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The First Step Is the Hardest: How to Process a Divorce & Breakup

A young couple sits on a couch looking unhappy, needing tips on how to process divorce & breakup.

Tips on processing divorce to help you navigate this difficult period

Key takeaways:

  • Practice self-care

  • Allow yourself space to go through the stages of grief

  • Surround yourself with supportive people

  • Communicate using facts, not feelings

  • Consider individual or joint therapy to help you process this tough time

Getting a divorce is likely one of the most stressful events you’ll ever experience in your life. Even if the split is amicable, the process itself is challenging and will disrupt virtually every aspect of your life, from finances to living arrangements to parenting. Taking the leap and initiating the process by asking for a divorce & breakup is sometimes the hardest part; it can be intimidating and it’s scary to venture into uncharted territory.

If you’re considering divorce, you’re not alone. It is unfortunately common in the United States. It’s estimated that nearly half of first marriages end in divorce or separation.

There are many reasons couples get divorced – personality clashes, finances, falling out of love, infidelity, lack of equality in the relationship, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of commitment for starters. Even if getting a divorce is the healthiest option for you, it can still be a challenging process.

No two situations are the same but there are several tips to navigate divorce. Here are five.

- Prioritize self-care

The end of a relationship is painful, especially one that you were heavily invested in. Prioritizing self-care is vital during this time. It may be tempting to stop caring about your appearance or engage in behaviors like indulging in ice cream or alcohol every night, but taking care of yourself should be a top priority during this tough time, even if you’re low on motivation.

Give yourself extra TLC and build habits that serve your mental and physical health. Habits become automatic behaviors, so good habits will carry you when your motivation is low.

Self-care can include basic things like getting enough rest, eating nutritious meals, exercising, staying hydrated, maintaining personal hygiene, and ensuring the area around you is clean and well-cared for. Indulgences like being pampered at a spa, massages, and eating a delicious dessert are also part of self-care.

-Go through the stages of grief

Experiencing negative emotions during this time is completely normal – in fact, it would be abnormal if you didn’t. The loss of your relationship is very much like a death and as such, there is a grieving process that you’ll move through as you mourn your marriage.

Grieving is a personal process. Give yourself space to go through this grieving process and allow yourself to feel the feelings as they come, without judgment, whatever they may be.

Although the stages of the breakup process are linear, grief isn’t linear, and neither are the stages of grieving. Stages of grief include shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, the upward turn, reconstruction, and finally, acceptance and hope.

Remember that emotions are temporary and that you will get through this.

- Surround yourself with support

The importance of having a strong support system cannot be understated. Now is the time to call in the troops to rally around you: family members, friends, and trusted co-workers.

You may find that even your social group is in disarray due to the divorce if you and your partner shared a lot of mutual friends. It may be necessary to make new friends. Consider joining groups that interest you based on your hobbies or take up new hobbies if you don’t already have them. Avoid using your new friends as a dumping ground to talk only about your divorce – that will get old.

You may also want to consider joining a support group for others going through divorce. With divorce being common, many others are experiencing the same thing you’re going through right now.

- Communicate clearly

Divorce is emotional and you’re likely going through many hurtful emotions. Although it may be tempting, avoid sending ranting text messages or ranting on phone calls to your spouse. Stick to the facts when you communicate with your soon-to-be-ex to keep the communication clear and concise.

Written communication can be helpful for this as you can keep a record of what was said, and it gives you a chance to think before you speak as well as edit before sending. You can even have a friend – or legal counsel – review messages before sending if necessary to ensure that you’re sticking with the facts and not letting your emotions cloud your communication.

- Get support from a qualified, caring therapist in South Florida

Divorce is undoubtedly a heart-wrenching, challenging, and difficult process. Having support from a professional can create a huge shift. While there’s nothing that can make it a pleasant process, therapy can help make it much easier. Individual or joint therapy can be tremendously beneficial during this troubling time.

The team at Love Discovery is ready to welcome you with open arms. If you’re ready to get started in therapy to help you process your feelings about a divorce, make an appointment with any of our therapists today. Feeling hesitant about how we can help? Call 786.571.4636 for a free 20-minute consultation.

We are here to help you improve your mental health and support you through this tough time.


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