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Emotional Grieving After Divorce

Hutch posted 5/18/2020 11:48 AM

I just PM'd a great friend on SI but need to get feedback here too from you who have gone through this.

My divorce was final earlier this month. I didn't really grieve. Was there sadness? Of course but it needed to happen. We had been separated over two years and the marriage was very unhealthy and toxic; emotionally I was a mess through it. This was a good thing.

But the bottom dropped this weekend. Wham! Immense sadness and grief. Almost 21 years of a life with the same person and a family we created together, is over. Life has changed and this weekend I became very sad at that reality. Why? It makes no sense at all. I'm so confused.

I also have all of those feelings creeping in about being all alone. My kids are 20 and 18. I'm literally going to be all alone. I will have my own home and yes, have a great career. But I am ultimately alone. I always wanted to share my life with someone. This reality really makes me sad.

And my kids. Iím so sad for my kids. Divorce at any age is heartbreaking for kids.

Has anyone gone through this? I'm so emotional. Lots of anxiety and sadness over my marriage and the life I knew ending. Why? It literally makes no sense.

[This message edited by Hutch at 4:40 AM, May 19th (Tuesday)]

Hedwig posted 5/18/2020 15:12 PM

I notice that you are trying to comprehend with your brain what your body feels. So on top of all the emotions you're going through, there is an extra layer of confusion and maybe even a layer of 'I shouldn't feel this way.' You want to know if it's normal? I think you've come to the right place if that's your question and that a lot of people on here will validate your feelings.

Even if I haven't been in your position since I was never married and never divorced, I think what you're going through makes a lot of sense. Just like saying 'I do' is only a formality in a relationship that has already been going on for a while, it still carries a certain weight. The same goes for the finalizing of a divorce. Even if it's only a formality and the relationship was over for a while at that point, it still carries a certain weight. That brings grief.

Hutch posted 5/18/2020 16:24 PM

Thank you so much @Hedwig

The1stWife posted 5/18/2020 16:31 PM

Maybe youíve reached a point where you are not avoiding this any longer. You can finally face the sadness and loss and can grieve.

And then emerge with a different mindset or complete acceptance surrounding the D.

Hedwig made some excellent points too.

Anna123 posted 5/18/2020 19:46 PM

I can relate completely. I have another single divorced female friend who's has been single now for 10 years and has no plans to find anyone. She told me this when I was first divorced and in dating mode, hoping to find Mr. Right. I thought it sounded so sad! She said that sometimes she is lonely but for the most part has her grown children and now a grandchild that 'complete her'.

Flash forward, it is hitting me that I may be single forever as well. Not out of no opportunities, but out of not wanting to be with anyone unless it is better than being single. And I love being single now, three years since divorce was final. I think the realization hit me later because I was still in meet someone else mode for so long and I really would love to have a man to spend my life with (More so than be married too though, I am completely over that).

I now see having a significant other that we thoroughly enjoy more as a bonus in life, one of the many really good things. But I won in other ways with a good, stable child, a fun hobby, good friends, a nice home without mr. cheater pants in it --- etc. We can't have it all?

In my mind we are not alone. Especially having children! And when I honestly look at my married friends, a good portion of them are very unhappy in their permanent marriages. A good marriage is something that a lot of people have, but honestly, a lot of people don't have. I am completely convinced that single is far better than a crappy relationship. In a way I now feel far more fortunate than some of my married friends stuck in unhappy marriages. They are good people that don't end their marriages because they are, well, good people that respect marriage. I get it though and now like my friend, I sometimes feel lonely, but probably no more often than some married people long to be single at times.

For you, a month out from divorce, makes total sense now like like other responses. It's all processing and here you go for another ride. Ughh. You will come through this as well. Stupid cheaters, the gift that keeps giving.

[This message edited by Anna123 at 8:07 PM, May 18th (Monday)]

betrayedafter20 posted 5/18/2020 20:17 PM


I am not nearly in the same place as you because we literally just separated physically only four days ago.

but I wanted to tell you how sorry I am. In my research I found that grieving the loss of a marriage is worse than even death - because the person is still alive and able to make decisions.

Please acknowledge your pain, it will be the healthiest thing you can do.

I am so, so, sad for you, and empathize. maybe in a year I will be in your space. It must be horrible - the true and formal ending of what you had committed to and the other person didn't keep up their promises. I am very newly separated but I think it is still somewhat of a limbo status. But you will be okay, in the end. Hugs and prayers your way.

Hutch posted 5/19/2020 04:46 AM

Thank you all for taking the time to share your insights, wisdom, and experiences.

FaithFool posted 5/19/2020 09:24 AM

I had 22 years as well, no kids, a 2 year separation before the D was finalized. He was a serial cheater sex addict and had been unfaithful since year 3. He gave me a lovely STD.

The grief of that was compounded by my mum's death in the middle of it all. I was her youngest of five, and the siblings all turned on me with very sharp knives and I had to divorce them as well.

I can honestly say it took a good five years to crawl from the wreckage and get into a headspace where I began to find myself again, the woman I used to be, 'before him'.

Year five I had a brief fling with someone my age who I met through an online dating site. It didn't go anywhere, but the physical chemistry was off the charts and it was a fantastic validation that I was still sexy and desirable.

I'm in my 60s now, went back to school and got an MA in history, got published, presented at a conference and got to be a TA for awhile.

I'm also a musician so I put out an album and got invited to an amazing international songwriting residency in an incredible place, where I met a whole bunch of talented young folks who are now my 'kids'.

Last year I went on a bucket list trip and had another fling with a gorgeous 45-year-old, a fan of mine who introduced himself at a gig. (Yes, you can call me Mrs. Robinson, coo coo cachoo...) As a friend of mine told me, it's kind of life-affirming when that stuff happens.

As for my ex, I went strict NC three years ago after years of waffling and staying in touch. It's working for me.

You're in the place you need to be right now. It's time to process and it'll take awhile. Two things that helped me, therapeutic massage and acupuncture, and lots of yoga and meditation.

If you haven't read Journey from Abandonment to Healing, you may want to check it out. It's got some great exercises for navigating the panicky moments.

Keep posting here and be good to yourself.

QVee posted 5/20/2020 14:24 PM

I still get like this, and I'm two years out from separation. When I bought my new house after getting D'd, I was sad during a time of happiness. Why? Because it was something I had imagined the two of us doing together, and that dream was gone. It takes awhile not to mourn the dream that you thought the both of you were working together to achieve.

thatbpguy posted 5/20/2020 14:54 PM

Your only alone for now. And, you have two kids to talk to. If they are within 50 miles, get a hot tub and you will see then frequently. That's what we did. Worked for about six years.

Hutch posted 5/20/2020 20:57 PM

@ FaithfulFool Congrats on your accomplishments. Well done!

@ QVee Hugs

@thatbpguy I do like that idea. :)

Tallgirl posted 5/21/2020 06:22 AM

I so understand.

I am grieving my marriage. One that I was rarely happy in. And I accepted it.

While only separated, the ties are so very cut, it is real. It is over.

Logically I should be fine. Grateful. But I am not.

I am alone.

Hutch posted 5/21/2020 16:52 PM

@ tallgirl Sending hugs. I understand. There is such sadness and it took me off guard. Never expected to feel it. Message me anytime. I'm here. :)

EllieKMAS posted 5/21/2020 17:01 PM

@TG you'll get there girl, I promise! Yes you're alone, but given time, I swear that will not feel like a curse.

Hutch - I was just talking to another SI friend on the phone today and the subject of D came up. It IS grief. But for me the major difference was: when I was trying to R, mentally/emotionally, I saw no end to the grieving process. When I filed, it HURT so damn bad. I knew it was the right thing. I knew my M was over. And it still hurt. But the hurt was different because mentally/emotionally I knew it was finite - I could see end to the grief.

Divorce sucks and having the finality is hard to wrap your head around, but I dunno, for me? Healing from the divorce was miles easier than healing from the infidelity.

messyleslie posted 5/21/2020 23:44 PM

I just wanted to share that my grandmother, who was the most amazing woman, was married to my grandfather who apparently was not a very nice man for something like 35 years when he passed away. She stayed married because thats what women did, but she wasn't happy in the least. She was alone for a while but I always remember her with Grandpa Ralph who was an older man that was her long term boyfriend. They never married, and they only lived together when he got too ill and she moved in to take care of him. She passed shortly after he did, after they had dated for many many years. They traveled and he loved us like his own family. And my mom recently shared with me that my Grandma always said she got her perfect love story later in life - like she didn't even understand how good it could be until she met Ralph.

I think I always hear about these love stories and these old couples being together and I just think that only comes when people have been together for ages. But I don't think thats true - I think two people who have been through some shit and finally meet each other and can finally understand the sweetness of healthy love may be even better than a couple that has been together for decades.

I don't know if that helps - but I think of my grandma often when I mourn the loss of the dream of growing old with someone. I'm so thankful i won't grow old with an abusive asshole and I get a chance at growing old with someone like my grandma had.

Hutch posted 5/22/2020 10:32 AM

@ EllieKMas - Thank you for your words. I said this before but I never thought I would grieve my divorce. I knew sadness would be felt, but grief took me by surprise. You're right. It is final. Almost 21 years gone. I even went through my doubts after. "Oh God. Did I do the right thing? I've hurt everyone in my life. Even down to my ex. I still battle, why? Why do I feel guilty? Why did he never care enough to get help during the marriage? It's very frustrating. And hugs sent to you as well. I hope you are doing better each day.

@ MessyLeslie - Thank you for sharing your story. You definitely give me hope. :) It's a beautiful story for sure.

J707 posted 5/22/2020 10:59 AM

When I started the process I would talk to my Dad a lot. I remember him telling me that divorce is like a death, you have to grieve it. By the time mine was final last July I was actually so happy, I couldn't believe it was real, actually over. No more lawyer appointments, no more paperwork, no financial ties etc. After that day though, I truly started to grieve it. It hit me hard. Just as the pain of infidelity lessens over time, so does the grieving process of divorce. A chapter has closed and a new one has started. Grieve it, let the emotions flow through you but know that you will be ok.

Hutch posted 5/22/2020 11:24 AM

@J707 - Thank you so much. I hope you are healing and doing well too.

Muggle posted 5/30/2020 18:42 PM

It really doesn't make sense. I have moments when I can convince myself this was the best thing that ever happened to me, and the other side of the coin is grief.

I'm 2 years 3 months out. We weren't married for our 23 years, and his instant 14 day relationship "surprise" wife is still with him.

I have 3 semi adult kids and two plus one's of theirs living with me. He has a wife and a bachelors lifestyle. I'm not technically "alone", but as far any possibility of dating or romance I'm not even on the playing field. I'm still looking for landmines and shadows. I'm damaged emotionally and until I can believe in myself again I can't expect anyone else to.

I wish I had a career, but I'm starting over at 57. Being alone isn't what it's cracked up to be. When you WANT to be alone it's far different than not having a say in the matter. My life like yours was hijacked and we were left marooned to figure out life's great mysteries solo.

I'm still navigating parts of this, and I don't want to spend my life alone. I hate being alone. I was the woman that could see myself spending 50 years with someone. I wanted that, but it was not to be and I picked the wrong man.

I think we struggle with the "it's not fair" portion of this mess. We want closure, for the pain to end, for the magic of being loved to return. We may not feel like it's possible, we can't or won't let go of the connection that binds us to our past lives. Change is hard, scary, and filled with uncertainty.

The past was familiar, even if it was dysfunctional and painful. I think it just takes time and once a few things fall into place we'll begin to feel more alive again. We have to completely sever the connection to our past being the source of our perceived future happiness.

You are not alone. Know that, and with that knowledge remember that we survived what happened, and there is life after pain and disappointment. It's just wrapped in a different package, one of our making.

I'm terrified of this new chapter in my life. I'm too old to want major changes but I had to decide the train is leaving the station with or without me. Get on the future train, or be dragged behind it living a half life. Life is all about new adventures, new memories and figuring out what makes you happy.

[This message edited by Muggle at 6:46 PM, May 30th (Saturday)]

learningtofeel posted 5/31/2020 00:08 AM

I think sometimes when there is an external thing that can hold the boundary for you it then allows you to let go and have your feelings.

For me, I was 24/7 pissed off for two solid months between the last D-day and the day the petition was filed. On the day I received notice that the petition was filed, my anger dissipated and I started to feel sad. I think that was possible because then the courts were holding the boundary and I didn't have to be angry in order to hold it.

Maybe that happened to you once it sank in that the divorce was final. Now it's legally over, and your heart can grieve.

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