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Divorce: Are you Spouse A or Spouse B?

December 12, 2011

Spouse A is the one initiating the divorce.    Often times one person has been thinking about divorce for a long time and going through their own grief process before sharing the news that they want a divorce.   When the announcement is made that Spouse A wants a divorce, usually Spouse A wants to move quickly and complete the paperwork so they can move on.    Unfortunately Spouse B, the person being left, is beginning the grief process and isn’t ready to move quickly.   They need to deal with the news in their own way.

Spouse B is the one that either doesn’t want the divorce or is the one being left.   Once Spouse B is informed their marriage is over it takes some time to work through the grief process.   They are usually trying to play catch-up with their spouse who has been thinking and planning for some time.   Rarely are both parties in the same place emotionally while going through a divorce

As a mediator I am helping both parties through the process of divorce while paying attention to where each of them are in relation to their emotions.  The five stages are:

The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:[2]

  1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.” Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
  2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?” Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
  3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…” The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…”
  4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?” During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
  5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.” In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.

If you are either Spouse A or Spouse B and have questions about the benefits of Mediation over Litigation.   Contact me at  or call me at 952 401-7599.   I offer a FREE ONE HOUR CONSUTATION.

Jeff Johnson –   Focused on You, your Family, and your Future!

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