Because divorce involves object loss and intense ego injury that leads to depression and mourning, some investigators in the field have used elements of grief theory to define the stages of divorce. The four-phase sequence of grief behavior that follows separation is derived from attachment theory . Love and passion may erode or die, but attachments may still persist and resist dissolution despite anger, betrayal, and hurt. This is a common pattern in divorce and makes emotional divorce harder to achieve than legal divorce. Denying or abridging the necessary initial grief work may only perpetuate unrealistic attachment to the ex-spouse, and therapists must be very patient in working with such clients.
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