However, it is essential to understand that these health issues are not guaranteed to happen when you divorce—and that a troubled, stressful, or abusive marriage might be more harmful than a divorce. By being aware of the potential conditions divorced spouses have suffered, you are more likely to recognize them in the early stages and take precautions to prevent them from getting worse.
Be on the Lookout for Health Problems During a Divorce
It is essential to prioritize your health during and after a divorce. Eating right, exercising, regularly visiting your doctor, and controlling your stress levels are more likely to affect your health than your marital status. Keep in mind that avoiding these problems isn’t a good reason to stay in a troubled or unfulfilling marriage—especially since many of them are present in unhappy spouses.
Divorce opens up many doors you thought would remain closed, including who you live with, where you live, and your financial future. This uncertainty can cause increased anxiety levels, insomnia, or panic attacks.
What might help: These symptoms are often lower in spouses who are going through an amicable divorce or have a strong support network of friends and family. Making a written plan for the future or keeping a journal can also prevent unwanted or persistent thoughts that disturb your sleep.
Overeating and loss of appetite are both common reactions to stress that can damage your health, especially if you gain or lose a significant amount of weight in a short time.
What might help: Exercise can help you cope with extra weight, but it has also been shown to increase hunger. Try taking a short walk daily or stocking the house with delicious, healthy foods.
Middle-aged men and women are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease after divorce, and divorced men suffer significantly more heart attacks and strokes than non-divorced men.
What might help: Single men are less likely to make (and keep) regular doctor’s appointments, allowing minor conditions to escalate. Always attend your yearly physical and go for any tests or specialists recommended by your doctor.
The combination of high stress, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and poor sleep quality can all lead to symptoms of depression.
What might help: In most cases, divorce-related depression symptoms are temporary. Focus on the future and seek therapy or counseling if your symptoms persist after divorce.
Positive Aspects of Divorce Usually Outweigh the Negatives
You can take preventative measures against many, if not all, of the health issues associated with divorce. These symptoms don’t last forever, and there are ways to control them as you prepare for the next phase of your life.
Ex-spouses often report improved health effects after a divorce, including:
- Self-discovery. Marriages focus on “us” rather than “you” or “me,” causing some spouses to lose their sense of self. The process of reclaiming your identity by taking on new roles, building a career, and partaking in former interests and hobbies can be incredibly fulfilling.
- Healthier relationships. Ex-spouses may use their free time to join groups, reconnect with friends, or expand their social circles. If they decide to start dating, they have the advantage of learning from both the good and bad aspects of marriage when choosing a new partner.
- Quality of life. A contentious marriage takes a toll on spouses, making them feel as if they have been holding their breath for years. Both parties often feel relieved once the final decree is issued and experience greater life satisfaction years afterward.
Let a Washington State Divorce Attorney Take Over Your Case
Divorce can put spouses under significant mental and physical strain. Our divorce team can fill out the paperwork and handle all legal matters while you give your mind and body the attention they deserve.
Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at 425-460-0550 for a personalized assessment of your case, or use our online contact form to arrange a private consultation. If you want to learn more, read through our free guide, 9 Urban Myths about Divorce That Can Hurt You.