The Emotional Process of Separation or Divorce
The emotional process for a divorce or separation is very different for everyone and most times, the couples we see coming in for mediation are in very different places emotionally as individuals. One person in the relationship has made the decision to divorce or separate and the other person is still in “save the marriage” mode.
How do people who are in very different emotional places with the relationship mediate? It isn’t easy when one of the spouses is already “checked out” of the marriage and the other spouse in still holding on and wants to work on things. A majority of the time, the spouse who has initiated the divorce or separation has made the decision a long time ago and has had months and even times years to process the dissolution of the marriage in their head and their heart. The spouse playing catch up has a lot of mental processing to do and needs time to wrap their head and heart around what is happening. Couples going through such a huge life change are caught in a cycle of grief not un-similar to the cycle of grief people go through from the death of a loved one. The marriage is over, it is a loss whether you want the divorce or not.
Mediation for divorce or separation allows the couple to work at a pace that is best for both people involved, allowing the spouse who has not had as much time to process what is happening the pace and time to be involved in the decision making while still allowing the spouse who is ready to move forward to start making the decisions necessary for the separation or divorce. Mediation also provides the privacy and environment that promotes good communication and healthy decision making along with processing the loss of the relationship. Mediation facilitates not only the divorce or separation process, but also the emotional process critical for people to move forward.