On the Fence About Divorce?
Reflect on These 3 Questions Before You Call It Quits.
If the word “divorce” has snuck into your head at any point during your marriage, you probably understand how it feels to wrestle with doubt and uncertainty.
Ironically, our hesitation to confront divorce can be the same reason many of us get “cold feet” before we get married: permanence. The last thing anyone wants to do is make the wrong call about a relationship that impacts the rest of your life.
If you’re considering divorce but aren’t 100% certain yet, consider the following signs and questions for self-reflection before you proceed with filing.
Warning Signs: When to Reevaluate Your Marriage
While the reasons behind divorce can seem cliché or common, it’s important to remember that every couple is unique. Unfortunately, there is no fail-safe way to determine whether divorce is right for you. The bottom line is that the decision is in your hands.
On the bright side, there are ways you can sort through confusing emotions and determine the best path forward for you. Consider these common signs that often prompt couples to make a change in their relationship.
- You have different core values. You’ve heard the phrase “opposites attract.” While there is certainly healthy evidence of this, it’s also possible for partners to differ in ways that are more harmful than helpful. After all, there’s a big difference between a spouse becoming more outdoorsy and experiencing a shift in religious beliefs. If you and your spouse differ at a foundational level, it’s worth considering how this could impact your future—especially if you and your partner are raising or planning to raise children together.
- You don’t argue with your spouse anymore. I know what you’re thinking: how did this make the list? While it may seem like a good thing, a complete lack of fighting can signal a fractured marriage. Are you not fighting because there’s nothing to fight about? Or is it due to a lapse in effort or caring on you or your spouse’s part?
- You have an exit plan…just in case. If you’ve caught yourself making plans, it’s worth considering the root of the problem at hand. Do you find it more appealing to book a cheap hotel room than share a bed with your spouse? Are you more inclined to seek time to yourself instead of working through the issues that come up in marriage? If resolving disputes is the last thing you want to do, it may be time to reconsider your future.
- You’re intrigued or excited by the idea of life without your spouse. Even if the thought of divorce scares you, it’s still possible for people to desire life without their partner. If this scenario appeals to you despite the anxiety or fear of divorce, it might be time to reexamine your situation.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Asking for a Divorce
Regardless of whether you’ve experienced any of the warning signs above, it isn’t wise to ignore any recurring “gut feelings” you have about your marriage. If you’re on the fence about divorce, consider reflecting on the following questions to determine the best path forward.
#1: Have you exhausted all efforts to change or improve your marriage?
There’s a lot that can build up in a marriage before someone brings up the word “divorce.” Couples might find themselves accumulating feelings of resentment, bitterness, and other negative emotions.
It can be challenging to find enough energy, courage, or willpower to approach a tough conversation about why you’re unhappy. Maybe you’re afraid the discussion won’t end well, or just make things worse. While this is a possibility, it’s important to realize that any outcome of an open conversation with your partner is a positive thing. If it’s constructive, great. If not, great. Either way, it can give you the clarity you need to move forward.
Before you decide on the best path forward, it might be beneficial to ensure you’ve done everything in your power to:
- Clearly communicate your needs and feelings.
- Identify and express potential solutions for both of you to work on together.
- Invite your spouse to speak up about their feelings, too.
If you find yourself questioning whether your marriage is worth saving or if divorce is the better option, it’s important to reflect on whether or not you’ve done everything in your power to potentially salvage your marriage. You don’t want to look back years from now and wonder if you could have done more to communicate or resolve issues with your partner. Self-reflection is a proactive way to save yourself from potential regret in the future.
#2: Imagine an “ideal marriage” with your partner. What would this require from you and your spouse individually?
When considering divorce, it’s all too easy to fixate on the concept of what you need from your partner. While this is definitely worthy of consideration, it’s equally beneficial to know what you will need to change or do differently to achieve the marriage you desire.
Most of us go into marriage with the understanding that you will share a life with this person. It can be helpful to remind ourselves that a marital union entails more than sharing a home, a bed, children, and money—it also means sharing accountability.
What does the “ideal marriage” look like to you? Do you and your spouse share a similar version of this? How would you and your partner need to hold each other and yourselves accountable to move closer to that relationship?
#3: Have you taken a good, hard look at a future without your spouse?
This is a crucial question to consider when it comes to establishing the root of any desire for divorce. Sometimes we misinterpret our true feelings because we fail to recognize other factors, even on an unconscious level. You can avoid this mistake by asking yourself if your relational needs are being met by someone else.
The best practice to determine any impaired judgement on your part is to be honest. Scrutinize the present and the future. How are they related? Do you have realistic expectations for your life going forward?
Don’t make an impulsive decision for the wrong reasons. Maybe your emotional needs are being met by an attractive new colleague, or your friends are your primary source of companionship. Maybe you find yourself working late at the office to feel intellectually stimulated. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s important to acknowledge the permanence and genuineness of such factors.
Asking for a divorce can feel surprisingly easy if your human needs are being fulfilled elsewhere. But will you feel the same way in months or years when your situation is different? When you’re trapped in a higher-paying job that bores you to tears? You’re your friends move away and start families? When your attractive colleague accepts a better position across town?
Ask yourself if you can truly rely on these satisfactions going forward, or if they’re simply “temporary fixes” in your life. Doing so could save you from making a decision you’ll grow to regret.
How an Experienced Divorce Attorney Can Help You Move Forward
Ending a marriage is rarely an easy decision. If you’re on the fence about divorce, you’re not alone. While it can be challenging to wrestle with uncertainty, it’s never a bad thing to weigh the pros and cons, as this allows you to make the most educated decision about how to proceed.
Divorce is an emotional and life-altering decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. It’s crucial to secure reliable legal representation before you move forward. Seeking the insight of a skilled divorce attorney can shed light on the options available to you, and help enable you make the best choice for your unique circumstances.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our award-winning divorce attorneys offer exceptional legal representation in Orange County. You can count on the Burch Shepard Family Law Group to be prepared and persistent from start to finish, and keep your personal goals at heart throughout every stage of the process.
On the fence about divorce? Take back your power by knowing your options. Call our firm at (949) 565-4158 to request a consultation today.