Are you having feelings of hopelessness after divorce? It’s a sobering and sad fact. According to most estimates, almost 50% of marriages result in divorce. Obviously, when couples walk down the aisle, the last outcome they expect is that they will be walking out of the union in opposite directions. The consequences of divorce are sometimes shattering regardless of whether the decision was mutual.
Acually,feelings of hopelessness after divorce are normal. The leading causes are; the loss of your pair bond, coping with life changes, depression, and grief. Regardless of how long you spent married, divorce is a significant and painful life experience that you must come to terms within your own time.
Many divorcees may be surprised by the profound emotional reaction they experience once they split from their spouse. Memories, hopes, and dreams are shattered, and your life has changed in every way. Accordingly, here’s why you feel so hopeless and ways that you can move on from the painful experience of divorce.
Why Do We Experience Hopelessness After a Divorce?
Loss of The Pair Bond
Studies show that adult pair bonds such as those in marriage have far-reaching effects on human behavior. It is long known that couples in stable relationships are often healthier. Additionally, they are also less prone to conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Long-lasting social bonds such as ‘pair bonds’ can provide a buffer against stress, depression, and anxiety. Likewise, long-term pair binding even bolsters immune response improves cardiovascular functioning.
In many ways separating from a partner with which you share a deep emotional bond can be something like drug withdrawal. Studies show that monogamous animals cohabiting have increased levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. These actually activate areas of the brain associated with reward.
In fact, neurobiological studies show that the pair bond involves reward, motivation, and emotional circuits. In a recent study on human couples, couples of varying relationship durations were separated from their spouse for a week, and their responses were studied.
The researchers found minor withdrawal-like symptoms such as sleep disturbance and increased cortisol levels indicative of anxiety and stress.
Coping With Life Changes Post Divorce
Ending a marriage is a significant life event and likely to trigger a strong emotional response. Divorce permeates most aspects of your life, including changes:
- To the family structure regarding children
- Changes in domicile and uprooting from familiar settings
- Changes in financial state
- Potential changes in personal relationships.
Even if the divorce was agreed upon, sometimes the logical benefits of divorce, such as freedom to start again and a healthier home environment, may not be enough. Experiencing the downsides of divorce can sometimes overshadow even the best potential outcomes, leading to feelings of hopelessness after divorce.
The research showed that men between 20-64 who were divorced or separated are six times more likely to experience depression than men who remained married. The women in the study also showed a significantly raised incidence of depression. Surprisingly, this was three times higher than their married counterparts.
Depression can manifest in different levels post-divorce and may create feelings of hopelessness after a divorce. A study of 20 depressed patients showed that hopelessness is closely interwoven with the depressive condition. As a result, this is causing an increase in suicidal thoughts and negative expectations about real-life problems.
Signs of Depression
- Feelings of illness of physical symptoms of ill health
- Sleep disturbances such as sleeping too much or insomnia
- Changes in appetite both overeating and lack of appetite
- Seeking relief in alcohol or drugs
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness (seek clinical help ASAP.)
Grieving Your lost Marriage
In fact, losing your partner after a divorce is a crisis that can be similar to losing your spouse by death. Feelings of being hopeless, unloved, and rejected are common feelings. In addition, you may experience deep emotional pain coming to terms with your new status as a divorcee.
Those post-divorce experience several stages of grief with an emotional peak usually within the first six months of separation. However, this brief period may extend up to 2 years, and the stages of grief occur differently in each individual. Often external events trigger this grief, such as wedding anniversaries and holidays.
Stages of grieving
- Shock. You may feel numb, disconnected from daily routines, and find activities meaningless.
- Denial: Some people retreat from reality to form an emotional buffer while preparing to face reality. Particularly, this denial can include dreams of reuniting and unwillingness to make decisions about property and children.
- Anger. Anger is a normal stage of grief where you may feel anger towards your spouse and wish to hurt them. For example, you might remember unresolved marital issues or become depressed and physically unwell.
- Loneliness. Starting your life again without a partner can feel acutely lonely as you must adjust to life without a spouse’s emotional support. Consequently, these feelings may be a profound sense of emptiness and loss.
- Guilt and shame. You may find yourself feeling at blame for the collapse of your marriage. Also, you may bargain with yourself about what would have happened had you conducted yourself differently. Alternatively, you might feel your partner was to blame for their part in the process.
How Can I Stop Feelings of Hopelessness After Divorce?
- Ask for help. Depression or feelings of profound hopelessness can overwhelm you if you don’t reach out for support. Speak to your doctor, friends, or family. There is no need to suffer alone.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise has multiple psychological benefits that can improve your mood and outlook. Exercise releases endorphins which inhibit pain response and lift your mood.
- Eat healthily. When you are depressed, your appetite may change. Especially try to eat wholesome meals and avoid junk food or skipping meals entirely.
- Socialize. Being around friends and family can help draw you out of your negative mental state. Withdrawing from people can often enhance feelings of depression and loneliness
- Get proper sleep. Insomnia can enhance the severity of depression, so try and adopt a proper sleep schedule. Also, avoid stimulants and electric screens before bed.
Closing Notes on Hopelessness After Divorce
Remember that you are not alone if you feel down in the dumps post-divorce. Give yourself time to adjust to your new life and accept emotional road bumps on your way. If your feelings of helplessness are leading to suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a friend or professional immediately.