Whether it's Katie Holmes, Danny DeVito or Amy Poehler, celebrity divorces and breakups continue to make front-page news. Unfortunately, the average couple doesn't fare much better: approximately every other relationship is now bound for a breakup.
As a therapist, I'm not one to recommend staying in hurtful relationships, let alone abusive ones, but I do believe that women contemplating divorce will benefit from looking at the issue carefully from all sides. Here's my list of top four questions to consider before filing for divorce:
1. What will I lose? Divorce means big change. It's a big deal; income, health insurance, homes — spouses come with a whole slew of things.
Can I make it on my own? Am I willing to make the sacrifices? Which friends will I likely not see again? Would I have sufficient social contacts or would I have to start over from scratch?
These may not be the deciding factors for you, but do take the time to carefully consider all the consequences of making this significant change. Even if these are not on the forefront of your concerns, you will need a plan to replace the things you're giving up along with your partner.
2. Will I be happier? You're probably really miserable right now, but keep in mind that divorce is very stressful, so it's certainly not a fast way to improve how you feel. Many divorced women are surprised that their unhappiness did not vanish after they broke up with their partner. Emma Thompson, Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman are some recent examples among the many celebrities on record admitting they suffered from depression post-divorce. So take an honest look at yourself.
What thoughts and feelings come up as I imagine getting divorced? Do I predict emotional difficulties or mood changes in myself? Is the problem at least partially with me and will I simply take my unhappiness with me?
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