Are Divorce Support Groups Really Helpful?
Are you going through a divorce? If you are, then you already know how difficult it is. You already know how hard it is to change your entire life, and divorce most definitely does change your entire life. Whether you have children or not, you have to go through a whole lot of new things. That's true even when you're the one who wanted the divorce in the first place. But you don't need to go through a separation and divorce all on your own, because there are divorce support groups out there to help you.
Do You Need a Divorce?
Let's move back a little bit before we jump right into what divorce support groups are going to do and just how they are going to help you. Do you need a divorce in the first place? Maybe you do. Maybe something has happened in your marriage that you absolutely can't get past, no matter what. But maybe you've decided to get a divorce without looking at all of your options. Talking with your partner is the first step that you should take because it's entirely possible that one or the other of you doesn't realize that they're making the other unhappy.
By talking with your partner, you can figure out if there's a chance of making things work after all. If there is, you may want to give it at least a chance. See what changes the two of you can make and maybe even start taking therapy sessions together, or to a relationship support group, to see if you can save your marriage. Of course, this is only going to work if you and your partner are both willing to put at least a little bit of effort into whatever is going wrong in your relationship.
If one or both of you are unwilling to put in the effort that's needed to work through your relationship, you're going to have to face the possibility of divorce. It's going to be difficult for only one of you to try and fix a relationship that both of you are in. You would need to give up a great deal to make the other person happy without getting anything in return. The needs or wants that you have for your relationship would not be met if the other person is unwilling to change but wants you to do so.
Only you and your partner can decide what will and won't work for your relationship. If you just can't make it work, then you may want to talk with your partner about a divorce. You and your partner and possibly your therapist or attorneys are the only ones that can tell you whether divorce is the best option for both of you. Keep in mind that jumping into anything is going to be a bad idea and unless the reason for divorce is substantial (abuse, assault, etc.) You don't want to jump from one event to filing for divorce immediately.
The most important thing to remember is that you deserve to be happy. No matter what happens in your life and what is going on with your partner and the rest of your family, even if you have children, it's essential to keep in mind that you should be happy as well. You do not deserve to take the brunt of what's happening in your relationship or to take on all of the work necessary. You can most definitely walk away if the relationship is taking too much out of you and not giving you back what you need to be happy, because it is very likely that you will have a much happier life after divorce.
What Are Divorce Support Groups?
Let's start with what might seem like a fundamental question: What is a divorce support group? A divorce support group, like a therapy group, will help you get through the thoughts and feelings that you have about going through a divorce. Divorce is a time of great emotional upheaval, and support groups provide people with a safe place to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Don't underestimate how much effect it's going to have on you and everything that happens in your life. Don't think that you have to go at it alone either. There are plenty of divorce group options out there that can (and will) help you through this point in your life.
With divorce recovery support groups, you meet once per week (though they may meet more or less frequently), and each of you gets a chance to talk. Sure, you've probably got friends out there that you talk to, right? But it can be difficult for them to understand if they're happily married, if they've never been married, or if they simply don’t support divorce. You want someone that you know will get it, and that isn't going to judge you; people that are getting a divorce support divorce and will be able to understand your situation.
There will be a psychiatrist or therapist of some type leading the support group sessions. They will help all of you go through some standard discussion topics and exercises, but they'll also help you have some free expression at the same time. That means you'll each get to say whatever it is that you want to say. This is crucial when you're going through a divorce because you probably have a lot of things that you wish you could explain to someone or that you wish you could tell your ex about.
Why Do You Need A Divorce Support Group?
A divorce recovery support group is a great option for most people, but attending is something that you definitely should consider carefully. When you go through a divorce, you have to be able to get your thoughts and feelings out. Maybe you really can't explain to them what you're experiencing or what you wish they knew. Maybe you've tried, and they just don't get it (that might be why you're getting the divorce in the first place). Talking with others at support groups can help with that. Divorce is a time that is very difficult for most people, and talking about it with a support group can help make everything easier to deal with.
Maybe you don't feel comfortable talking to a bunch of strangers about your deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings. The truth is, many people at a divorce group probably feel the same way because they are also dealing with separation and divorce. They're just as nervous about all of this as you are, but it's therapeutic to go through. Think about it. When you were younger, and you had a bad day, what did you do? You probably called up your best friend and spilled your guts, right? You told them all about what happened and how you felt, and in the end, you felt a little better, right?
Group therapy is a lot like that, except these people get what you're going through because they're in the same place. People going through a divorce for many different reasons, but because they're also going through a divorce, they can not only listen and serve as your sounding board but understand how you feel and commiserate with you. That's one way to make you feel a little better about the venting that goes on. A divorce recovery group is able to give you support and encouragement for the things that you're trying to do to get through your feelings and emotions.
Find a Group for Divorce Recovery
If you’re looking to find a group that will help you with your divorce recovery, there are some easy ways you can go about this. Search for support groups in your local area, which are often hosted by churches, hospitals, community centers, or mental health professionals. These divorce recovery support groups have the advantage of being in person, which you may prefer to online support groups. Support groups led by other divorcees may be beneficial for some, but they won’t be able to help as much as a professional can.
If you can’t find a group locally that suits you, online support groups are another option. Look for a group offering meetings that are specifically for divorce recovery. While they may have general groups that address all sorts of relationship-related issues, you will benefit much more when a group focuses on divorce recovery. A group offering other counseling services at the same time might not be able to provide the same divorce-specific help that you need. Being able to talk with people who are also surviving divorce is much more beneficial for divorce recovery.
Getting Individual Help
If you're not quite sure about group therapy, then you should start out with individual therapy. You may even want to start individual therapy alongside your group therapy. After all, you want to make sure you feel comfortable with whatever you're doing and that you're getting the most out of. Do you want to be able to eventually get back to living your life the way you want without having to attend therapy, if at all possible, right? That's why you're going through this in the first place.
For those who are thinking about individual therapy, you can check out ReGain to find out more. This process is a unique one because you can talk with a therapist or psychiatrist directly through your computer rather than having to visit an office whenever you want to set up an appointment. Because you get to talk with someone from the comfort of your own home, it can be easier to open up and be completely honest. It can also be easier to make all of your appointments and to find a therapist that you can feel comfortable with at the same time.
No matter what you decide to do, it's important that you at least look at your options. Getting therapy after a divorce is an important step, and it's going to help you move on with your life. Even those who filed for the divorce themselves will often have second thoughts or will experience emotions that they don't know what to do about it. By attending therapy, you'll be able to work through those things, and then you'll be able to move on with whatever you want to do later on. Only by working through your current feelings, though, can you hope to do that.
Frequently Asked Questions