Are you starting to get that sick feeling that your marriage may be over? Deciding to end your marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. With significant emotional and financial repercussions, this is a decision you will want to take your time to consider all options prior to committing to divorce.
There are numerous considerations and questions you will need to task yourself before you decide to break the news to your spouse:
- Do you really want a divorce? You have to ask yourself if you truly want to leave or are you just trying to present your spouse with an ultimatum to wake him or her up? Some people will use an ultimatum such as this as a “power” move in the relationship. If you truly know your spouse does not want to get a divorce, the threat of divorce could just a be a way to show your dominance in the relationship. This is a dangerous play because it could backfire and your spouse may have already decided that he or she has already had enough. What is that phrase…”be careful what you wish for.”
- What makes you think you want a divorce? Are you not getting enough attention from your spouse? Are you trying to get your spouse to start treating you better? Threatening to leave is far from the best way to handle the situation. In fact, many people find that when they inform their spouse they are thinking about getting a divorce, the complete opposite of what they intended starts to happen. Their spouse becomes more distant and/or more abusive.
- Are you overreacting or are you realizing you simply no longer want to be with this person? All marriages are filled with ups and downs. If you are making the decision to get a divorce after an argument or a small “rough patch,” you may want to take a little more time before presenting a possible divorce to your spouse. Take some time to cool off and think about what you really want. Perhaps some counseling or simply sitting down with your spouse to discuss your frustrations is a much better choice. However, if you have come the reality that you simply no longer want to be with this person, a divorce may be inevitable.
- Was this really a “true” marriage? You would not be the first person to jump into a marriage too quickly. Sometimes a whirlwind romance results in a couple that quickly realizes they really do not have anything in common and they turn into more of a roommate situation rather than a true marriage. If this is the case, you may want to sit down with your spouse and express how you feel. In all likelihood, your spouse is feeling the same way and the best decision here may be to part ways.
- Are there still feelings between you and your spouse? Problems in the marriage can often confuse a couple into thinking that the marriage is over instead of working on the problem. If you still love this person and want be with them both physically and emotionally, divorce is probably not the answer. There are other alternatives, such as counseling, that should be explored prior to seeking a divorce.
- Have you considered the aftermath of the divorce? The consequences of the divorce should not deter you from divorcing if that is what you truly feel is the right decision, but you do need to consider them before making the decision. For instance, your finances will more than likely dramatically change. You will need to ensure you have not only emotional support, but also quite possibly financial support. If there are children involved, you will also have to deal with their pain during and after the divorce. Your support system needs to be in place prior, especially for the children.
- Are you ready to live life after the divorce? You are about to start a new chapter, so you really need to be able to put everything behind you. Moving on but being bitter about and towards your ex is just going to complicate your future and prevent you from enjoying a new relationship.
What If I Am Not Ready for Divorce?
You may realize soon that divorce is not what you want. If you and your spouse are able to sit down together to discuss the issues, you may find that you are just going through a difficult time. If you are unable to work things out on your own, consider couples therapy to help you.
In many cases, marital problems are simply about communication. You would be amazed how shutting yourself down about one subject or argument suddenly turns into completely closing yourself off from your partner. Therapy can help uncover the root of the problem that led to the communication shutdown and start to help you and/or your partner open up the lines of communication again.
What to Expect from Marriage Counseling
- The counselor will more than likely meet with you both individually and as a couple. Separating the two of you can help avoid any inhibitions you have bringing up issues in the marriage in front of your partner. This also helps the counselor get a picture of your concerns both as individuals and as a couple.
- The early part of the counseling is a fact-gathering mission for the counselor. He or she needs to gather as much information as possible to give you an honest assessment of the areas you need to work on both as individuals and as a couple.
- Many therapists, upon having the couple open up, will offer different “homework” exercises so the couple can gradually work on their issues and come to solutions together. Not only does this help them work on their marital challenges, it also shows them that they can work through problems on their own as long as they communicate openly and do not get defensive when their partner brings up a concern or issue in the marriage.
- If the initial therapy is not successful, there are other alternative that therapist may recommend. The sessions may uncover deeper problems or issues that need to be addressed, such as addiction or psychological problems.
When seeking the help of a counselor, you need to make sure you go into this with an open mind. You are going to hear some things you are not going to like from your spouse, just as he or she will hear things from you that he or she does not like. However, realize that everything is being put on the table so you can work out these issues. While it may cause some pain in the beginning, if you can work through the problems, the reward will be saving your marriage.
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