7 New Stages of a Divorce: The Ultimate Guide for the Initiator

When it comes to divorce, it’s common to think that only the receiving party suffers. If you’re the abandoned one, many online and offline resources will tell you about different stages of the divorce emotional process and how to overcome them. But hardly anyone speaks the truth about what it’s like for the person who found the courage to call it quits. 

In a divorce, both sides go through many physical, emotional, and legal challenges. So, if the thought of ending your marriage has crept into your head, learn these 7 stages of divorce for the initiator. As they say, forewarned, forearmed. The better you are prepared, the easier you’ll handle what expects you in the next several months. 

Stage 1. Thinking and Persuading Yourself

The decision of getting a divorce never comes out of nowhere. It usually takes weeks, months, or even years of doubts and regrets to ripen and thrive. It may start with a small fight over a burned dinner and morph into questioning yourself: “What in the world happened to my life? It’s not what I strived for!” It’s the period of deep self-analysis, weighing pros and cons, and flouncing between guilt and the desire to find happiness. Many times, you’ll be persuading yourself that a divorce is the right decision. And as many times you will give up. Until it, finally, shapes into a mature decision clearly explained by why you want it and why there‘s no other option.

Stage 2. Second Thoughts

But once you’re sure that no one can shatter your confidence, second thoughts won’t be long in coming. Again. 

What if I am making a mistake? What will people say? What if my spouse won’t let me see the kids? What if I lose everything? What if I won’t meet anyone again? These and many other what-ifs and hows will constantly cross your mind. They may torture you a day or a few months. However, at some point, you will find the courage to file Georgia divorce papers and tell your spouse about your decision. After all, happily married people never think of divorce.

Stage 3. The Emotional Rollercoaster

The emotional stages of divorce initiator are no less intense than of the abandoned party. Perhaps, you’ll skip the denial phase (you’ve done months of thinking and persuading, after all). But you will definitely experience anger, go through bargaining, and accept that your former second half might hate you forever from now on. 

This stage is called “the emotional rollercoaster” for a reason. During only one day, your emotions may change from love to hatred, from empathy to anger, from guilt to accusing your spouse. Be ready that your ex-to-be will also add fuel to the fire. 

Among all stages of a divorce process, this phase is probably the hardest one. You’ll have to show composure and maturity to get out of it with decency and settle the conflicts with minimum damage. 

Stage 4. Physical Distress

As divorce is a highly stressful period, you might notice some physical abnormalities as well. Usually, they follow an emotional stage. Jumpiness and troubles sleeping are quite common during divorce and they may lead to different neurological, cardiovascular, and GIT conditions. 

Throughout every stage of a divorce process, therefore, it’s crucial to take care of your health. It might seem like unnecessary trouble but try to eat healthy and nutritious food and find time for exercising even when everything falls apart. Not only will you go through the challenges of a healthy person, but will also contribute to your emotional balance and good mood. 

Stage 5. Legal Grinder

Four stages of divorce for the initiator will give room to the next phase – to the so-called legal grinder. The petition is filed and court litigations bring you closer to the date when marriage dissolution will be finalized. 

It’s not a walk-in-the-park phase. You’ll be stricken by more emotional and legal challenges and, perhaps, even by another wave of second thoughts. But as you’ll be going on with dividing your marital property and assets and deciding on a parents-children relationship, you’ll come to realize that divorce is now inevitable.

As much as it may be emotionally unbearable, it might as well turn into a light shakeup. It will largely depend on whether you have a highly contested case or go the uncontested way. Sometimes, couples go through mediation and it helps them come to peace with the situation and each other’s flaws. In this case, it may even give a start to the healing stage sooner.

Stage 6. Rolling Back

In any case, if you aim to get a divorce, you’ll find yourself single again after all. All of a sudden, you may realize that your habitual lifestyle of a married person doesn’t fit into your new circumstances. There might be no one to cook you dinner, fix the leaking tap, or hear you out when you complain about your colleagues. And this is the stage when second thoughts may start visiting you again. Was a divorce the right thing to do? 

It’s important not to fall under the control of your momentary desires like asking your ex for dinner “as friends” or staying the night at their place. You wanted a divorce for a reason. Don’t let momentary difficulties cross everything you suffered for and worked for so hard.

Stage 7. Moving On

If you’re strong enough to avoid rolling back to your previous relationship, step by step, you’ll begin to heal and rebuild your life as a single person. Changes won’t happen overnight. Although you wanted it, you may suddenly feel lonely and lost. But it will get easier with every new day. You can help yourself move on faster by devoting more time to people and things you love. Meet friends, enjoy hobbies, and don’t forget to work on your career. After a while, you’ll realize that you’re ready to meet someone special and build a happily ever after together. 

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