Grief and Anger in Divorce: Managing Your Emotions

It’s no question that divorce can be one of the most emotionally gruelling things someone goes through. 

In a way, the emotions of a divorce are much like grief. You’re mourning the death and loss of the marriage you once had, the future you thought was on your horizon, and the sense of normalcy you’ve built for yourself.

It can be extremely difficult to manage the rollercoaster of emotions during divorce, but having some control over your emotional side is important to the divorce process and reaching a fair settlement. 

It’s also important for you to move forward. Being able to understand and cope with your difficult emotions during divorce helps you transition to the next season of your life without dwelling too much on the past. As hard as it may be, there are strategies you cane employ to cope with your emotions and see your divorce process through.

The Many Emotions of Divorce Grief

There are five main stages of grief, and these mirror the emotions often felt by someone navigating a divorce. The first step to overcoming these emotions is truly understanding them and being able to identify them.

The five stages and emotions you will likely experience include: 

  • Denial – Not wanting to accept the truth of the reality, acting as if all is well.
  • Anger – Anger at your ex, yourself, the world.
  • Bargaining – Trying to repair the damage done, fix the issues and get your old life back.
  • Depression – Often debilitating sadness when the reality of the situation begins to set in.
  • Acceptance – You start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, have learned from your adversity, and are looking forward to what’s to come.

Methods for Coping with Your Emotions

There are countless methods to rely on to cope with your emotions, but not all of them are healthy or recommended. Leaning into unhealthy coping mechanisms can make the problems worse and make your divorce process harder and more drawn-out.

Instead, utilize some of these healthy tactics to manage your emotions and prevent them from getting the best of you:


It’s okay to feel all of your feelings, but prioritizing what needs to be done and accomplishing those tasks first before you allow yourself to cry or succumb to the emotions is a good strategy that can help you feel more productive, stay on top of your day-to-day responsibilities, and compartmentalize a bit so you can still get things done.

Starting the Transition

Don’t put off the hard stuff and avoid it – it’s not going away. Start sorting through your things, go through old photo boxes, donate old furniture with bad memories, and really begin the transition to this new season of life for you. It will give you something to look forward to rather than back on.

Talk it Out

Having someone to talk to about the hard stuff is crucial. This can be a great group of friends, a therapist, a parent, or anyone you trust. It can’t be your child or your ex-partner, however. Be sure to keep those boundaries clear.

Find someone with an objective opinion who can be there to listen and offer words of advice when needed.

Incorporate True Self-Care

Start adding more self-care into your life – the real kind, not just the ‘bubble baths and face masks’ kind. Incorporate a regular exercise routine, eat healthy meals, try meditation or yoga, buy a book you’ve been eyeing, and start treating yourself with the tenderness and love you deserve.

Get Curious About Yourself

A new chapter is on the horizon, and there could be a “new you” waiting to come out! Get curious about yourself, what interests you, new hobbies you might want to take up, your style, and explore things you may not have before. It’s a great time to try new things and start experimenting with the new life you want to build.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to beat yourself up over a divorce. It’s harder to manage those emotions of grief and anger and not let them get the best of you. However, with some strategic coping skills and a better understanding of the stages of divorce grief, you can come out better on the other end, ready to take on this new chapter of your life with a positive outlook and managed emotions.

Another way to reduce the heightened emotions and anger during divorce is choosing an alternative divorce method like mediation, which can make for a more amicable process and settlement. To learn more about mediation options, get in touch with Natalie Baird Mediations.