Grieving an Ex-Spouse

One of the most surprising topics to come up in our practice has been the loss of an ex-spouse. When an ex-spouse passes away, it can be an incredible mix of sadness, regret, and confusion. For those with kids, you have to navigate your children through the grief process, while also tending to yourself. Here are some important things to remember as you are mourning the loss of your ex.

Your Emotions May Not Always Be Rational

Losing an ex-spouse can be a very odd experience. You may feel deep sadness, anger, or you may feel nothing at all. One of the most crucial things to remember as you grieve is that there is no ‘right’ way to feel. You may even feel one way one day, and then the next day feel something completely different, and that is okay. Just give yourself some space to explore those emotions and don’t feel guilty or ashamed about what you are feeling.

Learn About Your Grieving Style

There are typically two types of grieving styles: intuitive and task-oriented. The intuitive griever talks about the death, cries openly and will use creative methods to express their pain. They may need time to get back to a normal routine and may find it hard to focus.

Task-oriented grievers try to get back to their normal daily schedule as fast as possible. They need the distraction to help them with the grief process. They find solace in routine and deal with their grief in a very analytical way. Often they are seen as ‘cold’ or ‘detached’ after death, but it is a completely normal and well-known way to deal with a loss.

Most people typically fall into either category, but it is possible to be a mix of both. Try to understand your grieving style and embrace it as the way your mind is processing the loss.

Seek Counseling

One of the most effective ways to deal with a loss of an ex-spouse is to seek therapy or grief counseling. Even though you and your ex were divorced, there still are a lot of emotions that need to be worked out, especially if you had children together. Include your kids in grief counseling, therapy, or support groups. A therapist can provide you with tools to help you through grief and provide you with a safe space to share your emotions.


If you have lost an ex-spouse and need a referral to a therapist or other mental health professional, contact West Coast Family Mediation Center. We work closely with the best therapists in San Diego.

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