Before deciding on a divorce, you will want to weigh all your options and decide what is and isn’t working in the relationship. You or your partner may be able to change some things so as to save the marriage, although some issues may be deal breakers.
In this article, we explore reasons not to stay married, how you can get help, and, if you decide to divorce, how to do it in a reasonable fashion.
“For the Children’s Sake”
In the past, many married couples would realize they were unhappy but thought they needed to stay married “for the children’s sake.” This is not always the best idea, though. Children will hear sarcasm, arguments, or feel greatly stressed out by tension in an unhappy marriage. No matter how hard you try to protect children from your feelings, these are still evident by you and your spouse’s actions or merely the looks on your faces.
A young child who hears and sees their parents arguing will tend to be frightened because they don’t understand the complexity of adult issues or realize what the problem is. Older children may feel they are at fault for these arguments. This can cause your children to suppress their feelings, ignore them, or have angry outbursts. It can be psychologically damaging to your children if you don’t get a divorce when it is warranted.
Fear of Change
Some people may decide to stay in an unhappy marriage because at least it is a known relationship (even though not a great one). Many people would rather deal with unhappiness rather than face a huge life change — and or the prospect of a new relationship that is unknown. After all, if you’ve been married for several years, you understand relationship norms are different today than when you were previously dating. Some people don’t take relationships seriously. And now there are dating apps that may seem foreign to you. The world and the people in it change at a much faster pace now than in the past.
Others may fear having only one income and hoping for child support — or losing a partner who can help with all aspects of raising children while under the same roof.
Being too Kind
In many relationships, one partner may not have the same feelings as when they were married. Instead of the warm, fuzzy feeling of being in love, you may have feelings of feeling trapped and falling out of love — through no fault of your partner. This can lead to staying in a loveless marriage due to fear of deeply hurting one’s partner. In this case, you can actually be too kind — at the expense of your own happiness.
Feeling Like You Failed
Some couples don’t want to admit what they would consider defeat when the marriage isn’t working out. They don’t want others to judge them or to feel like they failed in their decision to marry in the first place. This may keep some unhappy couples together.
Seeking Counseling — A Good Idea?
Some couples find great therapy by seeking a marriage counselor and sometimes this is a great solution. However, marriage counselors don’t work in every situation, especially if one party really wants a relationship to work and the other doesn’t believe in counseling — to the point where they won’t go to the appointments.
How to Have an Amicable Divorce
Divorce can be upsetting and difficult for a couple as well as for the children. However, there are steps you can take to help ease the worries and problems that most associate with getting a divorce. It all has to do with your attitude and controlling your thoughts — and with any luck — your soon-to-be ex can also practice these habits.
- Try to think about the good times you and your spouse had together. There had to be a lot of them, at least at the beginning of the marriage. You can even write down these experiences so you get a visual of the best parts of your marriage.
- Don’t talk bad about the other party in front of the children. They are already going to go through a number of changes and are probably very nervous.
- Don’t argue in front of the children, either. This only drives their insecurity levels upward quickly.
- Don’t decide you want certain items in the divorce just to be spiteful. This won’t help you to be friendly during a divorce.
- It’s hard to do, but try to remove all feelings from the process and only think of things in black and white with your decisions from here forward.
Making a parenting plan can take away a lot of stress in a divorce. You each decide who gets the children, when, where, and for how long. All of the children’s needs should be accounted for, including the basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, medical, and also any extracurricular activities. Maybe one parent can take a child to baseball practice one time and the other parent can do it the next time. This is in the best interest of the child, so they can have valuable time with both parents and maintain healthy relationships.
It is important to have a good divorce (and to not make extra enemies in the process) rather than stay in a bad marriage.
Some parties seek some emotional support during this stressful time from friends and family members that have already walked this path. Others may actually take up a new hobby to keep their minds and hands busy instead of having a lot of time to worry. The least productive approach is to blame one another for each incident you believe your partner may have caused. Placing blame requires the harboring of resentment and anger — and these emotions aren’t healthy for you or the children.
About the Author: Kathleen E. Shaul is a highly-skilled divorce and family attorney based in St. Louis, Missouri. She has been practicing family law in St. Louis since 1995 and is dedicated to providing the highest quality legal representation for families. Visit her at http://www.kshaul-law.com/.