Women Dealing With Divorce and its Consequences
Divorce as Death
Many women, especially later in life, view divorce in an extremely grim manner. They develop psychological problems that stem from feelings of inadequacy.
According to Dawn Barnett, founder of Fairshares, a pressure group formed to campaign for change in divorce laws, "part of the problem is historical - women now in their forties and fifties were raised with traditional expectations towards marriage. Namely, that she would marry, have children and centre her activities around the home."
In fact, divorce can be worse than bereavement. If a partner dies, there is a letting go, for he or she is no longer around. There are no feelings of guilt involved – “maybe I did something wrong”. Divorce and bereavement are both followed by numbness and denial. Divorce recovery counselors say that the effect of a break up takes up to three years or more to make itself felt.
Says Elizabeth Morris, Divorce Recovery Therapist - "With bereavement, there are cultural rituals and greater understanding. With break-up, there is nothing physical to deal with - just a dead dream."
Social pressures add to the trauma of divorce. People are supposed to recover quickly, and end up feeling isolated because of the lack of support from the people who surround them.
People sympathise with you when you are a “respectable lone parent’. But divorced parents, for some reason, fail to evoke respect. They are viewed as failures who cannot keep their marriage together.
When feelings of rejection, inadequacy, personal failure, and guilt are denied, we become unable to form nurturing and fulfilling relationships. It is only a matter of time before depression kicks in. There seems to be no way out. Will they find love again? Will anyone find them attractive again? Getting the right counselling is crucial at a time like this.
"Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish"
A small percentage of women – and they do exist- breathe a sigh of relief when the divorce decree is announced. They may have suffered emotional and physical abuse from husbands who are obsessed with them, and not ready to let them go. These women are usually financially secure, or are determined to be so. They are emotionally strong and do not need psychiatric help. They have the courage to end a long term relationship, and the wisdom to see that children involved, if any, do not deserve the trauma that stems from the ongoing battle between their parents.
So, the consequences of divorce depend on the individuals involved. It is their perception that matters in the end.
The Single Stigma
Research shows that 40% of the marriages in the U.K. end in divorce. Yet these individuals do not fid the support they need in society. Single women (even men) feel stigmatized when they go alone to parties, dine alone or travel alone. Relatives and friends don’t help either . They insist that one is not “complete’ until one is back in a relationship.
How does a woman get back into the dating scene again? Does she dare date? Or does she find it too much work to go through the entire process of courtship again? Is something wrong with her, for failing to keep her marriage going? These are some of the many questions a divorced woman must answer.
Answers can come I many ways. While a relationship based on a rebound is not advisable, it can go a long way in re-instilling self confidence and self esteem in the suddenly single individual. It is proof that she is still attractive to the opposite sex, and still worth relating to. All she needs is the courage to try again and open herself to new possibilities, refusing to allow the divorce to embitter her.
Spirituality and Yoga Heal the Pain of Divorce
But the ideal way to regain peace of mind and self-confidence is spiritual empowerment. Learn yoga, learn meditation techniques, and deep breathing – ‘pranayama’- that helps in reducing the stress of a break up. Because the answers come from within the individual, they are permanent. Answers that come from external sources such as a new lover are transient. The secret to happy singledom lies within.
Another factor to keep in mind is personal attitude. It is likely that if you view yourself as a suffering and stigmatized divorcee, the world will do the same.