Sep 2020 2nd edition

How to deal with divorce

Written by More Matshediso

Divorce can be a painful separation of two people who were once married and loved each other at a certain point in their lives. 

This is according to Ntwagae Shuping, a social worker supervisor at Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital in North West. 

He further defines the concept of divorce as the death of marriage and says it impacts on the people who are close to the couple, especially if the two people were committed to each other. 

Shuping says there are various challenges that married people face in their union and sometimes they choose to divorce instead of working things out.  

He says the following issues could lead to divorce: 

  • Spouses having different belief systems, which results in conflict.
  • Interfering or over-involved in-laws.
  • The inability to conceive children. 
  • Different approaches or opinions to disciplining children. 
  • Infidelity or having children out of wedlock.
  • Improper use of money. 
  • Unhealthy sexual relationship between the couple.
  • Domestic violence.

“Divorce is not just the relational separation of the couple. It has emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and physical impacts on those involved. They also fear the unknown,” Shuping adds.

Sometimes, once a divorce has been finalised, the divorcees experience challenges that include fighting for custody of the children, depression and the loss of assets. 

Advice for managing divorce 

As a professional who sometimes provides counselling to people who have been affected by divorce, Shuping has a few tips for those who find it hard to accept the reality of being divorced. 

  • If you have done your best to salvage your marriage, honestly, let go.
  • Speak to the people who you trust and who value you, such as your support system.
  • Renew your strength and try to start a new life after divorce. 
  • If you think you are the cause of the divorce, ask for forgiveness and forgive yourself too. 
  • Allow yourself to go through all the stages of loss.
  • Guard against harbouring a grudge against your ex-partner. This grudge will slow down your healing. Harbouring a grudge will destroy future relationships if you want to remarry. 
  • Leave the door open for reconciliation.

While getting a divorce ends a chapter in your life – and you will feel a range of emotions, from anger and loss to frustration and possibly relief – he says it is important to remember that it also signals a new beginning.

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