Doctoral candidate (Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka)
Doctoral Research on "What do migrant divorcees in Germany cry about when they cry their divorce? A sensitive look at post-divorce loss(es) and disenfranchised grief"
While divorce is a disruption with resounding effects on all parties involved, in the case of migration marriages, the partner who had to move for the marriage is usually the one with more cascading losses to endure. Starting with little social capital to begin with after having left most of it in their country of heritage, a migrant divorcee grieves the further loss of social support, possibly stigma. They lose one of their defining social roles, and if their residency was given on grounds of marriage, their dependence will now reveal its serious consequences. The moment such a high-stake divorce takes place is a key moment in the migrant’s life—it can affect their relationships with everything, including the receiving society. Whether or not migrant divorcees needing help from mental healthcare professionals actually seek it, highly depends on the society they find themselves in, and equally affects it. Divorce grief is born in a context of social and cultural expectations as well as personal attributes. Recognizing their emotions for what they are can help migrant divorcees adapt to this new reality within their new reality. Why divorce grief takes a certain shape, and the definition of normality that is sought through therapy, are things that should be explored by patients and practitioners, together. Otherwise the entire helping experience can contribute to further isolating the migrant when it was meant to buoy them.
Hence comes my question: what do migrant divorcees living in Germany cry about when they cry their divorce?