The Simple Way To Decide If You Should Get Divorced Or Not

You're miserable, but will divorce really make you happier?

Last updated on Mar 07, 2024

Woman thinking dimaberlinphotos, AndreyPopov | Canva 

When you've been unhappy in your marriage for a long time, it’s natural to ask yourself: Should I get a divorce?

You may fantasize that leaving your relationship would solve all your problems. But the problem is that divorce doesn’t come with a happiness guarantee.

If you're wondering whether or not divorce is the right option for you, there are a few things to consider.

Here's the simple way to decide if you should get divorced or not

1. Look for patterns, not just problems

If your spouse drank a little too much at a party and humiliated you in front of everyone, you definitely need to talk about that. But if this is the tenth time your spouse has over-imbibed in the past three months and is unwilling to change, chances are you're dealing with a much bigger issue.


This indicates that this is an ongoing pattern, and that if something doesn't change, you will need to move on. That's especially true if your spouse doesn’t see his or her behavior patterns as a problem, and refuses to get help.



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2. Make sure you're both willing to work on the marriage

Your marriage is not going to magically improve. In fact, it takes work every single day to keep the love alive.

If you aren’t willing to work on your marriage, it’s not going to get better. If your spouse doesn’t see a problem or isn’t willing to work on your marriage, it's also not likely things will change.

However, if you're both willing to put in the time and effort it takes to build a marriage that lasts, it's worth giving it a shot. But if your spouse refuses to acknowledge issues and continues with the problematic behavior, a divorce might be your best option.

3. Identify your deal-breakers

While there are plenty of couples with differences that make their relationship stronger, some differences in values just can’t be reconciled.


For example, if you want kids but your spouse is absolutely dead-set against having them, that’s considered a deal-breaker.

While you may be able to persuade your spouse to change his or her mind if you promise to take care of the kid yourself, the bottom line is still this: In the end, one of you has to give in. Either you have a kid, or you don’t.

If the source of your conflict with your spouse revolves around a deal-breaker, the odds of you working it out are pretty slim, because resentment could set in (if it hasn't already). Divorce will help you move on and focus on your goals in a healthier way.

The Simple Way To Decide If You Should Get Divorced Or NotPhoto: Ron Lach / Pexels


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4. Take your time

No one wants to be stuck in an unhappy marriage, but getting divorced is no picnic either. Still, it's an important decision to make when you no longer feel happy or fulfilled in your marriage.

You may be considering staying and trying to work it out with your spouse, or at least bide your time until you're sure divorce is the right choice. If your spouse just crossed a line that you can never overlook, however, like physical abuse, don't stick around.

It's worth it to take time to sort through your feelings and consider all your options before you demand a divorce. But if you're in danger, go.


5. Listen to your heart

Oddly enough, most people who divorce still have feelings for their spouse on some level. While they may no longer be “in love,” they may have “loving feelings” toward their spouse. That's especially true if they share children.

But you may not have those feelings, which is why it's essential to listen to your heart. Because it may not be love, but disgust you're feeling.

If you're so beyond loving your spouse that you can’t even stand to listen to them breathe, you’re on a one-way road to divorce. Make the decision for the sake of your own happiness and well-being.



RELATED: Why Fantasizing About Divorce Isn't Necessarily A Bad Thing


6. Take a look at your finances

Divorce is emotional, but pure emotions should never be the primary driving force behind your decision. It may sound cold, but you need to take a good, long, and realistic look at your finances before you decide to divorce.

The average contested divorce costs between $15,000 and $30,000. So, you either divorce amicably or get your checkbook ready.

If you don’t have enough money for the divorce process, or you can’t survive without your spouse’s income, you need to do some solid financial planning first and decide whether you want to divorce at a later time.


7. Look at all your options

It's impossible to know whether the divorce will be a good decision for you unless you know your options after the fact. Where will you live? Can you sell your house? Should you? Where will your kids live? How often will you see them? What will their life look like?

The Simple Way To Decide If You Should Get Divorced Or NotPhoto: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

Are there ways you can get through your divorce without fighting too much with your ex? What are they? What do they cost? Asking yourself these questions is another simple way to decide if you should get divorced or not.


Then, consult an attorney, financial advisor, or divorce expert to know what options you have, and what's reasonable for you and your family.

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Reasons People Get Divorced (& 5 Unusually Specific Ones)

Karen Covy is a divorce coach, mediator, lawyer, speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, and has had bylines appear on Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, DivorcedMoms, and Mama Mia, among others.