This is a guest post by blogger, Jennifer Landis who offers advice to those who are either daydreaming or seriously thinking of getting divorced.
When Divorce Is the Right Thing to Do by Jennifer Landis
Do you daydream about divorcing your spouse? That’s a bad sign for your marriage. Divorce is serious business. Before you reach out to a lawyers or mediator, consider if you fit into one of the following categories.
1. You No Longer Share Your True Thoughts or Feelings With Your Spouse
Honesty is vital to a marriage. Do you find you’re not being open with your partner to avoid conflict? Or, just as bad, you don’t even care anymore?
Generally, it’s a matter of different communication styles. What you grew up witnessing with your parents may not mesh well with what your partner observed in their family.
So, are you willing to overcome any communication hurdles? Do you care enough about your spouse to let her know what you think and how you feel? And do you care enough to listen and try to understand her thoughts and feelings?
If the answer to both is no, you may be ready to move on.
2. Your Marriage Makes You Unhappy
Can you remember the last time you were happy in your marriage?
This question is about more than the normal ups and downs in a relationship or the inevitable rough spots like illness or job loss that everyone faces.
Are you just angry about a situation that you and your spouse have not dealt with? Like you are a strict disciplinarian with your children, but your partner is more lenient? Then you may need counseling, not necessarily a divorce.
Sometimes, you may be reacting to circumstances that have nothing to do with your marriage, but your partner is the person you can project your frustrations on. For example, a 10 year Swedish study of 2 million married people found couples with long commutes were 40% more likely to get divorced. Even long commutes can affect the happiness in a marriage.
But if you’ve done some real soul-searching and you don’t want to spend another moment with your spouse, it may be time to leave.
3. You’re the Only One Committed to Saving the Marriage
It’s impossible to save a marriage by yourself.
You’ve tried talking about your issues but you end up fighting. Maybe your spouse downplays your concerns or avoids the conversation all together.
You’ve tried counseling. Your partner refuses to join you, so you go alone. Or you both go, but instead of working on your problems, it becomes a competition for the counselor’s affirmation. Or, once you’re home, your spouse forgets or deliberately ignores everything you’ve worked on in your sessions. The same toxic patterns remain.
If your partner doesn’t fully commit to counseling or has no interest at all in working on your problems, it may be time to go it alone.
4. You’re Ready to Deal With the Fallout After the Divorce
Too many people fall into the trap of the fantasy divorce. They imagine how their world will automatically improve once they get rid of the dead-weight that is their spouse — all will become sunshine and rainbows.
But if you hurry things without being emotionally prepared, you can find yourself leaving your marriage prematurely. Many people see divorce as a vicious, competitive black hole that sucks all the life out of you, your spouse and, especially, your children.
Getting a divorce can lead to results that can last for years, maybe the rest of your life. Unless there is a very serious issue that is potentially harmful, don’t rush into this life-altering decision. So how do you know when you’re ready? Do you and your spouse agree that it’s time to divorce? If not, seek counseling.
Do you still have strong feelings for your partner, positive and/or negative? This is a good indicator that you’re not ready yet. Again, seek counseling, even divorce counseling, if you both want it. Even strong negative feelings about your former spouse that aren’t resolved can have a lasting impact on you and your children. Too many people take that baggage into future relationships, setting them up to fail.
Are you ready for the consequences? Even once you and your spouse agree it’s time to part and are at peace with your decision and each other, there may still be some negatives consequences you’ll have to live with. Everything from a drop-in finances, your children’s unhappiness with the situation and seeing your partner move on to another relationship are likely results.
5. Be at Peace With Your Decision
If you have settled all the above and feel confident you can handle the consequences of your divorce, then it is time.
The end of a marriage is sad, but it may still be necessary. Approach your decision with self-awareness, maturity and an open-heart for what your relationship once was. Then you will know for certain when divorce is the absolute right thing.
Jennifer Landis is a freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys yoga, Netflix, and peanut butter. She is the mastermind behind Mindfulness Mama. Find her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.