Dealing With Separation and Divorce Issues: Do You Need Therapy?

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Divorce is a dilemma that many of us will face in our adult lives. It could happen in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or the golden years. We realize that our tastes have changed over time, and we’ve become more attached to daily routines. Sometimes, we travel and try new things, but we also appreciate the comforts of home. Many of us are well-established in careers. Or, perhaps starting a second one, because the kids are older or out of the house. This is when we must go through the painful process of separation and divorce, which might crop up out of nowhere. However, when we look closely, our marital issues have been lurking for years. The difference is that suddenly one or both of us seeks resolutions for the marital tensions that threaten to consume us. Therapy may be beneficial here.

There are many divorce issues to address, but some are part of the emotional divorce. This is the emotional separation from the spouse and all feelings that go along with it. For example, divorcing couples must start viewing themselves as individuals, not partners.

Therapy? Where to Begin

Many couples aren’t sure how to handle the emotional issues inherent in separation and divorce. They might agree on the economic divorce issues and the domestic details, including setting up different households and shifting parental duties. Some adults use therapy to navigate the separation and divorce process, especially for regular emotional support. They use therapy to understand their issues as an individual; they might choose to invite the ex-spouse to discuss some matters, especially for the well-being of their children.

Finding Who You Are Now

We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” This gets to the heart of the matter in any relationship. You’ve changed. What’s more, the things you once loved about your partner could be gone. He or she may have changed into someone whom you dislike or cannot understand. To cope with the emotional issues of separation and divorce, you must discover who you are now and what your emotional needs are. You must love the current version of yourself and set new goals for the future. These goals will include what being a divorced adult looks like. Your feelings may be hard to analyze at first, especially if you feel hurt, angry, defensive, or less-than-enthusiastic about ending the marriage. You’re going to have to find your own ways to survive now and to redefine your daily life.

Why You Might Need Help Beyond Legal Representation

Separating and divorcing couples should examine why adults seek therapy. An interesting read from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health included this insight:

“Relationship distress can result in higher levels of psychological and physical health concerns in both partners, in addition to health and social role impairments among children, other family members, co-workers and friends.”

It’s important to understand every relationship has the potential to help you and to hurt you. Marriage or relationship distress can damage your relationships with others, which is alluded to here as social role impairments. If you’re going to end your marriage, you must set new emotional boundaries for yourself. You must transition into a single person, which means living alone and being more independent, even in terms of completing household tasks and personal budgeting. Meanwhile, the new relationship with your ex-spouse should not be permitted to destroy your health or to cause unnecessary stress on shared children. You may have children together and/or children from past relationships. All children will be impacted by your decision to separate and divorce.

Making Time for Yourself

When you separate and divorce, you have a choice between hiring separate attorneys and hiring one attorney to write the terms for an amicable divorce (in which you and your spouse agree on most issues). During the process, expect to feel less anxious as you complete the transition towards single life. Be sure to schedule time away for yourself. For some adults with high-stress jobs, for example, this could mean taking a therapeutic extended vacation or sabbatical. For others, it could be taking long weekends to travel or to explore new interests. Everyone needs down-time to explore what bothers us and to cope with relationship problems. If we let emotional issues associated with separation and divorce fester, they can make us sick over time.

For more details on resolving divorces, please contact us today.

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