Making a divorce decision is always life altering. It affects so many people. The closest they are to us, the deeper and heavier the impact is on them. It is an extremely hard decision when children are involved, and in many cases delayed because of that.
There is no rule or formula for it, everyone has to struggle through their own decision making process, and it can take years. When we can make the decision from true self-awareness and not from an emotionally charged or imbalanced place, that will be a decision we can trust and will be able to live with.
But how do we know we are at a place like that? When are we ready to make such decision?
Here are some signs of being in the right place and state of mind to make a divorce decision.
We are not blaming our ex for the failure of our marriage anymore, but taking full responsibility for our part in it. We have detached enough emotionally, so there is not much anger, resentment, or other negative feelings. They will be triggered for sure later down the path, but they are not the reason for our decision. The purpose of the divorce is neither to punish the other or cause pain, but to move forward to a future we want for ourselves.
No threat or agenda for change.
We are not just threatening with divorce in hopes of the other person changing or treating us differently, but ready to go through with it without any secret agenda attached. Our only agenda is to start a new life for ourselves.
Conviction of “alone is better than being in this marriage”.
Higher percentage of people who leave their marriage to be with another regret their divorce decision later, compared to those who leave because it is not working for them anymore. If we cannot say with full conviction that ending up alone for the rest of our lives would still be better than staying in this marriage, we are not ready to leave at all.
The internal conflict has quieted down.
Everybody making a divorce decision struggles internally. There are no exceptions. We all fight our inner battles with guilt and shame when it comes to divorce. Some of us have strong religious convictions or family messages that make it even more shame producing, and we need to work through them, finding our own moral convictions and messages we want to live by. We know we have gotten there when we have peace about our decision and don’t jump instantly into guilt feelings when thinking about it.
Prepared to experience other people’s pain and anger.
Our decision to divorce will hurt some people. There is no sugarcoating or denying it. Some will be angry with us and won’t hide it. If we have children, it will hurt them tremendously, and we need to be prepared not just to witness their pain and anger, but to be able to help them through it without trying to minimize it or explain it away. For that, we need to be further along the road, meaning we have dealt with most of our own pain and anger regarding to the end of our marriage.
Prepared for all the changes and consequences of divorce.
Divorce affects so many areas of our lives. We need to be sure we have a realistic picture of our future, not just focusing on the positive, but truly considering the many negative and unpleasant sides. Being clear on how our finances, social status and standing, and family situation will look afterwards. Being aware of the many little changes that will occur and not just the major ones. If children are involved, being prepared to spend significant time away from them and even for the possibility of a long child custody battle.
Willing to be the “bad guy”.
If we still feel the need to explain our side to everyone and want to be sure they all understand our decision, if we care about looking good in people’s eyes, we are not ready for it. When we are comfortable with just saying “this is what I want and I believe this is the best for me” without any further explanation all the time, then we are ready to take full responsibility for our decision. Accepting the fact that some won’t understand at all, and others will accuse us for ruining our children’s lives or destroying our family.
Getting to this mental and emotional place of certainty and calm about a divorce decision takes time. It also takes work, energy, and lots of support. We cannot hurry it, but we can be sure we are working through our issues and problem areas steadily until we get the clarity and peace we desire.
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