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How Do You Know if You’re Ready for Divorce?

Perhaps one of the most difficult and life-changing questions one can ask themselves – and certainly not one that has any simple answers – is “how do you know if you’re ready for divorce?” The fact is, making the decision to get a divorce is rarely an easy one. Different situations present different circumstances and different families have different dynamics, making the decision a uniquely personal one. So, how do you know if you’re ready for divorce? Let’s consider a few things first.

When a person is considering the possibility of ending their marriage, they are typically faced with one of three scenarios:

They’re pretty sure they want to get divorced but are not completely positive it’s the right decision.
Divorce involves a lot of changes – particularly when there are children involved. It’s only natural to want to reach a decision that’s perfect for everyone, but in reality, the best we can hope for is a sound decision based not on emotion, but on the facts of the situation and what is ultimately best for everyone involved.

One spouse wants the divorce, but the other does not.
While you may be seriously asking yourself, 'how do you know if you’re ready for divorce,' your spouse may be flat out refusing to consider the possibility of ending the marriage. This scenario can be an incredibly challenging one, as the spouse who wants the divorce can feel frustrated at the opposition from the other, who is in turn dealing with their own set of emotions and feelings, like grief, sadness and helplessness.

They feel that divorce is the only solution because the marriage simply isn’t working.
In some situations, one party prefers not to work on the underlying issues at hand, but instead places blame for the demise of the marriage squarely on the other spouse. These situations tend to be riddled with tension and frustration because both parties are not taking ownership for their role in the marriage possibly ending.

Once you determine which scenario best fits what you are feeling, you can then begin to delve a bit deeper into the actual question: how do you know if you’re ready for divorce?

People choose to divorce for any number of reasons. Whether it’s due to a change in lifestyle, stress that has infiltrated a relationship, infidelity by one or both spouses – you name it. Sometimes it seems as though ending the marriage is the only solution, other times there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.

The first step in determining if you’re really ready for divorce involves several key questions, as follows.

  • Are you truly considering a divorce, or are you just threatening out of anger, frustration or to gain control?
  • Are you still in love with your spouse?
  • Have you made every effort to save your marriage?
  • Are you struggling with unfinished emotional business?
  • Are you prepared to deal with the consequences of ending your marriage?
  • Do you feel that you are ready to move on to a new chapter in your life?
  • Do you feel comfortable adopting a new lifestyle (i.e. sharing custody of your children)?
  • Have you conducted research on and begun to prepare for the legality of ending your marriage?

Obviously, there are a number of other factors that may make the answer to the question, “are you ready for divorce” much easier, such as abuse. In general, however, these questions offer a good place to start. As you go through and answer each one, take the time to really be honest with yourself. If possible, discuss these questions with your spouse to see if you are both on the same page.

A divorce coach can assist you to work through this list of questions and, while he or she cannot make the decision for you, what they can do is help you to uncover the true underlying issues at hand and face each of them in a positive, productive way. During a coaching session, you may decide that, after carefully considering and answering the important questions above, you are simply not ready to end your marriage. Or, you may come to the conclusion that divorce really is the best option for you and your spouse.

So, how do you know if you’re ready for divorce? That’s ultimately a question that only you can answer. Enlisting the help of a skilled divorce coach can help you work through the many questions, scenarios, “what if’s” and other issues that you’re dealing with to develop a clearer picture of the situation you are presently in, and to establish an action plan to help you move forward to the place that you want to be – whether that happens to be with or without your spouse.


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