The end of any relationship is a trying time, no matter how amicable the split is. Just like a break-up or divorce, no one gets off scot-free emotionally during the annulment process. Understanding this can help you better prepare yourself for the emotional impact of going through the annulment process, and to find ways to help yourself cope.
The Emotional Impacts of Annulment
You should expect an emotional adjustment period with the end of any relationship, no matter how long it lasts — but, of course, the longer you and your partner were together, the more of an adjustment there will be. You had months or years to adjust to the quirks of living with and relying on someone else in basically every aspect of life. Going through the Catholic annulment process involves making a lot of those adjustments in the reverse. Not only will you be dealing with the emotional impact of an ending relationship, but you will also face the additional emotional turmoil that can come from examining the nuances of your marriage (which is what the annulment investigation asks of you).
As you go through the annulment process, here are a few things you can do to help yourself and your family work through this emotional time to find healing:
Gather a Support System
During the annulment process, just like with divorce, it can feel as if your life is falling apart, you are lost, or you are horribly depressed. These are totally natural and understandable feelings, despite how unpleasant they feel when experiencing them. Remind yourself that it’s all part of the healing process — and then find a bit of help. Whether you talk to a therapist, your priest or someone at church, or you set aside time to talk with friends, it’s invaluable to have some kind of support system as you go through this emotional time. No matter how much you might feel like being alone, finding consistent support will help you work through the process and find better healing.
Create New Habits and Hobbies
Many individuals tie a lot of their self-identification to their marriage — which is what makes the end of that relationship even more of a struggle. No matter how amicable the split, you will likely find that you need to make some mental adjustments as you go from married to separated. Seeking out new hobbies, or embracing activities you love that may have fallen by the wayside, can help you make that transition a little easier. Community activities, volunteering, joining a church group, or other hobbies can also help you find a feeling of community and connectedness that will provide you with support as you go through the annulment process.
Take Time to Process Everything
As you separate, it’s common to feel the entire spectrum of emotions in under 10 minutes. It’s healthy to give yourself time to process everything, even those uncomfortable emotions. The Catholic annulment process is actually a good way to help you process all of those emotions. Preparing your annulment request involves providing personal testimony about your relationship before and during your marriage as well as the causes for separation. Working through the history of your relationship can be a cathartic way to process everything. In addition, you’ll also need to find close friends and family who can provide testimony, so speaking with them can further help you process.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Feeling Good
Most couples don’t choose to separate on a whim. There are typically months of stress and unhappiness before you make that big decision. Once you’re separated and going through both divorce and annulment proceedings, don’t feel guilty if you feel relief. That’s a totally natural reaction to the end of months or years of stress, so if you have days that you feel good, don’t feel like you’re going crazy.
Get Experienced Annulment Help
When seeking a Catholic annulment, there’s no reason to go it alone. The team here at Catholic Annulment - Another Chance is made up of experienced church judges who are familiar with all aspects of the annulment process, including the emotional impacts. We are here to guide you through your annulment proceedings, help you prepare, and provide a compassionate source of support while you process everything. Connect with us to learn more about how we can help.