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Dealing With Loss In Divorce Proceedings: The Acceptance Stage

The last stage of grieving the loss of a relationship is acceptance. Just because a person has accepted the loss, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the divorcing spouse is now “okay” with the divorce.  More likely, it means that the divorcing spouse is accepting  the reality of the divorce and is learning to live with it.

The spouse who has achieved the acceptance stage is ready to let go of the past and build a new life.  Decisions about the divorce process are more easily made and the spouse is more rational, cooperative, and focused on resolution of the divorce.  The grieving spouse may still dislike and/or feel sad about the divorce, but the spouse can now accept that this is their new normal.

The acceptance phase often happens gradually, a little at a time. Other grief stages may be revisited, sometimes quite frequently: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, but the duration and intensity of these four other grief phases diminishes over time. If it feels like you will never reach this phase, you are usually still struggling with an earlier grief phase.  ​

The divorcing spouse must also realize that the other spouse is likely going through his or her own grief process, even if the other spouse initiated the divorce. The other spouse’s experience of the five grief stages in divorce may be quite different. Once again, not everyone goes through all five stages, nor is there any timetable for the grief process to work through to the acceptance stage. Each person’s experience is different and unique.