Ask The Divorce Coach Archives


In order to address specific issues of mediation and litigation, please feel free to ask questions; the responses will be posted here without your name, to maintain the confidentiality that is so important at this time. Please email Susan via email with questions or for a free copy of the exercises mentioned in these articles.

STAGE III AGONY: AGONY is the normal grieving process that we experience. We must allow ourselves to process through all of our pain, using the support that we may need. However, my work with thousands of clients has proven that healing does not requires "time"; it requires tools, skills and the commitment to use them.

When you entered your marriage, it was to love someone else. When you leave, it is to love yourself. The degree to which you are willing to reconnect with yourself will measure the ease or pain of your transition. Between these, you will discover who you were, who you are and the space in between.

"AGONY is part of the process of waking up to your reality and your pain. It is that moment when you let go of DENIAL, before you understand that your pain cannot destroy you. This is because your pain is not you." Frank Zizzo, Ph.D. for The Divorce Forum

The Holmes Schedule of Stressful Events places divorce as the #2 "Most Stressful Event" because there can be so many devastating components in divorce. We may lose not only our spouse but also our home, children, pets, business and friends. The AGONY that we feel is normal; it is our ability to feel it, move through it and heal from it that defines those of us who move on to healthy relationships after divorce. For the others who stay in the inferno, there is always tomorrow when we will be ready to begin the process.

Dear Divorce Coach,

I cannot stay in my marriage! But if I walk out on my family, what will my legal position be?


Ready to walk

Dear Ready,

It is always advisable to sign a separation agreement before leaving, for practical as well as legal reasons. If your divorce becomes adversarial, you may be accused of financial abandonment or of stealing family property. Sudden separations often lead to expensive legal fees due to one or both spouse's PANIC, AGONY or RAGE. Instead of walking immediately, I suggest that you plan a vacation or a business trip to ease the pressure until the separation agreement is completed. Then your peace will be permanent, not temporary.

Dear Divorce Coach,

How can my husband have changed from loving me to hating me? I know he's seeing someone but I love him and don't want a divorce. What can I do?


Home alone

Dear Home,

When we have conflicting needs, and some of our needs are met in a relationship and some are not met, the feeling that may result can feel like AGONY. I'm guessing that marriage fulfills some of your husband's needs and that is why he has not asked for a divorce. However, if he is dating, some of his needs are not being met in the marriage. Infidelity is often caused by RAGE or hopelessness or even PANIC and not always by sexual needs. When my clients learn to discuss their needs with each other, calmly and responsibly, RAGE, PANIC and AGONY often disappear and solutions are found. Then the behaviors that cause the affair may begin to disappear naturally. Otherwise, once you have begun to discuss the breakdown in the true intimacy that was there or wasn't there, you have all the options of professional support to recreate the marriage or to end it, no longer living in limbo. My clients have a 99% success rate in avoiding divorce when even one partner works with me to learn and then uses the numerous communication skills that are included in How to Avoid Divorce Training.


Susan Allan, The Divorce Coach

The courage to feel the AGONY each and every time that grief or sadness or pain sweeps through you is the pivotal experience of healing.

Once hurt, will you prefer to face the pain and get to the other side or do you wish you could avoid it? Allow yourself to slowly and consistently feel your AGONY. Use tears, exercise, therapy, meditation, coaching, diet, holistic treatments, music, dancing and yoga to travel towards PEACE. Each journey is an individual one but it is the Hero's Journey and you will be saving your own life. The choice of tools is individual as for one person meditation may support you in disconnecting from "stories" about suffering that are not true. For another, mediation may allow quiet time to connect to your feelings and allow them to be fully experienced so that you can move on; only you know what works best for you.

If you are a parent, it may be the emergency situation of your divorce that motivates you to be healed. Then, during divorce, looking at your children may remind you of your spouse and the AGONY. When you learn to feel the deep AGONY, to let it in and then let it out; it will evaporate, one drop at a time. Then you will be able to reconnect with your children, to love and support them as they move through their own emotions. As you continue to be gentle and loving with yourself, you will learn new ways to reach out to your children and to help them heal.

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