Should I get divorced?
For those of us who are divorced, it’s very likely that that question escaped your lips at some point or other.
Having been divorced twice and founding The Divorce Magazine, it is not unusual for people to ask me if they should remain in their current relationships or if they should leave and file for a divorce.
My answer is usually the same – it’s not a decision that I nor anyone else can make for you.
Having said this, I believe that you should do everything you can to try and make your marriage or relationship work. Don’t leave any stone unturned, especially if you have children.
Thinking of couple therapy as a means to reconcile is one way of looking at it but in reality it can work both ways. It can serve to help you and your partner work things through but it can also help you and/or your partner realise that leaving is what you really want and prepare you for this process.
So, please, before you file for divorce, here are some things that you may want to ask yourself or to consider:
- Are you leaving due to anger and hurt? If you are then you still have unfinished emotional issues that you will need to work through. We very, very rarely think things through rationally when we are angry and hurt. How can you deal with these feelings right now? Simply by providing yourself with adequate and objective support – surround yourself with someone or people whom you can trust to keep you in mind and not play a part in fanning the flames of your anger.
One lady I know, whose husband cheated on her is still carrying the feelings of anger and betrayal 6/7 years later. This then means that she makes it next to impossible for him to spend time with their son hence playing a role, inadvertently perhaps, of disrupting and interrupting a very dear part of her child’s life.
- Do you still love your partner? If so, then is this really the way you want to go right now? Have you looked at all the options available to help you work things through? In my work with children and families of divorce, I have come across couples who after a period of separation, have come to the realisation that they want to remain together. Have you considered this option? What about couple’s therapy.
- Are you unsure that this is the right way to go – do you have any doubts? It has often been said that any doubt means
no. Sometimes stepping back and looking at your marriage or relationship from a different perspective may help. Remember what your marriage was like when it worked? Is what you are leaving over, worth the permanent breakup of your marriage or relationship? What role are you or have you played in getting your relationship to where it is now? What “complaints” does your partner make about you? Are they in any way legitimate? Where are the origins of your doubt?
- Are you ready to create a new way of life for you and your children? Divorce and separation means that you no longer live with your partner. Are you ready to get into a co-parenting relationship where your children share their time between two households in a way that will be conducive to your children’s wellbeing and development?
- How would you feel when, not if, your partner starts a new relationship? Would you be ok with it or would you want to murder both of them preferably at the same time? What would it mean for you to have your child be part of another person’s life?
A very dear friend of mine, who initiated their divorce once found herself literally hiding behind a bush, watching as her ex-husband, their son and new partner were having a picnic one summer. It wasn’t that she wanted him back, it was that her son, her only child, was now part of another family unit.
Divorce can be hard. So before you go down that route make sure you know all that you need to know. Do your research, know all that you need to know. Plan and prepare yourself legally for the divorce and for the tough emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that accompanies this process.
Don’t do it unless your sure. Are you sure this is the way to go for you? Only you can answer that question.
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org