With or without children there is nothing easy about divorce. Stress comes at the couple from every direction– financial, emotional, social and psychological. Tension, conflict, worry, and painful emotions are inevitable aspects of the divorce process. When problems remain unresolved, chronic stress can result, impacting the physical and/or mental health of the partners. There is a significant body of evidence that shows that unremitting stress can weaken the immune system, lead to depression, and even cause burnout on the job. The effects of stress on the divorcing or divorced couple will depend to a great degree on how they resolve the problems that cause their stress, both individually and as a couple.
In my experience counseling divorcing/divorced couples, I have discovered that dealing with the stress of divorce is inevitable, but not impossible. Here are five basic tips that will help reduce divorce stress.
1. Accept that divorce is stressful and get mediation assistance if you get bogged down in conflict.
2. Learn basic stress management strategies, particularly the art of relaxation.
3. Get professional counseling assistance if you find that negative thoughts and feelings are controlling your reactions and keeping you and your partner in conflict.
4. If you have children, keep them out of the middle. Do not use them as go betweens or messengers. Do not vent about the other parent to the child. If you follow this tip, you will keep the child’s stress level down and contribute to a lower stress quotient for you.
5. If you have children, find a way to co-parent as amicably as possible with your ex. This will reduce conflict and will make your children’s upbringing significantly smoother, and your own stress level significantly smaller.