4 Emotions You May Experience During Your Divorce

Though nearly half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, making the affair a common occurrence, it is still a major life event. Couples who legally terminate their marriage are going to experience a range of intense emotions. It does not matter whether you are going through a contested or uncontested divorce, whether the split was expected or not, or how long you have been married – you will need a good amount of time to process what you are feeling. 

Though the list below is not nearly exhaustive, do not be surprised if you experience one, multiple, or all of the emotions described below. 

  1. Shock. While both spouses have a sense that all is not right in their marriage right before the “d” word is uttered for the first time, many people are nonetheless blindsided when they are served with a divorce petition. Receiving this document without expecting it is sure to trigger an intense shock to the system. In these instances, the exposed lack of communication was likely a contributing factor to the decision by one spouse to divorce. 
  2. Sadness or grief. People often experience this emotion after they have had some time to process everything. Once the situation has sunk in, people realize that, no matter how much the divorce was needed, they are experiencing a loss. 
  3. Anger. This is an exceedingly common emotion experienced by those going through a divorce. There is often pent-up anger that began brewing during the marriage that, up to a certain point, went unexpressed. When the divorce process gets rolling, many take that as their cue to finally let out the feelings they’ve bottled up inside. 
  4. Relief. Those who initiate the divorce often feel some sense of relief and joy when they put the divorce wheels in motion. You might be surprised at how good you feel. However, just to temper expectations, understand this is just one of many emotions you will experience during the emotional roller coaster. 


Many websites claim that everyone who goes through divorce goes through the “five stages.”  While there is a lot of truth to this process, not everyone will experience every stage; sometimes, people going through a divorce will experience most or all of the emotions at once. 

Everyone processes divorce differently, which is why it is important to partner with a caring, understanding, and personable family law attorney who will treat your case as if it were his firm’s only one. To discuss your options with a knowledgeable North Alabama lawyer today, call John M. Totten, P.C. Attorney at Law at 256-233-2025.

John M. Totten