“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin
Procrastination is a normal state of activity at times in life. We all have done it or do it, but in most cases, what procrastination does is delay the inevitable — not doing what needs to be done to move forward.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives a cut-to-the-bone definition of procrastination: “To be slow or late about doing something that should be done; to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.” I will add, “We procrastinate out of fear.”
This fear related to the relationship-divorce process can occur at the pre-divorce, during divorce, and/or the post-divorce stage when maybe procrastination was or wasn’t a normal part of your normal pattern or daily agenda. Yet, now fear has raised its face.
Examples of Failing to Launch in Your Relationship
- You fail to work at your relationship when there is potential to make it work.
- You fail to move forward when your relationship has little or no hope.
- You fail to do the necessary work to get on with your divorce and get on with your life.
- You fail post-divorce to move on with your future.
Let’s tackle the fear issue because it is of the utmost importance and is significant when it comes to life-changing issues and not those simple ones such as not getting rid of the junk in your closets or garage, not making an appointment, or not calling an old friend, for example.
Fear has two viewpoints:
- You fear that change will be worse than your current situation.
- You fear that staying in your situation is worse than where you could be — a place that is a happier possibility.
With either viewpoint, change is necessary. If you are unhappy, something needs to change.
I will give you a radical thought: There is always hope for a relationship unless abuse or neglect is involved. (Then getting out is the best choice.) However, if there is still something to hold to — if there is still some degree of love, compassion, respect, and commonality — there is hope.
We procrastinate on major issues because we fear the unknown. Even if things aren’t the way you had hoped they would be, is staying together better than moving away and apart? You have to decide and then act on it without procrastinating any further.
The most difficult thing is taking that first step which is probably out of your comfort zone. We all tend to stay with what is known and not move to the unknown which can be a scary place, but consider this: Would you be happier with change? Is your desire to feel happier, to have a more pleasurable life, greater than staying in your current situation and working at making it better?
Scenario: You have been married for some amount of time, with or without children. You once had a dream of being a couple with hope for the future, but nothing seems right anymore. The closeness you once felt is gone, there may have been an issue of infidelity, you just don’t seem to click anymore, could be a number of other issues, but you are like ships that pass in the night. You realize the dreams that you had as a couple just didn’t work out. You want change, but don’t know how to do it or are afraid to do it.
You have two choices:
- ACT! In most cases, it is imperative to have a heart-to-heart with your spouse to enter into a dialogue concerning your thoughts, feelings, and whether you are both willing to try to see if you can and want to salvage your marriage. If there is hope, work at it, but after you have given it a sincere effort and if all hope is gone, then continue moving ahead.
- ACT! If you have decided there is nothing more to hold on to, then move forward with separation or start the steps necessary to proceed with a divorce.
The truth is, you really have only these two choices with your marriage if it is “on the rocks,” so taking action rather than procrastinating means you can move more quickly into the future — hopefully a happier one.
Remember that staying where you are with no plans and no action will only perpetuate the pain and unhappiness you are now experiencing.
You have to keep moving in life or you will be failing to launch in your relationship.
As a relationship and divorce coach, I see hesitation at all stages: failure to work at improving a relationship, hesitation to move into the pre-divorce and divorce process when it appears to be the only option, or a failure to launch once the divorce is final, failure to actively seek a better future.
Yet, if procrastination is true in your case, it is not completely your fault. Often, we need to look to those sources which can help us gain perspective, those outside of ourselves. You might start by visiting a library or a bookstore to peruse the variety of texts that relate to your situation or read as much as you can on the subject online. You might talk to a trusted pastor, counselor, therapist, or seek the services of a relationship or divorce coach. Yet, whatever it takes for you to move forward and take those steps into the future, you need to do it. Because procrastination is something that may feel comfortable with now, but you will only regret it later. Step out.