are normal and should be dealt with, head on.
Take the space that is needed. Pay attention when the stress and anxiety limit is reached, and take a break. Relax. Like any time of grief, this will take time to process.
Meaning and identity
Realize and accept that life is different now. That is okay, but also realize that life still has meaning. Focus on oneself and establishing new hobbies, relationships and just having fun. Find that love of life and joy. The single life means that no one can dictate the day, so seize it.
For our Winston-Salem, North Carolina, readers experiencing divorce grief or worried about it, the key here is that acceptance and time will heal this wound. Just like all grief, at the end, we will survive and be stronger for it.