Are you really ready to file for divorce? If you’re like many folks, you want out NOW! You may have tried everything to make your marriage work. You pleaded with your spouse to go to therapy, maybe you even went for a while but it just didn’t work. You’ve read books and surfed the internet for ways to bring back the romance; you even tried NOT pleading, but now it’s OVER! Really!
Of course your friends and family may be tired of hearing that because every time you’ve told them the latest chapter in the saga of “My Dreadful Marriage” you’ve gone back to your spouse and probably for good reason: you’re just not ready to leave! How will you survive financially? How will the kids handle living in two places? Who gets the dog? There is a lot to figure out! Before ever filing for divorce there are somethings you need to know and do first.
Ready for Divorce? Put First Things First
First things first, you’ve got to work on yourself. What many find when getting into a new relationship is that all the things that were wrong in the marriage are also present in the new relationship! Oh, for a while it is wonderful and you feel like a totally new person but then those
same issues come glaring to the forefront. Jealousy, anger, arguments over money or kids begin and you find yourself right where you left off in the last relationship. Because of this, It is imperative that you resolve your own issues before even thinking of leaving. If your knee jerk reaction is to scream or leave or hunker down and binge watch Netflix while eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, YOU’VE got a problem. By seriously looking at what you did in your marriage that was hurtful is a must. Know your own issues and resolve them. It is easy to blame your spouse’s spending or drinking but you have a part too. You are no longer invested in getting your spouse to change; what you need to do now is change yourself. You need to do everything you can do to be the person you want to be.
Before you leave, get your financial ducks in a row! Many couples can barely make their bills supporting one household, much less two! Take an honest look at how you will support yourself and your children (and possibly your ex-spouse for a while!). If you need to gain more education or work experience to get a higher paying job then do it NOW! Don’t wait until you’re out on your own, it might be too late. Consider the financial hit you will take by leaving. Most folks find that their credit nosedives and their assets are split in half. By getting your finances in order now you will be one step closer to freedom.
Ready for Divorce? Start Grieving
Even if you are sure it is OVER, there is a lot of grieving that will need to take place! Begin the grieving process now. You had dreams with this person that are no longer a reality. Even if you are the one leaving there will be many things that you will miss. It could be as simple as the way you shop for a Christmas tree together or how you both play monkey-in-the-middle with the dog! You have created many good memories too. Go through the love notes, re-read your vows, look at your wedding photos, and remember the good times! You did have dreams and hope for a future together. Spend time and attention recognizing what you WILL miss when your marriage is over.
Ready for Divorce? Live Like You’re Single
Live like you’re already single! That does NOT mean starting a new relationship or partying until the wee hours of the morning, it means figuring out what would give your life meaning as a single person. You may have been trying for a long time to get your partner to give you what you needed to be happy. Now is the time, inside the marriage, to find out how to create the life you want. You may have declined invitations to book clubs or bowling leagues because your spouse just wasn’t into that kind of thing. Now is the time to figure out what YOUR thing is. Do some soul searching and find out what your gifts are and how you can begin to be responsible for your own happiness. From now on you need not look toward your spouse to meet your needs, you’ve got it from here!
After you have gotten to the place of emotional, economic and physical health decide if leaving is worth it! Many people have a romantic notion of what being single will be like, and when they are finally there it is not all it’s cracked up to be. You may have been blaming your spouse for your own unhappiness. Once you are happy, inside the marriage, you have a much better vantage point to decide if leaving will be a good option for you (and your children if you have them). When you no longer NEED your spouse financially or emotionally anymore, you may find that leaving may not actually be the best option. The good thing is that finally you can make a decision based on strength rather than on reactivity!