Many couples are going through a relationship crisis when love is gone, and wedding vows of eternal love and fidelity turn into constant irritation. It may be temporary or a sign of an imminent breakup. But how can you tell? Try not to rush making radical decisions and thinking about when to get a divorce.
When two people have been together for a long time, and their life is full of constant quarrels over trifles, thoughts of divorce become common. It’s time to analyze your relationship. Free yourself from emotions, calmly think about the situation, and consider your feelings and desires. It is the only way to understand whether it’s best to divorce or not.
If you constantly think of divorce but cannot make a final decision, you may still have a chance to improve your bond and find a way out. In this case, it is advisable to calmly and objectively consider whether a divorce is necessary and to assess the current situation without hasty decisions. However, the other party must also take some action to preserve the relationship. Otherwise, a one-sided search for a compromise turns into humiliation.
On the other hand, if you can’t imagine yourself with your spouse in the future and feel devastated by your relationship, this can only mean one thing: the decision to divorce will bring relief to both of you.
Nevertheless, despite the common assumption that when a couple files for divorce jointly, they are both ready for it, many family lawyers can prove the opposite. Very often, it turns out that they have no idea about what’s going on. This unawareness causes deteriorated relationships, unspeakable conflicts, and premature marriage breakdown.
It’s not enough to claim that the feelings have gone and you both are done with your marriage. The decision to get a divorce bears serious consequences for years to come, requiring much consideration. If both spouses are truly ready, they are more likely to start the process by mutual consent, avoiding competitiveness and relentlessness.
Many people rush to file for divorce to get over it as soon as possible, thinking everything will fall into place once the judge signs the Final Decree. Unfortunately, you may end up with an absolutely inverse outcome.
A hasty decision to dissolve your marriage does not give you time to assess the situation and your inner self. Consequently, you enter the process unprepared for this emotional and legal whirlpool, forced to make fatal choices and agree to things you cannot comply with. As a result, instead of relief, you may get a change of troubles: you get stuck in a process that drags on for years, lose a lot in asset division, and obtain unfavorable custody orders.
In this article, we aim to answer the question, “What to do before getting a divorce?” and offer some pieces of advice on things to consider before divorce, questions to ask yourself, resolution of the most common dilemmas, and actions you can take to avoid possible troubles in the divorce process.
The Three Divorce Dilemmas
A couple considering divorce faces one of the three most common dilemmas. The term refers to a situation when a person cannot choose between two options, equally undesirable and frightening.
One of the first things to do before getting a divorce is to work out these dilemmas prior to filing the petition. Otherwise, the entire process will become even more emotionally challenging. So, whether you have already initiated the divorce process or are just considering it as the only option, you should resolve the following divorce dilemmas:
I Want the Divorce, but I Am Not Sure if It Is the Right Decision
When deciding on divorce, you are sure to think about a whole lot of things that will be impacted by your decision. Very often, all these issues overshadow even your own self. You are haunted by the thoughts of how your breakup may impact your spouse’s well-being, lifestyle, and budget, your children, parents, and extended family members, relations with your mutual and separate friends, and even your neighbors and colleagues.
You‘re struggling to make that perfect decision that will satisfy everyone around. There’s bad news for you: you can’t. The best way out is to decide cool-headedly, not allowing anyone’s probable feelings and emotions to influence you. On the other hand, you should not be pressured by your own ego and make a choice in the heat of the moment. Finding that golden mean is hard, but it’s necessary for the best outcome.
Well, now you know what to do before telling the spouse you want a divorce. Think everything through calmly and reasonably, solving this dilemma for yourself first.
I Do Not Want the Divorce, My Spouse Does
The situation is more difficult when you hear your spouse’s question, “Should we get divorced?” while you haven’t even thought about that. On the one hand, you may feel like some victim who has no control over the situation. On the other hand, you may wonder if your efforts won’t be futile under such circumstances.
The realization of the fact that your life is changing at this very moment without your involvement will exhaust you emotionally. But aren’t you just holding on to the customary way of life, being afraid of changes? When answering this question, be honest with yourself.
Yes, it’s painful to part with your spouse and realize that you have both become strangers to each other. On the other hand, it’s much more painful to stay together and understand that the person you love does not need you anymore. There’s little hope that they can change their mind when they are asking for a divorce since the idea has already settled in their brain. So, will you try to preserve this marriage by all means when you should get a divorce?
I Only Want This Divorce Because My Marriage Is Not Working
This dilemma is mostly typical for people who want to avoid responsibility for broken relationships and put the blame for the need to end their marriage on their spouse. They know that something is not working and feel uncomfortable in this union, but they do not want to communicate and figure it out. After all, claiming that it’s the partner’s fault instead is much simpler.
So, they get angry with the spouse for ruining the relationship and for making them want a divorce. However, these people are just frightened to admit their own fears and insecurities because they are afraid that it’s them who should be blamed.
If this looks like your dilemma and you do not address it and do not admit your own role in this scenario, every stage of your divorce process will be highly conflicting, complicating the mutually advantageous outcome.
Questions to Ask Before Getting a Divorce
To make your divorce a civilized process, both you and your spouse must be totally ready to end your relationship, not only legally but also emotionally. Try your best to face the problem and discuss the issue with the other party, looking for the answers to the most pressing questions around the entire process of your marriage dissolution.
Here are some crucial questions to ask before a divorce:
Why Do I Want It?
Establishing reasons is the first step in making any decision. Reflect on your life and all the surrounding circumstances and define what makes you uncomfortable. Is it your partner, the conditions they put you in, or your inner self? Now, try to reasonably decide: should you divorce, or is there another way out?
When is divorce the best option? Divorce is inevitable in families with a history of domestic violence. No one deserves to be a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, and people who tolerate such behavior commit a crime against themselves.
The partner’s indifference to you and your relations is similarly dangerous. Being the only one who is responsible for everything and makes a contribution to the marriage financially, materially, physically, mentally, and emotionally, you kill yourself by losing your identity.
If you experience one of these or similar situations that endanger your physical or emotional well-being, your decision for marriage dissolution is quite natural. However, the desire to divorce is often triggered by some minor misunderstandings, typical for any marriage, which can mostly be resolved if you communicate with your spouse. So, the first question you need to answer is: “Do I really want a divorce, or is this just a momentary impulse?”
Some people tend to threaten to divorce while not intending to do so. These threats may be caused by anger and frustration, a desire to gain power over the weaker partner, or attempts to prove the seriousness of their wish for some changes. This person may be you or your spouse. If it’s you, think whether you are just threatening or you are really ready for a divorce because it has totally exhausted you.
Do I Still Love My Partner?
Faded love is not always the reason for divorce. Many people start considering this option, being unable to tolerate the other party’s behavior, character, or actions while still experiencing deep feelings for them. Intimacy and trust vanish, leaving you with a devastating sense of loss and despair.
The love you still feel for your spouse fixates you on the same question: “Do I really want a divorce?”, and you get stuck in a vicious circle of constant conflicts, self-depreciation, and humiliation. But are you sure this feeling is not just an illusion, a beautiful idea of never-ending love, your comfort zone that you have got used to?
Have I Tried Everything I Could?
People do not usually rush to the court the moment they get an idea to divorce. Most often, it is brooding in their heads for years, and some even try to do something to change the situation.
Before filing the petition with the court, think if you have tried everything possible to save your marriage. Things to try before divorce may include:
- Changing your perception of the situation;
- Discussing the issue with your spouse calmly and constructively;
- Changing yourself if you understand that you may be the reason for the cracked relations;
- Trying family therapy.
These are only some possible options, and not all of them may be comfortable for you. If something causes discomfort, do not force yourself. You shouldn’t be the victim since it takes two to build a happy family.
Is There Anything My Partner Can Do to Change the Situation?
Marriage is a two-way road, where both partners must make an equal contribution to their well-being, ensuring each other’s comfort, and conflict resolution. If it’s you who contemplates the divorce, think if there’s anything your spouse can do to change your mind. Perhaps they do not realize something is wrong because you fail to show it. Tell them about your feelings, explain the situation from your perspective, and you may be able to find the resolution together.
If your partner is the initiator of the divorce, chances are high they do not want to change anything. However, you may still try to communicate and discuss the issue. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to change the situation for them.
What About the Children?
Divorce with kids is especially hard. You need to think not only about yourself and your own good but about the most vulnerable parties in this situation in the first place. And how to tell kids about divorce is not the only question requiring consideration.
Some couples stay together, even when a divorce is necessary, just for the sake of their children. But is it really for the better? Looking back at their childhood, many grownups now ask their parents, “Why didn’t you divorce back then? I wish you did.” Their own life experience tells them that both parents would be happier if they divorced timely, not forcing themselves into something they did not want.
Children in such families live in constant insincerity, tension, and conflicts, which has a negative effect on their psyche, character formation, and the makeup of their personality. Besides, kids take up the family model in which they grew up. As a result, they may also become constant victims of circumstances, suffering and sacrificing themselves for the sake of someone else, just like their parents did for them.
So, before making the final decision, think if you want your kids to have a standard nuclear family, consequences notwithstanding, or if you want them to see the two happy divorced parents and project these positive vibes onto their future. If you are still thinking about saving and preserving your marriage, ensure a loving, caring, and healthy family atmosphere for them by reconciling and fixing relations with your spouse.
Will I Be Happier After the Divorce?
No one can predict their future. And you can never tell what life after divorce will be like, but it will definitely be different.
Think about what makes you unhappy in your marriage and try to imagine if its absence can make you any happier. If your partner annoys you, or you feel like you’re suffocating in this relationship, being deprived of self-development, starting an independent life from scratch can be a big benefit. But won’t you miss your spouse, your mutual activities, or even their bad habits? If there’s a slightest chance that such trifles make you happy, the divorce decision may be premature.
Contemplate the following questions:
- Are you ready to let your spouse leave physically, mentally, and emotionally?
- Are you ready for a period of uncertainty and insecurity?
- Can you accept your children’s perception of your divorce and help them cope with it?
- Are you ready to change your lifestyle and everyday traditions?
- Are you ready for a solo budget?
- Are you ready to take control of your own life?
If you answered “No” to at least one of these, think one more time. Perhaps you are not ready for divorce?
If your spouse is the initiator of this endeavor, and there’s no chance they can change their mind, you’ll have to learn how to cope with divorce, the fact of a failed marriage, and all the negative feelings and emotions it bears. Yes, divorce is a big game-changer, and your life will never be the same. However, what it will be depends on you since only you can decide what to do after divorce.
Unfortunately, marriages do not always work the way people want them to or think they should, pushing them to make unpleasant decisions. But how do you know divorce is the right choice? Slow down and think it all over once again. Resolve your dilemmas and answer a bunch of crucial questions first. You’ll be better prepared for a mutually beneficial long-term agreement to part ways when you get your answers.