Divorce Coach: “Marriages Suffer Most in Gloom Season”

It is most common for me to see marriages breaking down when couples are in their mid-forties or early fifties. The reason for that, I think, is because most of their children are in their teenage years and working through their emotional traumas. On top of that, you have mom and dad not getting on. Some of my clients have kids who attend boarding school, so when the children are not at home anymore and it’s just the spouses, the cracks within the marriage begin to show.

Right now, we are approaching what I call the “season of gloom.” In the U.K., where I work, it begins in September and lasts until April, through fall, winter and in the colder months of Spring. Seasonal depression can begin to kick in, the clouds are gray and it’s rainy. Often, you don’t have much to look forward to. On top of that, there’s the financial and emotional strain of Christmas when everyone’s supposed to be happy. After the buzz of Christmas, I find that some people say that they can’t cope with their marriage anymore.

One piece of advice that I would give a client who is going through a divorce is that It’s okay to be in survival mode. And every day when you wake up, it’s okay to say: bloody well done me. I did one day, I didn’t die. No one died. But I also would say, seek advice, seek help. Don’t be afraid to talk because when you hold everything in, it may become worse.

Also, it is good to see the positives in every situation. I said to a client the other day: “At least you don’t need to pick stained boxers off the floor anymore.” That’s a win! There are always positives to a situation. So, my role is to be a cheerleader without the pom poms, perhaps, and to make sure that that individual is grieving healthily. It’s also to allow the person to move forward and reflect on their own part in the break up, in order for them to grow.

I look back at my divorce and now believe that it was a win-win situation for me. My pain became my purpose. I can now not only use my experience, but my sense of humor to help people smile through the day because whilst going through the trauma of separation, it is always a roller coaster of hell. But in any trauma, you can find something that’s positive.

–¬† Petra Brunzell, in Newsweek Magazine. 9/27/22