Psychological Effects of Divorce on Women

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Two women with meditation mats conversing on the stairs. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Understanding the psychological effects of divorce can help one move forward after the end of a marriage. Many of the feelings after a divorce are perfectly natural as one may experience confusion and uncertainty about the future. Similarly, learning how these feelings may affect one's ability to connect with other family members, such as children, is important, as well.

Feeling Guilty

The psychological effects of divorce on women are far-reaching, but one of the most basic emotions is guilt. This can be true if the woman initiated the divorce or not. Women in both situations may feel at fault for not working hard enough to make the marriage work, explains life coach Cindy Holbrook on her website for divorced women. If the woman initiated divorce, she may feel a sense of guilt for the demise of the marriage. This is especially true if there are children involved as women may feel as though they are responsible for breaking up a family and causing emotional trauma.

Experiencing Depression

The end of a marriage is devastating to both parties. Women, especially, may feel saddened by the sudden loss of their marriage. Their dreams for the future may be wrapped up in their marriage, and now that hope for the future appears to be gone. Increased responsibility combined with the realization that the life they envisioned no longer exists correlates with the fact that women are more likely to suffer from depression three years after a divorce, suggests Rocky Mountain Family Council.

Feeling Anxious

After a divorce, one may experience a great deal of anxiety. The future is uncertain and therefore, so is one's security. Women may experience more stress as they may have solely or mostly relied on their husbands for financial support. Trying to figure out how to support themselves, and often times a family, may prove to be difficult. Despite this, there are many things one can do to lessen anxiety including eating healthy, meditating and exercising.

Positive Effects

Some of the effects of divorce can affect women's lives positively. There are many factors that influence this, but many women report feeling a sense of relief especially if the relationship was particularly stressful towards the end. Mediator Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran explains that women may have a greater support system than men. Because of this, when they experience setbacks, they are likely to turn to them for comfort and guidance and move through the issues. Finally, women may be more likely to expand their personal and professional roles, suggests Corcoran. In the past, they may have limited themselves by focusing solely on their duties as wives and mothers. Now, they may seek out new careers, volunteer opportunities and social networking that will increase their esteem.

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