The 6 Stages of Emotion in Divorce

16 March 2021

Anyone that has been through divorce can attest to how painful the process is. There are grief and pain involved with the dissolution of a marriage. Even when the legal process has wrapped up, that divorce lingers on.

People spend years wondering where things went wrong with their marriage, what could have been done differently, etc. It can dominate someone’s way of life from top to bottom. Understanding the different stages of emotion in a divorce and the reasons you may find yourself troubled throughout is important.

Before we get into the stages, it is important to know why you may feel as troubled as you do in the wake of divorce. That understanding may not make the process any easier, but it will at least provide some measure of clarity.

It also doesn’t hurt to discuss things with a divorce expert. After all, who better to help guide you through the process than someone who has been there?

Reasons Why You May Feel Troubled Going Through in Divorce

While it may seem self-explanatory, there are specific reasons why you may feel troubled going through divorce. The process is different for all of us, but these have proven to be almost universally true.

For one, there used to be a lot of love between you and your ex. Hell, love may even still be palpable during the process of filing for divorce. Letting go of someone you spent so much time in, invested so much of yourself in, can be particularly difficult.

At the same time, after spending years together, there is no doubt a special bond still there. Even with the anger, the fighting, or anything else that led to the marriage’s dissolution, that bond still exists. For better or worse, it may always be there.

The two of you shared a lot throughout the years. Ending it all with divorce will rarely be a pleasant thing. Now, all of the emotional and physical intimacy is gone for good (even if it was gone months before the divorce). Thinking about all of that is sure to fill anyone with negative thoughts. 

Perhaps the biggest reason is that there will be changes to your daily routine and lifestyle. Some of these changes will be completely foreign to you. When you lived together, your life, your dreams, your ambitions were all planned together.

With them no longer in the picture, the changes can seem drastic. That is because they are. And they are going to be both stressful and difficult to deal with. It is how anyone going through the process of divorce would feel about the entire endeavour.

The 6 Stages of Emotion in Divorce

Keep in mind that we are all different. It is entirely possible that you may experience these emotions in an order all your own. Still, these are all very much normal to experience. You are not the first to go through this process and you will not be the last.


DenialThe acceptance of a divorce can be difficult, primarily when you are right in the middle of doing so. It is easy to blame yourself in this instance, citing an inability to solve your own marriage troubles. Even though it takes two to tango, the guilt and blame may seem one-sided.

This process can send you into a tailspin, flooded and overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions that keep you from being able to accept the truth. You might even harbour the thought that there is something to be done to reconcile the marriage and make things okay again.


ShockPeople going through a divorce generally act in ways that are not normal for them. The shock of getting a divorce can and will create a tornado of emotions in your head, some of which will cause panic. It tends to be more pronounced when you realize how much time has been invested in both the marriage and your family.

The shock of it all can leave you feeling numb to it all. That too will subside, but it can feel overwhelming initially. Just remember that thousands have come out of the process with new lives, and you can, too.

Contrasting Emotions

EmotionsThis is arguably the toughest point in the process. Emotions can run high in the wake of a major life event like divorce, and you will be no different. There is a chance that you may feel nothing other than despair.

You might spend all of your time trying to make sense of all that has led to this event. You might even find yourself doing nothing but thinking about what a failure your marriage and life have turned out to be. Navigating this emotional typhoon can be too difficult to manage on your own. Don’t be afraid to turn to someone for help..



BargainingEven in the most bitter of divorces, there will be at least a moment where one side is hopeful for a reconciliation. In some cases, there may be a willingness to not only “make things work”, but to change yourself entirely.

This can mean turning to serious, drastic measures in order to get your ex to change their mind. The important thing to remember is that you can’t control the feelings of others. The bargaining may be the worst stage in that it delays the inevitable and keeps you from the harsh realities of the divorce to come.


Letting Go

Letting goThis is where the healing truly begins. Hard as it may be, you will come to a realization. That realization is that nothing you do or say will bring the marriage back. You will stop blaming your ex and begin understanding your faults.

Most importantly, you will start understanding how you contributed to the downfall of the marriage. In the best of cases, you may start to feel a sense of freedom. Moreover, you may even develop an improved outlook for the future. This is the part where you can finally begin moving forward with your life after divorce.



The end of the emotional road. You start to have fewer and fewer negative emotions about the entire process. For some, this step may not come until years after the divorce. Each person takes their own amount of time.

Most importantly, you finally begin to feel like you can lead a life of satisfaction and happiness. This stage will generally come with an extended period of growth. You will finally begin to understand that there is life after divorce and that you have things ahead of you to be excited about. You'll start dating again. The chances are good that you will find someone else who is more compatible and a better fit for a life partner.

Fairway Divorce

If you have any questions about the process of divorce or simply looking to do things differently, contact Fairway Divorce today. Fairway focuses on a unique brand of divorce mediation that prioritizes protecting assets for both sides. Most importantly, Fairway aims to make the divorce process a better one. No more lengthy legal battles, no more mud-slinging. Simply achieving optimal results for both parties.