DECIDING WHETHER TO DIVORCE (OR NOT)

One of the reasons people are often upset with the divorce process is because they think it will change the spouse’s behavior. It does not. It frequently just exacerbates already frustrating situations. The questions one should be asking oneself when contemplating a divorce are not, “Am I happy in this marriage?” The questions need to prompt you to look further down the road: “What am I hoping to gain if I decide to divorce my spouse?”
We have all seen our friends divorce one “type” of man (or woman) and then turn right around and start dating/marrying another version of that exact same type. The divorce has not done much to improve our friend’s situation in those examples.
Here are some of my suggested questions for detemingin if a divorce is the right answer:
 – What is the part of my marriage (family, partnership) that I cannot live with out? (Child custody, relationship with in-laws, marital residence, 2-income life, beach house vacations, etc.)
 – If my divorce came down to giving up that one thing; would I be willing to do it? And, what would happen if that is what a judge ordered?)
 – When I am upset with my spouse, is the cause something that s/he can control?
– Is it something s/he is doing on purpose?
– Is it something that would likely upset any rational human being (such as lying/cheating/stealing)? Or am I being overly sensitive to it (such as table manners)?
– What role have I played in making things more difficult between us? Would I be willing/able to change my behavior? What might it change between us?
– Does the feeling of wanting to escape the marriage have any hidden opportunities to instead improve our marriage – whether through communication, therapy, becoming close or giving more space, practicing trust exercises, etc…?
– Do we both feel that we have tried everything and it is just time to move on, or am I alone in my conviction? 
These questions are worth exploring: alone, with a qualified therapist, maybe even with your spouse. And they do  lot more good before you begin a divorce process!

Published by Sharon Oberst DeFala

Sharon Oberst DeFala has practiced low-impact safe divorce since 1992.

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