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4 min read

Therapy for Divorcees: How It Looks For Your Specific Situation

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Key Takeaways:

  • Divorce happens for many reasons, many of which have detrimental effects on mental health
  • Addressing a divorce at therapy can help patients process the split in a healthy way
  • Therapy after a divorce often includes rebuilding the "self"

Therapy for divorcees is also called divorce recovery therapy.

Typically a brief 12 to 15 session run using cognitive therapies, divorce recovery therapy helps patients rebuild a sense of self and process the split in a healthy way.

Great. But that doesn't really give you a sense of what to expect from a divorce recovery session.

Let's go more in-depth. Let's talk about how sessions and discussions might look for different types of divorces.

Two things to note before we get started:

  1. This article is not a replacement for therapy with a licensed professional counselor. Your specific situation might have some nuance that only a dedicated therapist can pinpoint. This article is a general guide for the types of conversations you may have with your therapist.
  2. Divorce recovery therapy is not just for those who have been recently divorced. Any breakup can be traumatizing, so going to therapy for breaking up with a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, or other non-married partner is totally valid too.

Feel free to skip to the section that best fits your situation:

Situation #1: Therapy for a Divorce Due To Cheating

Situation #2: Emotional Incompatibility

Situation #3: Divorce Due to Abuse

Situation #1: Therapy for a Divorce Due To Cheating

Not that any divorce is necessarily easy, but divorce due to cheating or infidelity can be uniquely brutal.

Technically, there are two variants to this situation: being cheated on, and being the cheater. Let's start with the former.

Therapy For Being Cheated On: Expect To Talk About Self-Esteem and Trust

The most acute mental health concern that has likely presented itself if you've just been cheated on is a severe debilitation in your self-esteem levels and your overall ability to trust.

This not only causes you great pain, but it can affect your relationships with friends and family, as well as any future romantic relationships. Getting it addressed is very important.

For many relationships, sex is an intimate, often sacred act that communicates a love between the partners.

Sex between married partners communicates things we can't always put into words:

  • Attraction in its highest form
  • Love
  • Trust and safety
  • Respect

When we get cheated on, we imagine that our partner has communicated that to someone else. In a monogamous marriage, that can feel equivalent to being thrown in the trash.

That's why our self-esteem can be utterly destroyed after being cheated on: after feeling like we were "chosen", often for years, we suddenly feel as though we weren't. This has an immediate, severe, and chronic effect on our self-esteem.

Self-esteem is your own scorecard on yourself. It factors in your perceived sexual attractiveness, intelligence, and morality, and impacts your performance at work, the way you think about yourself and others, and your mental health in its entirety.

If you've gotten divorced because of cheating, expect to have discussions about your self-esteem and how it has been impacted.

Cheating also destroys trust because, in monogamous marriage, partners swear - certainly to each other and often to their god of choice - to be faithful to each other.

The reality is that married people often put so much trust in each other that their entire sense of trust becomes predicated on one person's monogamous faithfulness. When that faithfulness is destroyed, so is their sense of trust.

Expect to talk about your ability to trust and how changes in it can affect your daily life.

Therapy after infidelity usually includes

Therapy as the Person Who Cheated: Expect To Talk About Self-Image, Accountability, and Trauma

There are thousands of reasons people cheat. Some of the most common factors behind infidelity are:

  • A lack of respect of the institution of monogamous marriage
  • A libido that is not matched by your partner
  • Emotional requirements that are not being fulfilled by your partner
  • The influence of alcohol or drugs

Part of going to therapy after cheating on someone will involve unpacking your reasons for doing it. Often, they are linked to trauma, so be ready to discuss any underlying trauma that may be affecting your attitude toward marriage and relationships.

Expect to talk about how you think about marriage, as well as accountability and, eventually, self-forgiveness.

Situation #2: Emotional Incompatibility

About 50% of marriages end in divorce. A large portion of that is people who either were not emotionally compatible to begin with, or who grew apart over time.

In either case, therapy will often revolve around exploring the "self."

When you are married, much of the way you think about yourself is defined by your relationship. When a relationship ends because of emotional differences, it can be extremely disorienting to find yourself again.

A therapist can help you navigate the parts of yourself that have atrophied in the relationship. You might just find that you like those parts.

If there are parts of your character that you aren't proud of, a therapist can work with you to change them in a healthy way.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

Situation #3: Divorce Due to Abuse

This is, for many people, the "best" type of divorce - although the situation overall is certainly not good. Many consider it to be only a divorce in so far as the paperwork is concerned: the actual separation is simply an escape from a dangerous situation.

That's true, but that does not mean it's painless.

Once you are safely separated from your abuser, therapy is imperative. Abuse can have extremely debilitating effects on your psychology.

Expect to talk about your trauma (when you're ready). Your therapist will help you navigate the damage it has caused and guide you to the path of healing.

Therapy After Divorce in Austin, TX

Obviously, those three situations are not the only causes of divorce.

Regardless of the reason, however, talking to a professional may be able to help. Your mental health after a divorce is so important to address, so it's recommended that you get in touch with a relationship therapist as soon as possible.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, all of our therapists are doctoral-level psychologists, so you know you're getting the best mental healthcare possible.

Schedule an appointment today or give us a call to be matched with the right therapist for you.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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