Understanding divorce as a significant life changing event, managing the stress of divorce and steps to building a life after marriage.
Throughout life we pass through certain life phases, where a person experiences relative periods of stability and continuity, passing through this stage of life with relative ease and high life satisfaction. As well as periods of stability, people experience periods of instability and change which may be a time of uncertainty, stress and turmoil.
The occurrence of a significant negative life event such as divorce brings about significant life stress and turmoil. According to Homes and Rahe’s Social Readjustment Rating Scale, divorce was rated second after death of a spouse, as having a highly disruptive impact on life, with a high level of readjustment required after carrying out a divorce. As it currently stands, 50% of all marriages in the US end in divorce. Divorce as a form of relationship dissolution may bring about:
- Significant disruption in daily routine and living arrangements, requiring major reevaluation and restructuring
- Identity crisis, requiring a reassessment of personal identity outside of the marriage, and the emerging identity as a single person
- Re-evaluation and development of future goals, outside of the marriage
- A breakup and disruption of social network of friends, once as a married couple
- Experiencing intense negative emotions of stress, anxiety, depression, betrayal and mourning a loss
- Financial hardship and stress
It is important to understand that no matter how difficult this negative life event is, there are coping strategies and ways to deal with the experiences that accompany divorce, as well as framing the event in a more positive way, by embracing the possibility of new opportunity and revising your current goals and setting new goals for the future. Areas to focus on which will help manage the stress of divorce and help establish new life as a single person after divorce include:
Due to divorce being framed as a significant life event bringing about major personal and lifestyle change, signifying the beginning of a new period in life, it is important to reevaluate your identity in this new phase of your life, removed from your previous marriage and partner. Divorce affects the concept of personal identity, as you are no longer a wife or husband to your spouse, which you could previously identify with. Reconnect with your interests, values, personality traits and everything you are as a person. Ask yourself, “what do you want your future to look like?” and “Who am I?”. It is also important to focus on other roles you can identify with in your new life, which may include single parent, a professional, sporting team or community club member etc. Really take the time to assess and build your new identity, thinking deeply and critically, building a future based on your strengths and personal interests.
Build a New Social Network
According to Network theory, relationship dissolution such as divorce is framed as a life stage or transition, with an emphasis being placed on social support networks a person has built around them. Accompanying divorce is usually a breakdown in the network of friends that the couple was embedded in. It is important to now surround yourself with family and friends who are important to you in the present and for the future, who have a genuine interest in your wellbeing, and who can help you through this difficult time. Do not surround yourself with people who are negative influences, who you may have been friends with as a couple, but the relationship has now changed for the worse since the divorce. It is also important to ensure you do not isolate yourself from people, even if you do not feel like opening up and socialising. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network is invaluable, and will help ease any feelings of anxiety, stress or loneliness you may be experiencing due to the divorce.
Invest in Self- Care and Your Future Self
Now is a time to identify what it is that supports and nourishes you as a person. It is important to develop a self-care plan that is especially useful for you during stressful life events, and divorce is considered one of the most stressful events to occur in an adult’s life. Identify what helps you de-stress, what helps boost your confidence and self-esteem. Ensure you are living a healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet and regular exercise, reevaluate your daily chore load in such a way that it does not overwhelm you now, and sort out your finances so they are not an additional stress.
If you would like to speak with a therapist regarding divorce, you are welcome to contact Vision Counselling and Psychology on 1300 184 746 or you can book an appointment online. To discuss your situation or find out more about individual counselling services in Perth, please contact us.Article Title: Divorce as a Significant Life Transitional Event Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth Western Australia Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au Published: 05/03/2015 “How to Cope with the Stress of Divorce”, (Stress Management 4 Women), Available:https://www.stress-management-4-women.com/stress-of-divorce.html (Accessed: 2014, October 29).
“Life Long Development and Lifelong Learning”, (Stress Management 4 Women), Available:https://www.stress-management-4-women.com/stress-of-divorce.html (Accessed: 2014, October 29).