The Death of a Parent Can Lead To Divorce says Bend Oregon Marriage Counselor

April 24, 2013 by

It can be so traumatic for a marriage when there is a death of a parent. It has often been baffling to families and therapists alike to see this lead to divorce. Many think it would bring the couple closer due to this kind of significant loss. Recent research shows that there is a small spike in the divorce rate when there is a death of a parent in the partnership. So why does this happen? No one really knows for sure. This topic was explored on Imago Share last week and here are a few reasons therapists have seen working with couples in distress over a parental loss.

First, Susan Johnson creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy says when a parent dies a partner can suffer an “attachment injury.” Positive and negative memories flood them in their greif process. They may look for comfort and and feel their partner is distant and not there in their time of need. As Sophie Slade, an Imago Clinical Instructor states, for some people, their partners distance is an “unforgettable and unforgivable” abandonment. Secondly, as Sophie Slade goes on to say, the death of a parent “can also bring up issues of one’s own mortality and what one is going to do with the time left, a ‘no time to waste, I have to make changes now’ urgency.” I have witnessed this “no time to waste” variant in my own work with couples when a person has stayed married for the approval of their parent. After that parents death they feel free to divorce. Lastly, if both of the partners can’t talk about their loss it can lead to increasing negativity, criticism, condemnation and blame.

This Bend, Oregon Marriage Counselor knows that it can be very hard to lose a parent, but it need not be the end of your marriage! If you are experiencing distance from your partner tell him or her you need to be comforted. If your partner is mourning the loss of their parent, ask them how they need to be comforted and be emotionally available. If communication has been a struggle then see a qualified relationship counselor who can help you both manage your grief and teach you to provide comfort. You can do something about the distance and deepen your love for one another through your time of loss.