• Doc David

Effects of Divorce

It's often understood that while divorce is between two people, there are numerous others involved peripherally. It's hard to know the long-term impact at times. It's just important to know there is an impact short and long-term. Here are some things to think about when contemplating divorce. If you can work through whatever the issues are, that will probably be ideal in the long run.

1. Finances: Money becomes a huge problem for most people. Divorces can be costly. Some people reduce costs by using a mediator, but overall it's a spendy process to go through.

2. Workplace: When you're going through a divorce your attnetion is divided. This could have ramifications for your workplace. You may be less focused or distracted.

3. Family Planning: This will be more difficult because the work of 2 gets narrowed down to one.

4. Emotional upset: Many people go through a range of emotions when divorcing. These are often unexpected, simply because many think divorce will equal freedom and happiness.

All The Feels

When you are going through a breakup in your marriage you can expect to have a variety of feelings. The following emotions are going to be normal.

• Poor concentration

• Nightmares

• Sleep problems

• Fatigue

• Mood swings

• Feeling tense

• Nausea

• Gaining/losing weight

• Feeling nervous

• Somatic complaints

The author Judith Wallerstein describes the experience of 60 divorcing families. She outlines the following key issues for children of divorcing families:

Fear: Divorce is frightening to children, and they often respond with feelings of anxiety. Children feel more vulnerable after a divorce because their world has become less reliable.

Fear of abandonment: One-third of the children in Wallerstein’s study feared that their mother would abandon them.

Confusion: The children in divorcing families become confused about their relationships with their parents. They see their parents’ relationship fall apart and sometimes conclude that their own relationship with one or both parents could dissolve, as well.

Sadness and yearning: More than half of the children in the Wallerstein study were openly tearful and sad in response to the losses they experienced. Two-thirds expressed yearning, for example: “We need a daddy. We don’t have a daddy.”

Worry: In Wallerstein’s study, many children expressed concern about one or both of their parents’ ability to cope with their lives. They wondered if their parents were emotionally stable and able to make it on their own.

Over half of the children expressed deep worries about their mothers. They witnessed their mothers’ mood swings and emotional reactions to the events in the family. Some children worried about suicide and accidents.

Feeling rejected: Many children who experience a parent moving out of the home feel rejected by the parent. The parent is usually preoccupied with problems and pays less attention to the child than in the past. Many children take this personally and feel rejected and unlovable.

Loneliness: Since both parents are preoccupied with their problems during the divorce process, they are less able to fulfill their parenting roles with their children. The children may feel like their parents are slipping away from them. If the father has moved away and the mother has gone off to work, the children often feel profound loneliness.

Divided loyalties: The children may (accurately) perceive that the parents are in a battle with each other. The children feel pulled in both directions and may resolve the dilemma by siding with one parent against another.

Anger: Children in divorcing families experience more aggression and anger. It is often directed toward the parents, expressed in tantrums, irritability, resentment, and verbal attacks. Many children see the divorce as a selfish act and feel very resentful about the resulting destruction of their lives.

I share this post, because many simply think that "I'll divorce and things will get better." They may get better in the short-term, but often the long-term is where the challenges happen. If you find yourself to be stuck in this process, feel free to reach out to me in my Olympia or Vancouver offices and we can talk more about it.

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