- Written by Matthew Miller
Stage one of leaving begins when one or both partners become more detached, less engaged, or connected. This lack of connection may begin years before the legal divorce, but often one partner is already beginning to create emotional distance. Eventually, the situation can become so frustrating that at least one spouse takes action; either by saying the relationship is over, by “acting out” and having affairs.
Psychological Stages During Separation
- Denial: “This is not happening to me. It’s all a misunderstanding. It’s just a midlife crisis. We can work it out.”
- Anger and resentment: “How can he [she] do this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? This is not fair!”
- Bargaining: “If you’ll stay, I’ll change” or “If I agree to do it [money, childrearing, sex, whatever] your way, can we get back together?”
- Depression: “This is really happening, I can’t do anything about it, and I don’t think I can bear it.”
- Acceptance: “Okay, this is how it is, and I’d rather accept it and move on than wallow in the past.”
Understanding these stages can be very helpful when it comes to talking about divorce and decision making. It’s important to know that when you are in the early stages of this grief and recovery process, it can be challenging to think clearly or to make decisions at all, much less to make them well. Identifying your present stage of grief and being aware of it is an important step toward ensuring that you will make the best choices you can.