Deciding to end a marriage is never easy. Before you bring up divorce with your partner, take time to really think it over. Here are five questions to ask yourself to help you decide what the right decision is for you and your family.
Do we still love each other?
If you still love your partner romantically, but something else isn’t working in the relationship, you may be able to work through it. However, if you’re no longer romantically attracted to each other, it’ll be very difficult to make it work. While you still care for them, you’re not doing anyone any favors by staying in a loveless marriage. You deserve more, and so does your partner.
If you’re still in love, but you’re not sure if your partner is, it’s important to have a blatant conversation about how you’re both feeling. Though it’s a difficult conversation to have, it will save you both a lot of hurt down the road.
Is there still trust in the relationship?
If not, can it be regained? One of the biggest reasons partners stop trusting each other is due to cheating. This is a dealbreaker for most couples and is one of the top reasons for divorce. Cheating is often a symptom of other problems in the relationship. If those foundational problems can’t be repaired, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to move past the cheating and rebuild trust.
Learning to trust each other again isn’t easy, but if you want to make the marriage work, working on this is essential.
Have we tried to make it work?
If you jump straight to divorce without trying to repair the relationship, you may regret it later down the road. Sit down with your partner and have a candid discussion about what you both need to make the relationship work. If you’re finding it challenging to communicate effectively, consider going to couples therapy.
There are many different kinds of therapy, including the Gottman Method, Imago, and Emotional-Focused Couples therapy. Do your research and ask for recommendations to find the right kind of therapy for you and your partner.
Why am I trying to make it work?
Are you staying in the marriage because you’re worried about what your friends and family will think? Are you concerned about how a separation will affect your children’s lives? Is your financial future as a single parent uncertain?
While these are all valid concerns, they are never good enough reasons to justify staying in a marriage that is making you unhappy. The people that love you would rather see you happy, and if you’re worried about finances, you can take steps to improve your financial future.
How will my children be affected?
You’ll need to think about whether you want your children to spend equal time with both their parents and if having one home will provide the most stability for them. Even in the most amicable separations, making decisions about custody can be difficult. Sometimes legal separation is a better first step than divorce – especially if you need time to figure out custody arrangements.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to make a decision right now. Take some time to decide what you truly want. However, if you feel unsafe in the relationship at any point, don’t take time to think it over. Reach out to friends and family who can support you and leave the relationship now.