This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful life events people go through. We might be fully aware that our marriage isn’t working, but the very thought of ending everything we’ve been building with our partner and starting again fills many people with dread. Even if your marriage hasn’t been a happy one for years, deciding to finally end it is a life-changing decision.
Being without your partner might feel scary so deciding to divorce requires a lot of reflection and consideration. Going back and forth, and changing your mind repeatedly is not uncommon. It could take a long time to finally reach the decision and follow through with it.
However, if you feel like you did your best to save your marriage and attempted everything you could think of to make things work, including getting professional help and speaking to a lawyer, it may be time to file for divorce. Since this huge change affects other areas of your life too, you might be asking yourself if how to stop your divorce and if a divorce is worth it. There are a couple of ways to find out.
Are There Any Signs That Point To A Divorce?
No marriage is perfect and most of us know very well that most romantic relationships have their challenging phases. Sometimes every fight feels like the end of your relationship, so how can you recognize the signs that you’re heading toward divorce? Either you or your partner might feel that your marriage is unsalvageable, but what are objective and universal signs that there’s no going back?
The common signs of emotional and physical detachment that can help you conclude that your marriage has come to an end usually include:
- Contempt, resentment, or lack of respect.
- No valuable communication, refusal to discuss issues.
- Incessant mutual criticism.
- Prioritizing other relationships over the one you have with your spouse.
- Sudden changes in behavior, spending a lot of time away from home.
- Other escape behaviors like going out more and making new friends.
- Thinking about other potential relationships.
- Lack of interest in physical intimacy.
When Is Divorce A Good Idea?
Sometimes we feel like there’s still hope for our marriage and are actively trying to figure out how to stop the divorce from happening. We might be thinking about ways to reconnect with our spouse and rebuild the relationship. Some people are prepared to forgo their pride and forgive their partners for all the hurt they caused.
Divorce is most likely the best solution if you consistently feel unloved, unhappy, unseen, or are experiencing some type of abuse. If this is the case, you need to make your happiness and well-being a top priority. So if you’re experiencing any of these issues in your marriage, getting divorced is a matter of self-preservation:
- Physical or verbal abuse, hostile home environment.
- Your partner suffers from a mental illness or substance abuse disorder and refuses to seek help.
- Infidelity and dishonesty that make rebuilding trust impossible.
- The marriage doesn’t fulfill your needs, the emotional and physical connection is gone, and your partner feels like a stranger.
Are There Situations In Which You Need To Reconsider Divorce?
People consider and reconsider divorce many times before they finally go through with it. If you still love your partner and feel like they love you back, you can attempt to salvage your relationship. Most people will try couples therapy to learn how to recognize damaging behavior patterns and change them. If they succeed, they can get their marriage on the right track again. This requires a lot of challenging work, learning from previous mistakes, and not repeating them.
Many people get caught up in ambivalent relationships, preventing them from making a clear and final decision about their divorce. The usual definition of an ambivalent relationship describes it as a relationship in which at least one partner doesn’t know where they stand. If one or both partners are unsure of their feelings, they might have difficulty deciding if they want to stay in the relationship or not. Things don’t have to be severely toxic to feel like something is missing.
On the other hand, people can be extremely dissatisfied with their marriage but feel like they can’t do better, so they remain in the confusion of what to do. Whatever the case, ambivalent partners feel anxiety and frustration as they can’t bring themselves to end things, but feel dissatisfied with the relationship they’re in. They’re torn between the options of staying together and getting a divorce.
How Do I Propose A Divorce?
It’s quite rare that one’s intention to ask for a divorce comes out of the blue. Both partners are usually well aware that their relationship hasn’t been working for a while. One of the partners needs to finally come out and say it. If that partner is you, even though you might be holding some grudges or feel betrayed or hurt by your partner, try to do your best to keep things civil. This is not only for their benefit, or the benefit of your children. It is also for you. Learning to put emotional distress aside and deal with things in a practical way is what’s best for you too.
You can work through your unresolved feelings with a therapist or vent to your friends. However, your partner is no longer a person you can confide in, so try to stay on point, without any unnecessary fights or discussions. Explain your position and feelings calmly and respectfully. Talk about the coordination of the divorce process so you can both get out of your unhealthy relationship without hurting each other any further. Even if you don’t feel that you could be friends with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, try to communicate calmly and politely for the sake of your children, if you have any, and to avoid exacerbating the emotional distress.
Here are some tips on how to do it in the least hurtful way:
- Plan what to say and try not to ambush your partner. Even if they’re aware that your marriage is not working, they might be in denial and not expecting a divorce.
- Choose an appropriate time so you can talk undisturbed for as long as necessary.
- Try to stay calm and avoid heated statements, but be prepared for anger, blaming, and agitated reactions.
- If you’re sure that divorce is what you want, don’t delay and waste your own and your partner’s time. As soon as you tell your partner about wanting to get a divorce, the sooner the both of you can start getting over the failed marriage and begin the healing process.
- Try not to blame your spouse for the failure of your marriage and avoid digging up any past quarrels. Calmly explain how you feel and avoid getting sucked into a fight. This is hard to do so if you find yourself slipping into blaming your partner, apologize and shift your attitude as soon as you are able.
- Set boundaries. Even if you’re feeling guilty about being the one to end your marriage don’t try to comfort your partner by being overly affectionate or listen to their plea for reconciliation. This can send mixed signals and give them false hope of getting back together.
Get Guidance From PIVOT Relationship Advocates If You’re Ambivalent About Getting A Divorce
Whether you’ve only begun to contemplate divorce, or you’re going through it right now, there are professional coaches you can turn to for personalized solutions. You can take some time away from the everyday stress that this huge change brings to all areas of your life and explore your feelings in one of our Glass House retreats, before making the final decision.
By learning to let go of anger and resentment you can make yourself emotionally available for new experiences or for an attempt to save your marriage. If your divorce is already finalized, our coaches can help you find balance and strength to continue your life with renewed optimism, self-esteem, and above all, love for yourself.