Dealing With Your Fears as You Face Divorce

There's no doubt that living in the middle of a marriage in decline can be agonizing. But making that final decision – divorce – can catapult your anxiety into overdrive. While you might have become numb to the hurt and heartache in your marriage, your marital problems are the known enemy. Divorce, the unknown, can be far scarier.

There’s a certain comfort in being in a relationship that was meant to be for life. You know the drill; you’ve mastered the daily ins and outs of living in an unhappy situation. But you also know that you deserve better. So why is your fear of divorce so very strong?

Why is divorce scary?

Pure and simple, divorce is a scary thing. The fear of the unknown can send you into a flurry of overwhelm. You may be asking yourself any or all of the following questions:

  • How will you take care of yourself financially?
  • Will you have to sell your house and move somewhere else? 
  • How will your divorce affect your kids? 
  • What will your friends, family, and co-workers think? 
  • Will you ever find happiness again? 

On the other hand, what happens if you stay in a bad marriage that doesn’t fulfill your needs and keeps you from being who you were meant to be? Long-term, staying in an unhappy marriage can be far scarier.

It takes a lot of courage to face divorce head-on. The good news is that the agony of divorce is temporary. Empowering yourself with knowledge helps remove some of the mystery. Fortunately, there are many great resources out there to help you understand the divorce process and decide if it’s ultimately right for you. 

Dealing with the unknown

Fear of the unknown is a natural part of a divorce. Change is intimidating, especially change that has so many emotional and financial implications. One way to help alleviate your fear is to educate yourself about the divorce process and your rights. Knowledge is power, and the more you understand the process and how it will affect you personally, the more confident you’ll feel. 

Research divorce like you would research any other important decision in your life – step-by-step, with as much good solid information as possible.

Free tools you can use

  • If you don’t know where to begin, a general overview of the divorce process is a good place to start. 
  • Are you intimidated by all the legal mumbo-jumbo terminology regarding divorce? Reading about the process and the terminology in plain English can help ease some of the confusion.
  • How do you take the first step to initiate divorce? A divorce planning checklist can help you move through the process at your pace, one step at a time.
  • What about property division? How does that work? This property division spreadsheet can help you understand the process and how it may affect your situation. 
  • What things will you and your spouse need to agree to before you’ll be granted a divorce? You can read about divorce settlement agreements here.

When it comes to divorce, the more information you have, the more your fear of the unknown can be dispelled. You may think of divorce as a gut-wrenching legal battle between two people, but most divorces today are actually uncontested, with couples agreeing to relatively amicable settlements. 


Solutions to calm your body and mind

While fear is natural, prolonged fear and stress can be debilitating if not kept in check. When you’re afraid, your brain releases stress hormones that cause your glucose levels to rise, blood pressure to spike, and heart to race. While these reactions are appropriate in a life-or-death situation, a chronic state of stress and fear can affect your physical and mental well-being.

So, how can you stay calm when the thought of divorce is activating all these fears?

  • Get out of your head and into your physical body. Ruminating thoughts are self-defeating and can keep you stuck in that chronic stress response. Try to shift from overthinking to a more physical focus by eating right, getting plenty of exercise, and getting enough sleep. Shifting your focus to your physical health will physiologically help reduce your fear, make you feel stronger and in control, and create a healthier outlook for the future.
  • Take action. When you’re frozen in fear, you can feel stuck and incapable of making important decisions. Take some reasonable steps to alleviate your most pressing fears. If you’re having financial worries, speak with a divorce financial analyst who can give you experienced insight into your situation. If you are concerned about your employability, talk with local job resources about your qualifications or an employment coach who can suggest options that may be a good fit. Focusing on what you can do instead of focusing on the negative puts power back in your court.
  • Consider meditation to help your emotional well-being. Clearing your head and breathing is easier said than done when you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, but the health benefits of meditation are well-known. Meditation can help keep you focused on the present moment instead of the unknown and help you manage your stressful thoughts. 
  • Get support. As they say, it takes a village, and that can include going through a divorce. Join a divorce support group. Seek out a good therapist or divorce coach. Hang out with non-judgmental friends who can be there for you. The good news, of course, is that you’re not alone, and most people who have navigated divorce come out on the other side far happier for it. But going through it alone can make it difficult to see the positives until it’s in your rearview mirror.
  • Keep a journal. Writing down your fears in black and white can give them perspective. While they are swimming around in your head, they take on an ominous life of their own. But when you frame your fears into simple little words, it can take the power right out of them. 
  • Partner with a divorce professional you trust. While most people think of lawyers when they think of divorce professionals, “lawyering up” isn’t the only way to approach divorce. Collaboration and mediation can help foster more understanding and communication throughout the process and can be far less expensive. 

Read about Hello Divorce’s flat-rate divorce mediation services here.

If you’re considering divorce, your fear is normal, but the more information and facts you have, the less afraid you’ll be. This is not just the end of something. It’s the beginning of a whole new life for you. There’s help out there for you when you’re ready. 

At Hello Divorce, we believe in arming you with the best resources, legal advice, and professional services possible so you can make the right decisions for yourself. Need more information? Schedule a free 15-minute call with us to find out more. 

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.