Note the reality of
psychological divorce. Though partners may
choose to endure a loveless independent relationship, each
partner has losses to grieve (like hopes and dreams) -
unless they never bonded in the first place.
Premise - incomplete divorce adjustment has
recognizable behavioral symptoms.
The more symptoms a family has, the more likely
their members have not fully adjusted to divorce changes and
losses. This checklist
is illustrative, not comprehensive - each family may have
One or both ex
mates shows significant behavioral
and is not genuinely committed to personal
One or both ex mates are often hostile, critical,
disrespectful, distrusting of, and/or dishonest,
codependent, and/or seductive or sexually intimate with the
Ex mates often avoid direct contact with each
other, specially if they are parents. If so, each may
justify this by blaming their ex ("S/He's just impossible to
both ex mates and/or one or more children are...
chemicals (including sugar, fat,
and nicotine), and/or...
activities (e.g. gambling, working,
exercising, traveling, eating, Web-surfing, worshiping, pornography, shopping, etc.);
their family denies or
minimizes the addiction/s and their toxic personal and family
the addicts and any
co-addicts (codependents) (a) have not hit
and/or (b) are not genuinely committed
to achieving and maintaining
The legal divorce process has not been finalized for
at least 12 months.
significant recurring disputes
between ex mates about
money; property, asset and debt ownership;
child-custody; and/or other personal or family conflicts.
One or both ex mates have recently or chronically
threatened to take the other "back to court" over some
More typical symptoms of a psychologically-unfinished
One or more children
of the divorce are significantly _ angry, _
"depressed," _ have chronic physical, sleep, and/or eating
complaints; are _ "hyperactive" or _ "have trouble
concentrating;" and/or _ feel overly responsible for a
parent, sibling, or troubled relative.
There is significant
antagonism, hostility, distrust, disrespect, and resentments among some relatives
of the divorcing couple - specially parents and/or siblings.
and/or one or
more family members (a) have recurring unrealistic fantasies about the couple
and their family reuniting, and/or (b) they are compulsively trying to make that
happen despite clear evidence that it's not possible.
There are one or
more stressful relationship
among family members that seem to
relate to the divorce's causes,
process, and/or impacts;
one or more family
members chronically avoid...
talking about divorce causes,
losses, conflicts, and/or impacts; and/or...
physical or emotional
reminders of the divorce (e.g. places, music, mementos,
pictures, rituals, holidays, etc.); and/or...
speaking honestly about their
divorce-related opinions, feelings, needs, and reactions;
One or more family
members show signs of significant
about the causes, process, and/or effects of the
These are usually symptoms of inherited psychological
not just incomplete divorce recovery.
14) One or
both ex mates are isolating and avoiding normal contact
with family, friends, and their religious community, if any;
or one or both are compulsively busy and
+ + +
Do you feel that these are probably reliable clues that a
family-system divorce adjustment isn't finished yet? Can you
add any symptoms?
From my professional research and clinical experience with
hundreds of typical divorcing and
remarrying couples and families since 1979, this checklist
offers common symptoms of a psychologically-unfinished divorce. That is,
symptoms that ex mates or other members of the divorcing families have not yet...
grieved and accepted all their
(broken bonds), and/or have not yet...
stabilized their inner
and outer lives after adapting to members' changes in personal
identity, names, family roles, rules, and rituals;
hopes, goals, finances; spirituality; child-care; work; and key
relationships; caused by the divorce.
Each symptom in this checklist suggests that one
or both ex mates and their families are affected by the
lethal [wounds +
they probably don't
(want to) know that or what it
Also see these other common courtship
partners need to discuss.
A well-respected divorce-recovery book is
Rebuilding - When Your Relationship Ends,"
by Bruce Fisher and
Robert E. Alberti. There are many recovery resources
accessible now by Web search.
Pause, breathe, and recall why you read this article.
Did you get what you needed? If so, what do you need now? If
not - what
you need? Is there anyone
you want to discuss these ideas with? Who's
answering these questions - your wise resident