It is not uncommon for me to me with consults who inform me that their marriage is a mess, and they want to get out, but are afraid to get divorced. Sometimes they ask me if they should stay married?
This is generally not a question that I ever answer directly. I normally will say that is a personal decision that they must make for themselves. I can help guide them through the divorce process but I can tell them whether they should get a divorce.
In these situations, I will inquire into what brought them to my office to begin with.
Sometimes I am told:
- they think they should get divorced but they want to end things amicably and the thought of conflict makes them want to run away.
- They are scared of the expense and can they get their spouse to pay for the divorce?
- They are not are not sure how they will survive after the divorce or whether they will be able to make it on their own.
Sometimes these individuals fell like getting a divorce is a selfish act. However, when I hear their story to me it sounds like it could be an act that saves them and one they should have taken a long time ago.
In another blog, I mentioned a conversation I had with an eighty-year old man who confessed that he had never loved his wife and that the only reason he married her was he had felt sorry for her. He told me that he had tried to love her but she never liked to be touched by him and that the only time they were ever together physically is when they made their children. His wife’s mother told her was that to do otherwise was dirty.
The above scenario is not to different from a conversation I had with a woman who was stuck in a loveless marriage. She had been married to him for 15 years. The husband refused to give her children and was now encouraging her to get a divorce said he could have sex with any other woman but her.
In different words these two-different people told me they felt like they were dying inside a little bit more the longer they stayed married. They felt like they had nothing in common with their spouse.
In the case of the woman she was scared to get a divorce and the ramifications it would mean. In her culture people stayed married even when they were miserable. However, staying married was killing her.
In the case of the man he had no plans to divorce his wife even though he was miserable. However, because of some outside forces he ended up in my office. Before his case was over he confessed he had met someone who loved him and liked to be touched by him. He said he was the happiest he had been in over 50 years.
You may be miserable and there is a chance that while you are going through a divorce you will be even more miserable. Will your life be happier afterwards? For some people the answer is yes but, there are no guarantees.
You are Not Alone
If you both want and are afraid to get a divorce you are not alone. Divorce can be:
- time-consuming and
One of the things I sometimes tell people who meet with me is that “generally people do not come to see me when everything is going perfect in their lives. I get to see people at one of the worst times in their lives and help them.”
Divorce is not something most people look forward to going through.
For the above-mentioned reasons and more many people who want a divorce, stay married. Sometimes they feel:
- staying married even though they are miserable is easier.
- That divorce is too expensive or
- It is better for the children
However, generally no one talks about the price that is paid to stay in a bad marriage.
The Price that is Paid to Stay Married
You have probably heard that saying there is no such thing as a free lunch. Sometimes the price people pay to stay in a bad marriage is:
- Putting up with abuse
- Perhaps your life
- or the marriage unfulfilling marriage is measured in the quality of your life.
- Your spouse is gambler, or spendthrift
- Perhaps a sexually transmitted disease if your spouse cheats
My Marriage Isn’t Horrible
In cases where your spouse abusive, cheating, or bad in other ways it is easy to understand why someone might want to end the marriage. However, what if that is not the case and you still want out?
Sometimes people come to see me because:
- Their spouse is no longer emotionally involved in the marriage
- They feel alone in their marriage
Sometime these people have been drug to my office because they have confessed to their friend that they feel dead on the inside and are miserable. They wanted to know what to do.
As I mentioned earlier I will generally leave my opinion on whether someone should get a divorce to myself and tell them that the answer of course, is up to them. But, sometimes I will put some questions to them to try and help them reach a decision. Such as:
- If things will never change are you happy living the life that you have right now?
- How, will you feel if your life right now is the same 10-20 years from now?
- I judge people by what they do not what they say. What are your spouse’s actions telling you?
- If you get divorced, do think you would regret not having stayed in your marriage?
If You Know Your Marriage is Over What are You Waiting for?
When it gets right down to it, it doesn’t matter what the reason is If you feel like you cannot leave your marriage, you are stuck. Perhaps:
- you are afraid of trying to make it financially on your own
- you are worried that your divorce will hurt your children or
- you are frightened you may never meet anyone else
Fear can be paralyzing and can keep you from acting. No matter how planned, there is never certainty on how things will turn out. As with other things in life it may be years until you know if a divorce was a good choice or a mistake.
Just Keep Swimming
Life can be tough and full of uncertainty. It helps if you know more about the divorce process. This will allow you to make an educated decision once you have an idea what will happen with your children and finances. You will be able to replace your fears with a plan of action. As Dory says in “Finding Nemo” you need to “just keep swimming.”
There are things you can start doing now to make yourself less afraid for example:
- You can start looking for ways to increase your income if you are afraid you won’t be able to support yourself after a divorce.
- Look at what sort of jobs you can get on the internet, job postings, or a headhunter.
- You can also investigate whether you will qualify to receive support from your spouse such as spousal or child support.
- If your spouse has made threats about taking your children away you need talk to an attorney and learn what your rights are.
Face Your Fears
There is a quote I like that I once read “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
The message I took from the quote was that understanding and then facing will help make you less afraid. Action conquers fear. Whereas if you do not act you will remain afraid. It does not matter what it is. You fight fear by getting the facts, and then acting.
Until you act, get facts, and make a plan, all you have is your fears. Your fears will get you nowhere.
How can I make my divorce go amicably and smoothly?
Preparation and planning cannot prevent your divorce going off the tracks if you or your spouse decides to make it that way. However if you have a plan you will be better prepared to handle curve balls if they are thrown your way during the divorce.
However, to find out what is going to happen during your divorce you’re going to have to open the door and see what’s behind it. No one is going to give you a guarantee on what is going to happen. I generally tell the people I meet with:
- I can get you divorced as fast as the slowest person in the relationship
- You and your spouse are in control of the cost the more you fight the more expensive the divorce will be
Shall I go or shall I stay?
As I mentioned at the beginning the choice is yours on whether you go or stay. Both choices come with a cost. You just have to decide which price you want to pay.
Not making a choice is a choice. The saying is if you do not plan for yourself someone else does and you may not like their plan.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them" Today!”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
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- Positive qualities to search for when interviewing a family law attorney
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