Unhooking Marital Attachment



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"Unhooking," Defined

Excerpted from Games Divorced People Play, by Dr. Melvyn A. Berke and Joanne B. Grant.

"Unhooking is giving up an emotional and romantic attachment to a person as well as to a relationship. This is a difficult and lengthy process, lasting from one to three years. However, the bulk of the work is accomplished within the first six to ten months following the separation.

"Hooked refers to holding onto an attachment despite the fact that in the now, the relationship no longer meets the emotional needs of either party....

"Marital attachment takes approximately two years to develop and is the binding together with another that gives rise to feelings of safety, comfort and at homeness when the other is present, or felt accessible. These feelings persist even when both parties view the marriage as over....

"Detaching from the marital system can be as difficult as detaching from a spouse. The marital system was as much a part of your life as your spouse. A year or two after the divorce you may only faintly miss the person, yet long for the ordered predictability that characterized the marriage."


Stages of unhooking

  1. Surprise

  2. Disbelief

  3. Hurt and Abandonment

  4. Guilt and Embarrassment

  5. Anger

  6. Resentment

  7. Grief and Mourning

  8. Resolution

"You are unhooked when you can see, hear or interact with your ex without feeling bad."


► List of all Divorce Peers resources: Your Ex?

"No" (How to Say It)
After Your Judgment of Divorce
Care taking and rescuers
Divorce Court - "Forget Me Not" Program for Never Married Parents
Divorce Court - "Reasonable" Parenting Time, Defined
Divorce Court - "SMILE" Program Description, Advice
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child," factor (F)
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child," factor (I)
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child," factor (J)
Divorce Court - Parenting Time Make-Up Policy
Divorce Statistics - "Connected" to Your Former Spouse?
Divorce Statistics - Infidelity, Adultery, Cheating, Affairs, ...
Eavesdropping between Divorced Parents
Four Basic Elements of Successful After-Divorce Relationships
Marital Attachment - "Unhooking" after Divorce


► List of all Post-Divorce Relationships resources

Active Listening -- Tips
Apologize and make amends
Asking Questions
Camps for Kids
Care taking and rescuers
Child Health
Children and "Friendly Divorce"
Daters' Bill of Rights - Boundaries after Divorce
Divorce Risks: Children
Evaluating Child Care
Explaining Your Divorce to Your Children
Four Basic Elements of Successful After-Divorce Relationships
Listening Habits
Listening Problems
Marital Attachment - "Unhooking" after Divorce
Not Divorcing - for the Sake of the Children
Parenting Classes
Parenting Time Coordination via Internet-Based Scheduler
Personality tests: Jung-Myers-Briggs
Photo Albums On-Line
Reasons to Listen Better
Relationship tests
Step Couples - 10 Steps for Success in Remarriage after Divorce
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Step-Grandparenting
Step families - 10 Steps for Successful Stepfamilies, Stepchild Parenting
Stepparents - So You Want to be a Stepmother?
The Waitress Test
Why Not Date During Divorce?
Why Wait to Date after divorce?


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We are not psychologists.

We simply help clients negotiate their own divorces.

since 1983

Divorce Reality


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