A divorce or breakup of a relationship is painful because it represents the loss, not just of the relationship, but also of shared dreams and commitments. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hope for the future. When these relationships fail, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and grief.
Divorce of our parents may mean losing our school, losing our friends, losing frequent contact with one of our parents, and perhaps losing some love, attention, and needed discipline from both of our parents.
A breakup or divorce launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: our routine and responsibilities, our home, our relationships with extended family and friends, our social status, and even our identity. A breakup brings uncertainty about the future. What will life be like without our partner? Will we find someone else? Will we end up alone? These unknowns often seem worse than an unhappy relationship. At its core, divorce means the loss of our hopes and dreams for our self, for our family, and for our children.
Divorce grief can also be complicated, often because there may be other emotions at play, such as anger. Friends may not know what to say, may take sides, or get angry with you or your ex spouse. We may not even know that we are grieving, because of the anger or fear that we are feeling. Our immediate family members may grieve in different ways.