Sometimes, deciding to divorce may take a few years. Some of our clients come one year, then come back a year later, then finally come back a year later and say, “Okay, it’s time to do this.”
Deciding to end your marriage is a huge decision. It’s completely understandable to take your time before taking action. But, sometimes, you probably wish there were a bright light that would start flashing like crazy, telling you that now is the moment to do it. Unfortunately, there’s not; however, there are specific questions you can ask yourself that may help you arrive at an answer.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Divorce
1. What Is Essential in Your Marriage?
When it comes to deciding to divorce, only you know the answer. You’ll feel it in your guts, in your bones. People don’t choose divorce because they feel optimistic about their post-divorce future, but rather, they feel overcome by their present. They simply can no longer continue with the marriage.
That earth-shaking moment doesn’t usually come without some serious reflection and probing. Consider the following four questions to ask when deciding to divorce.
2. What’s really important to me?
What one person considers a marital essential, another person might find they can live without. For example, some people might be satisfied in a marriage with a spouse who is attentive to the children and handles the taxes, even if romance or an emotional connection is lacking. Others could tolerate the reverse. Sit down and think hard about what you absolutely need – what’s non-negotiable – in your marriage to be happy.
3. What am I willing to do without?
Even if you’re unhappy, your marriage is probably bringing you some benefits: perhaps financial security, emotional security, a certain social status, or something else. So, think hard about all that you’d be giving up by divorcing and whether you’re willing to do without these advantages.
4. What am I getting, and what am I giving up?
Think about whether you’re getting the non-negotiable things you need and want in marriage and whether you’re truly willing to let these things go.
Now, we get to the heart of your considerations.
5. What is the real suffering that has me considering divorce?
If you’ve arrived at the point of considering such a life-changing rupture, you’ve got a serious wound. Probe your feelings to identify the real source of your pain. Some urgent follow-up questions could be: “Where am I feeling abandoned?” or “Where am I feeling deeply disappointed, mistreated, not loved, not paid attention to, not cherished, not valued?”
Once you do this deep, emotional work, something will probably wiggle loose and give you perspective on the precise nature of your suffering. This process may give you an earth-shaking moment about deciding to divorce. But even if it doesn’t, it might allow you to bring this new understanding of your pain to your partner to assess whether there’s any path forward for healing.