Considering a Divorce? Ask Yourself These Questions First
Even contemplating divorcing your spouse can be incredibly traumatic. Divorce isn’t a temporary solution—it has a huge impact on every aspect of your life, the life of your spouse, and most importantly, the life of your children.
For some couples, divorce really is the only option, but if you’re unsure of whether or not divorce is best for you, consider the following questions:
- Do I want to be married to this person? This sounds like an extremely simple question, but the key phrase is “to this person.” You may want to be married, but perhaps you feel as if you selected the wrong person, or maybe there was never a strong marital foundation. Often, if you have a strong foundation, you’ll realize once you ask yourself this question that you do want to remain married, but you just want the relationship to shift. There are important distinctions to be made within this question.
- Am I just threatening my spouse? Many people use the prospect of divorce as a weapon against their spouse during times of anger, but if this is used over and over again, it begins to seem like an actual possibility. The more you make threats about divorce, the more it brings the possibility to the forefront, so consider the core reason you were thinking about divorce in the first place.
- How do I feel emotionally about the prospect of divorce? Many people become so heated and overwhelmed when they’re experiencing a rocky point in their marriage that their immediate emotional response is to think they want a divorce. You really have to ask yourself whether or not you’re willing to permanently remove your spouse from your life, or if you’re just angry and acting out of emotion. After you’ve cooled down during an argument, you need to think long and hard about what your future would look like post-divorce. Additionally, if you’re still experiencing strong emotions, even if they’re negative, your marriage may be salvageable.
- What part do I play in the challenges of our relationship? You might feel as if your relationship is struggling, but often people don’t have the self-awareness to see their role in the problems. You can’t change everything you don’t like about your spouse’s behavior, but altering your own behavior can help save your marriage. It’s challenging to look at ourselves as the potential source of problems in a relationship, but if you’re willing to be critical about your actions, you may avoid a divorce.
- Am I expecting too much? No one is ever suggesting you should settle for less than what you want in life, but people also tend to enter into marriage with unrealistic expectations that set them up for failure. If you’re expecting the perfect spouse and the perfect marriage, you’re never going to find that. Rather than demanding perfection, work on finding happiness in your relationship and creating compromises that can help you and your spouse tackle challenges.
If after looking at these questions, obtaining third party help and taking an honest look at your marriage, you’re still considering a divorce, it could be the best option for you. Divorce is never easy and it does require a great deal of evaluation to make the best decision.