Helping Professionals Survive a Divorce

HonnolDCounseling advises professionals either to resolve their ambivalence and renew their marriage, or to confront their loneliness and despair, moving forward with divorce.

HonnoldCounseling counsels professionals who are desperately unhappy in their marriage or other significant relationship:

  • “I dread going home.  It’s like walking into a buzz saw.”
  • “I think she’s been having a relationship with someone else.  She comes home smiling, and full of life.  I should probably do it, too.”
  • “I feel much more comfortable when I’m not with my husband.”
  • “There is a growing estrangement that I can’t escape or deny.”
  • “We’ve been sleeping in separate bedrooms -- I’m in the basement.”
  • “I’ve been having a secret rendezvous for many years with another woman.”
  • “It’s the loneliest feeling in the world, being with her.  I have nothing to say.”
  • “Romantic evenings, couples massage, sexy videos -- nothing works.”
  • “I would have left him long ago, if it weren’t for the kids.”
  • ““I can’t continue to ‘hold on’ until the last one goes to college.”
  • “I’ve pleaded with him to come into counseling with me.  He won’t do it.”
  • “We’ve tried several marriage counselors.  None has a clue what to do.”
  • “He’s so smart at work, but he’s a total idiot at home with the kids.”
  • “Everything I do gets used against me.  It’s like living in a war zone.”
  • “I have enough tension to deal with at work.  I can’t do it at home.”
  • “Life’s too short.”

When it’s over, it’s over.  Except that in divorce:

  • Structures Fail.  The structures of your life are blown apart, including relationships with in-laws, family, friends, and your own children; your home; financial security; and emotional wellbeing.
  • Trauma Falls.  Aside from serious illness or death, divorce may be the most traumatic experience of your life – more devastating than the collapse of your career, or a financial reversal.  The effects of divorce can be catastrophic.
  • The Heart Breaks.  In divorce, a relationship that was formerly your source of greatest support turns hostile, becoming an arena for conflict and painful negotiations.
  • Complications Ensue.  Divorce is further complicated if your marriage is long-standing, you have children, and either you or your spouse is financially dependent on the other.
  • Vengeance Can Occur:  The most traumatic divorce occurs whenever either spouse is vengeful, irrational, or unwilling to negotiate the terms of the divorce, and there is litigation – worst of all, a child custody fight.

High-functioning professionals may be unequipped emotionally and personally to deal with a personal catastrophe of this kind:

  • It’s Difficult to be Objective:  You may be unable to think rationally and strategically about your options when confronted with the need for a divorce.
  • Expect Irrational Behavior:  You may unrealistically expect that your spouse – or you – will behave rationally under extreme duress.
  • Professional Expertise Proves Useless:  Professional training and experience -- even in law -- will provide little useful knowledge to you about the terms and procedures of your own divorce.
  • Retaining A Lawyer is Costly and Humiliating:  Though you may find it humiliating, you may have no alternative but to hire a lawyer – at a lawyer’s standard rates – to represent you in your divorce.

HonnolDCounseling can help you to:

  • Renew your marriage, if it’s not too late;
  • If your marriage is over, acknowledge it and take first steps to end it;
  • Negotiate the initial practical phases of your separation in a collaborative manner, if possible;
  • Consider the sequence of practical steps you need to take in order to protect your interests, and your children;
  • Maintain your professional competence despite overwhelming stress and uncertainty in your personal life;
  • Rebuild your relationships with your children;
  • Manage feelings of hurt, anger, resentment and loss involved in your divorce;
  • Rebuild badly shaken self-esteem;
  • Communicate feelings and needs to friends and family members;
  • Manage personal health systems through nutrition, sleep and exercise;
  • Manage sexual anger and frustration;
  • Maintain a sense of perspective; and
  • Adjust to being single again, once the traumatic phase of divorce has passed,
  • Begin to take steps to rebuild your personal life.

Divorce is devastating and humbling.  Because of the trauma involved, separation and divorce bring many individuals into counseling for the first time.  

HonnolDCounseling can help you maintain your dignity, humility and integrity as your marriage and other aspects of your life come apart, and then help you to “hold onto yourself” as you begin to rebuild your life. 

“Marry and with luck
it may go well.
But when a marriage fails
those who marry live at home in hell”

— Euripides, 408 B.C.

The collapse of family life can be your greatest catastrophe, and surviving it your greatest challenge.