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Considering Divorce? The complete guide

  • This is a long article and it will be updated as I learn more. It is everything I wish I would have had at my fingertips when I was on the brink of divorce in 2017. Since then I have collected a LOT of information, so here goes…

Divorce sucks. I’ve heard it termed as a bomb going off in your life. I don’t think that quite does it justice. It’s worse than that. I rocks your physical world, your emotional abilities, what you think about yourself and others, and if you have children it may hit them hard as well. 

But sometimes divorce is still the right choice. The flip side of divorce is that instead of living a life of suffering it can open the door to happiness, satisfaction, deep intimacy, financial freedom, and anything you may want. 

The road to get there is hard though. 

My wife announced in April 2017 that she wanted out. We tried therapy during the summer but on September 28 she moved out. We had two boys, 7 and 10. They were the only that held me together and gave me a reason to press on. I was determined to not let the divorce be the end of me, nor to become one of those bitter people that forever see the opposite sex as evil. Just 7 months later I was divorced. Dumbstruck, numb, and angry. 

It happened so fast. I now know that time is sometimes your friend when going through a divorce, if not simply to have time to process what was happening. I wish we would have separated for a while to just figure things out but we didn’t.

OK, enough about me. Let’s talk about what questions you have and the big one, How do I know?

How do I know?

Yes, sorry to say but you have to be the one to decide. However, there are some pretty clear cut ones. If the situation is physically abusive to you or your children then get out of the home. Take the children if you can. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.  They have online chat, you can call, just reach out. Please.

If there is no immediate threat to your safety then you have a few minutes to continue reading this article.

There are a lot of articles to help you consider all angles of the question “How do I know?”. The problem with many of these articles is that they lean one way or the other. They are the authors opinion. Very few are actually based on dissecting the issues and letting you decide based on that. 

The biggest issue for people deciding is that they are looking for someone else to decide FOR them. I know, I know there are a LOT of good reasons that you have for getting a divorce. And I’m going to say one thing here to set a baseline. People have had every conceivable issue out there and they have turned it into something that made their marriage stronger. No kidding. 

If you are thinking that by leaving your marriage everything will be better I have some bad news for you. It won’t. It will give you an opportunity to try again, get a fresh start. But there’s only one thing I want you to consider. Will you still be in your life in the future? If your answer is “Yes”, then consider that divorce will only give you a reprieve from your circumstances for a while. 

I have learned the hard way that I am still me after my divorce. The same issues from my marriage are showing up in my relationships after divorce. My same issues are still with me. But I’m seeing them more clearly now. I’m more aware of who I am. I am in touch with my feelings. I understand communication better and what I do and don’t do that creates distance. If I hadn’t divorced I doubt I would have learned these things. 

So, first things first. If you want to save your marriage then I recommend that you go here. Note, the information is good but they do charge a lot for the “not-free” material.

Stacey and Paul have been there and they have some really good programs. 99% of marriages continue according to them for people that do their program. 

Now, if you look at that and your heart just dropped because you DON’T WANT a solution. Well, I can tell you there is your answer. If you don’t want to work anymore, if you feel like your marriage isn’t something you want to continue then I think you have already made your decision. 

Want another option? Try He says 85% of his client’s marriages survive. I don’t know his work as well so let me know in the comments if you try working with him.

In my marriage we tried couples therapy at the end and we actually flew up to meet with a guy in Canada for a weekend before we got married. Neither worked for us even though there was some progress.

Final thought before I give you a bunch of other resources. My aunt used to say, “If you don’t know, the answer is no”. Sometimes we don’t want to admit the truth to ourselves. That’s understandable. People have a lot of fear of the future coupled with anger, trust issues, and overall disappointment. 

Divorce is a loss of expectations. It is the death of a relationship (except the corpse follows you around). 

Here are some articles to check out:

There are a LOT of books to check out about divorce. My favorite is Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson. In it she explains WHY communication fails and how to fix it. Here is a quote from her book:

“When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness, according to a landmark study by Ted Huston of the University of Texas. Indeed, the lack of emotional responsiveness rather than the level of conflict is the best predictor of how solid a marriage will be five years into it. The demise of marriages begins with a growing absence of responsive intimate interactions. The conflict comes later.”

— Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson

Other books:
Crazy Time: Surviving divorce and Building a New Life
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

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