The Five Stages of Grief After a Divorce

There are five stages of grief after a divorce. These are the same stages that we often associate with losing a loved one, but they can really apply to any traumatic event. A job loss, sudden break-up, divorce, bad news, or an accident can all result in the same stages of grief. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many people experience these emotions in this order, but that is not always the case. You might move past one stage and think you’re on to the next and suddenly go back a few stages. Grief is a long and difficult process and it is different for everybody. The only thing that can really help is time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to accept your divorce and see it as a fresh start before too long.

The Five Stages of Grief After a Divorce: Going Through the Process


The first of the stages of grief after a divorce is denial. This is when you are still in shock that the divorce is actually a reality. You might find yourself saying that it feels like a bad dream you need to wake up from. This is our brain’s way of giving you some extra time to process.


Anger is the next stage in the five stages of grief after a divorce. You might begin to feel overwhelming anger at your spouse for many of your problems. This is a very normal part of the process and can last a long time. However, it’s important to avoid trash-talking no matter how mad you are.


The next step in the five stages of grief after a divorce is bargaining. This is a stage where you might start reconsidering your decision to get divorced. Maybe things weren’t that bad. Even if the divorce was over something serious like infidelity, you might question yourself.


Depression follows bargaining in the stages of grief after a divorce. This is when the reality of your divorce has finally set in. You might be just now confronting what your future will look like when you’re single. This is a time when many go through depressive stages. Reach out to a supportive friend or find a therapist to help you deal with the depression stage, which can last a while.


Finally, the last of the stages of grief after a divorce is acceptance. This is where you begin to move on from the stress of the divorce. You might begin realizing that there are positives to come out of your situation. Hopefully, you are ready to embrace your new identity and will even feel excited about the next chapter of your life. The five stages of grief after a divorce can take a long time to get through. And each person reacts differently to a shock to their system like a divorce. For some, they might stay in one stage longer than others. Each person has to take their own time and handle things in their own way. Likely, you’ll experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. You might ping back and forth between different stages. Or you might think that you’re past a stage and then suddenly find yourself right back in the middle of it. All of these reactions are perfectly normal and healthy. In time, you’ll find acceptance for your new situation. Hopefully, then you’ll be able to find excitement at the prospect of your new life and see the divorce as a chance to get a fresh start.