Normalizing Divorce-Related Emotions

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If you are considering a divorce, if you are in the midst of a divorce, or if you are post-divorce, you need a team of experts around you that know that know what they’re doing and that are ready to serve you as your trusted counselors in figuring out how to move forward.


We recently sat down with Wendy Dickinson of GROW Counseling ( to discuss normalizing common emotions that individuals experience during the divorce process.


“People are going to feel angry, they’re going to feel betrayed, and they’re going to feel hurt. There’s a sense of loss, even if it’s the right decision it’s still hard,” Dickinson says.


But she also stressed how experiencing these complex and difficult emotions is completely normal—in fact, most people going through a divorce or similar situation will cycle through stages of these as they move through the separation, divorce, and healing process.


What’s important to note though, Dickinson says, is that“we want to help people acknowledge the emotion but not get bogged down in it.” It’s critical that the individual to be able to acknowledge and experience the emotions so that they can then move through it, and come out on the other side, ready emotionally for whatever the next season of their life holds.

We also have a video on this topic.

Save My Marriage

DIVORCE 911 consulted with Jennifer Keaton of 2 Step Divorces for this blog.

We also have a video covering this topic.

Do you want to save your marriage? Go to a divorce class ! This sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? It sounds like putting the cart before the horse. However, the meat and potatoes of this are that you have to know what the other side looks like. If you’re trying to save your marriage you also need to know what it looks like if you don’t save your marriage! Most of the time, couples that are enrolled in divorce crash courses or marriage counseling have a perception of what divorce will look like that is completely different from reality.

If there is divorce ambivalence at play, you must have good information to understand that if this marriage doesn’t work… what’s the alternative ? It drives a better, more honest, more realistic conversation in those very, very intense marriage counseling sessions. Seeking out help and information through a seminar run by DIVORCE 911 or a similar group is a way to make that marriage counseling much more meaningful. Soo… before you call it quits- definitely take a divorce class. It helps drive a true, very honest conversation about what we, as a couple, are doing here and what happens if we don’t work it out. This education allows for all sides of the equation to become known. It comes down to you don’t know, what you don’t know. Hopefully DIVORCE 911 can provide what is needed to save your marriage. Please contact us today with your questions, thoughts or comments !

Identify the Problems to Find the Solutions

DIVORCE 911 Consulted with Wendy Dickinson of Grow Counseling for this blog.

We also have a video covering this topic.

You have to identify the problems to find the solutions.  Your first prerogative is to determine if the problem is under your control or outside of your control. If something is under your control then you would use what we call “problem-focused coping”. An example of this would be finding someone to help you find a place to live, you would hire a great realtor, then you would find a moving company, etc… With these situations, there are “problems/tasks” that you can solve thru your own actions.  DIVORCE 911 is great for this. They find people to partner with you so that you can find your solutions.

However, if you identify the problem as being outside of your control, the best solution is to manage your emotions around the problem.  This is best because you can’t actually take action on the problem.  This would be more of a counseling situation where we would talk about grieving the loss of something, work on surrendering a certain set of expectations or acknowledging the feelings of sadness, and being able to shift your emotions around a situation.

Trying to use emotion-focused coping on something that you can control is fruitless because you can actually do something about it.  The same goes for vice versa, trying to use problem-focused solutions for something you can’t control is going to feel helpless and overwhelming.  You’ll just end up very frustrated. It’s important to figure out which type of problem it is. Is it something you can control or is it something that is outside of your control? This allows you to then pick the best solution.

There is a lot to consider in terms of emotions that we have to move through… We can’t go around them.  Part of the solution process is being very intentional and not allowing yourself to get bogged down in the emotions. You’re going to feel angry, hurt, betrayed, etc… We’re human.  What you don’t want is for that to become your identity.  In order to move through it, you do still have to experience it.  This allows you to surrender it and fully live.


This information is deemed to be accurate. Reader / User is required to perform their own due diligence with the appropriate professionals. DIVORCE 911 is not a law firm, financial institution or advisor, registered mental health resource, does not practice law, and does not offer legal, financial, or therapeutic advice.

Are you Headed towards a Gray Divorce? 

A great post from Peter Bourke:
I found an excerpt from a 2012 entry on the Psychology Today website that seemed so common to today’s reality:
Barbara and Jack got married twenty-four years ago. Barbara is fifty-one and Jack is fifty-two. Their oldest daughter is in college and their younger daughter, a high school senior, is soon going off to college as well. Over the years Barbara and Jack have drifted apart, avoiding each other in an attempt to keep the bickering to a minimum. Barbara’s numerous attempts for more emotional closeness have failed. In her frustration, she has turned to her sister and women friends to meet her needs for closeness. Jack has grown bitter due to Barbara’s repeated rejections of his sexual overtures. He diverts his pent-up energy into sports: basketball, mountain climbing, and long distance running. Despite their parallel lives, the tension in their home is high.
When Barbara contemplates her future, she can’t imagine spending the next twenty-five or thirty years feeling this unhappy. After many months of careful deliberation, she concluded that she will be better off alone than in the anger, resentment, or boredom that she is currently experiencing, and she decided to announce her plan to separate and divorce to Jack and both daughters on their spring break from school. Shortly thereafter, Jack and Barbara put their house on the market and six weeks later, they moved into separate households.
“Gray divorce” is the term used to refer to those who divorce after age fifty.  According to an article in the Washington Post last year, the divorce rate for this group had doubled since 1990 and today one out of every four people experiencing divorce in the US today is over 50 – nearly epidemic proportions. And it’s the women who are initiating most of these breakups.  In a paradoxical way, the retirement years have become as critical for marriage stability as the first years of marriage has traditionally been viewed.
While I didn’t refer to the notion of Gray Divorce, I did write a brief perspective on the empty nest stage of a marriage in my recently published book, Men: Your Marriage Matters to God ( ) and Kindle version .  Here is the excerpt:
Empty nest stage
This phase of your married life can sneak up on even the most discerning couple. You’ll go through the first 25+ years of marriage full-steam-ahead focused on advancing your career, raising the kids, and ‘living the dream.’ You’ll then wake up at some point and realize that you and your wife are about to have a lot of alone time together and you’ll be faced with the reality that you need to figure out what to do with the rest of your lives – individually and together.
What do you share in common? How have you grown together or apart over the years?  How do you stay connected?  Do you really know how your wife feels about the years you’ve been together thus far?  Are there scars (or shrapnel) either of you have from the past that have not healed or, worse yet, have never been addressed?  You’ll want to know the answers to these questions as you transition to the post-kid phase of your marriage.
Here are a few key success factors that we’ve found helpful for empty-nesters:
  • Find common interests that you both share. These may involve travel, sports, books, cultural activities, or even volunteer/ministry opportunities. The more interests you share, the more joy you’ll likely find in being together.
  • Set goals – together and as individuals. These goals can be related to your family, finances, giving, work, and your personal growth. A business can’t survive without goals, why wouldn’t a couple benefit from the same? Without some direction, married life can feel like an aimless journey.
  • Don’t “retire.” The word “retire” has always struck me as somewhat defeatist. Determine how God can make great use of your skills and talents in the ‘veteran’ part of your marriage and life. It may be as simple as investing time in your grandchildren or as strategic as creating a new business or ministry. You’ll stay active mentally and physically.
Speaking of grandchildren, we can all aspire to be exceptional grandparents. By this stage of life you have the benefit of age, experience, and wisdom with an advanced degree from the ‘school of hard knocks.’  Use the luxury of your time availability and your advanced degree in wisdom for the benefit of the next generation or any other people God may put in your path.
Short and hopefully a bit helpful to a few of you out there. As always, I welcome your comments and additional ideas that will benefit other readers!
Copyright A Servants Mustang

Divorce – “Till Death Do Us Part”

It has been said that, other than the death of a spouse, divorce creates the most amount of changes to one’s life in the shortest amount of time.  This can certainly be overwhelming, even if you’re just thinking about getting a divorce.  There is so much at stake.  What about the children?  What about the finances?  What about the house?  What about the pets?  What about everything that we have and everything else that has been a part of our lives together?

When we walk down the aisle on our wedding day, and make the vow of “Till death do us part”, we are usually full of hopes and dreams of living a happy life filled with love and support and security and family.  We believe in ourselves as a couple.  We believe that our individual lives combined will be greater and better than our lives when we were not connected to each other in marriage.  We actually plan on staying together until we are parted by death.  What happens to that vow, however, when we are now thinking about divorce?  How can we reconcile promising to love, honor and cherish each other until death with getting a divorce?

Divorce, in actuality, is a death.  It is the death of those dreams that we had as we were walking down the aisle.  It is the death of the relationship that used to be.  It is the death of the love that was once shared.  It is the death of the life that was built on promises of being together forever.  And with that death, we need to grieve.
We need to understand and come to terms with what is happening in our lives.  We need to address and deal with the very strong emotions that have now entered out lives. We need to learn how to restructure our lives, individually and in the context of our lives as a whole.  We need to have compassion for ourselves and others as we navigate this new and (usually) scary territory.
Most of the time, depending on the circumstances of the divorce and the issues involved in making this decision, there is a grieving process that we go through that is the same as in a physical death. There may be shock, denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and depression and acceptance.  Most of the time, we do not go through these stages in order and only once.  It is very normal to jump around from one feeling to another in the span of minutes, days, weeks, and even months and years.  Eventually, though, we settle into our own experience of resolution.
In the midst of all of this, however, there is good news.  Once we begin dealing with our feelings and the changes that we need to make in our lives, we usually find that we now have room for dreaming again.  We remember what once was, and we begin to feel hope for what could be.  We need to nurture that part of us that believes in the possibility of good, even while we are in the trenches of what is often really bad.  When we are well on our way in our healing process, we may open ourselves up to the possibility of having a happy relationship again.  Hopefully, this relationship will be healthier than what was before we got divorced.  

Divorce can be a long and arduous journey.  We need to care for ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  In good times and in bad.  In sickness and in health.  To love, honor and cherish ourselves and our lives.  We can certainly make these vows to ourselves, until we have truly parted from this world.
Deborah S. Wilder, Ph.D.
Psychologist, Divorce Mediator, Parenting Coordinator
Center for Therapy and Mediation

Information is an Antidote to Divorce Stress

For most individuals facing divorce, this is their first time.  Inexperience leads to major mistakes.  Uncertainty exacerbates stress, shortens fuses, and brings out the worst in most of us.  How do you regain control?

One step is to get informed about the legal process of divorce. Divorce 911 offers resources, and there are other options such as “Divorce 101” through Visions Anew Institute ( and the online or in-person class “Crash Course Divorce” from 2 Step Divorces ( Understanding the legal process can help individuals see a way through the fog and avoid wasting emotional and financial capital on matters they thought the court would care about (but won’t).  
Getting information helps move individuals into a healthier space, even if it means acknowledging that it’s still going to be hard.  Very hard.
Jennifer Keaton