Should I Get A Divorce? How To Answer The Painful Question Once & For All

No one but you knows when, if ever, the time is right.

unhappy couple talking fizkes / Shutterstock

There are few things in life as emotionally painful as struggling in an unhappy marriage while constantly wondering to yourself, "Should I get a divorce?"

And hands down the most common question I heard when I was working as a mediator in the divorce arena is this: “How do I know whether or not I should get a divorce?”

No one can decide what the answer to either of these questions is for you, but there are other important questions to ask yourself in a way that makes your own objective opinion about whether or not to end your marriage as clear to you as possible.


I have personally experienced the excruciating pain of asking that question myself, and I have been engaged in conversations with numerous others struggling with the same inner debate. The question is not only terrifying, but it is truly one of those that each individual can only answer for him or herself.

I am a firm believer that no one can or should be rushed into this decision.

Over the course of these conversations, however, I developed a methodology for figuring out what your inner-self truly believes is the best thing for you to do.

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Here is my (as yet unpatented) method of questions to ask yourself in order to finally answer that lingering question, "Should I get divorced?"​

Step 1:

Imagine your child as the husband or wife currently in your shoes, living in the marriage you are living in. If you do not have children of your own, imagine a beloved niece or nephew, or even yourself as a small child. Place a picture of that child in front of you.

Step 2:

Ask yourself this question: "How would you feel seeing your own child as an adult living in the marriage you are living in?"


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Answer Key

A. Do you feel happy and satisfied that the child you are looking at is in that relationship?

If your answer is yes: Great! By all means, keep doing what you are doing, and let us all know so we can learn from you!

If your answer is no, move on to B.

B. Do you feel somewhat content for your child, but concerned by a troubling disconnect or dissatisfaction you observe has crept into that relationship over time?

If your answer is yes: Raise the conversation with your spouse now and consider options for finding help reconnecting and resolving differences before it’s too late.


If your answer is no, it is deeper and worse than that, move on to C.

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C. Do you feel sad for this child? Are you angry with your spouse for treating them that way? Are you disappointed that your son or daughter is allowing themselves to be so ill-used?

If your answer is yes: Get. Out. Now.

Even if your answer is C, you may still not feel ready to take that huge leap of faith required to let your spouse know you want a divorce. That’s OK too. This is your life.


However, I would encourage you to seek further guidance from a therapist, coach, trusted friend, or the like.

“We only have one life to live” may feel trite and over-used, but it is used so often because it is true.

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Deputy Editor Arianna Jeret, MA/MSW, is a former family law mediator whose writing has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Style, MSN, Fox News, Bustle, Parents, and more.