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Divorce: What's Normal?

Divorce: What's Normal?

Stan Katz (Clinical and forensic psychologist) gives expert video advice on: What is a normal sex drive during or after my divorce?; Is it normal to still be attracted to my spouse during or after my divorce? and more...

Is it normal to regret my decision to divorce during or after my divorce?

During the divorce process, you may have ambivalent feelings. You may go back and forth and say "am I doing the right thing?" What you have to have is some consistency of feelings. You have to really, over time, think this is the best thing for me. You have to look at what your doubts are about. If your doubts center around your children's feelings, and when you see your children being upset you say "I shouldn't be doing this," that's different than a doubt that says I really miss my spouse because I love their sense of humor and I love their physical, affectionate side, and I miss them. That's very different. If the doubts are more about the external kinds of factors, they should be quicky dispelled. But, you're going to go through different periods of time. Overall, as a professional, I'm looking for your consistent feelings over time. Is it better for you to not be with this person than to be with them? If the answer is yes, you should not regret your divorce.

What is a normal sex drive during or after my divorce?

Usually, when people are stressed and unhappy, sex is not on their mind. For most people going through a divorce, sex life is significantly diminished. Sometimes sex drive might improve when people feel their sexuality threatened during a divorce. For example, if a man knows that his ex-wife is sleeping with her new boyfriend, his sexual excitement may be heightened because of that competition and jealousy. For most people going through this difficult period of divorce, this grieving period, sex is just not on their mind.

Is it normal to still be attracted to my spouse during or after my divorce?

It is not unusual to be divorcing a spouse and still find yourself physically attracted to that person. You may find yourself physically attracted to that person, but not emotionally attracted, or intellectually attracted. They may be a great person, but you don't wanna blend your life with them because you have two different life philosophies or you have different life styles. So being physically attracted to someone you're divorcing is not unusual. Just like you may be able to say they're a very intelligent person, or a very kind person. You may still like some of their traits. And in fact, what that suggests is, is that you married them for some good reasons, as well as some of the reasons that weren't so good.

Is it normal for me to feel embarrassed about divorcing?

There is a great deal of shame that's been traditionally associated with divorce. People are often very embarrassed. It depends on their religious values, their political values. For some people a divorce means failure, no matter what the reasons are. And so, it means that you chose the wrong partner, even if you were a great partner, it means that you're a bad person because you married a bad person, or they became a bad person. And so people often are very embarrassed to say they are divorcing, and they'll tell their children "Don't tell anyone, don't tell anybody we're getting divorced." As if, you know, the world really is that concerned about what they're actually doing. But that's because they feel like a failure and because they are assuming personal responsibility where maybe there is no responsibility to assume. Shame and embarrassment has decreased over time as more and more people get divorced and it's more public. But for many people, particularly those who are religious, those who are politically conservative, it feels like a very very strong embarrassment.