When you were planning to say your marriage vows—your “I do’s,” you never planned for the day you would be in divorce court saying, “I do not.” When people map out their wedding, honeymoon, and future together, separation and/or divorce are not usually in that picture. But most people know from experience that life does not always go according to plan. About 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The news is worse for second and third marriages: approximately 60 and 70 percent respectively.
“Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”
—Amy Poehler, Yes Please
If you are one of the many people going through a divorce, your world may be spinning too. The end of a marriage means many other losses are incurred. Recovering from loss is never a simple or easy process. It takes courage to acknowledge the pain and embrace a new future, but people who do so are often able to rebuild a happy, fulfilling future. And no one has to go through the recovery process alone. Therapists and counselors can provide support and guidance, often when it is most needed.
That is why Lehigh Valley Counselors offers divorce recovery therapy and counseling. We know that divorce means the end of a marriage—not the end of a fulfilling, happy life. On the other side of pain and loss, new adventures and healthy relationships often are waiting.
Why Do Couples Split?
The psychologist John Gottman studied marriages and divorces for decades, and he was able to identify a couple’s future divorce with startling accuracy. How did Dr. Gottman know a couple’s marriage would not last? The surface circumstances of why couples split is infinite—adultery, financial irresponsibility, emotional affairs, workaholism, alcoholism, parenting differences, neglect, health challenges, in-law tensions, and on, and on. But underneath the surface of these particular scenarios, Dr. Gottman found at least one of four factors at play that undermined the marriage. He called these, “the four horsemen of the apocalypse,” and one or all four are almost always present when a couple divorces:
- Contempt:Disrespect by one or both partners.
- Defensiveness:Refusing to accept responsibility for one’s own attitudes and actions.
- Criticism:Negativity, nit-picking, and judgments.
- Stonewalling:Minimizing, avoiding, or denying problems.
Some couples overcome adultery while others end their marriage. Some couples work through financial stress while others split. What’s the difference? Usually one or more of the four horsemen. In most cases, it is not the problem itself that harms the relationship, it is the underlying disrespect, defensiveness, negativity, and/or stonewalling. These are truly toxic behaviors.
More likely than not, one or more of the four horsemen was present within your former marriage. When people come out of a toxic relationship with toxic behaviors, they often have wounds that need healing. Divorce recovery is an intentional time during and after a marriage ends to find healing for those wounds.
Divorce Recovery: Finding Healing and Hope
Divorce recovery has two main goals: Looking back to heal past wounds from the marriage. Looking forward to a new, bright future.
Achieving these goals will look differently for each person. Many factors influence a person’s journey toward healing after their marriage ends, such as,
- Whether children are involved.
- If the divorce surprised one or both partners.
- Whether the partners have formed new, romantic relationships.
- The circumstances that led to the divorce.
- The status of finances.
- How long the relationship had lasted.
- Each partner’s personality, physical health, age, and mental health.
Practically, divorce brings many new realities to face, and a skilled counselor can help people think through important decisions regarding custody of their children, navigating extended family and in-laws, legal battles, housing circumstances, and changed friendships.
Emotionally, people may need help processing their grief. The key is to allow oneself to feel anything that may arise. A counselor often provides support during the grief cycle. Before landing on acceptance, people often feel guilt, fear, loneliness, anger, anxiety, confusion, and possibly even depression.
There is no easy road to recovery after a divorce. Missteps are normal. It is okay to fall down and get back up again. It is also okay to ask for help.
Divorce Recovery at Lehigh Valley Counselors
Anyone who has recently finalized a divorce or is in the process knows how difficult the road is to recover a normal, vibrant life. Anyone who has come through the challenges of divorce recovery knows how building a new life is worth the effort.
Lehigh Valley Counselors offers counseling for divorce recovery because no one has to grieve their losses and rebuild their future alone. Our therapists understand the pitfalls of divorce recovery, and have helped many people overcome those pitfalls.
Are you ready to speak with a counselor about your divorce? When you call Lehigh Valley Counselors, a scheduling specialist will answer and help you schedule an appointment. There is no voicemail and no automated directory—just real people helping real people. We also offer weekend and evening sessions and accept many insurance plans.
Has divorce spun your world around? Call Lehigh Valley Counselors today.