When Do You Know You Need a Divorce?
Deciding whether or not to get a divorce is one of the hardest decisions to make as a spouse and a parent. If you’re asking this question, that doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. Marriage is hard work. Knowing when you need a divorce is about understanding your hard limits, exhausting all of your options, and being honest about your needs. No matter what you choose, it’s important to prepare for how hard marriage issues can be on the whole family and to be sure to take care of yourself through the process.
Know Your Hard Lines
Everyone’s lines are different. If you’re having issues in your marriage, it may be important to start thinking about what your hard lines are. Hard lines are situations that you aren’t willing to look past. Some examples may include illegal activity, physical abuse, or infidelity. In case any of your hard lines have been crossed, it may be time to look into the real possibility of a divorce — or at least a conversation with your spouse or counseling, depending on the seriousness of the situation.
If you feel unsafe, are being abused in any way, or are concerned about the safety of your children, know that there are resources out there to help you through the difficult process of leaving an abusive situation. If you are considering divorce, there are some tips to help you file for divorce despite being in a controlling environment.
Exhaust All of Your Options
Before filing for divorce, be sure you’re exhausting all of your options, unless you are in a hard-line situation. The reasoning behind a divorce will vary greatly depending on the couple, but each couple’s marriage has a different story that many may not understand. However, don’t underestimate the power of communication and therapy. Though marriage counseling isn’t an automatic cure, it can offer skills and tools that can be vital in your marriage.
Sometimes, marriage troubles can be helped by doing the hard work. Through being open, talking through problems, making time for each other, going on dates again, and even looking through wedding pictures together, you may be able to get past the arguments and save what’s important. Just be sure you’re being honest about your needs. Intimacy is important; trust is vital; attention is needed; and respect is a must. Not all marriages end because of someone crossing a hard line. Many marriages end because needs aren’t being met and one or both parties aren’t willing to compromise.
Prepare for the Hard Parts
Divorce is hard — harder than many people realize. Regardless of the situation, divorce involves grieving the loss of a relationship and a family. For those with kids, finding ways to keep their mental health in a good place before, during, and after the divorce process is vital. In order to make this transition easier for them, look into different types of therapy to help children of divorce including play therapy, conversation therapy, and narrative therapy. The way to approach the subject of divorce with your child may vary depending on their age. Be prepared to have those hard conversations.
Divorce isn’t just hard on your emotions and the emotions of your children and many other family members and close friends. Divorce is also hard on your finances, security, and free time. Though some types of divorce are more cost effective, others are not. If both parties aren’t in agreement on many aspects of divorce, it gets expensive. Divorces also take a fair amount of time and may leave you with financial difficulties and less security in terms of a home, vehicle, etc. It’s important to prepare for how hard these aspects can be in conjunction with the difficult emotional aspects.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s also important not to forget about your own mental health during the process of deciding if you need a divorce or a separation in general. Divorce and the loneliness that can result may lead to unhealthy habits down the line. Depression and self-medicating can be common causes of substance abuse to look out for when you’re struggling through a divorce. Some parents may feel so focused on keeping their children supported through this process that they forget to take care of themselves as well. Understand the importance of self-care and surrounding yourself with a support group of friends and family when going through this difficult time.
Talk to your friends and family. Consider how therapy can help you through the grief, and take some time for healing activities for yourself. Reading, getting outside, doing some yoga, baking your favorite treat, or taking a bath can all be great activities to keep your mental health in a good place through the process.
Knowing when you need a divorce has a lot to do with self-reflection as well as communication with your spouse. Each person is different. It’s important for you to decide for yourself if you’re getting what you deserve from your marriage. Each person deserves to be fulfilled, happy, and safe in their marriage. No marriages are great all the time, and everyone has problems. But it’s important to decide if your marriage’s negatives outweigh the positives. At the end of the day, your decision should be what’s best for you.
About the Author
Chelsy Ranard is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about addiction recovery advocacy, loves talk radio, and prefers her coffee iced. Follow her on Twitter!