Divorce: When Life Stops

When a wife or husband leaves their spouse, the result usually produces (frequently on the one who is left behind), a devastating wake of unbearable pain.   If you have been left by someone you love, you may feel incredibly alone, unwanted, worthless, as if your heart is lost in an endless desert.

If you need help to stop a divorce, we urge to act immediately and contact a marriage counselor on our site right away. If it is already too late to save your marriage, therapy can help heal wounds and give you tools to make it through this difficult time.

Breaking a marriage is more than just terminating a legal contract, it is the severing of commitments once formed on deep emotional and spiritual bonds.  Divorce is painful.  While the one who is leaving may feel free, the one left behind acutely suffers.

Uncertain Path

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark. -- George Iles

Divorce And Pain

Separation tears and rips hearts and lives apart, especially when their are children involved (and sadly, there usually are).  Even though it is the choice of one or two people, it can act like an impersonal machine, with no regard to anything sacred. To someone caught in its grip, it can feel like there is no way out, and the feelings of helplessness and desperation are overwhelming as life becomes like that of a prisoner chained to a sinking ship.

Effects of Divorce. Leaving A Spouse With Children.

Terminating a committed relationship with children invovled, leads to tremendous emotional turmoil and consequences. In nearly every case where a marriage dissolves, the long term harm put on children when a parent leaves is not truly taken into consideration. According to the United States Census Bureau nearly 40% of married couples will choose to end their relationship in divorce. This of course, does not include couples in common law relationships. And while this may be a conscious choice by at least one person in the marriage, if there are children involved, they simply become innocent bystanders, and the effects on them may last a lifetime.

The fallout of separation can be devastating. While some divorces are mutual, this is not typically the case. Usually there is one person who leaves and one person who wants to save the marriage but helpless to stop the person leaving. The person who is left behind often suffers a great deal more than the individual who leaves since this person may have fought hard to save the marriage, yet ultimately could not. The discarded spouse feels overwhelmingly inadequate, unworthy, and abandoned; sometimes without hope. This person may find that simply living daily life is insurmountable as the will to even get up and live again crashes in beneath a crushing wave of agony. For the one who was left behind, finding help and support from friends, family and counselling is very important. No matter how deep the pain, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

What Each Spouse Feels After Divorce

If you have been left by your spouse and could not save the marriage, unless you find resolution, you may find yourself struggling to be open and vulnerable in new relationships. Insecurity, low self-esteem, and isolation are common long term effects of someone who felt abandoned in a divorce. For the person who left, a different set of feelings, yet equally damaging in the long run, need to be dealt with for there to be life again. The leaving spouse usually has initial feelings of freedom mingled with guilt. He or she usually does not require as much time to get over the loss as the event was already thought out, often long in advance of the actual separation. Sometimes, for the spouse who left, they may have initially spent years trying to save a cold marriage and eventually gave up. For this person, filing for divorce is just a formality because in their heart, the marriage died long ago. For the spouse who left, the pain may not be immediate but can come up years later in the form of deep-seeded guilt and regret, manifesting itself in other relationships. That person may later struggle with low self-worth. If you divorced someone, years later you may wonder about them and feel regret and guilt. They may be remarried and happy again, while you find yourself beneath the weight of a huge burden. Because it was you that initiated the divorce, you have carried a terrible label and do not know how to leg go and find forgiveness and release. And worst of all, are the effects on children, who are always innocent in the divorce of their parents. Children learn how to be husbands and wives from their parents. 

The effects of divorce on children are as unpredictable as they are severe as they may develop a wide range of issues that carry on well into adulthood, and perhaps the rest of their lives. For the sake of children alone, many marriages have been saved...not just to a functional level, but truly saved as both parents learn the importance of putting someone else's needs above their own. When they realize they can do this for their children, they learn that they can do it for each other; the first step in saving a marriage. During the acute phase of divorce, extreme behavioral changes for both adults and children are not uncommon and everyone will exhibit significant emotional and physical symptoms to some degree. While this can be expected and is quite natural, for many, divorce simply overtakes their lives, pushing them into a downward spiral of depression and destructive behavior that if left unchecked, can completely devastate their lives. Counseling for one or all people involved is essential even if you decide to part ways. Ending a relationship does not need to destroy the person you are, rather with the help of a trained counselor, you are able to work through the hurt leaving the sadness behind and resolving any issues that remain.

Separated: Why Divorce Hurts

Separation by its very nature entails losing something important to us. Even if the marriage has emotionally been in ruins for years, many things will drastically change after a physical separation. And change of course, means stress. The level and intensity of this stress however, is completely dependent on how each party in the relationship chooses to deal with the situation. As many of us know, when hurt and angry feelings are involved, we don’t always act in a rational or mature manner. While acting out may feel good at the time, ultimately, it only serves to prolong the hurt and makes things harder for everyone involved.

Typically, separation and/or divorce will affect the family in obvious ways, however many smaller things, that we may have taken for granted in the past, will also change. For instance, we know that after a separation there will be many emotions that revolve around the loss of our spouse, the children will feel the pain of having one parent leave the family home, and we often feel a sense of loss when we have to sell the family home and other jointly owned possessions. Often though, you don’t realize what your partner contributed to the relationship until you are left to contend with everything on your own. Simple things like the household chores, paying the bills, dealing with plumbers, electricians, or doing the grocery shopping can all be new experiences and as such, can add more pressure to an already stressful situation. Often our children are expected to take on these extra duties, adding tension and stress to their lives. Once our soulmate is gone we may also lose or experience tension between members of our extended family. You will have to take on two roles as a parent now, disciplining and nurturing your children in the place of the other parent. Many women find themselves having to enter the workforce again after being stay-at-home moms. Men may find themselves in a situation where visits with their children are limited to an evening here and a weekend there. In some situations, the traditional roles of mother and father or traditional caregiver are reversed creating a further adjustment when adapting to social situations. These areas add tremendous stress to a family in crisis. Your self-esteem and personal identity also undergo major upheaval as you learn what it means to be single in a different time and situation. Any one of these aspects on its own can be distressing, but when compounded in a short period of time, it’s no wonder people find themselves in emotional overload.

A Sign for Help

It’s always a good idea after any type of major loss to talk to someone about your feelings and concerns. In the case of separation and divorce however, there are so many factors that can push a person into crisis that it’s essential to seek outside help as soon as you become overwhelmed. There are several signs of stress to watch for. If you find you are crying often, feeling helpless or depressed with no decrease in symptoms over time, this is a good point to speak to a counselor. Disturbed sleep or drastic changes in your eating habits also indicate a body in stress. Exhaustion, anxiety, bouts of aggression, or consistent irritability are also clues you may need some outside assistance. If you begin drinking more, using drugs, or abusing prescription medications, this is definitely time to speak with a counsellor. Where children are involved, it is important to be observant for acting out behavior, skipping school, or experiencing drastic mood changes. Although many of these emotions are natural reactions to the trauma of separation and divorce, when any one of them starts to define your life and disrupt your daily functioning, it’s time to get help. On average, most adults need two to three years to fully adapt to the changes of separation and divorce. Counseling offers you the coping skills and resolution of issues to get through this tough time in a healthy and positive way so you can begin to enjoy your new life.

How Do I Save My Marriage or Find Life After Divorce?

Where possible, Theravive works with separated couples to resolve the issues and problems in the relationship so the marriage has an opportunity for restoration. However, where reconciliation is not possible, the counselor works with the individual who is adjusting to life on their own. Values-based counselling provides a supportive environment when the client can work through the emotions and stages that accompany the ending of a marriage.

Counselling also provides an opportunity to resolve issues that linger from the marriage. Feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, and loss are all aspects of moving from an identity of “wife”, “husband”, or “married” to that of being single without the previous role to fulfill. Additionally, the loss of the marriage means changes to how the future is envisioned. Previous plans and dreams that were established for the relationship are revised and adjusted in the same way the individual’s identity takes on a new shape and focus. Counseling provides support and direction for these adjustment, helping individuals realize their emotions are a natural and expected part of the rebuilding process for their life and future plans.

Where children are involved, your counselor assists in developing a co-parenting plan to ease the adjustment of separation or divorce on the children. It is Theravive’s goal and focus to help individual’s and couples resolve and reconcile their relationship. This may result in a renewed marriage or help individuals to move forward without carrying baggage from the relationship. Ultimately, your counsellor is there to support and encourage you through this difficult and challenging time offering an opportunity to find hope for the future.

If you need a therapist to help you, we have a large selection of online therapists who are professional and licensed counselors, able to help you right where you are over the phone, via email, or webcam/messenger. If you prefer face to face counseling, please use our therapist directory and find a city close to you with a therapist who can meet your needs.


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