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When you go through a divorce, you go through phases similar to the stages of grief. Even when divorce is the only decision, it is still a difficult life change. To move forward, it helps to understand some of the stages you may experience.

While no two couples have the same experience, there are always similarities.

The stage of denial

At first, you may be in denial about the end of your relationship. Even after you and your former spouse make a final decision, it may take time for it to feel real. You may still find yourself referring to your spouse as if the two of you are still together. In some cases, you may secretly believe that you can still make the marriage work.

The stage of anger

The anger stage can be a form of denial or it can be you assigning blame to someone else. You may find yourself more frustrated with your partner and believe that you were the only one who wanted to make the relationship work. No matter the reality of the situation, assigning blame and becoming angry can feel like useless anger. However, anger is a natural part of the process.

The stage of acceptance

Eventually, you learn to accept that your marriage ended. You know it to be the right decision and may even want to celebrate the end. When you can accept the divorce, you can start to move forward. Keep in mind that once you accept it, you can still experience other stages and emotions.

You do not have to experience the stages in any one direction. In fact, many people experience different stages at different times and may go forwards and backwards in their journey.