How did you cope/deal with the divorce?

  • I am aware of the technical difference between using "cope with" and "deal with" but are they used interchangeably in a context like this?

  • Are they equally formal/informal?

  • You have not given any context. Do you mean legally, practically, emotionally or all of them? Who instigated the divorce? Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:30
  • Mainly emotionally. Mutual decision. Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:42
  • 2
    In that case I would say "cope" is better. Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:44
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    @Weather Vane I agree. coping with often has emotional overtones (how did you deal with anger, distress and rejection?) whereas dealing with is predominantly practical things (what were the legal aspects, what did you do about money, house, children ...).
    – Anton
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:54
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    "Dealing" with something can be just a job to do, whereas "coping" implies difficulty. Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


They are similar. You deal with an issue and you cope with a problem. In other words, to me "deal with" does not imply that there is a difficult or problematic situation, although there might be. "Cope with" implies that there is a problem one has to manage.



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