You believed you were ready for marriage; are you now ready for divorce?

The decision to marry was not taken lightly.  You thought about it, discussed it and imagined together how it was going to be.  You felt ready to make the commitment and looked forward to a happy and harmonious life.

Divorce is pretty much the same sort of commitment with pretty much the same expectation. In some ways the commitment is even greater as the divorce will probably involve not just the two of you but children as well.  It's a bigger step with more consequences than the marriage.

couple_in_water_holding_handsThe effects of divorce are total.  Everything will change. Your financial circumstances will change, either for the better but far more likely for the worse.  Your relationship with your children will be totally different and in some cases for fathers become nonexistent. 

You will lose a way of life that was familiar and replace it with one that may well be better but might be a whole lot worse.  There is no certainty in life after divorce.

If the relationship has totally collapsed then divorce is probably inevitable but how do you know if you are ready for a step that in many ways is bigger and more far reaching than the decision to get married.  Here are some thoughts to help you with this decision.

Was I ever really married?
A marriage is a contract made on a number of levels, emotional, financial and practical. To be really married these three strands of the marriage need to be bound together in a relationship characterised by an "us" or a "we" mentality.

Many people who are considering a divorce have never had a marriage in that sense. Their relationship is one that provides a framework in which two individuals live to meet their own needs. They may share a home and be raising children but these activities can often be undertaken competitively rather than in
cooperation.

I want a divorce but I need to be sure it is the right decision
There will always be doubts about a decision as big as this. The changes you are about to create in your life will be profound. Your life and your children's lives will be changed forever. The pressure to make the perfectly correct decision is enormous. There is no such thing. You can only make the best decision given where you are and how you feel. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. If you don't feel happy with the decision then wait. If you do decide to divorce then do it as kindly as you can.

I do not want this divorce but my husband/wife does
The difficulty with relationships is that it takes two to agree to have one but only one to agree not to. Divorce is often a one sided event. There is the divorcer and the divorcee. The divorcer who is the one who wants the divorce tends to have control. If you are the divorcee you may well experience intense emotional devastation as your life changes before your eyes without you having any substantial say in the outcome. If one of you wants a divorce then there is really nothing that the other can do to stop it.

Do I still have feelings for my wife/husband?
In many ways this is bound to be the case. Many people who say they want a divorce still have strong feelings for their partner, despite the fact that the problems within the marriage had produced a lack of intimacy and closeness. If those feelings for your spouse are still there it would be better to work on your relationship before deciding to divorce. Making the wrong decision could create a sense of loss and regret which will overwhelm you and leave you in a situation worse than you are now.

What happens next?
If you have not developed a genuine partnership in the relationship you are considering ending then it is worth considering what you envisage for your life after divorce. Are you looking for a real marriage or a practical (but much better!) relationship similar to the one you have at the moment or a completely different life as a single person. These are seriously different options each with their own merits and difficulties.   

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