How do you know you need a divorce? The answer on a surface level may seem easy, if you find yourself unhappy with your partner, then you should divorce, right? However, when you throw in kids, finances, and the fear of post-divorce loneliness into the mix, the decision to divorce may become more complex.
Let’s start with the reason you want a divorce. You can read our blog post here for some of the most common reasons people get divorced. Issues such as lack of compatibility, money, and infidelity are among the most common reasons. However, no matter how silly or insignificant you may feel the reason you would like a divorce is, you have identified reasons why you no longer want to be married - and this should be taken seriously.
Now that we’ve covered the reasons you want a divorce, let’s move on to why you do not want a divorce. According to Psychology Today, there are typically two main reasons for why someone is hesitant to get a divorce. The first is because you want to achieve a certain goal such as raising your children in a home with two parents. This is called action-based decision making. The second is to avoid pain or a certain consequence, such as the fear of never finding someone that loves you as much or being financially unstable due to divorce. This is called fear-based decision making. People who are fear-based are more likely to stay in their unhappy marriage; because they fear the potential negative repercussions. Action-based people are more likely to see the opportunity from moving forward and will be less likely to settle for less than they feel they deserve. Regardless of the type of decision-making style you possess, it is important to sit down and seriously consider the reason you are so hesitant to divorce, and whether or not it warrants a reasonable excuse for continuing on in your marriage.
At this point, you have identified your reasons for, and against divorce. The next step is to analyze your reasoning and ask yourself several important questions.
Is staying in this relationship harmful to me or my children?
If your relationship has resulted in physical, emotional, sexual, or financial harm, then you need to end the relationship. It can be difficult to exit an abusive relationship, especially when you fear for your own safety or well being after the relationship ends. If you find yourself in one of these situations, then remember that there is support for individuals in your position. Resources like Family Services Ottawa that offer several support initiatives like the woman abuse program, anti-violence support groups and counseling services.
Do I see a happy future?
When you think of your life 10 years into the future - is your spouse still in the picture, and if he is, are you happy? Picturing your life in the future with your spouse shouldn’t be scary, it should be exciting. If it is scary or brings up negative feelings, then you probably aren’t meant to be with your spouse any longer.
Do I trust my partner?
Over the years, you may have lost some trust in your partner. Trust is one of the most important things in a healthy relationship. Your partner should be someone that is reliable, and who makes you feel safe both physically and emotionally. If you feel you have lost trust in your partner, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end. Counseling and therapy are great ways to work through the issues that have caused distrust. However, if you have made a significant effort trying to work through the trust issues in your relationship and haven’t made much progress then this is a sign that both you and your spouse may be better off without each other.
Can we work through our issues?
Are the issues you and your spouse are having something you can be worked through, or is it an irreconcilable difference that you believe will never be resolved? It is very normal for couples to go through rough times, in fact, it is healthy to have disagreements here and there. However, when your arguments cause serious issues in your relationship, it is a red flag. If you believe you and your spouse will never be able to work through the issues you have with one another, breaking up is something to be considered.
Are we on the same page?
Yes, you may be having some relationships troubles, but are you both in agreement that you would like to work on mending the relationship? If you want to stay together, you both need to have the same end goal for your marriage. If you don’t - then it’s time to sit down and have a serious conversation about where your relationship is headed with your spouse. Relationship mending is possible, but it only works if both of you are invested in making things work.
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