Unanticipated Effects of Divorce

Effects of divorce on friends and family

by Kim Johnson

Effects of Divorce

Everyone knows divorce has legal consequences. Dissolving a marriage includes the end of your legal obligation to your ex. It changes your tax status, possibly your medical insurance status and the list can go on. But there are more than just legal ramifications because it also means ending the emotional, mental and physical ties between you and your ex-spouse. And when the dust settles, there may be some consequences which you did not anticipate. Below are some things to consider and be prepared for due to the challenges they can create. 

  • Former In-laws

     While your relationship with your ex’s parents and extended family may have been good while you were married, divorce changes things. Be prepared in advance if they choose sides and no longer want a relationship with you. Reach out but understand they may feel awkward and resist contact. Some family members will be able to handle the break-up and remain in relationship with you; others may not.

  • Your Kids

     When it comes to your kids, however, even if the former in-laws don’t stay connected to you, they will likely stay connected to your kids.  Don’t put pressure on your kids or make them feel guilty for continuing their relationships with your ex’s extended family.

  • Mutual Friends

     In a marriage, spouses often share the same friends.  When a divorce happens, it can impact these relationships as well. Be prepared for some to choose sides.  Some will find it difficult to remain friends with either of you and just fade away.  Still others may try to walk the tightrope and stay friends with you and your ex.  Whatever the situation, try to be patient with the friends you want to keep.  Reach out but don’t pressure them. And understand that this situation is an opportunity to widen your community and make new friends.

  • Emotional Detachment

     Sometimes, the end of a marriage doesn’t mean the end of your feelings emotionally for your ex, especially if you are still in love with them. This means you will have to work to emotionally detach yourself from your ex. The first step is to accept the change in your life. Then you may need to grieve the loss that comes with this situation. Work to move on and break any pattern of reliance you’ve created.  Letting go is not easy, but is the best way to establish a new life.

  •  Dating

    The old saying about getting back on a horse immediately after you fall off is terrible advice when you are divorced. Jumping into a new relationship too soon can be a disaster.  First, you need to allow yourself time to heal from the pain. Seeing someone new can make you avoid dealing with issues that could have contributed to the break-up of your marriage in the first place, a way to avoid dealing with issues. By not giving yourself time, you could repeat old patterns and find yourself in a worse situation.

  • Your Health

     Divorce can severely impact your physical and mental health. Eating habits, as well as sleeping habits take a hit. And because of the pain, it is easy to slide into mild depression which can keep you from recognizing the signs that indicate you aren’t taking care of yourself.  Enlist the help of friends and family and work to keep yourself healthy.

Take Time to Heal

There’s a good reason divorce is listed as one of the most stressful situations anyone can experience. It’s difficult and impacts every area of our lives.  However, it doesn’t have to define the rest of your life. You can survive by trusting God and doing the best you can to work through the circumstances. Take your time and let yourself heal.