What are the Possible Consequences of Divorce for Adults
This is the final page of this 7 page document. The report was developed by the Utah Commission on Marriage. They have published this information as a service to the public. Marriage counselors in this country, including cape coral marriage counselors, value the wealth of information assembled in this work. For footnote references, see the original report at strongermarriage.org
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F. What are the possible consequences of divorce for your relationship with your ex-spouse?
It's often easier to end a relationship legally than it is to end it emotionally. [Marriage counseling ft myers couldn't agree more]. A court will divide up property and specify other responsibilities, such as child support. But a court cannot decree a clean emotional break. Despite divorce, many have a continuing emotional attachment to their ex-spouses.60 This was clear in our interviews with those who had experienced a divorce. Researchers have found two kinds of continuing attachment. One is a continuing preoccupation with and/or dependence on the ex-spouse. A second kind of emotional attachment is ongoing hostility towards the ex-spouse. Researchers have found that continuing emotional attachment to an ex-spouse is associated with a variety of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, loneliness, anger, and feelings of powerlessness.61
Not surprisingly, hostile emotional attachments have the most negative effects. Researchers have found that the more hostile the divorce process and the higher the level of conflict after the divorce, the harder it is for individuals to adjust in healthy ways and move on with their lives. This also makes it harder on the children.62 Researchers have found that some couples seem unable to let go of their hostility and conflict even a decade later.63 It's helpful for both adults and children when ex-spouses try hard to hold down natural feelings of anger during the divorce and let those feelings go after the divorce. Of course, this is easier said than done. In these cases, personal counseling to deal with the emotional transitions associated with the divorce can be very helpful. [Such feelings only go to show how deep our attachment bonds run and why divorce is so difficult says naples fl marriage counselors].
One such couple we know were married in their teenage years. But they soon divorced. Their struggles to co-parent their children after divorce escalated as each thought the other was being unreasonable. The mother resented any visitation with the father and the father fought in court often to enforce his visitation. They rarely spoke to one another and used their attorney and the court to communicate and make decisions for their family. [Not only is this emotionally stressful, but expensive as well. Money that could be spend on the children, notes cape coral marriage counseling, if spent on lawyers fees].
What may be surprising to some is that many individuals struggle to cut their more positive emotional ties to their ex-spouse. They continue to be dependent on them for emotional support and practical matters. They remain deeply attached even though the legal ties have been broken. Researchers have found continuing strong attachment to the ex- spouse makes it harder for adults to adjust to divorce and can contribute to psychological problems.64 [This is a painful paradox notes naples marriage counseling]. Laura, as you just read, was struggling to move on because of how emotionally attached she was to her ex-spouse:
It's been two years since my divorce and you can see that we still have a major connection, and it's terrible. It's terrible to feel that way. Because even now we talk, "What the heck have we done?" . It's still really, really hard. I really, really did and still do, deeply, deeply love him. . Even now, it's just been a nightmare because we're still so connected. ...You've told this person everything in life. He knows everything about you. ... He's called me about a bazillion times to tell me how unhappy he is. In the 3 years since the separation and the 2 years since the divorce, the longest that we have gone without speaking to each other has been one week. . I don't think there's another man on the earth that I care for as much as I do for him. But people don't understand that, they don't understand those feelings. ... And this is coming from a girl that was cheated on; he got another woman pregnant, and he really, really betrayed me. [This is a more complicated case, given the birth of a child from another woman. But as a general principle, every effort to save a marriage before divorce occurs ought to be made, says marriage counselors fort myers].
To show how complex divorce can be, one study found that sometimes maintaining a good relationship with the ex-spouse and working together to be good parents to the children went hand-in-hand with continuing emotional attachment to the ex-spouse, which makes personal adjustment to divorce harder.65 There is a fine line between maintaining a positive, working relationship with your ex-spouse and remaining emotionally dependent on him or her. Healthy post-divorce relationships have clearly established boundaries that define the former spouse as a co-parent you work with for the good of your children but not as a person you continue to rely on for emotional support.66
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