How Divorce Affects a Woman: What They Don’t Show in Movies

Woman sitting outside looking sad

We’ve all seen those movies with women bouncing back from a divorce. After a few bad days or weeks, the characters get their lives on track and end up even better than before.

Fun movies, to be sure, but those plotlines are not typical of how divorce really affects a woman. The average woman’s health will suffer a lot more during, and after, a divorce than we usually see on the screen. New stresses and new lifestyles can lead to the wrong kinds of habits. Here are a few of the common effects of divorce for women.

A Broken (Damaged) Heart

The stress of being suddenly single again, or being a single mom can result in more than a figurative broken heart. There can be serious, physical heart problems that develop. Time Magazine reported that “Women who divorced at least once were 24% more likely to experience a heart attack compared to women who remained married, and those divorcing two or more times saw their risk jump to 77%.

The main reason for this can be traced to the financial and emotional struggles women experience following a divorce. Women tend not to remarry as quickly as men and women’s financial situations tend to be more constrained. These struggles cause the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can raise blood pressure and increase cholesterol and blood sugar readings to dangerous levels.

How Divorce Affects Women’s Drinking Habits

Women’s Health recently revealed that “Nearly a third of women whose marriages had dissolved reported almost daily substance use, versus a quarter of unhitched men.”

Many women use alcohol to relax and unwind while coping with all of the lifestyle changes a divorce brings. Instead of being a temporary measure, however, some women begin to rely on alcohol to get through every day. This habit can escalate into more alcohol consumption or even using other substances.

How Divorce Affects Women’s Eating Habits

If a woman is suddenly back in the workforce after years away or dealing with the demands of single parenthood, her eating can suffer. Depression, anxiety, and stress can drastically alter how a woman eats. Some women lose their appetite entirely while others seek the comfort of overeating. Focusing on healthy food and regular meals can become too difficult in light of all the other changes women face while getting divorced.

How Divorce Affects Women’s Unhealthy Sleeping

In addition to altering eating habits, depression, anxiety, and stress can impact sleeping patterns. We all know the vicious cycle this presents. You can’t get to sleep because you’re worried or thinking about everything that needs to be done. You sleep poorly and the next day you’re even more stressed because you’re exhausted, and have less energy. The more exhausted you feel, the more likely you are to reach for caffeine or sugar to keep you going through the day. Then, at night, you might be too wired to fall asleep and the next day is a repeat of today.

Avoid the Physical and Emotional Toll of a Messy Divorce

Get the support you need during this difficult time. Seek a support group or professional counselling to help you maintain your emotional health. Also, speak to a family law professional who can help make the divorce process as relaxed as possible, while ensuring your future is protected. A lawyer experienced in family law will work closely with you to fight for your rights and ensure you’re not in this alone.

Galbraith Family Law lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice, and we have been named the top firm by the Barrie Examiner multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.

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Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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