Dealing with Ambiguous Grief
A person beginning the journey of divorce will often feel apprehensive and fearful. Many people in this position are understandably agitated, often sorrowful, and sometimes profoundly depressed.
Reactions to post-divorce can run the gamut. Some people are giddy with the excitement of beginning a new life filled with the chance to fulfill previously unimaginable and now grand possibilities. Others feel wounded and depleted by the prospect of facing household and financial obligations on their own. Many people swing from one extreme to the other depending on the day.
Over time, most divorced people are able to successfully move on. They create a new life, pursue some of those new possibilities, and are able to shake off feelings of doubt and insecurity that may have arisen during and shortly after the divorce.
One situation that can be particularly difficult to deal with is when a divorced person longs for, but does not have, a romantic partner. Even if other aspects of their lives are going well, this lack of intimate connection can be a challenge.
What is Ambiguous Grief?
People in this situation can experience what is known as ambiguous grief. This can happen in a variety of situations where there is no concrete event to grieve. For example, a spouse caring for a partner who no longer recognizes them due to Alzheimer’s disease or a woman trying to get pregnant but being unable to conceive, can feel ambiguous grief.
This type of grief comes with an added burden. It often goes unrecognized. There are no rituals to support these people as will happen at a funeral. There is no tangible moment that occurs that enables friends and family to know and acknowledge the sense of loss.
Ambiguous grief may be made worse if interactions with friends and associates include complaints about their romantic partner or spouse. While they unload their anger and upset on the single person, they still have a companion to go home to – where most conflicts are amicably resolved. Meanwhile, the grieving person is left feeling lonelier than ever.
How can a Person Deal with Ambiguous Grief?
Therapists suggest a solution to the dilemma. They recommend the grieving person find a way to explain the grief and ask for understanding. They suggest opening the topic with a comment like “I know that the problems you bring up about your relationship matter, but I don’t know if you realize what it’s like for me to hear them.” Then the reality of ambiguous grief and what exacerbates it can be discussed.
For example, if a friend offhandedly says “don’t get married” or “you’re so lucky you’re single” remind them that you are lonely and very much want a romantic partner. If they remark about how they envy all of your free time, let them know that a lot of that time is spent in a tiring and sometimes demoralizing exercise that requires a big investment of emotional energy in trying to find a partner.
Bucks County Divorce Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advocate for Clients During Divorce
Divorce can be an emotionally challenging and difficult step to take. There are many financial, practical, and legal issues to sort out and process. The experienced Bucks County divorce lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can represent you in your divorce proceeding with compassion and skill. Call 888-999-1962 or submit an online contact form to schedule an initial consultation today. Our offices serve clients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and throughout South Jersey. We also have offices in Pinehurst, North Carolina to assist our clients in the south.