Is your divorce hitting you kind of hard? Are you struggling to wrap your mind around all of the changes in your life? Do you find yourself feeling out-of-sorts, melancholy or generally overwhelmed?

You’re likely grieving. The drastic changes in your life caused by the divorce can create a severe sense of loss. Everything familiar is gone, and everything new seems strange and uncomfortable. The life you once envisioned is gone.

How do you cope? By understanding the predictable stages of grief and recognizing where you are in the process. The stages of grief common to divorce are:

  1. You deny the divorce is going to happen: You tell yourself that your marriage can still be saved if you just make more effort to be engaged with your spouse, if you change something about your appearance or if you get into couple’s counseling.
  2. You’re angry: All of the resentments and frustrations you’ve held in check toward your spouse or in your marriage have to come out. You vent, you cry and you can’t stop talking about all your pain.
  3. You try to bargain: You may be so scared about going it alone that you’re willing to agree to anything your spouse demands if it means avoiding a divorce. You keep thinking that you can get your spouse to change their mind if you agree to every whim or demand they have.
  4. You’re depressed: Believe it or not, it’s good to reach this stage because it means that you’re finally starting to accept life on life’s terms. You know the divorce is real. You know that you can’t deny or bargain your pain away.
  5. You start to accept your new reality: You can tentatively start to make plans again and build the foundation of your new life.
  6. You find new meaning: You can look back on your marriage and find strength and life lessons in everything you’ve been through.

Your divorce attorney can help you get through the technical process of a divorce, but make sure that you reach out to a therapist, family members and friends for help coping with this emotional transition.