I Want A Divorce. Really? But is getting a divorce the best option?
Most people who go after a divorce falsely presume that once they file the divorce papers, they can quickly go on with their lives and get away from conflict and turmoil. In reality, if two individuals go into a divorce without acceptance of the divorce situation, this can spell out trouble for all parties involved. Without proper acceptance of the situation of the divorce, both parties will be unable and unwilling to let go of their finances or the past. For this reason, couples seeking a divorce should first ask themselves a few important questions to ensure that the divorce process goes along as smoothly as possible.
It is also for this reason that attorneys, therapists, and counselors need to understand that when a couple says that they are tired of each other and ready to file for a divorce, it doesn’t necessarily mean that divorce is the best option. Both parties who are considering a divorce need to consider and ask themselves several questions to get to the root cause of why they are considering getting a divorce in the first place.
Everyone considering getting a divorce will have to face three common dilemmas when facing the prospect of divorce. The first dilemma is that while you may want the divorce, you may not know if it is the right decision for both you and your children. While there are no guarantees when it comes to filing for a divorce, if you can make a decision regarding divorcing based on facts and acceptance instead of emotions such as anger and vengeance you have a better likelihood of making the right decision.
Another divorce dilemma many couples will face is that one spouse does not want the divorce. Being in this position fully exposes you to devastation and feelings of helplessness, because your life will change at the drop of a hat without you having any control over what happens. In order to address this specific dilemma, you will need to find out if your marriage was actually based on love or an illusion. This is a tough place to confront issues in a marriage from, because you are often feeling blindsided by your partner not being content in the marriage when you think you are doing everything right.
Lastly, the final issue couples facing a divorce may face is that one party blames the other party for the failure of the marriage entirely. This refusal to take accountability for why the marriage failed oftentimes leads to a divorce process that is filled with conflict and a continual cycle of blame between both parties.
Do You Fully Understand The Importance of Taking Accountability?
Taking full accountability for a marriage and your role in it is so important because you do not want to hold on to contempt or hatred for the other person. Otherwise, getting a divorce will be completely useless. While it might not seem obvious that holding onto feelings of hatred is still holding an attachment towards that other party, that is exactly what you are doing if you cannot realize what role you played in the marriage. If you hold on to resentment, you may as well still be married. This is not to say that you will not experience a roller coaster of emotions when you are going through your divorce. In fact, while you are going through a divorce, you may fluctuate between feeling guilty and relieved. Even if you are the partner handing over divorce papers, you can still feel heartbroken that things did not work out. If you are the person being divorced, you may feel heartbroken, but another part of you may feel as though it is time to move on.
It is okay and completely necessary to accept all the emotional stages that the divorce process can evoke.
Do You Have Any Needs You Were Unable to Communicate?
While couples should strive to make each other happy in life, if they don’t take the time to be upfront about their own wants and needs in the relationship, they could grow to become resentful. Some people may see long-held feelings of resentment as a reasonable reason to pursue a divorce from their partner. However, to decide if divorce is the correct route you should take, it might be wise for you to spend some time figuring out what your needs and wants are with a trained therapist. A trained therapist may help you to not only figure out what some of the needs you may have suppressed are, but also how to communicate those needs in a manner that honors yourself and is respectful towards your partner. Otherwise, you may end up worse off getting divorced than you would be by simply learning how to communicate better.
Do You Have Any Other Motivations for Wanting to Pursue a Divorce?
The only thing a divorce can do is end a marriage and allow two people the opportunity to reinvent themselves and their lives. Therefore, you should ask yourself if a divorce is something that you really want. Divorce should not be used as a weapon against your partner to either show frustration or get your way. While the intention to get your needs met in the relationship in and of itself is not necessarily malicious, threatening to divorce your partner when you are not actually ready or wanting a divorce can be incredibly detrimental to the relationship. The partner in question might surprise you by taking you up on your offer!
Are You Prepared Emotionally for a Divorce?
Divorce is a tricky topic for all involved due to the conflicting emotions the subject of divorce brings up. The person initiating the divorce has likely been contemplating it for a long time, but may have moments where they still feel love or attachment to the person they want to divorce. The partner who is on the receiving end of the divorce may feel as though they are completely powerless and as though the world is crumbling around them.
If you are the partner seeking a divorce, try to be honest with yourself about where you are emotionally. Are you emotionally prepared to accept that you will be facing all of life’s challenges and stressors alone and without the emotional support of your partner to lean on? You need to be able to let go of your spouse in all senses of letting go. This means that you need to spiritually and emotionally let go of them, which can be an incredibly difficult task if you cannot rely on the emotional support of your friends and family. If you do not have a great support network, such as friends or family, perhaps it would be helpful to seek out the counsel of a trained therapist. Otherwise, if you are not yet ready to take on the world as a lone entity, divorce may not be the path for you to take.
On the flip side, if you are on the receiving end of the divorce, you will want to do everything in your power to reject the mentality of a victim. Being on the receiving end of a divorce when you feel as though everything is going well that life was proceeding normally is devastating for anyone. In order to move past this, it may be helpful for you to seek out the help of a therapist to help you with all of the emotions that will naturally surface when your husband or wife hands you divorce papers seemingly out of nowhere. While you may technically be the victim in this situation, holding onto the mentality of powerlessness takes the ability to change your life for the better out of your own hands. Instead of ruminating on how someone wronged you, it may be a wiser use of your time to consider where you may have made mistakes in the relationship or what you could have done better. This self-reflection will help you to grow as an individual and move on to find a partner who is more compatible with your goals and values. In order to escape the victim-hood mentality, spend some time appreciating all of the growth and memories you gained from your marriage.
Are You Prepared For All of the Real-World Ramifications for Getting a Divorce?
There are positives to getting a divorce. Otherwise, you would never even consider getting a divorce. A divorce allows you to leave an emotionally stressful situation for the freedom of choosing a new partner or new living situation.
For some people, this may be a double-edged sword.
One of the roughest things about divorce that you will need to face and understand is that the divorce will affect everyone in your life, not just you and your fiance. It will affect your children, your new family dynamic, your lifestyle, and your finances in ways you may not be focused on if you are trying to leave a stressful situation. You will know you are ready to divorce your partner if you are prepared to go from a two-provider household to a one-provider household. The reality of this change may mean that you cannot take your children to as many after-school activities as they are used to, or not getting them as many toys as you may have grown used to. While you will certainly have the freedom to search for a new partner, dating can be a tedious pursuit, because you have to choose a partner who not only shares your core values and vision for life, but this person has to be someone you trust enough to bring home to your children. If you are not ready for these changes, you may not be ready for a divorce.
Did You Marry Too Young?
When you are young, it’s easy to get caught up in making decisions based on what is expected of you. You feel affection towards a special someone and getting married may have seemed like the most logical choice at the time. However, when you are young, you do not have a fully fleshed-out concept of who you are. This is especially true for people who start out their adult life in a relationship. Getting a divorce in this type of situation, while painful, can signify new beginnings for personal growth and forge a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of life. Divorce, in this scenario, makes sense because you may have naturally grown apart as each of you grew into your individuality.
Do You Have the Capacity to Sacrifice?
For any marriage to be successful, both parties must be willing to sacrifice some of their wants or needs at different points. Perhaps one spouse gets an injury, and the other spouse will need to sacrifice some of their free time to work an extra part-time job to bring in more income. Or, one partner has to sacrifice their career trajectory in order to stay at home with a child. Everything that life throws your way is manageable, so long as both parties are a team and are committed completely to each other. If one or both parties are unable to sacrifice at times for the betterment of their spouse, while they may have been legally wedded, they were not married.
There is nothing wrong with pursuing individual interests, but this path is generally not conducive to a successful marriage.
Remember that no matter who is calling for a divorce, it is up to you to choose how to handle it. What attitude do you plan on handling the divorce with? Will you choose to seek vengeance on your mate for mistakes made over the course of a marriage? Will you choose to remember some of the personal growth your marriage gave you? Will you choose to call off the marriage after doing extensive soul-searching to find out if pursuing a divorce is the right option for you? Will you show respect to you and your spouse by calling things off in a way that will be beneficial for both you and your spouse, both financially and emotionally, without the need for long, drawn-out court hearings or in a way that will be detrimental to the person you are about to divorce?
Asking questions that evoke self-reflection can help couples to have a collaborative divorce that is amicable for all parties involved. Starting the process of emotional healing allows the couple to make agreements with each other and resolve their differences in a manner that is healthy and allows them to make the best decision for themselves and their children.