There is going to be an emotional toll upon anyone who goes through a divorce. There are such stressors as the new financial reality, concerns about the kids, worries about coparenting, and other matters. While there is much written about the emotional impact after the fact, there is now a Denmark-based study that tracks subjects’ wellbeing from the time starting with a simultaneous filing, separation and divorce.
The states here in the U.S. typically have a cooling-off period between the initial filing and the finalization (it’s 91 days here in Colorado), which can be further stretched out by litigation. In Denmark, however, the divorce is finalized once the couple files. So, the couple essentially files and go their separate ways. Of course, there may be additional contact as they co-parent.
The study, unfortunately, found that the newly divorced test subject reported that they were typically in worse emotional and physical shape than the average Dane. The researchers attributed this strain to the prolonged experience of relationship distress that subsequently led to the divorce. The level of conflict is directly related to the level of impact felt by divorced spouses.
Those in distress had such feelings as:
- Shame or guilt that the marriage did not work
- Something’s wrong with them because the marriage did not work
- Stress regarding the conflicts with the spouse
- Stress regarding the future they will have with a divorced coparent
However, it should be noted that those who believed that their marriage was irreparably broken felt better than those who did not believe the marriage was broken.
This is a natural response
It is natural to feel anxiety amidst such cataclysmic changes to one’s life. Psychologists looking at the data also noted that the parent and former spouse could begin their recovery by acknowledging these negative feelings as the start of the recovery process. The silver lining is that the mind naturally starts coming up with new life goals — ones where they are individuals who are married.
Time heals wounds
The researchers went back to study participants and others who divorced but did not participate in the initial research. They found that both groups did see an improvement in their wellbeing a year after the divorce, so time does heal wounds. They also noted that those who had help and support from friends and family bounced back more quickly with stronger recoveries.
A knowledgeable family law attorney can also ease the stress of this transition. Knowing that their lawyer is looking after parental and legal rights can provide peace of mind. They can also handle much of the communication between spouses, which can also reduce the level of stress the client may feel.