6 Questions You Need to Answer.
You married your spouse because you thought this was the person for you and you’d be together forever. You never thought about divorce. But then you started fighting and things got worse. You feel lonely even when you’re with your partner. You may feel anger, resentment, shame and sadness. These are all normal emotions for couples who are struggling.
Most people who are thinking about divorce feel extremely conflicted. Some days you feel confident that divorce is the right decision but other days you question whether or not you could be making a mistake. It may be on your mind for years. And it is not a decision to take lightly, of course, because so many things change when you decide to divorce. It’s absolutely normal to be unsure and to question yourself about this significant decision.
Even if you’ve spoken to your spouse or a lawyer about divorce, you may not be ready to actually start the process. Guilt about the impact on the children, fear of financial instability and fear of being alone could be factors that complicate your decision. The decision to divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make with consequences that last a lifetime.
It is extremely important to think through the decision rationally and to try not to let emotions get in the way. Your emotions can be so intense that you may not see things clearly. If you can work through these feelings with a therapist or divorce coach, you’ll be better able to make an informed, rational decision that you’ll be able to live with for the rest of your life. Friends can be supportive and can help but they may be biased and may not have the knowledge to help you make this life changing decision.
The following are 6 questions that you should consider before proceeding with divorce:
- Do you still have feelings for your partner?
Many people struggle in relationships with fighting, anger and resentment building up year after year. But if you go away for vacation together, do you get along well? Do you remember why you first fell in love with this person? These questions can be guideposts to help you see what the relationship is like under the surface of stressful life circumstances.
- Have you gone to counseling to try to work on the relationship?
Relationships are not easy – there are ups and downs. Is this just a down time in your relationship or has it been this way for a long time? If you haven’t lost the strong feelings for your partner, you may want to think about working on the relationship with a professional before thinking about divorce.
- Are you ready to go through the stressful and emotional experience of divorce or are you just frustrated and want the other person to take you seriously?
Are you ready to let go of the relationship and the person? Take care to avoid threatening divorce rather than expressing your desire to be taken seriously. It can be extremely damaging to a relationship to threaten divorce if you don’t mean it and this can really break down trust in the relationship. If you’re not ready to go through the steps toward divorce, stop threatening it and work on the relationship with an experienced therapist.
- Are you expecting that the grass will be greener with another spouse?
What are you hoping for after divorce? Make sure you have a realistic idea of what life after divorce might be like. Are you expecting that you can find someone else who you will be happier with than your current partner? If you think that it will be better and easier with someone else, take time to examine the consequences of the decision. While your circumstances can change, your habits and personality do not automatically transform without significant personal work. You need to examine why your current relationship is struggling and what you contributed to the difficulties before starting with a new partner.
- Would you rather be alone than with this person?
How would you handle being alone? Do you have the support in place right now to help you through that experience? Have you thought about finances?
- If you have children, you will always be connected to your ex. How will that work?
How are you going to handle this? How are you going to communicate with someone who you’ve struggled with in the past? Are you going to be able to let go of past anger and resentment? While divorce obviously gives you autonomy over your own life, you will still need to make sure that your children have a relationship with their other parent and this will take ongoing communication and connection.
Thinking about what you want your future to look like can help you gather the information you need to make an informed, rational decision on whether or not to divorce.
If you have thought through these questions and still feel that divorce is the right decision, then you’re probably ready to start the process. If you need help with making this decision, as a divorce coach, I can help you think through these issues in a calm, rational and confidential way. You are the only person who can make this decision but it can make a difference if you have someone unbiased and experienced to support you throughout the process.