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Dealing with a Loss from Death or Divorce

Updated on May 6, 2016

Gone but not quite forgotten

A memorial stone surrounded by snowdrops in ful bloom.
A memorial stone surrounded by snowdrops in ful bloom. | Source

Divorce & Regret

Do you still have feeling for your Ex and regret your decision to Divorce?

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Death is so very final.

But can one really compare death to a divorce!

Divorced and now alone but having the knowledge that your ex-partner still inhabits the earth can bring forth all sorts of emotions. Those feeling may include anger or bitterness toward the one who has gone. You will probably suffer a huge sense of loss and also a lack of self-esteem. Add to this, a huge dose of failure and regret! You may perhaps even feel relief at his leaving! You may wonder how to tell your family and friends! The reality is that in death a partner will not be coming back. With divorce, that person has gone too and is most unlikely to come back even if he is alive. Divorce may happen unexpectedly, usually when another party enters the frame or it may be a gradual process as the marriage breaks down. As with death it seems one can never quite be prepared for it! Ultimately this is a decision which will affect the future years of your life and this includes everyone in it. Hardly a person you know will be untouched by it.

Abandoned like a boot in the sand

Abandoned
Abandoned | Source

A journey from death and divorce

Can the loss associated with death really be compared to a divorce?


Death seldom brings with it, the estrangement from family which Divorce brings, unless someone perhaps feels aggrieved about a legacy in a will etc., etc, but divorce more often than not makes for some type of estrangement from both close family and friends. At times, it might very well feel as if some friends or family who were a big part of your life have effectively shut their doors on you and divorced you as well!

Children, either young or old will take the loss in many ways. Their feelings will be individual to each one of them. They have a right to these! Their feelings will likely range from a feeling of upset to a huge feeling of relief or perhaps even a feeling of abandonment but whatever those feelings are, they will be very real and they will soon make them known to you by their behavior! This decision that their parents take will most certainly impact on their future lives too!

One wonders. if people would even consider divorce as the only option left to them if they realized how much their lives will be altered by divorce. If one could only explain to them how things are likely to be when they divorce, perhaps they would think twice!

Even if there are no children involved in the marriage it is likely that there will be some involvement from other children brought in from any new relationship. The implications of this too can be far reaching; often these children can reap havoc with the new relationship. Your own children are never likely to ever spend a Christmas or birthday in the company of both of their parents again, so forget Christmas as being a time for celebration; it will never be quite the same again. Those days will now be spent in the company of one or the other parent! If you have a string of new relationships in the future, those children will also likely be affected. They too will have to adapt to the each new partner as they arrive on the scene and perhaps also any offspring if they have from the union. The financial toll will grow ever larger as they struggle with guilt and the children learn to play up to it. They may start to compensate by giving the children with 'bigger and better' gifts, these they may or may not be able to afford!

Divorce usually involves losing a home or some financial insecurity. Money or the lack of it may never have been an issue before now it might now be impossible to ignore! It may even involve having to open a new bank account, not so easy for women starting out on their own again, especially when they have only ever shared a joint account and have no credit rating whatsoever! If they have never owned either a house or a car in their own name they will soon find that getting car insurance may now be very expensive because you have never built up their own ‘no claims bonus’. They may also be saddled with debts which were left behind from the marriage. There will be both financial obligations to both a wife and the children when a husband leaves! Men leaving their children behind will suddenly find too that if they wish to continue a relationship with their children, they will need somewhere safe to bring the children to in weekends. This may be a new flat or house of their own if they are lucky but more often than not it will probably mean waiting for the family house to be sold or utilizing the home of a friend or family for visitations. They may well find themselves with very limited financial resources left whilst they struggle to pay lawyers and try to keep the children entertained on weekends or days of access. They may not even have access to toys or furniture in their new abode to keep the children entertained. They could find themselves spending their weekends in McDonald's as so many fathers are forced to, just so that the children have something to do!

Friends will tire of the demands made on them. Grandparents who should be enjoying their retirement will now face the prospect of spending their retirement years as permanent babysitters whilst trying to juggle the school run plus the extramural activities, if the budget will still allow for this! Children will nag with dissatisfaction and make unreasonable demands, understanding full well how easy it is to manipulate their parents who have put them into this situation! They may even have to change school or move cities but rest assured they will quickly let their feelings be known.

You may have had little choice but to divorce. There may have been violence or mental abuse! The marriage may have broken down from irreconcilable differences or perhaps another party entered the marriage! If you happen to be the ‘guilty’ person, not many people will look at you now with too much compassion unless you can somehow convince them that the person you are leaving is and was always a bad egg to start with! You might even regret a transgression you made yourself and find that your Partner remains unforgiving. You may wish to reconcile yourself, but your Partner may cite the lack of trust as being an issue. You may now no longer have any alternative left to you but to Divorce!

Death sometimes can sometimes bring financial rewards. but more often it does not. There may have been a lack of insurance or your Partner may have died without a will! There will be funerals to pay for, and debts to settle. Perhaps it will be necessary to sell up your home and make a fresh start in a smaller one! There may have been many years of self-sacrifice in order for you to care for a loved one before they died, especially if they have a long term illness but the same applies to Partners who live together with their children within a marriage. They both may have contributed many years of self-sacrifice to bring up the children and gone without many things themselves to do so. So, why is it that that we seem to demonstrate such a lack of compassion to people who divorce rather than those who die?

Divorce brings no financial gain to either party. Legal battles can go on for years and years and the only people who can be seen to score are the lawyers who assist the parties in bring their cases to court. They lawyers will string it out for as long as possible in order to make as much out of the whole sorry situation. In Britain alone nearly half of all marriages fail, a definite money pot for them all and a huge incentive to make this a career choice for those who choose money as their key objective!

It is true that death brings with it certain finality but in Divorce it perhaps does not quite! Most people don’t wish their partners dead, but sometimes they have to accept that life might have been a lot easier if they had. The difficulties of co-parenting can be one long hard struggle. The time and resources it now takes to transport children to and from school and from one parent’s house to the other for week-end access is fraught with difficulties and becomes a huge financial drain on resources at a time when money can be very short. The cost of this travel sometimes may even include having to use trains and planes! There will no longer be the possibility of one parent staying at home to take care of the children whilst the other goes out to work. There may be grandparents willing to take on the unpaid work! You may have to watch your own parents grow older as they the strain under the burden of caring for their grandchildren! You may suffer guilt as you struggle to give the children some normality! Your parents may have to live to regret that they were not able to do everything they wanted to do when they were younger!

If you are women, you may struggle with an identity crisis. You may begin to wonder who you are! Which name should you use? Do you use the name of your former husband or your maiden name to which you no longer feel associated with! You are after all now a mother and your children use their father’s name and you still want to feel that you can still be identified as their mother by total strangers. Exactly who are is this person that you have become!

When people mourn their dead, they mourn the fact that they did not manage to do some of the things which they had planned to do together, did not go to places they should have been too and did not have time to pursue their dreams.

In divorce people mourn lost dreams and things they wanted to achieve together, like perhaps opening their own business together. They mourn the simple things they spoke of during happy times, like that dream of growing older, when they spoke of loving each other and how at age eighty, they would still be holding hands! They mourn the shared dreams that they had of being able to watch the children achieve their dreams under two pairs of watchful eyes. Now they have to content themselves with sometimes watching this from a distance and often hearing it second hand from a stranger! Christmas will most certainly be spent separately now, so too will birthdays, no longer will the children jump onto your bed and scream with delight as you all open presents together as a family.

If you are a woman who was left late in life you will doubt your looks and also your ability to attract another man again, especially if he left you for a much younger model! You will wonder how you will meet anyone again! Will anyone still find you attractive? If you are younger, you will wonder how on earth you are going to meet someone else when you have the children to care for on an almost full time basis but your greatest fear will likely be that you may never be able to bring in enough money to support your family.

It’s a hard road you are about to travel on. Your married friends may for a while, let you drag on along behind them on outings, but it won’t last! No man wants to continually be dragging along someone else’s ex-wife unless he’s interested in her himself! Their wives may after a while, feel threatened by your presence and you will soon find yourself back treading on that lonely path, just for a while, until you learn that it is possible to do it on your own and quite nicely thank you!

It is clear that not every divorce is the same for everyone but for most I would say this is a pretty clear description of what you can expect if you decide to go down that path! It is clear that in some way divorced people will face some surprising losses and a great many hurts along the way, just as bereaved people do! It might be kinder to look at divorce and bereavement as being similar but not quite the same. This might be a warning to married persons to face up to their responsibilities to each other so that they don’t have to face the enormous losses they are about to face when they divorce.

Life itself shows us that we have a great many lessons to learn, how much better to learn these lessons before they actually bite us. Divorce is not easier than death but it is something which can sometimes be prevented, where there is a will, there is a way! Divorce and Death is neither the end of the world though sometimes it may feel that way. They are perhaps also the perfect opportunity for a new beginning if there is no choice left to us!

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    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Ha, I reckon she picked the wrong Guy:)

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

      What's that old saying? "A man marries a woman hoping she won't ever change, and a woman marries a man and already knows how she wants to change him." Just to lighten the mood.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Audrey,

      I appreciate your best wishes and kind sentiments. Perhaps we all have a story to tell but writing it is the challenge:) I don't doubt that it is a challenge I will one day meet.

      Kind regards,

      Sally

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Dear Sally - Death and divorce. I never went through the second issue, but have heard many sad stories from friends. They are mostly from folks who married the wrong person and thought he would change. I hope your situation gets better, especially with your children. Maybe you can write a book, like others have done. My best for a great future after writing this insightful hub. Blessings, Audrey

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you, truth really is stranger than fiction. Life certainly throws up the unexpected and we learn to deal with it in our own way. I think of it as a book in the making:) I wish you and yours a bright future.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks Sally. I'm sorry that your own divorce experience was so bad. It really is so expensive to pay for a house or apartment with one paycheck, that's how a lot of couples end up together in the first place. It's not a bad choice if they have feelings for each other, but it does make it hard to break it off, as both are homeless unless they have family to take them in. And in our times, we often move far from our families, often to afford to buy a house. That's what my husband and I did, and saw much less of our parents. Then when we had our son, we had no help with him, and learned to lean on each other for everything. I miss his extra set of hands now as much as all the things I loved him for!

      On a brighter note, maybe you could write a book about it someday, thinly veiled as fiction. My son is having a hard time right now with a lawsuit which we expect to win, but is costing a fortune. He's a good writer, and I told him, "When you can move forward enough from this, you have a bestseller on your hands." Truth really is stranger than fiction. Take care, hope things get better.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jean Bakula

      I am sorry for your loss. I completely agree with all you have said. My own experience of divorce is one which deserves a book and quite honestly it would have been easier had he died. I think the problem is that sometimes couples find themselves in difficult financial circumstances which they try to solve by moving in together and then the children come. This is not an ideal situation and I do think that you are right about taking it much more slowly. Divorce brings with it many problems, not least of it the simple fact that life will never be the same for any of the parties, families or friends. It can be heartbreaking. I speak from my own experience and I so appreciate you sharing your story. Thank you.

      Sally.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I think that a divorce is a death of sorts. I lost my husband of 34 years last year, and we had been together for 5 yrs. before that. But at least death is final, and you have to accept the person is gone. I am moving forward, but it's not a straight line. Holidays are really hard, as I have little family and we only had one grown son (but we are close).

      With divorce, you still have to deal with the person, often in unpleasant ways. At first, friends try not to take sides, but I find that eventually both people move on and don't want reminders of their old life with the person they divorced. I've lost as many friends to divorce as I have death. And when the couple has children, and maybe starts dating, and the new person has children, that is so hard to navigate. I think people should divorce if they outgrow each other or have worse problems. But I also see many divorcing over petty issues which could be solved. In our times I don't think people understand what "vow" means, and since they often live together, have kids and buy a house all in the first bloom of love, are setting themselves up for something they will regret. Maybe if people took a relationship more slowly, they would get to know each other better before they made too many serious decisions that are hard to undo.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      salsgals I completely agree with you. I sometimes think it is easier to accept death than divorce as the ones who die are more likely be thought of with love and kindness than those who divorce - because they leave behind them a trail of the destruction behind which is Divorce. Sometimes the hurt just continues. I am still looking for that day when I can feel truly alive.

    • profile image

      Sally McGregor 3 years ago from Waterford, MI

      Divorce, like death is a betrayal of what you once believed to be true. It can change every single aspect of your life and how you live it. When I was going through my divorce, someone said to me "Just keep living one day at a time, until one day you realize you are alive".

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Yes, we have traveled the same rocky road but I try not to go back down that same road. Suffice is to say, you and I, we are survivors Lurana:) have a lovely week-end.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      sallybea---I am so sorry to hear that you write from experience here, although you have used your wisdom to such benefit by writing for others.

      My reality after divorce has been very bleak, financially and as a parent having to share custody with the one person I wish most to never see again. But escaping extreme psychological and emotional abuse was worth it. Rebuilding myself to create a stronger model for my children is worth it. Being able to parent them away from his influence is worth it. Having a life again is worth it.

      Divorce (especially with children) is not a decision to take lightly or selfishly, and you make so many excellent, realistic points. The long-term consequences of our choices are permanent, and sometimes there is NO easy choice---to stay or go are both difficult options. The long-term health of our children and ourselves are much more important than material, social, or temporary personal preferences though.

      Thank you for writing about a difficult subject with pragmatism and compassion. I would offer you encouragement, hope, and healing...it is never too late to rebuild relationships with the ones we love. Become the person you regret you were not....I'm on the same path! :-) ~Lurana

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      The smile behind the image serves only to give me a little anonymity. I write from my own experience of divorce and the subsequent estrangement from my own children. If I could reach out to prevent any one person from a similar fate I would. Thanks for the visit billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have had a great deal of loss in my life, Sally, including a divorce. Yes, every loss is an opportunity and a learning experience, but we must be willing to learn and face it with acceptance. Great points here my friend.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Thanks sharonjoe, I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

    • profile image

      sharonjoe 4 years ago

      Very good article !

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      I agree with you ItsJustBusiness, the worst part of divorce is the estrangement from children and family who once played an important part in your life.

    • ItsJustBusiness profile image

      Shelley (Williams) Edington 4 years ago

      As a divorcee I can attest to this article. I agree with dashingscorpio. My ex was my "first love" I met him at the age of 14 and we began dating when I was 15. We then had our first child when I was 19. I loved him, he was a good person. Yet we didn't have much in common as adults. Once you reach that point in your marriage where you start wondering who and why you married this person you better start going to counseling ASAP. We grew far apart and our entertainment was our children and their sporting events. We began experiencing relationship issues and our marriage quickly went downhill. You want to believe when you marry that you are marrying your soulmate. When in reality I believe it is merely a soul tie occurring. Though I want the best for him and I care about his well being because he is the father of my children I have moved on and feel much more content and happy where I am today. The worst part of my divorce is not having my boys with me daily.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      It is my belief that when you suffer a great loss in your life such as when someone you love departs from it, it brings one new opportunities which you may never have had the opportunity to experience. It takes courage to move in a different direction but one should take comfort in the fact that we are all capable of doing so.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 years ago

      I've heard of some people viewing the loss of a job as being similar to death after working at company for several years. Probably the most healthy to remember is "Every ending is a new beginning". Awhile back I wrote on this subject. Too often we tell ourselves that our ex was our "soul mate". However the very definition of "soul mates" is two people that share the same values, want the same things, and have (mutual) feelings for one another. In order for him or her to be your "soul mate" they must also see you as being their "soul mate". Clearly if one is divorced they know their feelings weren't mutual. https://hubpages.com/relationships/DIVORCE-The-Ups...