Divorce Impacts All Dimensions of Well Being: How to Cope

Posted on July 22, 2022 by Adam Frei, MS, LPC, CEAP

We’ve all heard the statistic that half of marriages lead to divorce. This is based on the data obtained by the CDC that shows the rate ofdivorce compares to the rate of marriage in any given year. Generally speaking, the overall rates for both divorce and marriage have steadily decreased over the past 20 years.


From a societal perspective, marriage is more often seen as a net-positive experience whereas divorce is seen as mostly negative. But both come with their share of financial, legal, emotional and relational challenges. While the focus of this article is on the impacts that divorce can have on your well being, keep in mind that with any major life change, there will be challenges to overcome and you can always seek support to tackle them.

Coping With Change

A major life change, such as divorce or separation, can have a significant impact on our overall functioning. This shift can occur in multiple facets of our well being that can happen gradually or all at once. But in many cases, these changes can go unnoticed as we attempt to juggle everything we once did on top of additional stressors. Take a moment to check in with yourself and assess how your well being has adapted to your current situation. It may also be helpful to think back to a previous situation where you experienced a significant change, such a significant loss, to remind yourself what was or wasn’t helpful during that time. Everyone has different coping mechanisms, from meditation and exercise, to social support and keeping busy. However you choose to cope, the more intentional you are in your decisions, the less likely you will fall into the pitfalls that can come with difficult life changes. So find what works for you and your style and remember you can always leverage resources such as VITAL WorkLife for support.

Watch Out for Pitfalls

Divorce can come with numerous side effects beyond a change in your legal marital status. Below are some specific concerns to watch out for:

Pay attention to your substance use.

Both divorce and separation are directly associated with increased alcohol use; however, there are some steps you can take to prevent it. One of the best protective factors that you can engage in is to ensure that you have a supportive social network. Everyone’s preferred social network looks different so it’s important to socialize in a way that makes sense for you and your personality. This could include having a regular counselor to confide in, engaging with your community, spending time with family or friends and attending social support groups.

Don't isolate.

It is common to experience feelings of depression and anxiety as a reaction to divorce or separation. There remains a prevalent stigma associated with divorce, contributing to the desire to isolate or avoid possible discussion or confrontation about the topic. This normalcy of silence negatively impacts our ability to effectively cope with an already difficult situation. When possible, seek ways to safely open up about your experience where you feel comfortable. Divorce is a significant life experience and when you feel like you are going through it alone, you are likely to struggle more as you move into the next stage of your life.

Seek financial support.

Another unfortunate truth is that divorce will impact you financially. Regardless of your financial status, both parties experience a significant change in their standard of living due to divorce. You are also likely to see a significant increase in expenses due to the separation of households and resulting legal challenges. The impact of these financial changes can cause significant stress and negatively affect other areas of your well being.

To ensure your financial stability, have a firm grasp on your budget and expenses. Use all the legal and financial resources available to be prepared. Make decisions that help you decrease your legal costs such as engaging in mediation and finding a lawyer who specializes in non-contentious divorces. One of the most important things that you can do for your financial well being is to simply ask for help. Family and friends are always a great resource and there are also numerous community-based, state and federal programs to support individuals who have experienced a significant shift in their financial situation.

We Can Help

When a significant life change occurs, VITAL WorkLife is here to help with a variety of solutions to support you and your well being. Counseling is always available for you and your family, in addition to numerous resources to support you regarding any legal or financial concern. Contact us via phone at:

 800.383.1908 for EAP Clients;

 877.731.3949 for Physician Well Being Resource Clients; 

 or download the VITAL WorkLife App today.

Interested in learning more?

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