Stages of marital breakdown
Marital separation and divorce form a lengthy process which may last many months or even years and can be divided into a number of stages for separate consideration. Many couples go through several temporary separations before the final break, and some families may get caught up in a repetitive cycle of separation and reunion before a final breakdown. Individuals suffer a sense of failure, guilt, and disbelief after marital separation. It is common after an initial separation for the couple to get together to try again, because both partners feel bound by the marriage contract. Women tend to have higher expectations of marriage and consequently greater disappointments. Immediately after separating people frequently experience depression, feelings of inadequacy, and physical illness. Parents and children who cope best after the breakdown of the family are those who can ask for, and get, help in the form that they need it.