The process of becoming dissatisfied in the marriage; working towards a decision to separate; and evolving through the process of divorce has both a psychological and an emotional basis. Studies have shown that there are certain stages to a psychological process of divorce which include:
- Disappointment and dissatisfaction within the marriage.
- Erosion, with avoidance of the relationship and sometimes affairs.
- Detachment, which includes such emotions as anger, antipathy, ambivalence and anticipation.
- Physical separation, with accompanying feelings of shock, emotional ups and downs, and uncertainty.
- Mourning with associated sensations of grief, helplessness, relief and anger.
- Second adolescence, sometimes accompanied by an identity crisis or overreaction.
- Exploration and hard work-including goal setting towards the new future and developing relationships with significant other persons.
At each of these stages, therapy and counseling can be a tremendous aid in sharing and understanding the emotions involved. Mediation is a process which can also help a couple work through these issues together.
While the physiological stages have been identified by experts in the field, what is also clear is that the two spouses do not share the same emotions at the same time. In most cases, there is an “initiator,” a party who begins the process of separation and divorce. Typically, in the years before the actual separation one spouse becomes aware of problems, begins to be discontent, identifies the relationship as a troubled one, begins to feels loss and guilt, and may begin to make plans for separation. At that same time, the non-initiator denies the problems in the marriage; may sense withdrawal of his/her partner; and may attempt to control and hold onto the relationship, often reacting with anger, blame and fear.
After separation, the initiator is more comfortable in going public about the separation and has probably moved past the stage of feeling grief. He may begin to develop autonomy in a new circle of friends. The non-initiator much more slowly begins to acknowledge the reality of the separation and suffers a profound sense of grief, loss and helplessness.
Overtime, the initiator more rapidly moves to create a new life, new friends and a new residence. However, ultimately, after a period of time (often two or more years) the non-initiator accepts the reality of the situation as well and develops a vision for the future and sets his own goals.
Fortunately, most often, after and during the process, both parties can accept responsibility for their own role in the demise of the marriage, and become prepared to explore new challenges and opportunities and develop realistic goals for their future.
Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult situations an individual can experience. The experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones, & Miles have the compassion and understanding to help you through this challenging time. Our Towson divorce lawyers offer mediation services, as well as trial litigation services as means to resolve all types of family law issues. Our offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Maryland and we serve residents of Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the communities of Towson, Columbia, Bel-Air, Elliott City, Westminster and Essex. Call 443-589-0150 for a confidential consultation or contact us online.