Breakups are always difficult, no matter the reason or the person who decides to break up. A separation destroys the traditional family paradigm, as well as the basic assumptions of family identity. It forces you to reframe, rethink and see the world in a different way. Over time, divorce took on a different meaning, evolving into greater acceptance and better adjustment to the post-divorce situation. However, it continues to be a difficult topic, both for its impact on themselves and those around them.
The reasons for a separation can be many: chronic conflicts, dissatisfaction, difficulty in managing parents, infidelity, problems with families of origin, violence or difficulty in reconciling individual characteristics.
Ending a relationship is ending a life’s work, what you once dreamed of and idealized. It is the interruption of a path, the change of direction, the reformulation of the plan and, above all, the readjustment. Readjust ideas, beliefs, lifestyles, routines, expectations, dreams, lifestyles, etc.
When we marry or are together with someone, we organize our lives around the same relationship. Tasks begin to be shared between the elements of the couple. This separation does not require formal planning, but the couple creates their own “implicit contract” that regulates “the operating rules.” When someone announces their intention to divorce, it’s like someone pulling out the rug and making us fall to the ground, completely helpless.
Man is a creature of habits, and the loss of comfort that these habits entail creates a very great sense of disorganization. Getting used to a new rhythm, a new routine, a new commute from home to work, a new house and even… a new couch. In this situation, even the details cause us discomfort and disorganization. It is also this disorganization that causes many people to try to renew their relationships, regret it and try to get back together. Comfort zones, however uncomfortable, are still comfort zones. Sometimes we prefer the discomfort of what we already know to the uncertainty of the unknown.
Even the best divorces involve crisis, disorganization, and recovery. And all crises cause pain, but they are necessary for change and personal growth, and not every crisis is disruptive.
Divorce is not a single event, but a process that includes many stages and transitions. The first phase occurs between one and two years, it is a phase of stress, adaptation, change and great excitement. After a year, you may experience more stress and discouragement than at first. When anger subsides, it can give way to a more depressed state or greater apathy. After two years, there tends to be significant recovery, and after three to four years, life is back to normal. Coping with multiple losses is difficult and overwhelming, although these losses are experienced differently by those who “leave” and those who “stay.” We are used to hearing about “grieving” when someone dies, however, every loss involves a grieving process, be it death, loss of a job, loss of a health condition, loss of a relationship… Therefore, when there is a separation, there must be a grieving process, regardless of who made the decision.
A successful divorce is one where there is low conflict and ease of settlement. Success involves creating opportunities for communication, calmness in decision-making processes, understanding and acceptance of separation.
In turn, an unsuccessful divorce is one where there is intense conflict and poor communication. Sometimes there are also situations of violence and infidelity. The intervention of the court system in the divorce process tends to prolong the separation process, keeping the issues open and making it difficult to resume an independent life.
A successful divorce is one that results in the transition from a married couple to a parenting couple.
How to conduct a divorce proceeding?
– Limit the opinion of others about the relationship: this is a couple’s decision.
– Realize that when there is violence, there is no love, separation is the best option.
– Relationships should not be maintained based on the existence of children.
– It is healthier to grow up with happy but separated parents than together but unhappy.
– Prioritize parent communication.
– Avoid triangulation: no one needs to take on the role of “message boy”.
– Consider court proceedings as a last resort.
– Avoid hostile encounters.
– Activation of resources (social and family network, therapy, among others).
– Assume each other’s part at the end of the relationship.
– Continue to be a parenting couple
– Realize that grieving is a difficult process and that it takes time to adjust to the new reality.
– Don’t interfere in other people’s new life.
– Do not stalk the other person with messages, phone calls, social networks and/or others
– What seems like a disaster at first becomes easier to manage with time.
An article by clinical psychologist Catarina Lucas.