I'm Going Through a Divorce...Are My Feelings Normal?
One of the most common questions that women ask me about going through a divorce is “Are my feelings normal?” Some days you may think you are doing OK, that this is easier than you thought. Other days, you may find yourself curled up in a ball on your bed sobbing your eyes out wondering how you are going to make it through this. Some days you wonder how you ever married your former spouse and you hate his guts. Other days, you find yourself yearning for him with every fiber of your being…no matter what caused the divorce, you would go back to him in a heartbeat.
If you are experiencing any of these feelings, you are normal. If you aren’t experiencing any of these feelings, you are normal. Sadness, relief, depression, anger, hope, happiness, anxiety, fear and grief are all feelings people talk about experiencing when they are going through a divorce. The truth is, WHATEVER you are feeling is “normal.”
Normal is defined as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
There is NOT a standard, usual or typical way to feel when you are going through a divorce. A divorce is an emotional process. Whenever emotions are involved, it gets complicated. I often say that it takes our hearts much longer than our heads to understand a divorce. Our heads know all the reasons why we should no longer be in love or married to this person. Our hearts, however, still feel all the reasons why we fell in love with them in the first place.
One of the reasons that you can vacillate between loving and hating your soon to be former spouse is your head and your heart are in conflict. He may have cheated on you and left you for his girlfriend but when you are lying in bed at night alone, your heart is softly reminding you of the promises he made to you in better days. The roses you would wake and find on your pillow in the morning. That time he surprised you with a painting you had seen on vacation months before and loved.
People who haven’t gone through a divorce will be the first to tell you about what they think “normal” behavior is when you are going through one. “You shouldn’t still be crying, it’s been 2 months!” “Why aren’t you over it yet?” “You are the one who wanted the divorce, why are you upset about it?” “You seem pretty happy for someone who is going through a divorce.”
While people typically mean well, their opinions are just that…THEIR OPINIONS. Each divorce is as unique as the people going through it. And everyone that goes through a divorce, will go through the process and subsequent healing a little differently. While there are some core fundamental things that you need to do to heal, the timeline and process for you are probably going to be different than they would be for me or anyone else.
The best thing you can do is understand that whatever you are feeling IS normal. It takes time to work through the raw emotions of a divorce. Take it one day at a time and give yourself some grace if none of it makes sense for a while. Cry when you need to cry and try to find reasons to laugh every day! Personally, I’ve found beating the hell out of an inanimate object does wonders while both laughing and crying!
Sometimes just knowing that what you are feeling is OK helps. It gets better. In time, your emotions won’t be quite so volatile and you will find a new “normal” for you!
Hi! I’m Keri Lauderdale Olson, also known as Recovering Cinderella, www.recoveringcinderella.com. I am not a therapist (although I can probably use one) or divorce professional. I am simply a woman who has lived through divorce and wants to help support other women through their own divorces with honesty, humor and a healthy dose of reality. Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest information on my online courses, private support group and blogs!