While drowning in the misery of my marriage, I came across a frightening statistic: 50% of people who divorced regretted their decision, and wished they had worked harder at saving their marriages.
Not being a natural quitter, I wondered if I would end up in that 50% regret percentile.
Will You Regret Your Divorce?
Would I feel guilty, down the line, that I bailed out too soon? That I didn’t try hard enough? Regret is no place to be, and most of the time there is no way back.
That was many moons ago, and regret statistics are hard to come by. But more recent studies confirm that, indeed, between 32% and 50% of people do regret having made the move. These people wish they had worked harder at their relationships and stayed married. The exact percentages depend on who did the studies.
The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported in 2014 that a survey of 2,000 divorced men and women conducted in the UK indicated that 50% of respondents regretted their decision to divorce.
On the other hand, a 2016 relationship study conducted by Avvo, an online legal services marketplace, showed that 68% of respondents (and a whopping 73% of female respondents) did not regret getting divorced.
But regardless of whose statistics you prefer to believe, my point remains the same. Regret is a distinct possibility you must carefully consider if you are to move forward in true freedom. Unless you find yourself in an abusive relationship (in which case, get help, plan a safe escape and get out!) it is a good idea to give your relationship a reasonable opportunity.
You don’t want to be in the 32% or 50% of people wishing they were still together with their spouses. All I’m saying is to give it an honest, reasonable chance, not to die trying.
In my case, I made the wise choice to find out. We did have a period of peace, but it was short-lived and clearly not sustainable. Although it took me some time to figure things out and conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that leaving my husband was the right thing to do, I feel satisfied that I gave it a fair chance and made the correct decision. No regrets.
I sincerely hope that you get to that same place.
Key Questions to Ponder Before You Call It Quits
1. Is It Worth Giving this Marriage Another Chance?
Take an honest look at the state of your relationship. Is it in trouble or irreparably broken? Has too much damage and hurt been done? Have you grown too far apart to meet somewhere in between? Is the glue that brought you together not there anymore? Is there another brand of glue that could keep you together?
2. Are You Willing to Give It Another Chance or Are You Drained?
Be honest with yourself. Trying to turn around a troubled relationship takes tremendous effort and energy. Going through the motions in a symbolic gesture is an exercise in futility. Take some time out to gauge your energy levels.
Are you too tired to try? If you are, consider a temporary separation to think it through and recharge your batteries.
3. Does He Want to Work Things Out?
It takes two to make a marriage work. There’s no point in knocking yourself out if he doesn’t value the relationship.
Is he sincere about working things out? Or is he putting on an act to pacify you and keep you in the trap? Is he offering cosmetic changes with no change in substance? Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.
Ruminate about this… Is he capable of working things out? Really…
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so meaning well by itself is not good enough. He needs to prove his commitment and demonstrate his ability to team up with you to resurrect your marriage.
4. Take an Honest Look at Yourself: How Do You Contribute to Marital Strife?
Just as he may do annoying things to you, you may be annoying him, too, and not even know it. My friend Lucy, a divorce lawyer, pointed out that, when clients listed their complaints about their soon-to-be exes, she thought to herself “I do that.”
Are you willing to look within and recognize the things you do that may cause problems in your relationship? Are you amenable to finding ways you can relate better to your mate?
The 2016 study conducted by Avvo I cited earlier also found that 64% of women surveyed said their husbands were fully responsible for the failure of their marriages as compared to only 44% of the men. Only 29% of the women respondents, as opposed to 42% of the men, thought that both spouses shared the blame.
A marriage is a party of two. Step out of blame into responsibility and grab the bull by the horns.
The point of our reflections is not to demonize our partners, but to gain insights as to why we are in this mess and how to get out of it.
May you find the happiness you deserve – with or without a spouse!
This blog post has been edited and excerpted with permission from Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist? (Coventina House, 2018) by Sonia Frontera. From cultivating forgiveness to approaching one’s spouse with a request for divorce and handling the fallout from different kinds of reactions, Solve the Divorce Dilemma covers the entire emotional process. It is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in making lasting changes in their psyches and lives. These keys to change go beyond a singular relationship to probe how to make choices, react to adversity, and, ultimately, envision freedom and self-love. Available on Amazon.com.