Coping with the death of an ex can be an emotionally difficult task. Unfortunately, it’s not a situation many of us are prepared for. Here, I’ll discuss strategies to cope with the death of an ex from funeral etiquette to getting help to put yourself back on a path towards healing.
Acknowledge Your Range of Emotions
As you process coping with the death of your ex, it’s important to acknowledge that you may feel an entire range of emotions, from sadness and grief to relief and even guilt. All of these feelings are valid, so it’s essential to take the time to process them without judgement. When needed, consider seeking professional help for emotional support and guidance.
It’s also important to acknowledge that the experience may place you in an awkward place. In 2019, Linda Gravenson wrote about her experience that when a former spouse dies, divorce is no protection against grief. Her article was later published in the New York Times.
Grieve Appropriately for Yourself and Others.
Taking the time to grieve can be a crucial step in healing from the death of an ex. It’s alright to cry, look at old photos, or chat with close friends about your loved one. It’s also okay for other family members and friends to feel strong emotions around this difficult time. Give yourself and others permission to grieve in their own way without judgement. Consider visiting therapy if these emotions become overwhelming or hard to handle alone.
When I was going through my divorce, I had many people tell me ‘divorce is like a death.’ And it is! But for me, the grieving I experienced at my divorce was more for the person I had found that I had married. When I divorced a lot of what had been hidden from me for many years came out. When my ex passed, I found myself grieving for the person I had thought I had been married to.
Talk to Someone Who Can Help You Process Your Feelings
If you are struggling to cope with the death of an ex, it’s important to reach out for professional help. Talking to a mental health provider can provide you with tools and skills that can help in the grieving process. A therapist may be able to understand and work through any negative feelings you might have, such as guilt or anger, in order to give you more control over your emotions and life.
thank you so much for this information! My ex passed away several years ago–all of our children were grown at the time. My heart goes out to you and your family!
My heart goes out to you too! What a difficult experience. Thank you for sharing!
Amy R. says
OMG YES!!! I couldn’t understand why I was CRYING so much after hearing my ex passed away! We had been divorced for 16 years and we both had remarried and had children! I totally understand what you said about experiencing two deaths almost! grieving the person you thought you had married and grieving the person you realized you had married. Definetely put some of what I was feeling into perspective. Thank you!
I’m glad it helped! Thank you so much for sharing your experience!