The 5 Stages of Divorce Grief

Only those who avoid love can avoid grief. The point is to learn from grief and remain vulnerable to love ~ John Brantner

Grief is defined as “Deep sorrow, often associated with loss.”  And with any great loss, like that of one’s marriage, there are stages that we must work through to overcome the grief that is connected with that loss.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, an expert in the area of grief, defined those stages as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Read on to find out more about how each of the five stages of grief applies to divorce.

The 5 Stages of Divorce Grief | Lisa McNally - Certified Divorce & Health Coach



This acts as a defense mechanism to buffer the immediate shock of the loss. It carries a person through the first wave of pain.


Anger is an intense emotion that stems from vulnerability. Sometimes anger is directed inappropriately which can negatively affect other relationships.


The normal reaction to the feeling of helplessness and vulnerability that loss brings is the need to regain control. Bargaining with your spouse is a weaker line of defense to protect from the painful reality.


Depression is the stage where many people spend the most time in processing grief. There are two types of depression:

1) First is the immediate stage of depression, filled with sadness & regret.

2) The other type of depression may be more subtle and long-lasting. This stage involves the release of the emotional ties to the other person.


The last stage of grief is an acceptance of the loss, marked by a calm withdrawal from social interaction. This stage is not to be confused with depression. Acceptance is more of a coping with reality and moving on.


Lisa McNallyAs a Certified Divorce Coach, I can help you to work through the stages of grief associated with your Divorce.

Click here to schedule your FREE consultation with me today!

Lisa M. McNally
Certified Divorce & Health Coach
Certified Divorce & Family Mediator
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst