Deciding Whether to Divorce: Understanding and Managing Your Emotions
The first step when deciding whether to divorce is learning to understand and manage your emotions. Choosing whether to divorce is a deeply personal and complicated decision. It’s natural — and expected — to experience a wide range of emotions during this time of uncertainty and change. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand and manage your emotions to help you navigate your decision-making process with clarity and compassion for yourself.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some practical strategies to help you gain insight into your emotions and find healthy ways to cope. This will set you up to move on to Step 2: How to Make the Decision Whether to Divorce.
Acknowledge Your Feelings Without Judgment
The first step in understanding your emotions is acknowledging and validating them. It’s normal to feel a mix of sadness, anger, fear, confusion, and, yes, even relief. Permit yourself to experience these emotions without judgment. Remember, your feelings are valid and serve as valuable signals of your needs and desires.
Seek Emotional Support
Deciding whether to divorce, and divorce itself, is a challenging journey, and building a solid support network is essential. Please seek out trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide you with a safe space to express your emotions openly. It’s critical to identify people who won’t fan the flames or focus on their own feelings about your relationship specifically or divorce generally. (That’s why trained therapists can be such a valuable resource.) Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone who listens without judgment can bring immense relief and help you gain new perspectives.
Read: 6 Things I’ve Learned About Friendship and Divorce
Take time for self-reflection to better understand the underlying reasons for your emotions. Then, ask yourself questions to help you figure this out, such as:
- What are my core needs and values?
- How has my relationship with my partner impacted my emotional well-being?
Reflecting on these questions can help you gain clarity and make decisions aligned with your authentic self.
Practice Emotional Awareness
Developing emotional awareness is crucial for managing your emotions effectively. Pay attention to the physical sensations and thoughts associated with each emotion. Notice how they show up in your body, such as shoulder tension or a racing heartbeat. Journaling or mindfulness exercises can assist in cultivating emotional awareness and provide a sense of grounding during this tumultuous period.
Prioritize self-care activities that will support your emotional well-being. For example, regular exercise, meditation, journaling, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones can call help you reduce stress and stay positive. Taking care of yourself is essential as you navigate the both the emotional challenges of deciding whether to divorce and divorce itself.
Seek Professional Guidance
Consider seeking the guidance of a mental health professional who specializes in divorce. For example, one type of counseling — called “discernment counseling” — is designed to help couples decide whether divorce is the best option for them. Discernment counseling is different from marriage counseling as the goal isn’t to solve their problems, but to help them decide whether to try to solve these problems. Counselors can also provide coping strategies, help you process complex emotions, and offer advice on navigating the decision-making process. In addition, a qualified therapist can be a valuable ally in helping you make choices that align with your long-term well-being.
Watch: The Difference Between Couples Counseling and Discernment Counseling
Give Yourself Grace, Time, and Space
You don’t need to rush your decision about divorce. Give yourself the time and space you need to fully explore your emotions. Take the necessary time to gather information, consult professionals, and reflect on your feelings. But, just as you should avoid making impulsive choices driven solely by intense emotions in the moment, you also shouldn’t avoid doing the work to make the decision. Prolonging the decision won’t make it easier — or clearer.
Deciding whether to divorce is deeply personal, and you deserve to make it from a place of clarity and empowerment.
Understanding and managing your emotions when deciding to divorce is integral to the process. You can navigate this challenging time with greater clarity and compassion by acknowledging and validating your feelings, seeking support, and engaging in self-reflection. Remember, you have the strength within you to make decisions that will lead you toward a positive and fulfilling future.
Ready to keep learning?
Click here to move on to Stage 2: How to Make the Decision Whether to Divorce. Prefer to speak with us? Set up a time to talk here.