Stuff to think about before divorcing your partner
When people decide to end their marriages it’s generally because they feel they have done everything possible to save it.
However, in our daily work with couples, we are noting too many partners who make the decision to leave their marriages that give themselves little time to honestly — and soberly — process and evaluate their feelings, thoughts and options. Others base the decision mainly on a one-sided view.
Couples who make improperly considered decisions to leave the marriages usually have little time to evaluate their true status and life after divorce. As a result they are unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the often complicated legal system and the many life changing decisions that they need to make, not just for them but also for the children where kids are present. Quite often, they make agreements they can’t sustain, and instead of the situation getting better, they often find that they have just traded one set of problems for another.
The purpose of this piece isn’t to encourage or discourage divorce, but rather sensitise you to some honest reflection on the decision you’re contemplating. And while it’s understandable that some marriages have reached dead ends, ending a marriage — no matter how toxic — is a decision that needs a very sober mind.
If you’re at the crossroads about whether to throw in the towel, take a step back, clear your head and consider some of the following questions:
Is there willingness to resolve issues?
Once you get down to the true issues behind all those emotions flooding your system, you need to figure out whether there exists willingness to resolve matters on both sides. Or is it that you can only get your life back on the right track by breaking things off and begin from scratch?
Divorce lawyers will disagree with us on this, but calling it quits, whether with good or bad reason, is the quickest way out. It looks like it’s guaranteed to remove all that weight from your shoulders and make you feel like you’re standing on your own two feet again. But is it the best solution? The real question here is, is there anything about your marriage that’s worth saving? There’s always an alternative to divorce, as long as both of you are still keen on each other.
Am I also to blame?
Before you point your finger at your spouse, you must consider what your part has been in the collapse of your marriage. It can’t be their fault entirely. And if this question doesn’t cause you to rethink the divorce, then it may well be that you’re simply no longer keen on your partner period.
Is this a sincere decision?
To be ready to divorce means being able to make a clear, unemotional decision that you can support over time.
Any agenda, other than ending the marriage, is an indication that you are not ready to divorce. Divorce can only do one thing, end a marriage, and in so doing free each person to make new attachments to new people should they choose to do so.
Divorce means being able to let go of all strong emotional attachments to the other person, the loving ones as well as the hostile. Emotionally charged decisions do not last and if acted on do not resolve the underlying problem. People who divorce out of anger stay angry even
after the divorce is over. You’ll carry soul-ties you won’t easily break far beyond the divorce, and you’ll likely carry them into your next relationship.
How will my decision impact the children?
Divorce is the most tragic news you’ll ever break to your child, young or old. Children, no matter the age, have the attitude that their parents should be able to work through and resolve any issue. Parents, who have given the children life, are perceived by the children as very competent people with supernatural abilities to meet whatever needs the kids may have. No problem should be too great for their parents to handle. For a child, divorce shatters this basic security and belief concerning the parents’ abilities to care for them and to make decisions that truly consider their wellbeing.
Therefore, transitioning to a parenting marriage or planning a solid exit strategy that considers the kids is not immoral or unhealthy. It is, in most cases, the responsible and mature thing to do. But whatever your decision, never divorce your children.
Am I really ready for a divorce?
Have you considered that things will practically change? Your housing situation may get complicated. Your social life will change significantly, both in how you spend your time and with whom you spend it. Your daily routine may no longer be the same. While the fear of change or the unknown shouldn’t stop you from leaving an unhealthy or abusive marriage, ending things before you’ve considered the first few steps post the break-up can make a sad situation even more stressful and overwhelming. Have you researched, planned and prepared yourself emotionally, legally and financially for a divorce?
Finally, think about it: does your marriage have to be over or can you stay and agree to fight for it? Is it shameful to stay when you know you “should” leave? Is it unfair or even unhealthy to take advantage of what is working in your marriage when the romantic love aspect is not working? Does the fact that your partner can no longer “make you happy” trump the commitment to your vow — for better or worse? Is it even their responsibility to make you happy, that you actually want to leave?
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