Divorce has been described by Abigail Trafford in her classic, Crazy Time, as a “savage emotional journey.” However painful or challenging it may be for you, the one thing you share with all who have experienced the end of a relationship is that you have a period of transition before you. Almost every one of the dozen or so major studies of the process observe that a full emotional recovery from divorce takes about two years. One reason I am so critical of the conventional legal divorce process is that it almost inevitably gouges emotional wounds in peoples' psyches that forces them to spend lots of energy healing from those rather than getting on with the difficult business of navigating the divorce transition. Almost always, the end of a marriage is not mutual. One person withdraws from the marriage before the other and the experiences of the "leaver" and the "one who is left" are very different. For the one who has left, there is a desire to have things resolved and settled, so the state of limbo created by a lingering legal divorce without completion can be very destabilizing. The leaver's strongest emotional experience is guilt. For the one who has been left, the process is usually much more challenging. There are strong feelings of anger, grief or betrayal. Confusion is the order of the day. It will take time to wrap one's mind around this new and very radical reality in their lives. The person who has left needs help slowing down to let the other partner catch up emotionally, while the person who is left needs help in finding stability and being able to make decisions that will affect them for years to come. You may find the links below to articles I have written over the years on divorce and divorce recovery to be helpful. I also invite you to visit my blog for my most current thoughts about the emotional divorce process. Finally, it will come as no surprise to anyone visiting this website that I believe conventional ways of handling the legal divorce are unspeakably destructive. I have been known to call it "torture," for the mounds of avoidable pain it inflicts on good people. That is why I also invite you to visit my pages describing mediation and collaborative law to explore additional excellent approaches to resolving the many issues that arise in the legal divorce.
Having worked for over 20 years with individuals facing this challenge, I understand the journey for both. It is my first goal, and deep commitment, to create a safe place for you to share your feelings, your doubts, your frustrations and your hopes. I can help you understand the steps you will take and the common pitfalls you will encounter. Together, we will develop your tools for improving communication and managing conflict with your former partner. If you have children, we can work together to fashion an approach to parenting which will work for you and your kids. We will explore your strengths and map out a transition which fits your needs and abilities to cope. Finally, we will work to put the story of your relationship and its end into a perspective that makes sense for you and allows you to move toward the next chapter of your life. If necessary, I can help you communicate your needs to those around you, including your lawyer and former partner.
Special attention will be paid to issues involving:
- Concerns about substance abuse
- Claims of emotional or physical abuse
- Managing your responses to conflict
- Stressed interpersonal relationships
Examples of articles I have written about the challenges of divorce – and some solutions – follow:
The Emotional Divorce Process
Research on Divorce
The Client’s Perspective on Legal Divorce
The Sad Case of Divorce and Amnesia