Should I Get A Divorce Before Our Relationship Gets Worse?
Updated February 24, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown
If you're asking, 'Should I get a divorce?' You've probably been unhappy for a long time. Your relationship may have turned sour, but how do you know if it's so bad that it's time to end it and move on?You probably had high hopes for a future with your spouse when you married. Yet, circumstances change. People change. If your marriage seems to be headed in the wrong direction, it may not be easy to know if it will get worse still or better. The best thing you can do is consider your decision carefully.
Start By Assessing Your Current Relationship
When you're considering 'should I get divorced?' It's easy to get caught up in thoughts of the future. For one thing, it may seem more pleasant to think about that than to think about the misery you're in now.The only real facts you can rely on are happening here and now.
So, look around you. Examine your motives, feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Consider what you know about your spouse's behavior. Then, you'll have a better idea of whether it's time to think more seriously about getting a divorce.
Do You Feel Safe In The Relationship?
If your safety and the safety of any children you might have is constantly being threatened, you need to remove yourselves from that situation immediately. In some cases, you might be able to have a relationship with your spouse in the future, if they're willing to seek help and change their abusive ways. You might not want to get a divorce, at least, not right away. You do need to find a safe place to go, though, and seek the protection you can find there.
Is The Relationship Meeting Your Needs?
Your spouse shouldn't be required to meet all your needs, and you shouldn't be required to meet all of theirs. When you come to a relationship with your basic needs met, you can engage more successfully with the other person and see them as your equal.
The relationship won't go far if it doesn't meet the needs that a marital relationship is best at the meeting. Ask yourself if the relationship is meeting these needs for you:
- Sex and intimacy
If your relationship is providing you nothing to meet any of these needs, the answer may be to move forward with the divorce. However, if it is meeting some and not others, the relationship may still work. It might take some counseling, cooperation, and alone time, but there might be a grain of hope for the two of you.
Are Your Relationship Woes Affecting Your Children?
Your children aren't the only consideration in deciding whether to get a divorce, but they are an important one. For parents, divorce is more than the breakup of a love affair. It also changes the entire family dynamic. The truth is that in some cases, that's exactly what needs to happen.
Take a look at how your children are doing in your current situation. Are the two of you taking care of them adequately and spending enough time with them? Or, are you so locked in battle with your spouse that the kids are falling through the cracks? Ask yourself the following questions about how your kids are doing:
- Are they struggling in school more since the marriage became troubled?
- Do they seem as emotionally stable as they were before?
- What do they seem to be learning about what it means to be in a love relationship?
- Are they misbehaving or acting out more than usual?
It's also important to talk to your children about what's going on between you and your spouse. You don't have to get into personal details, but if you and your spouse aren't acting in loving ways toward each other, you always need to check in with the children to answer questions if appropriate and to let them know you both still love them.
Is There Trust And Respect Between You?
Do you feel your spouse trusts you? Do they seem to respect you? Do you trust and respect them? Notice how you interact with each other. Is that how people who think highly of each other behave? If so, you have something to work with that you might be able to build on to create a better marriage. If not, you need to find out why and determine if there is any way to change that at this point.
Has One Of You Been Unfaithful?
No matter how modern you consider yourself, having an extramarital affair presents a major hurdle. It doesn't matter who has been unfaithful. What matters is what you've done about it and how you've resolved the issue. If you haven't resolved it at all, you need to work on that now. Deciding how you want your marriage to change or what it would take to heal the relationship is an important part of assessing where the marriage is right now.
How Long Have You Been Thinking About Divorce?
Nearly everyone has a moment now or then when they think 'Maybe I should get a divorce!' A passing thought of divorce can sometimes be a good thing. It reminds you that you're choosing the relationship above other options and that you aren't stuck if you don't want to stay.
But, if you think about divorce often, and for a long time, you're almost certainly unhappy with at least some aspects of the relationship. If you consistently think about getting a divorce, it's worth exploring and considering. Once you consider all your options, you can either make a new start or feel that you're making the right decision to stay.
What Have You Tried To Avoid Divorce?
When you've been thinking about divorce for a long time, you've probably also been searching for other answers. What have you tried? Have you tried to be more attentive towards each other? Have you tried spending special times alone together? Most important, have you and your spouse talked about divorce? If not, have you at least talked about the issues between you that seem troublesome? Have you listened to each other?If you've tried and gotten nowhere, you might have a more effective conversation if you talk in the presence of a couples' counselor.
Questions To Consider Before You File For Divorce
It's important to know the current state of your relationship, but that alone may not tell you enough about what you want in life and what would change if you got a divorce. For this part of the decision-making process, you may need to gather some facts, make some tentative plans, and most of all, use your imagination.
How Do You Imagine Your Life In The Future?
Imagine a time in the future when you're happy and fulfilled. What are you doing? What is your work life like? How do you spend your time away from work? Who do you see each day? Who do you call when you have good news?
A counselor might ask you to do this exercise as a way to help you pinpoint your desires, goals, and preferences. If the life you imagine in the future includes your spouse, you probably aren't ready to leave them. But, if you are alone or with someone else, that might indicate that you can't imagine a life in which you stay in your current marriage.
What Personal Challenges Will You Face If You Divorce?
Divorce can seem like the easiest solution to a difficult marriage. Divorce creates many new challenges that you might have never faced before. If you've been a stay-at-home parent, you'll need to get out of the house, get a job, and you might even have to take care of your business for the first time if your spouse has done it in the past.
The challenges you will face only begin with the difficulty of getting through a divorce. If you are the one to leave home, you'll have to find a new place to stay. You'll have to order your life in your way, even if you don't have adequate resources to have what you want. You'll need to set new goals for yourself and find your way to fulfilling them without the support of the person who has been by your side in the past.
If divorce is right for you, you might need help finding new resources, coping with new and stressful situations, and working out the details of your new life. One other thing you'll need to manage is your dating life, if and when you choose to date. That isn't always easy, especially if you haven't dated in years and you're afraid you'll make the same mistake as you made in your current relationship.
The value in thinking about the challenges ahead is not to keep you from getting a divorce if that's right for you. What it is good for is helping you plan for likely problems and giving you a chance to plan for a variety of contingencies.
What Are The Financial Considerations?
It may seem petty to think about the financial advantages of being in or out of the marriage. After all, isn't love more important than money? Well, if you have been financially dependent on your spouse for a long time, you may be afraid to try to make it on your own. This makes finances a vastly important consideration. It might not determine whether you get a divorce or not, but it will almost certainly help determine when you get it and how you prepare for it before you leave.
What Will It Mean For The Children?
You've already looked at how your children are doing now, but how will they fare if you break up the home they know now? They might do better, or they might struggle more for a while. If you know you're making the choice that's right for you, you can bring your children along, helping them benefit as much as possible from the new, more peaceful lifestyle.
Spend some time thinking about how you want your divorce to affect your children. What do you want them to learn? How do you want their lives to be better? Do you want them to have a positive relationship with your former spouse, and if so, how will you foster that relationship?
Steps To Try Before Ending Your Marriage
It might be the right thing to go ahead and get a divorce. However, until you've tried to save the marriage, it's hard to know whether there is any hope for the two of you to stay together. Before you end your romantic partnership, you can try several different ways to heal the relationship.
Have A Serious Talk With Your Spouse
If you and your spouse can sit down with each other, telling the other what's upsetting you and listening to them in turn, you might be able to solve at least some of your problems together without any outside help. Even if you can't solve any relationship problems, you might at least decide together to seek help from a counselor.
Express Your Feelings About The Relationship
How would you feel if your spouse left you with no warning? If you'd never abused them, you might be very confused as to what would make them leave. When you think about it this way, it becomes clear that the kindest thing you can do is to tell your spouse how you feel towards them. You don't need to nag them, belittle them, or paint them as a monster.
What you do need to do is share your emotions in a way that's as respectful as possible. Trust that they will care about your feelings. If you can't trust and respect them enough to do that, you can at least tell them the information that you're unhappy in the marriage.
Getting a divorce on the spur of the moment is rarely a good idea. It can lead to unnecessary breakups, of course, but it can also cause you other problems. If you get in too much of a hurry, you might not be physically or financially prepared to set up as head of your household. You might not have the resources you need in place.
When you take your time, you can ease into the divorce. That might make the difference between starting a life-long war and having an amicable divorce. Going slower is easier for the kids, too, and may be necessary if your spouse is abusive.
Try Marriage Counseling
Many couples go to a marriage counselor after they've tried everything they know to heal their relationship on their own. Others choose to be proactive and see a counselor as soon as they begin to have problems resolving important issues between them. Either way, a marriage counselor can either help you get your relationship back on track or set your course for a different future.
A couples' counselor can teach you two better communications skills, keep you on track in discussing important issues, and remind you that there was some reason you once chose each other and some reason you now feel anxious to leave each other behind. Licensed and certified counselors are available at Regain.Us for online therapy.
You don't have to decide 'Should I get a divorce? 'without help. With the right counselor, you can make that decision more easily and improve your life within the marriage or on your own.
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