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What is a divorce hangover?

In 1991, a book came out called Divorce Hangover. It was about the emotional pain and turmoil that often accompanies divorce and suggested that like an alcohol hangover, it would eventually pass and leave you ready to cope with life again.

The book acknowledged that divorce was a life-changing experience that aroused strong emotions like depression, anger, resentment, and confusion. When these feelings failed to disappear or even ease up after everything was over, you were suffering from a divorce hangover.

This painful condition keeps you emotionally tied to your former spouse or the life you knew before divorce, leaving you stuck in the past and unable to move on. Like a traditional hangover, it can make you difficult to be around and have a negative effect on your children as well as friends and family members who are trying to support you.

Other damaging complications include:

  • Inability to let go, which increases a sense of depression and hopelessness
  • Refusal to pay spousal support
  • Making it difficult for your ex to visit the children
  • Repeatedly dragging your ex back into court to punish and stress them out

In extreme cases, violence has been known to happen. Even if it doesn’t, you deserve to stop suffering and get on with your life.

What can you do?

If you’re struggling with a divorce hangover that refuses to subside, then your best option may be to seek professional help. Letting go of the past and moving on is easy in theory, but the reality is that too many people find it impossible to let go and want to keep punishing their ex for the perceived injustices that led up to the divorce. Dragging a former spouse back into court over and over is also a way of maintaining a connection, although it leads to anger, misery, and higher legal costs.

Working with a therapist can help you address anger issues that heighten a divorce hangover and make it possible for time to heal this wound like it does all others.

Other remedies for a divorce hangover include:

  • Recognize what’s happening and work through the stages of loss: shock and denial, bargaining, depression, anger, resignation, and finally, acceptance.
  • Give yourself permission to mourn. Doing so is not a sign of weakness.
  • Express your feelings constructively. When you feel like hitting something, go for a walk or run.
  • Rebuild your sense of self-worth by excelling at your job, volunteering, or discovering a new hobby that energizes you.

After a while, the misery and discomfort will pass, and you’ll be able to enjoy life again. Divorce is painful, but when you give yourself permission to embrace the future, the hangover effects won’t be lasting.

If you have questions about divorce or family court matters, then contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky. Mr. Lutzky is a highly experienced attorney who offers free in-office initial consultations. You may reach his office at 718-329-9500.

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