Answer these 8 questions to decide if divorce is your best bet.
Should I stay or should I go? If your marriage is on the line and you're considering divorcing your spouse, you may have had some of the following thoughts: I feel like I need to end this so-called marriage. Yet, how can I be sure? / Some days I feel more confident of my decision than / A part of me still loves and/or cares for him. / I don't think I am in love with him but what if I make a mistake? / Many people will be affected by my decision. / Maybe I'm being too hasty. / If only he would just change his behavior ...
Or, maybe your spouse wants a divorce. In that case, you've probably had some of the following thoughts: Divorce? Where did that come from? Two weeks ago, we were talking about going on a vacation! / I had no idea our marriage was this awful./ I am shocked and devastated./ I have to find a way to stop this. / Maybe this is all a dream and when I wake up things will be back to normal.
Many books and articles assume that once a couple says they want a divorce, they are truly ready for it. However, that's often not the case. In fact, usually, when couples begin the divorce process, either one or both partners are not really ready at all.
Divorce professionals including therapists, mediators, and attorneys often take statements like, "I've had it with him," or "My feelings for her have died," as indications that the marriage is already over. Attorneys mistakenly equate being hired with an indication that the couple is ready to divorce. But most couples who begin divorce proceedings are unprepared, causing marriages to end prematurely and divorces to deteriorate into competitive contests.
Underlying these hasty decisions is the assumption that the sooner you get out of a stressful situation, the better. There is a natural tendency for people in difficult marriages to get the divorce over with as quickly as possible in order to move on with their lives. Family and friends often encourage this as well, subscribing to the myth that the quicker the divorce is over, the sooner everything will return to normal. Unfortunately, in most cases, just the opposite occurs.
Couples who rush to leave their marriages have not had enough time to evaluate their feelings, thoughts, or options. As a result, they are unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the complicated legal system, and the many life-changing decisions that they will need to make. Quite often, they make agreements which they cannot sustain and, instead of the situation improving,it stays the same or gets worse. They often get tangled up in lengthy court cases and the very thing they hoped for — a quick divorce — takes years.
Next: Couples considering divorce face one of three dilemmas...
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This article was originally published at The Relationship Doctor Bruce Derman. Reprinted with permission from the author.