Grief and Loss of Divorce

Dealing with grief and loss related to divorce can be a harsh reality.   Keying in on the kinds of losses that are creating a psychological and emotional grief process can help one navigating through the difficulties. It’s better to comprehend what is happening, than to flounder in emotional darkness.

(To better understand grief process please read Divorce and the Stages of Grief)

A countdown of the TOP TEN areas of loss that many divorcing people experience.

10. Community

Whether it is a congregation, bridge club, bowling team or you-name-it… often the couple getting divorced is no longer interested in participating together.  Thus one or both of them ends up losing the community activity and its support.

 9. Relationships

Many people experience friends and family feeling that they need to “take sides” and choose one person over the other. The loss of friendships and even positive relationships with your ex’s family can be painful.

 8. Sense of security

People who like stability and predictability can have their sense of security shaken while going through a divorce.  For some, the idea that “I’m on my own now” can be a frightening experience.  Even though the sense of security may have been an illusion… the loss of that feeling is something that many grieve.

 7. Finances

Let’s face it – it costs more to run two households than one, therefore most people need to live on less after the divorce.  Property is divided, child support and/or spousal maintenance is paid, and one or both people experience a lower standard of living.  It’s always hard to cut back and the loss of finances can create ongoing stress.

 6. Partnership

Few people go into a marriage believing that it is sure to end.  Most are in love and want to share their lives with the beloved.   When that love doesn’t last or is betrayed… the loss of a partner can be devastating.

 5. Children

Losing daily contact with your children can be very painful.  And the pain is multiplied when parents don’t have confidence that the children will be well cared for with their other parent.   Complications that may breed anxiety accompany this loss.

 4. Hopes and dreams

When your hopes and dreams lie shattered on the ground like so many shards of glass, many struggle thinking: “This is NOT the plan I had for my life!”   Don’t take this one lightly, the loss of hopes easily leads to depression.  If the depression is deep or long lasting, please seek help.

 3. Self identity

The old stereotype states that men define themselves according to their career and women define themselves according to their relationships.  But both men and women can experience a feeling of “Who am I?” following the loss of a marriage.  The loss of life’s most significant relationship can shake one’s self identity.

 2. Beliefs

Some people experience a powerful inner earthquake related to their faith. Two of the questions that may be troublesome are:   Did God let me down?  Did I let God down?  Anger at God or carrying a load of guilt can both be responses to the loss of beliefs that were easy to hold in better days.

 1. Worldview

Some experience that the loss of the marriage shakes them to their very core. Nothing seems to work the way they thought it did.  Everything they thought to be true, they are forced to reconsider.


When a person experiences losses like these, it can be extremely valuable to seek the help of a support group, pastor, friend, or professional counselor/therapist.  Be sure to attend to your inner needs even as you deal with all the external changes going on in your life.  You are worth it!

1 Comment

  1. […] it a powerful sense of loss.  This loss throws people into a grieving process.  (Also see the Top Ten Losses People Grieve when Divorcing.)  Here is a seven stage model for understanding the grief most people experience when going […]

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