“We’re not skilled at treating divorce as a grieving situation.”
Babette Barone has a conversation with Mandy Walker and Karen McMahon about the grieving and coping process around losing a spouse. Mandy and Karen are specialists in helping both men and women work through relationship issues and divorce.
Losing a spouse through divorce or death has similarities and differences. Each has its own unique challenges, but the loss is still at the center of the issue.
“Both of those events have the capacity to turn your life upside down and inside out. It can touch on every single area of your life: your finances, your social life, what you do work-wise, your children, where you live,” Walker says.
The loss of a spouse, whether by divorce or death, is an intensely emotional time. How people deal with their grief and loss can vary immensely. McMahon says she recently addressed this issue.
“It’s so completely different for everyone. I might move through it really quickly, someone else might move through it really slowly…what’s normal is what you’re going through.”
One of the big differences between going through a divorce versus the death of a spouse is how others will relate. Divorce sometimes carries moral judgments that deaths do not, which can get very different responses from friends.
Walker says, “I joke with people; when you are going through a divorce no one is going to knock on your door and say I’ve bought you dinner.”
Things are changing with how to handle divorce. Walker and McMahon are both working to make the transition easier for everyone.
“I do think the landscape for getting divorced has changed significantly. It has changed a lot in the last ten years. There are people like Karen and myself who are divorce coaches. We’re here to help guide people through that process,” says Walker.
Mandy Walker is a Boulder-based divorce coach and mediator. She started the blog, Since My Divorce, following her own divorce in 2007, and has since interviewed over 200 people about their experiences.
Karen McMahon is a divorce and relationship coach who started Journey Beyond Divorce in 2010 to help men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce.