Divorce & Separation Challenges | Symptoms & Treatment Options — Zencare

Divorce & Separation Challenges

While divorce or separation may often be the right choice, it can nonetheless come with a variety of mental health challenges. Even when both partners want to divorce or separate, the change can be a painful one, and the challenges increase in situations where the partners have conflicting goals, perspectives, or motivations.

When the challenges associated with divorce or separation become especially prolonged or intense, they can lead to symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.  

Because issues related to divorce and separation vary so much and are deeply personal, it’s hard to say for sure how common they are.

However, divorce itself is very common in the United States, with the American Psychological Association reporting that about 40 to 50 percent of married couples end up divorcing. These rates are even higher for second, third, and subsequent marriages.

Some studies also suggest that divorce and separation can have negative effects on your mental health. For example, one study found that being in conflict with an ex-spouse takes a toll on mental health, while another study indicated that people who have been depressed in the past are more likely to relapse if they go through a divorce.

Divorce and separation are different for everyone, and people vary widely in their emotional and psychological responses to these issues. That said, some of the most common symptoms include:

Again, issues related to divorce and separation come in countless forms, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, some especially common scenarios include:

If you’re looking for support as you go through a divorce or separation, you have several options. Some of them include:

A therapist who typically works with clients whose symptoms, or situations, are similar to yours

Therapists offer a number of different approaches to treating these issues. Some approaches involve just one person attending sessions, while others might require both partners and/or additional family members to attend. Common options include:

Know what questions you need to ask potential therapists

These questions may prove helpful when interviewing potential therapists:

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Consider cost, location, and scheduling

Divorce can be costly, but you may be able to find a therapist who’s affordable for your budget, and most importantly, who’ll be there to help you navigate the stress of separation.

Before making an appointment, consider the following:

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.