1. Do you still have feelings (positive) for your spouse?
Maybe you have experienced a loss of intimacy, affection or closeness. Or perhaps there is a power struggle over differing core beliefs. For example, is one partner a spender and the other a saver? Does one partner like to get out and socialize while the other partner just wants to stay home?
>> There are many core values and beliefs that we all have and sometimes, even when we truly love someone, these core beliefs can conflict.
Often, one party will let the other party cross boundaries or make decisions that would not be made if you were by yourself. Many times, such person thinks that such absolute compromise is best as it promotes peace and harmony. And it does – at least in the short run.
But eventually, resentment, anger and bitterness will probably boil to the surface. If we don’t find a way to voluntarily bring these concerns to the table with our spouse, they will come out on their own. Someone trained in conflict resolution can often train couples to learn the art of compromise while maintaining their own core belief integrity.
It takes a lot of work, but it may save your marriage.
2. Are you really ready for a divorce?
Are you really ready for a divorce or are you threatening a divorce out of anger and frustration? Be careful what you say and what you ask for in the middle of an emotional outbreak! If you are simply trying to scare the person into changing or to simply control a person, you are not ready for a divorce (and you probably will not accomplish your goal).
>> If you are a person who constantly threatens divorce, you will become the equivalent of the little boy who went around screaming that “the sky is falling”;
Eventually, no one will take you seriously!
If you really think that you are ready for a divorce, you should be able to honestly say to yourself that you have done all that you can do to save the marriage, that there is nothing else you can do to save the marriage and that you are at peace with the fact that your marriage relationship is going to end.
This means a decision that is now less an emotional response and more of a decision that is a reasoned response.
This will allow you to maintain a clear direction despite the roller coaster nature of a divorce.
Emotionally charged decisions will not keep you heading the same direction and you will end off with a mountain of regrets. If you want to be forever angry at your spouse, then get divorced for purely emotional reasons.
Just remember that you will be drinking your own poison. Carrying around that anger will eventually kill any peace you have in your own heart. Further, you will stay emotionally attached to your spouse until you can objectively look at the truth of your situation.
>> Please, do not let a divorce rob you of any joy, because it can eat you from the inside out if you let it. It doesn’t have to be that way and you do have the power to make that choice.
If you are asking for a divorce to get back at someone or to ruin someone else or to get your spouse to take you back, you are going to be disappointed no matter what the outcome. Again, I would suggest if you feel this way, you are not ready for a divorce. The real reason for a divorce should be just that – to end the marriage relationship and no more.
That is not to say that people are not conflicted while getting a divorce or even during the process of considering divorce. Conflicted emotions are a normal part of the process. Such conflicted emotions can range from absolute rage to intense guilt about wanting a divorce.
In addition, sometimes old expectations or promises we made to ourselves simply do not fit the current situation. If that is your situation, you really should go back and examine your expectations and throw away any expectations that no longer apply.
There are no hard and fast rules in your life and if your decision is based on your current situation, then just make sure such decision aligns with your core beliefs. If you can do this, you will be able to find peace of mind before the divorce, during the divorce and long after the divorce.
3. Can you handle the negative consequences that come with divorce?
Have you completely thought out the everyday difficulties of a divorce? There are many negative consequences of a divorce and not all consequences can be known at the time a decision to divorce is made.
>> Please keep in mind that the same emotions involved with the death of a loved one are the same emotions that come with the death of a relationship.
The loss of a relationship, and the grieving process that accompanies such loss, can overwhelm even the strongest person. Anyone going through a divorce can be overcome with self-critical, negative and limiting beliefs.
Such thoughts can be of inadequacy, disappointment in ourselves and certainly hopelessness. To counter these emotions and thoughts, a support system of family, friends and professional therapists/counselors (see The 4 types of Counseling) should be assembled with lots of thought.
You don’t need negative people surrounding you, nor people who panic and cannot handle the stress that always comes with divorce. You want people around you who are strong, that are calm, that allow you to make your own decisions and to come to your own conclusions and people who may have their own stories of divorce.
Although every divorce story is different, there are always common threads that can bond people together. You should also consider getting active in hobbies you enjoy as well as maintaining some type of physical activity.
Some other unpleasant consequences of a divorce don’t revolve around you, but center on others who are experiencing pain associated with your divorce. This could include your parents, immediate family, friends, certainly any children and even your soon-to-be ex-spouse! All of the people around you could be going through their own pain and conflicted emotions.
A divorce does not happen in a vacuum. If you cannot look at yourself, your spouse and even your children in the eye and accept their sadness, you are not ready to deal with the negative consequences that come with a divorce.
And your emotional pain is not the only negative consequence of divorce. There can be major changes in your finances as well as huge changes in your standard of living (click here to learn more about how to prepare a financial picture).
Most likely, you will lose financial stability, which can cause fear about the future. You might have to start working or you may have to find another job that pays more money or has more flexibility. One of the important factors when considering a divorce is whether you have the skills to get a job and can you support yourself. If you cannot accept these changes, you are not ready for a divorce.
If you are unable to accept the negative consequences of a divorce, both seen and unseen, and be determined to take control over the areas of your life you can control, you are probably ready to move forward with your divorce. You won’t be perfect and you will not always be calm, cool and collected, but you should be able to maintain yourself during the tough times over the long haul.
When you begin to take responsibility for yourself, you gain power over how your divorce will proceed, the tone your divorce will take and even set the course as to how any post-divorce conflicts are going to be resolved. You can move from operating from fear, hurt and anger to operating from a position of calm, confidence and inner strength.
This change of attitude can determine the entire atmosphere of your divorce from start to finish. You can choose to be fair and equitable to your spouse. You can choose to take the high road when it comes down to the division of property as well as possession and access of the children. And if there are children, you can actually put forward any actions that are solely in the best interests of such children.
In conclusion of the 3 questions above, so much of the work you do now or don’t do now will determine how things will go in the future, so put the work in!
By being fair to yourself and to your spouse, you are probably going to save you a lot of time and money dealing with the issues that always come about after a divorce – especially when dealing with children or the division of property. And your children deserve the very best that a parent can offer. But, how can you adequately take care of your child if you can’t even take care of yourself?
It is like the example of the plane that suddenly loses pressure and oxygen. The plane attendant clearly states to put on your mask before putting on the mask of any child. The reason being that if you don’t take care of your own mask first, it is very likely that one of you will not make it out alive.
So, make a plan and prepare for the inevitable problems that will arise. Planning now will allow positive co-parenting and will help to build positive self-esteem. The children already have enough to deal with without having to deal with parents acting like the child.