How Does Divorce Affect the Family

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
What comes after leaving the rings behind...the family.

The question, "How does divorce affect the family?" is an important one because the end of a marriage doesn't only affect the couple but the entire family.

How Does Divorce Affect the Family: Understanding the Pain of Your Loved Ones

As you separate from your spouse, you may feel some awkwardness from your relatives. They may have a difficult time talking to you about it or may even be distant because they don't know what to do for you. They may also be unsure of how to feel because there's been a change in the family dynamic and everyone needs to time to accept it.

Why Your Relatives Mourn the End of Your Marriage

You may be surprised that your relatives are taking the news of your divorce hard. After all, you are the one getting the divorce, not your family. However, they are affected by the change because they have to alter their mindset.

When you got married, everyone started to imagine you and your spouse as a married couple, possibly having babies, and growing old together. The end of your marriage changed these beliefs. The things that they thought of are not congruent with reality. With this lack of congruency comes a loss of the thoughts and feelings they had for you and your spouse, which means they have to recreate mental images of you and your future.

For many families, they have also grown to love their son/daughter-in-law. When a couple divorces, the son/daughter-in-law goes off and may not have any further contact with the ex in-laws. This means that the family must also break off the attachment they formed, which can bring on sadness.

While your family should be supporting you through the divorce, it may be helpful to support them as well. If they feel as though they have a shoulder to cry on as much as you do, they may be more likely to help you when you are at your lowest. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time for all involved and listen to their thoughts and feelings. Offer your help and support whenever they need it. It will comfort them and help them find peace in this change so that they can be there for you.

How Divorce Affects Your Children

While you are dealing with the end of your marriage, you also must focus on your children's reaction to the divorce. They have also created beliefs about their parents staying married and growing old together. When these beliefs are broken, it can be difficult to face.Children react to divorce in many different ways. Some will act out behaviorally and others may isolate themselves. In addition, children may have difficulty focusing on schoolwork and their grades may fall. These reactions are normal but need addressing so they understand how to overcome the despair of their parents no longer living together.

If you don't feel strong enough to help your children through this difficult time, it's essential that you find outside help, such as professional counseling. Ignoring your children's reaction to your divorce can make their behaviors worse. Neglected negative feelings can turn kids to drugs, criminal activity and even suicide if there is a problem with depression.

It's All About You…and Your Family

Recovering from a divorce is difficult. You may feel as though you should be selfish for at least once in your life. While this is true, now that you have the answer to the question, "How does divorce affect the family?," and how your loved ones feel, you know why they are acting the way they are. Just keep them in mind as you deal with your divorce, because when you turn around, they are the ones who are standing behind you.

How Does Divorce Affect the Family