I Can't Stop Crying About My Divorce: Grieving The End Of The Marriage

Divorce is a word that we see and hear everywhere. In our daily lives divorce attorneys solicit their services in commercials, billboards, print media and flyers. Television shows and films trivialize divorce as it's cloaked in steamy affairs, romanticized depictions of fragmented families and crimes of passion and revenge.

But the word divorce means something entirely different to someone who is experiencing it in real time. Divorce can be correlated with another "D" word, disaster. Experts in the Mental health field say that the pain divorce creates rivals grieving the death of a loved one.

Despite the prevalence of divorce, Grief is an emotion and subject that no one talks about. Yet Russell Friedman, Co-founder of the Grief Recovery Institute state that "Grief is the Normal and Natural reaction to Loss of any Kind." So why don't we talk and have information about grief a natural reaction to divorce? I don't have the answer to that (sorry), but I can share 4 steps you can take to begin healing.

Whilst the legal side of divorce can follow a neat linear process, the emotional side and grief of a break up does not. Perhaps can you relate? Many describe their experience as a rollercoaster of emotions, with highs, lows and times where they feel their whole life has been turned upside down.

Despite the pain, many people suffering after the end of their marriage do not identify it as grief. One man I interviewed said that their divorce was like a drive by shooting because the shock hit him like a bullet. He never saw divorce coming. Whichever way the marriage ends, the pain in the final years, months and aftermath is intense and often unbearable.

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Many I work with report feeling fine one day or week, then one day something triggers them and they feel like they are back to square one. It is true that Grief can come in waves, we cannot control it and that scares some people, so they will do anything to avoid feeling it. But no matter how difficult, we need to experience the painful feelings in order to heal. If we avoid or try to medicate our feelings with other substances the pain can stay longer and limit our recovery.

I see many struggle not knowing how to deal with these uncomfortable feelings. The problem is they end up trying to distract themselves with food, alcohol, medication, overworking, overspending or becoming obsessed with TV/ Social Media or exercise. These coping mechanisms don't work as long-term solutions or serve people, I know from personal experience as tried them myself when I went through a painful loss many years back. These behaviors we adopt are so common that as part of my grief recovery program, I dedicate time to help individuals quit habits and re-design a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Common symptoms of grief

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you care about. Here are some common symptoms of grief: low energy, loss of appetite or opposite cannot stop eating, emptiness, headaches, mood swings, extreme tiredness, changes in body temperature - either really cold or really hot. These symptoms are similar to depression and according to the grief recovery institute, people following a loss are often mislabeled and misdiagnosed as being depressed, when in actual fact they have unresolved grief. They argue as grief is a natural and normal reaction to loss of ANY kind, the treatment should be natural.

So what losses are associated with Marital Separation and Divorce?

Adults and children after a break up may experience:
•Loss of company and having the person around
•Loss of security
•Loss of trust (when the marriage broke down and during divorce)
•Loss of safety
•Loss of faith or belief in marriage and family values
•Loss of support (whether it was emotional, physical, financial, psychological)
•Loss of home, school / job change (if moving) familiar environment
•Loss of dreams, hopes and expectations of the future (this can often be harder to deal with than the physical losses)

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So how can you begin to heal from these losses and the grief?

Step 1 - Make Your Needs a Priority

Following the aftermath of a break up and divorce you need to look after yourself and put your needs first. This involves ensuring you do not take on too much or do too much for others, eat well, sleep well and make time for rest and relaxation. The whole recovery process is harder to deal with if you are running on empty, or putting others before yourself. In order to be of any help to anyone else and to get through the legal and financial process of divorce, you need to be in the best state you can be.

Step 2 - Understand the Myths about Grief

As Grief is rarely talked about, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about grief and how to deal with it. In order to begin to heal from grief you must first understand what these myths are. Like time heals, be strong, replace the loss.

Step 3 - Feel Your Emotions

Feel and acknowledge the painful feelings that come up. Cry if you need too, feel sad, angry if that is what comes up, let that be OK. Don't try to push them down or distract yourself. Instead sit in peace quietly and feel them. Be aware of what is behind any anger, anxiety, resentment, guilt. This is step is important, as we cannot deal with or move on from what we repress and do not feel.

Step 4 - Express Your Emotions

I am not sure why or how expressing our true feelings and thoughts with another living being helps, but it does! This is what treatments for grief recovery, addiction recovery, psychiatry and therapy are all based on. They all highlight the importance of expressing and sharing thoughts and feelings with other people, groups and one to one. The key thing to remember here is to find someone you totally trust, someone who will listen wholeheartedly to you, without trying to fix you.

In times of separation and divorce, you may hear people say "your find someone else" "don't worry your be fine" "don't feel bad at least you know what they are like now" "bad things happen for a reason" comments like this don't help and can cause individuals to isolate themselves from others further. I find this extremely sad, because separation and divorce is a time when people need care and love from others the most. Loneliness adds additional pain to this already difficult time. If you have no close friends or family you can talk too, consider talking to a coach or calling a help line.

These are the first 4 steps in healing from the losses caused by separation and divorce that I walk my clients through. As always, I hope you find something useful today.

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No matter how well your relationship is humming along right now, there's room for the advice of relationship mentors. Couples who have been together for many years (and who have been relatively happy, despite the inevitable rough patches) have discovered what has benefited their relationship the most. And they can help you do the same.

I recently interviewed Pete and Angie, a couple celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They were eager to share what has worked in their marriage. Here are some of the highlights:

Words of Wisdom from Pete and Angie

1. Angie: "Sometimes you will want to strangle your soulmate."

This statement speaks volumes and, of course, is not meant literally. It cuts through the overly romanticized and unrealistic notions that many couples hold about love and relationships. If your expectations about marriage or long-term relationships are unrealistic (based on a Hollywood depiction or the heady infatuation you felt early on), you will be let down and feel disillusioned about love. Love is often thrilling, but love also exists side by side with the more mundane realities of our existence.

Take-away: What allows you to hold onto the bigger picture, even when your soulmate drives you crazy?

2. Pete: "Respect each other, above all else."

Pete and Angie talked about respect in different ways. Angie stressed the importance of respecting each others' differences--whether these differences emerged as contrary opinions (e.g., your partner doesn't share the same religious beliefs as you) or differences in your personalities (e.g., Angie's talkative and social, Pete is subdued and a homebody).

Pete made the point of saying that it's also important that you never belittle or demean each other. While most of us assume that this type of respect is a given, it wasn't for Pete since he grew up in a family where verbal abuse was the norm (Pete and his mother were often victims of his father's verbal abuse). It was his determination to behave differently from his father that allowed Pete to change the course of his marriage.

Take-away: In what ways do you show your partner respect? How can you become more accepting of the differences that exist between you and your partner?

What if your spouse don't love you anymore? Here's how to get them addicted to you like when you fell in love for the first time

3. Angie: "We're in it for the long haul."

This is a great definition of commitment. A relationship without commitment is like a sailboat without sails--your relationship will flounder and drift, pulled by the tides instead of in your control. Commitment is the glue that keeps the relationship together and moving forward. Pete and Angie knew they wanted to grow old together and created a shared relationship vision.

They stressed the importance of building an atmosphere of teamwork and collegiality. Their relationship unfolded like a series of book chapters, many planned, others written by forces beyond their control. At times it was sheer commitment that kept them together--and they're glad it did.

Take-away: How do you show your commitment to your marriage or relationship? If your partner were interviewed, how would s/he describe your commitment?

4. Pete: "Speak your truth."

There is a certain freedom that comes with being able to speak your mind. Buried feelings and hidden resentments are less likely to fester when you speak your truth. A level of decorum and diplomacy, of course, is essential while communicating--whether your truth involves feelings, opinions or feedback to your partner. The challenge for all of us is to speak our truths in such a way that doesn't hurt the other and that allows intimacy to grow.

Take-away: Are you able to share your deepest truths with your partner? If not, what gets in the way? Does the energy you give off make your partner feel safe enough to speak her/his deepest truths?

5. Angie: "Find the middle ground."

Compromise and acceptance are vital for the success of any relationship. Angie believes these are some of the most important parts of a fulfilling, meaningful relationship.

She explained, "If you're unwilling to grow and change as a person, your marriage is going to fall flat on its face. In order to compromise, you have to give in and admit when you're wrong, and believe me, that's not easy. We all think we're right and the other person's wrong; I've learned to accept what I can't change about Pete and our marriage. I ask for things in a way that makes Pete more willing to compromise...He had to do the same. He's grown too."

When you and your partner work as a team, when you realize that you're both reaching for the same goals (albeit, in different ways at times), it will be easier to find the all-important middle ground.

Take-away: How good are you at compromising, at finding the middle ground? What steps do you need to take to become a more effective communicator? To become more effective at compromising?

I hope you're able to bring something Angie and Pete shared with us to your own relationship.

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Ian and Kim were a couple who came for marriage counseling, as they were constantly fighting over Kim's love of fashion and the financial cost of her shopping sprees, her husband Ian couldn't keep up with it and thought that there were far more important things to be spending money on. Kim felt hurt that Ian didn't try to understand her passion and angry as he spent plenty of money out socializing and drinking. They came to save their marriage, as after years of not understanding each other's interests they had grown so far apart, they were living separate lives under the same roof.

Reshma and Binod another couple that sought marriage counseling to save their marriage, were also struggling to see eye to eye over the amount of time Binod would spend watching cricket, tennis, and football on TV. Any game, any time of day when he wasn't working he would want to sit and watch TV, this drove Reshma crazy, she was concerned what that would teach their 3 children and annoyed he didn't seem interested or make an effort for family time.

It can be difficult if you or your partner have a hobby you passionately embrace and the other one sees it as nothing but an intrusion. Yet it is critical to reach a compromise to prevent frustration and resentment from building, as resentment can often lead to angry silence, withdrawal or explosive rows. Here are 7 Steps to Keep Your Hobbies and Marriage Intact - Save Your Marriage

1. Recognize we all have hobbies. I've noticed working with many couples, that on average men tended to have one hobby that takes up a lot of their time and women had several activities (which they weren't counting as hobbies). For instance, I love to run, swim, practice yoga, write, dance, cook and try alternative healing courses. None of these hobbies individually take up much of my time, but collectively they add up to be more than some of the most consuming hobbies.

2. Ensure you both have hobbies. Expecting your partner to be your hobby or vice versa can be a recipe for disaster. It's just like expecting them to make YOU happy, only YOU can do that. If your spouse is having difficulty to accept your hobbies and have none of their own, help them to find something enjoyable and stress-relieving.

What do I really need to do to make my spouse love me again? Is it possible to build massive attraction in my spouse?

To learn the killer, advanced strategies to save your marriage, simply click here!

3. Find the good. We tend to love our hobbies, to us they are noble, important and engaging. If you think your spouse's hobby is silly, trivial or dumb or they say the same about yours, you are judging each other, when you need to be supporting each other. Look for the good in each other's hobbies, for example Kim explained to Ian, that he was benefitting from her fashion and make up passion, as she always looked good and took care of her appearance, which he always complimented her on. The benefit to Resma of Binod's hobby was that he could play with the children and watch TV at the same time, so she could get on and do things she needed and liked to do. Plus she was grateful that his hobby was not a financial burden to them.

4. Accept all hobbies, as they are part of who we are. When we reject the hobbies of our partners or they reject ours, we are in some way rejecting a part of each other. As our hobbies make us who we are and for most of us are a source of stress relief and happiness. Would you rather prefer a grumpy, bored spouse with plenty of time or a happy, content spouse with a hobby? I'd choose the second.

5. Learn about each other's hobbies. I love the statement "If you can't beat them, join them!" I think this is a great approach in marriage to learn more about each other's passions, it will enhance your conversation and connection, even better if you can join them.

6. Always have at least one hobby you share. Find a hobby you look forward to doing together, this will help you become closer and strengthen your relationship. If we engage in all our hobbies without our spouse, we miss the opportunity for the fun and excitement to be brought into the marriage.

7. Talk about your boundaries. Despite the above we all have boundaries, Think about what you both really need to be happy. Chances are it's often not the hobby that really bothers us. It's the time or money spent on it, especially if the time or money isn't being spent on something else important to us!

Ask yourselves what is it that bothers you? Could it be you want more time as a family? More intimacy, affection or appreciation? Are you concerned financially that you won't have enough money for the car, holiday or children's needs?

Learn to share what precisely what is on your mind so you can move forward and compromise. Be vulnerable and you will reap the rewards! Rather than say "I hate you doing that stupid hobby" instead say, "I miss being with you and would love to spend more time together" Or if your partner has a problem with your hobby ask them lovingly what concerns they have. Then work out a compromise that suits you both and fits in with the family.

Hobbies can help a marriage if the right balance is struck, aim to support one another and speak up if you need to. If you feel hobbies have already come between you and you are barely communicating. Then I recommend you focus on 4 things to get back to a good place:

1, Affection, 2 Appreciation, 3 Intimacy and 4 a Joint Activity... this will lead to a Deeper Connection, so Communication can improve.

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Trying to save your marriage when you face a divorce can seem hopeless. If you are trying to do this when your spouse doesn't want to save the marriage it can seem even more overwhelming! But by avoiding certain mistakes and taking certain action steps, it can be done. I'd like to share with you some of what I learned when I was in this very situation.

When I found myself facing a divorce a few years ago, I was not at all expecting it. Even if I had been, I'm not sure that I would have handled it any differently. You see, I really had no idea what to do, what to say and how to act. And so like many people, I made a bunch of very common mistakes that actually made the problem worse! I caused my wife to pull even further away from me and divorce seemed inevitable.

What if your spouse already left you? Here's how to get them back.

Most of us simply aren't trained or equipped with a set of instructions at times like this. Traditional marriage counseling has failed most of us. In fact, it only has about a 20% success rate. Most of these folks who call themselves marriage counselors are really trained in individual counseling and really don't know how to repair a marriage. They can teach you how to communicate and they can teach you how to work on yourselves, but really haven't a clue how to build and maintain a strong marriage.

So what is the answer? Well, after almost giving up I found out about an action plan that involved replacing negative emotions with more powerful and resourceful emotions. I learned about specific action steps I could take; things I could do and say right away that would begin making a difference in my marriage. I also learned about the common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.The amazing thing is that this approach works even if your spouse does nothing!

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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