The fears of divorce and the myths surrounding it are the same for almost everyone, and if you’re starting to think that divorce is your only option, it’s time to take a step or two back and do a little reality check. Make sure that this is something you really want and think hard about it before making a move you may regret later.
How to Know it’s Time to G0 by Drs Lawrence Birnbach and Beverly Hyman lays out a ten step reality check to go through and think about before starting any kind of proceedings. Take a look at the following list and give some really thought about what you really think of each (without being influenced by what others might think of your decisions or anything else) item, one at a time, before making any big decisions.
1. Determine: Is my marriage happy? How unhappy am I?
2. Ask yourself: Is our parents faltering? How are my children doing?
3. Look at your kids right now: Is our unhappiness affecting their school performance, behaviour or sense of self-worth?
4. Look hard at: The quality of your sex life? Have you and your spouse maintained emotionally intimacy in our marriage?
5. Determine: Is marital stress affecting my physical and mental health?
6. Think hard about: What are your fears about separating and divorcing? Which of these fears are unfounded and are based in myths of stigma?
7. Evaluate your situation realistically and honestly: If I get a divorce, what do I fear will happen to my children? Can I accept not seeing them every day if it came to that?
8. Face your true fears: What financial repercussions of separation and divorce scare me the most?
9. After you’ve looked at all of these fears, myths and concerns, take another inventory: Have you truly exhausted every option to heal my marriage? Is there a realistic hope, even a sliver of hope that my marriage might work? Is that what I want? What, honestly, am I waiting for?
10. Decide: What is my plan? What are my next steps?
The Dr’s book goes into much greater detail and helps to walk you through each step outlined above, but this is a good start to making any major decision about your marriage. You put a lot of work into it and made a strong commitment – one you believed in at the start. Put some work into making the decision whether to walk or not.
While you’re asking yourself these questions, set a threshold for your answers. For most people, answering ‘yes’ to 25% of the questions above can be a signal that you might have some serious problems in your marriage that need to be dealt with. if you’re answering ‘yes’ to 50% or more, it’s a sign that you’re likely to need some professional help.
If you want to know more about these questions and some more information about how to discuss them, even with yourself, it might be time to do a little more research and pick up How to Know When it’s Time to Go or seek some one-on-one counseling. Start there, before you make any big changes.
Author: Colleen Coplick