What are the stages of divorce?

What are the five stages of divorce?

When two people decide to get married, they commit to spending their life together. It shouldn’t be taken lightly and entered into the marriage after much consideration and thought. 

However, couples with the best future intentions sometimes head towards divorce. Despite their current feelings, some couples stay together to honor their original commitment. But in such a situation, the best mental and emotional health decision will be to go their separate ways. 

When a couple decides to go through a divorce, they experience the five different stages of divorce. The five stages of divorce are emotionally challenging, but you must go through them to leave your past behind. 

Once you understand the five stages of divorce, it will become easy for you to get rid of the past. 

Five stages of grief in a divorce

In most cases, the emotional impact of divorce follows the five stages of grief. These five stages include grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 


Denial is the first stage of divorce. Being in denial doesn’t mean a person is not accepting the truth but is in the processing step of what is happening around them. For them, it’s just too much to digest. 

In the denial stage, the spouse will think that their partner is angry and everything will be sorted out after some time, or they may think everything will be sorted out once they apologize.

They can be in denial without realizing that the suffering is finally ending or in fear and confusion. Some people think that no matter what, they have to make their marriage work out. Such people have headaches and get stressed out. Every person has a different way of grieving with different intensities.


Becoming angry is the second stage of divorce in grief. It’s when you start accepting the reality but blame your partner for breaking the marriage. It’s generally a very stressful stage in which the couple does and says things they regret later. 

The anger can be due to the betrayal feeling, disappointment, and frustration that things didn’t work out the way you wanted. 


The third stage is the bargaining stage, in which the spouse who opposes divorce will try to offer to change themselves to avoid the separation. It’s another normal response in which the spouse tries manipulating things to take control of the situation that he hadn’t had. 

Sometimes, bargaining does things positively, and the couple changes things better, saving the situation and making things even better than before. Sometimes, the outburst of emotions and feelings must be vented before the separation.

However, staying in this stage for a long time will make your relationship more toxic and empower lousy behavior like the side relationship. It is essential to know that both parties must do their best to make themselves and others happy. 


It’s normal to feel sad when you are having a divorce. With time, we realize that we are becoming strangers to the person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives. 

Such thoughts come with hopelessness and depression. It’s normal to feel depressed about losing someone you hope to be with forever. Time will take away the feeling of sadness. But if you are stuck with it for a more extended period, it’s always better to get help from mental health professionals.

Some common signs of depression include:

  • Despair feeling
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Increase in alcohol usage
  • Loss of appetite and sleep
  • Loss of interest in social activities


The stage of acceptance is where you come to terms with the divorce. When you reach this stage, you will start feeling better. Your faith in a better future will return. At this stage, you will start making better plans for the future, like finding a new apartment, planning a vacation, or getting interested in a new person. 

Accepting divorce will not make you instantly happy but will help you get over the past. It means you are moving on with your life to unfold what the future holds for you. You accept that divorce is inevitable and authentic and are okay with it now. 

Remind yourself that you are not alone. Join friends and family gatherings and parties, make new friends, and if you need help, talk to a professional. 

Don’t forget about self-care. Eat well, exercise regularly, and give yourself a treat. 

Do spouses experience the stages at the same time?

Not usually. Generally, the spouse initiating the divorce is mentally ready, and the respondent will be reluctant to give up. Some people oppose the idea of divorce till they are forced to by the court.

The respondent is so shocked by this sudden significant change in his life that he will start blaming others. They will call them heartless as they don’t know how long it takes the other person to think of this. 

It might be possible that the initiating spouse has already overcome all stages of divorce while he was considering introducing the topic of divorce to them. Such things usually go unnoticed by the responding spouse.

What If I feel stuck in the 5 stages of divorce grief?

You will experience a bundle of emotions when you are grieving the divorce. It’s essential to allow ourselves to feel the pain and go through the 5 stages of grief in divorce. And if you feel stuck along the path, get help. 

It’s essential to ask for help from a therapist and psychologist. When the divorce occurs, you will have the chance to understand yourself. Slowly, you will get to know your flaws, abilities, and strengths. 


What is the most challenging stage of divorce?

The separation period is the most challenging stage of divorce. It is the time between the start of the divorce procedure and when you are divorced. 

What are the five stages of divorce?

The five stages of divorce grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are the steps a person must go through to heal from this significant loss. These feelings don’t have any specific order. 

Why is divorce more painful?

Future expectations and plans start disappearing with the loss of a spouse. The pain of divorce can make a person hopeless about their stability, dreams, and plans. These are the essential things in anyone’s life; losing them is painful.


You must understand the five stages of divorce to prepare yourself for them and get through this emotionally damaging period. 

The divorcing couple will find themselves in each stage at least once. Some may go through two stages at once. These feelings have no specific order, as everyone has their perspective.

Remember to be kind to yourself. Take care of your mental and physical health. Pay attention to your eating habits. Choose healthy foods. Avoid sugar and alcohol, and don’t hesitate if you need help.

It’s difficult, but I believe you will get through this. Be strong!

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