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Life After Divorce: The 5 Stages of Grief

Man leaning his head against his arm on a window closing his eyes. This represents the need for couples counseling katy, tx and for couples therapy katy, tx. Also the need for marriage counselors and couples therapists or marriage therapists or couples counselors katy, tx 77494.

According to World Population in Review, approximately 50% of married couples in the United States divorce. Divorce is never a pleasant experience. Couples do not build a life together with a goal of getting a divorce.

A divorce creates emotional and financial difficulties that impact the entire family. Whether the decision to divorce was amicable or not, it signifies a loss, which can lead to grief.

Grief is not only experienced when someone dies. Grief is triggered when there is end or change of something familiar. This can be a change to your routine, home, job, or ideals.

A divorce completely changes your family life. After a divorce, it is important to recognize your grief so you can manage it in a healthy and productive way.

It is not uncommon in teen therapy or young adult counseling to address issues with teens and young adults that stem from a loss they experienced through divorce. In teen counseling or counseling for young adults, teens and young adults also can go through the 5 stages of grief in their recovery.

According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, there are 5 Stages of Grief:

  1. Denial

  2. Bargaining

  3. Anger

  4. Depression and

  5. Acceptance

The stages do not come in any order and can change from moment to moment.

The 5 Stages of Grief in Divorce

Woman sitting on couch looking sad. This represents the need for marriage counseling katy, tx and for marriage therapist or therapists katy, tx 77494.


As stated before, no one gets married with the goal of divorce. Even after the physical separation, you may expect your former spouse will return.

You may even walk around in disbelief that you are now a single parent. Your children may ask when mom or dad are coming back; even if you told them you are no longer together.

You may find that your teens and young adults begin experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges after the divorce. They too are grieving which plays out in emotions and behavior.


This when you can develop the case of the “If onlys”. Despite the glaring signs that a divorce is up the road ahead, you begin to second yourself. If only I:

  • Controlled my temper more . . .

  • Helped more around the house more . . .

  • Spent more time with them my partner . . .

. . . then I would not be getting a divorce.

Children experience bargaining as well. You may see an improvement in their behavior, and they may begin to think if they “behaved” better, mommy and daddy would not argue and get back together. It is recommended to start family therapy during this time.

Teens and young adults can sometimes focus their anger at the primary custodial parent. This is a kind of "back handed" compliment as they know that because you love them, they can use you as their container to hold their hurt and anger and you won't leave them.


Former spouses get be mad at each other or how the divorce is impacting their children. The frustrations that come with all this change, can come out in several unhealthy ways.

Some parents scream at their teens or young adults, start an argument with each other, or bad mouth the other parent. STOP! Take a moment and try to recognize when you feel overwhelmed.


Depression can settle in once you have worked through the anger stage. Anger often is a secondary emotion that covers for depression.

It is a lot "easier" to feel angry compared to feeling depressed. With anger, it give sense of control where depression does not. Yet, depression is part of the grieving process of losing a relationship and all that entails.


Grief can be tricky at times and this stage can cause internal conflict. You or your former spouse may have moved on, but you can still miss times you spent together.

The birth of your children, holidays, or birthdays pre-divorce can be missed though you may no longer have a desire to be involved with your former spouse. Developing a new normal that creates a space for a healthy co-parenting relationship is a step towards acceptance.

Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy: We Can Help Divorced Couples

Man and woman sitting at table looking at each other smiling. This represents the need for marriage counseling katy, tx and need for a marriage therapist katy, tx 77494.

It may initially feel odd to have you and your ex-spouse see a marriage counselor or couples therapist. Divorce is never an easy decision. Seeing a marriage counselor or couples therapist has several benefits to assist you with navigating the struggles that will be presented pre-divorce and post-divorce.

We have several divorced parents in therapy as they have reached out to learn how to work together to co-parent for the good of their teens and young adults.

Along with the stages of grief, divorced parents, children, teens, and young adults can experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, trauma, and even substance abuse.

You yourself may want to meet individually with a marriage counselor or couples therapist to help you work through theses struggles including the grieving process. For teens and young adults, teen counseling and young adult therapy may be able to help in these cases.

When divorced parents co-parent effectively, it significantly increases the chances that your teen or young adult will grow and develop to be healthy, successful, well adjusted adults.

Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy: Katy, Tx & Houston

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. These twists and turns can impact a marriage. Our marriage counselors and couples therapists at our Katy, Tx office location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling can help you through the grieving process of a divorce.

Whether you are a couple who are concerned about the strength of your relationship or you are a divorced couple wanting to work through grief and/or learn to co-parent more effectively, couples therapy and marriage counseling can help.

Our Katy, Tx location is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10. We are about 4 blocks behind (south) Academy Sports.

If you are ready to start your healing journey, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Speak with our marriage counselors or couples therapists

  3. Start your work together in improving your co-parenting as divorced parents. You're teens and young adults will be glad you did!

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling

At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.

We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:

Neurofeedback Therapy

Neurofeedback for Anxiety Counseling

Neurofeedback for Anxiety/Panic attacks

Neurofeedback for Peak Academic performance (optimal academic brain performance)

Neurofeedback for Peak Athletic Performance (optimal athletic brain performance)

Neurofeedback Therapy for Depression

Neurofeedback Therapy for Trauma

Neurofeedback for

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

About the Author

African American woman smiling wearing white shirts and purple scarf. She is a marriage therapist katy, tx and a marriage counselor katy, tx. She also provides marriage counseling and couples therapy katy, tx 77494.

Jheri Walter, LCSW-S is a seasoned couples counselor and marriage therapist. She specializes in teen therapy, young adult counseling, family therapy, couples therapy & marriage counseling.

Jheri has been providing therapy to teens, young adults, families, and couples since 2009. She enjoys using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to it being backed by research and shown to be effective.

Jheri is also a Supervisor providing mentoring and supervision to up and coming therapists. She has taken ownership to ensure the new therapists are therapists highly trained and qualified to provide therapy to others.

Jheri helps teens, young adults, families, and couples in the Katy, Tx and Houston area who struggle with: marriage or relationship struggles, ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, PTSD, and other challenges.

Jheri also has a unique understanding of some of the challenges teens and young adults face who are bi-racial. Identity, acceptance, and embracing a mixed heritage are some of the life journey's she helps teens and young adults with.


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