Dealing With Grief

5 Strategies To Help You Deal With A Divorce Grief Relapse

Beautiful mature woman wondering why she had a divorce grief relapse.

Feeling grief long after you’ve healed from your divorce is pretty common.

For the first couple of years of my marriage, my husband noticed that I would get grumpy around Thanksgiving – despite having wonderful plans for the holiday. He finally brought it to my attention. And after some careful thought, I realized I was grumpy because I had married my first husband around Thanksgiving. I had been having a divorce grief relapse each Thanksgiving!

Divorce grief relapses are fairly common. They don’t necessarily mean that you’re not over your divorce. They just signal there’s still a little more accepting you can do to fully heal.

Acceptance is the final stage of grief. The others include denial, pain and fear, bargaining, guilt, and depression. To reach acceptance you experience most if not all these stages – sometimes multiple times.

And the thing about divorce is there is a multitude of things to grieve. Some of these things are obvious and some are less so.

It’s when you get through the known, obvious bits of grief that you’ll typically feel you’re over your divorce. Which is why it can feel so disconcerting to have a divorce grief relapse.

Instead of immediately beginning to worry that maybe you’re…

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10 Ways Dealing With Grief After Divorce Is Different From Grief Over Death

Bearded man looking off in the distance and dealing with grief after divorce.

There’s the end and then there’s finality.

Divorce is often compared to death in terms of the experience of loss and grief. But despite their similarities, dealing with grief after divorce is different from grief over death.

When you’re suffering from any kind of pain or loss, the last thing you want is a comparison of your pain to others. “At least you still have (this),” “At least you didn’t lose (that),” “It could have been so much worse.”

Making comparisons, even with the best intentions, can minimize the sufferer’s feelings and reality. It can also lead the one making the comparisons to mete out compassion relative to the judgment made.

When comparing the ways that dealing with grief after divorce is different from grief after death, no such judgment is intended. Those who have experienced both divorce and the death of a spouse can best attest to the entanglement of their similarities and differences.

Some of the obvious ways that dealing with grief after divorce and dealing with grief after death of a spouse are similar include:

  • There is the painful loss of a spouse, and often the loss of self-identity as a partner.
  • Both divorce and death mark an end to your hopes,…

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7 Helpful Things To Do When Dealing With Grief After Divorce

Sad man thinking about things to do when dealing with grief so he can feel better.

Despite how overwhelming your grief is now, you can make your way through it and feel better again.

Dealing with the difficult process of grieving a failed marriage is one of the most traumatic life experiences you’ll ever undertake. Your grieving will begin long before you ever get to the divorce decree and will probably last well beyond it too.

Yet the difficult process doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do when dealing with grief before, during and after divorce.

You don’t have to remain mired in your misery over the end of your marriage and the life you knew. There are things you can do to help you heal and move through your heartache, so you can feel better.

In fact, here are seven things to do when dealing with grief to help you heal:  

  1. Research the stages of grief

    Learning about the different stages of grief will help you heal from divorce because you’ll have an idea of what to expect.

    You won’t necessarily go through all of the stages in the same order as someone else. However, the knowledge you gain by this research will help you know that what you’re experiencing is normal and allow you to focus less on fear and…

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6 Strategies To Help You Overcome Grief After A Bitter Divorce

Woman by window struggling with how to overcome grief after a bitter divorce.

No matter how bad your divorce was, you don’t have to stay stuck & bitter for the rest of your life.

Divorce drags a lot of agony in its wake. And grief is an inescapable part of it. But the work to overcome grief after a bitter divorce can create another level of agony altogether.

Emotions like anger, guilt, shame, embarrassment, disappointment and fear are among the normal line-up after a divorce.

Bitterness, however, is ugly. It oozes out of anger, resentment and indignation over the perception of being treated unfairly. It goes beyond anger to a nastiness and malevolence toward the other person. It can even carry undertones of hatred.

Think about someone you have known who was so full of negative energy that s/he couldn’t focus on anything good. Perhaps that person had such deep, uncontrollable anger that s/he said and did “crazy” things.

Perhaps you even tried to reason with or help the person, but came to realize that there was no getting past the bitterness.

A person that is “pissed off” can’t move on, and remains a prisoner to the past.

If you’re trying to overcome grief after a bitter divorce, you will have to do a lot of work to…

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How To Help Friends Dealing With Grief Over Divorce

Crying woman hoping one of her friends will learn how to help friends dealing with grief.

These 8 suggestions will help you know how to help your friends dealing with grief about divorce.

Many of us struggle to know how to help friends dealing with grief over death. Knowing how to help friends dealing with grief over divorce can be even more challenging. And yet, while the circumstances of the loss may be different, the compassion called for is the same.

Advice on going through the grief process of divorce usually starts with defining the grief process itself. And whether the griever is mourning the loss of a life or the loss of a love, the stages are still basically the same.

Divorce, like death, has effects that ripple outward like a pebble thrown into still water. You expect the disruption to the immediate family, but there is always a broader circle that feels the effects. Those on the outskirts of the divorce experience their own loss and shift in normalcy, and these can affect their responses to those divorcing.

Knowing how to help friends dealing with grief over divorce can be tricky if you let your own feelings or judgments get in the way. It is common to intellectualize a divorcing friend’s emotions, or to try to make the friend happy…

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