The Emotional Divorce

A legal divorce ends a marriage in the eyes of the law. Family law attorneys and mediators help divorcing couples to get through the system, but anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the division of finances, assets and belongings only represents a small portion of what it means to get divorced. There is an emotional divorce that needs to take place, which often gets neglected during the divorce process.

Separating belongings, living in separate homes, and not having daily contact are all ways to physically divorce. The emotional divorce is not concrete or tangible; it requires a lot more patience, compassion and understanding. The emotional divorce is a delicate matter that needs special attention and care, and requires professional help.

When the legal and emotional divorce is tended to in tandem, legal costs diminish and resolution is expedited. Avoiding either the legal or emotional divorce can lead to unforeseen stress, expenses and loss of income.

Here are some tips on how to work toward becoming emotionally divorced:

The Ongoing Relationship With Your Ex
Most divorcing couples need to interact on some level post divorce making the emotional divorce challenging. Sharing children, a vacation home, or pets are just a few of the reasons you might have to be in contact with your Ex. When feelings of resentment, regret, jealousy and even desire are still present for one or both partners the emotional divorce is not complete. Setting clear boundaries with your Ex, keeping contact brief and direct and keeping the relationship focused on “business only” will help you begin to separate.

Alone Time
One of the hardest parts of separation and divorce is the newness of being alone. You may feel the need to stay emotionally connected to your Ex to avoid being alone, even though you know it’s better for you to disconnect. Pushing yourself to do things by yourself will build your confidence and self esteem, making it easier to move forward and away from your old relationship.

Take Control
In your marriage you may have depended on your partner for many things. Cooking meals, hanging photos or handling the bills. While these are practical aspects of any relationship, they do have emotional charge in them. Beginning to do these things for yourself will encourage you to reduce dependency and to become more self-sufficient.

Seeing Your Ex With Someone New
Regardless of the circumstances of a divorce, seeing your Ex with someone else can invoke feelings that you wouldn’t have expected, or that you thought were long gone. Dating and being in a new relationship represents moving on, and while you may legitimately want your Ex to be happy, facing the reality head on may be harder than you anticipated.

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