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The Emotions of Getting Divorced

Why is it so hard to get divorced? While we often talk about the business, financial, and legal aspects of getting divorced the emotions of getting divorced often get left out of the picture. Divorces can be difficult because oftentimes each party is in a different place emotionally. Usually there is the "walk away spouse" or the "leaver" and the other party plays the role of the "left behind spouse" or the "leaver."

If you are the walk away spouse you can be uncommunicative, cold and distant, you spend large amounts of time away from home, you are irritable and impatient and the divorce just isn't moving fast enough for you. You are the one calling me every other day to ask me for a status update on your case.

On the other hand the left behind spouse is in shock, is looking for ways to save the marriage, becomes clingy, often begging and pleading for another chance, exhibits bizarre behavior such as stalking and harassing, feels anxious about the future, and tries absolutely everything to delay the divorce process. The divorce is going way too fast for them. You are the one who calls me crying, whining, begging and pleading to do everything I can to slow things down.

Generally the left behind spouse is the one causing the most trouble because they will do anything to get the marriage back, are in a lot of emotional pain and they can be angry for not seeing the warning signs that divorce was imminent. This is the party that refuses to move out of the marital home, won't let the other party see the kids, and generally does everything possible to disrupt the divorce from moving forward. It is important to understand that the walk away spouse isn't a bad person. The walk away spouse has just already divorced himself or herself from the marriage. They are not in as much pain as the left behind spouse. Why is all of this important? If you understand the roles that each of you plays in divorcing then you also have the ability to view the divorce from your spouse's shoes. The left behind spouse needs to focus on getting control of his/her emotions and the walk away spouse needs to focus on being compassionate about the fact that the left behind party is still processing his/her emotions about the divorce. When in doubt get a good lawyer and talk it out.