The short answer is yes – life does get better after divorce.
It’s no secret that the end of a marriage is a significant stressor in life. Divorce rates up there with imprisonment and death as one of the most stressful experiences, as per the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale … in fact, divorce is number two on the list.
“The more stressful the divorce,” according to Psychology Today, “the more likely it is that illness will follow.” That’s a great reason to minimize conflict as much as possible as your divorce proceeds, as well as in finding a divorce lawyer at the outset who knows how to manage conflict. Effective conflict management can save time and money – and prevent or reduce stress.
You are not a failure
So you’re stressed … you’re worried … and you’re anxious. It’s perfectly natural. And it’s perfectly natural to face negative thoughts about yourself and your family – that you’ve failed in marriage, that you’ve let down your children, that you’ve broken promises. People facing bankruptcy because of financial calamity often feel much the same, as though they’ve failed.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Getting divorced? You’re not alone
Here’s where the well-worn statistic comes into play: Roughly half of marriages end in divorce. Depending on the source, you might see a higher or lower number, but the story remains the same – a significant percentage of couples who at one time said, “Till death do us part,” have decided that death won’t be the deciding factor.
And often there are very legitimate reasons why.
Fundamentally, marriage is partnership
It takes two to tango, as they say. If your partner decides not to honor the agreement, there’s only so much you can do. (Often, it’s in one’s best interests not to try to control the situation, which can introduce stress and conflict.) If your spouse reneges, or you both renege, your partnership is in serious danger.
And you can “renege” in myriad ways:
- Has there been domestic violence or emotional abuse?
- Do you blame each other for mismanaging household finances?
- Are there opposing viewpoints on having and/or raising children?
- Has one of you lost your job?
- Have you suffered a serious, life-changing injury in an accident?
- Are you grieving from the death of a family member?
Note that many of these issues (especially the last three) often reside firmly outside your control. But any of these might stress your marriage and lead to divorce.
On the other hand…
If you’ve suffered from physical abuse, or from otherwise “walking on eggshells” around your spouse, divorce is often the end of it. If you argued about finances during the marriage, the months and years after divorce is your chance to take full ownership, and handle finances your way. And if you want to maintain a good relationship with your children, in many cases, there’s nothing stopping you.
In other words, life might look bleak now, but it’s temporary. Life does get better after divorce.