Saturday, January 1, 2011

Six Stages of Grief

Stage One: Disorientation, disbelief, denial and relief. A straight partner's denial that their partner is not straight prevents them from dealing with reality. Once you are able to come to terms with this, you may be relieved to find an answer as to why things did not feel right and can accept why something was missing.

Stage Two: Facing, acknowledging, and accepting the reality. Slowly, the reality seeps into consciousness. Eventually you must acknowledge these realities as true and irreversible. Onceacknowledged, you are ready to finally accept the present reality as the new"given".

Stage Three: Letting go of the past. Once there is acceptance of the new reality, you let go of what you thought the marriage was, and start to grieve the dreams you've harbored.

Stage Four: Healing. Only when you let go of what was can you begin to heal. Healing begins when you start taking care of your own health and wellbeing. It's time to focus inward, clarifying wants, needs and values. Expect a breakthrough in terms of thinking and/or perspective.

Stage Five: Reconfiguring identity, integrity and belief system. Once a realistic picture of yourself is created, you are able to reconfigure who you are and regain your sense of self-worth. Resetting your moral compass based on your truth and reality, you learn to trust yourself and others. Lastly, accommodating the new information into your world view will give you meaning and purpose to your life.

Stage Six: Transforming your life. With your identity, integrity and belief system reconfigured, you achieve balance emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes spiritually. You can live your life as a new person in a new way.

The coping, pain, anger, fear, and grief color, and often slow the process. Anger occurs throughout the issues. Pain and fear are felt mostly in the beginning. Grief arises as you let go of each part of what you thought you had. If spouses can't manage the feelings in a productive way, the hurt and pain creates a "victim" mentality; anger turns to vindictiveness, fear becomes paralysis, and the grief intensifies to depression or suicidal thoughts and action.

Getting through these issues andfeelings, and effectively coping can take anywhere from 3 - 6 years to properly heal. Statistics indicate that it takes one year of healing for every five years of marriage. And, once this process takes place, for many, there is arealization that their partner really did marry them out of love, and not to hide in a closet -- they fully intended to make it work. So, while thesecouples could not be lovers and stay married, perhaps they can still be good friends.Moskovitch,

Deborah. (2011). When a Spouse Comes Out of The Closet: The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10/31/11 from: