How to Know You’re Ready for a Divorce
What are the main causes of divorce? (in order of most to least common):
- Extramarital affairs/infidelity
- Financial problems
- Substance abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Commitment issues
- Lack of communication
- Conflict/constant arguing
- Lack of physical or emotional intimacy
- Incompatibility/differing values, morals, and/or beliefs
- Young or rushed marriage
- Not carrying one’s weight in the relationship
- Health problems or mental illness
Questions to Ask Yourself
Whether you’ve just started thinking about divorce or have been thinking about it for a while now, it’s always a difficult subject to consider. You’re likely reading this because you aren’t quite sure if you’re ready to actually go through with a divorce yet. That’s exactly what we’re here to help you decide. We want you to feel confident in your decision, whether you decide to go through with it or not. But we know that divorce isn’t ideal, so if your issue has a solution, we want you to know about it. Below are some questions to think about and some ways to manage any issues you discover through the process.
Will you truly be better off without your partner? Is the relationship worth giving up?
Think about your relationship and what your priorities and needs are. Can your partner meet those most basic needs? Do the positives of the relationship outweigh the negatives? Are you still in love with your partner? (And if so, is the feeling reciprocated–both through words and actions?) Does your partner treat you well–both mentally and physically? If you answered yes to most of the questions above but still feel that something just isn’t working, continue down the list of questions below.
If you answered no to most of the questions above, don’t call it quits just yet. There are still ways to fix these issues if you’re both willing to put in the work for it. The most effective way of doing so is through professional counseling. You really have nothing to lose from it. And therapy is much cheaper than a divorce.
But maybe you have tried therapy in the past, and it didn’t work. There are a number of reasons this could be the case. One of the most common reasons is from having the wrong therapist. If your therapist doesn’t feel like the right fit, try going with someone else. The therapist will completely understand. In fact, they encourage switching counselors if you don’t feel like a match. Because one of the most important parts of working therapy is connecting with your counselor and being able to feel like you’re in a safe space around them. That said, another reason therapy might not have worked in the past is if you or your spouse didn’t fully express your thoughts or feelings in therapy in the past. The only way for it to work is if you’re both open and honest. It can be scary or hard to do so at first, but it can be very rewarding in the end. It’s only a small price to pay for such an important relationship in your life.
Is this relationship something that could be fixed?
Now that you’ve thought about your priorities and needs in the relationship, think about the pros and cons, and write them down. Then, looking at the cons, make a list of things you could do to improve the situation as well as another list of what your spouse could improve on. You want to make sure the responsibility is shared relatively equally and written as truthfully and objectively as possible to keep from pushing the blame solely on one person. Using that list, you can then discuss it with your spouse and even have them complete the same exercise. Afterward, you can both discuss the issues you wrote down and try to work on them together, as a team.
Do you have children together?
This question is probably the most important. Divorce is stressful enough as it is. With children involved, it can become even more stressful because of the toll you know it can take on your kids. On the other hand, you know it could be just as harmful, if not more, to keep the situation as it is. So now, it’s time to figure out which option is best for everyone involved. Is it really worth putting your kids through a divorce? Or will staying together only make things worse for them? With children, you and your spouse will always be in each other’s lives, but spending that life together in the same house versus apart may be the difference in how well it all plays out.
Does your spouse know your concerns about the relationship?
If your spouse already knows your concerns, has there been any progression? Is it possible that, with time, circumstances could improve? If so, what steps can you take to move forward? Are there any alternative options you can possibly look into?
If your spouse doesn’t know your concerns, however, the best first step is expressing those concerns to your spouse to make sure they are aware of the situation. Without communication, you can end up growing resentment toward your spouse. Over time, this can cause your spouse to develop feelings of resentment in return. This resentment can then form into grudge-holding, constant arguing, and passive aggression. Sometimes, it can become so deep-rooted that you no longer know what’s causing your anger, and the concept of healing can seem close to impossible.
If you find yourself unable to communicate your concerns because it hasn’t been a part of your routine in the past, it may be time to start now. Even if you feel your issues are impossible to fix at this point, there’s never a bad time to start. However, if it doesn’t seem to be working after a couple of months of implementation or you still find yourselves back into old habits, your next route is going to be therapy. If you missed the part in the “Will you truly be better off without your partner?” section above, head back and see if you might be willing to give it a try, even if you have already.
Can you handle the financial strain a divorce can cause?
Divorce can be expensive, even in the least complicated and time-consuming cases. The reality is, it takes time and money to get a divorce. There’s a fee to file for divorce, fees to pay lawyers to handle your case–both in and out of the court, if it comes to that–as well as potential alimony (which is financial support, ordered by the court, that you pay your spouse after the divorce is granted). So just be sure to think about that before fully diving into the divorce process. If you cannot afford it, you may want to turn to some alternative options, such as separation or therapy, until you can make it happen.
Are you prepared for what will come physically, emotionally, and financially after the divorce?
This will include the daily components of living without a partner–picking up the slack on things they usually took care of (or that you usually split between the two of you), the financials of living alone or taking care of your children more independently, and the loneliness of no longer having a companion in the house. Not to mention, the regret that may come later on. There are so many things to think about that not only involve the divorce process itself but also the aftermath. Be sure to think through every step before making a decision.
You should feel absolutely certain about your divorce–for so many different reasons. We are here to help you achieve that level of certainty. If you would like to speak with someone about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact Christine Howard and her team at (864) 282-8575 or email@example.com.
Berger, Moriel. “Causes of Divorce: 13 of the Most Common Reasons.” Wordmark-Copyright, 25 Aug. 2021, https://www.itsovereasy.com/insights/causes-of-divorce.
Copage, Eric V. “11 Questions to Ask before Getting a Divorce.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 May 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/fashion/weddings/11-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-divorce.html.
E.A. Gjelten, Legal Editor. “What Causes Divorce? 8 Common Reasons Marriages End.” divorcenet.com, Nolo, 22 Sept. 2021, https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/common-reasons-marriages-end.html.
Marni Feuerman, LCSW. “Questions You Must Ask Yourself before You Leave Your Marriage.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 21 Sept. 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/questions-before-you-leave-your-marriage-2302139.