What are the Physical and Psychological Effects of Divorce?

With a first-time marriage facing divorce rates of 40-50%, one would hope that the second time around would fare better due to maturity and wisdom gained over the years. Unfortunately, this may not be the case, since the divorce rate for subsequent marriages continues to rise, as high as 70%. Ironically, couples with children experience a slightly lower instance, but still, the impact on their children can bear out over a lifetime. Also, former husbands and wives suffer psychological and physical side effects that can impact them for years to come, as well as in future relationships. 

Psychological Effects of Divorce

When divorcing, individuals may feel a sense that their identity has disappeared as their surroundings and support network transition to a new reality. Divorce impacts many areas of life, including:

  • Children’s school district
  • Confidants to rely on
  • Where you live
  • A decreased network of friends
  • Financial status
  • Sexual behavior

This tidal wave of change can overwhelm former partners, leaving them with an incredible sense of loss and emotional instability during the separation process. When ending a marriage, many turn to counselors to help manage their emotions and get advice about how to move forward. Common feelings that therapists help divorcing clients deal with include:


Many former partners discover unresolved grievances once they separate and want to air this dirty laundry to the world after years of repressed emotion.


It’s a common issue to experience depression during a divorce trial. Those suffering from this report a lack of motivation to continue their normal routines, or they harbor some guilty feelings. 


Changing your life, pursuing new interests, and possibly seeking new love relationships can be very intimidating circumstances that divorcees face when they become single again. This causes all sorts of anxiety for many newly divorced people.


Letting go of a former spouse is hard enough, but imagine running into them at a local market with their new love interest on their arm? Feelings of jealousy are common in this scenario, and this is why many partners that divorce move away to new locations.

Physical Effects of Divorce

Clearly, divorce has a profound psychological effect on spouses that can have long-term side effects if not treated properly. Physical effects have just as severe on men and women whose marriage ends, even under the best of circumstances. Though men and women are very different, the physical consequences are similar.

Typically, both sexes experience some of the following risks to their overall health during a separation:

Heart Disease

According to a 2015 study conducted by the American Heart Association, divorcing men and women can develop an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This finding further suggests that women experience persistent inflammation due to the stress of separation. Men appear to suffer similar struggles, including conditions like coronary artery disease.

Weight Fluctuations

Appetite is a key part of our well-being, and the drama and stress from a divorce profoundly affects it. Some look to food as a way to dull the anguish they experience after losing a partner. On the other hand, some stop eating altogether as their appetite disappears. Fluctuations in weight also affect how we process anxiety and/or depression. 


Experiencing insomnia while going through a divorce is not uncommon as many deal with anxiety and depression during this time. If you have significant sleep disruptions, consider speaking with a family physician as your overall health can suffer as a result. 

Drug Abuse

Divorce is an overwhelming experience for many, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol happens all too often as a coping mechanism. Trying to numb the pain from a failed marriage can lead to a lifetime of financial, legal, and health problems. 

Kansas Divorce Attorneys Who Can Help You

While you may have tried your hardest to fix your marriage and prevent a divorce, it isn’t always possible. This is especially true if your partner has no interest in saving your union and has already filed for divorce. This process may leave you emotionally and physically distraught, and you need to focus on yourself to avoid serious health issues down the road. Working with an experienced divorce attorney like Joseph T. Welsh can help give you that space to breathe again.

Joseph T. Welsh, Attorney at Law understands the importance of focusing on your best interests so you have a positive outcome from your divorce case. His compassionate approach for those facing the rigors of this emotionally-draining process can help you safeguard your future. Contact him today at (620) 510-5030 to receive a free consultation and discuss your needs. With years of negotiating experience as a former U.S. District Attorney in Kansas, he can map out the best path to get you through this trying time and moving forward in life.