The idea of not being married to your soon-to-be-ex may seem really appealing right now. No more nagging, escaping the never-ending criticism, and finally being able to live on your own terms again. You can now parent the way you want to parent without being criticized for the fact that your daughter’s pigtails are not exactly parallel. This all sounds wonderful and so freeing. Right?
You might think that only a few things, in reality, would change. There might already be no family time—and lately, the two of you have been sleeping in separate rooms anyway. While there may be moments in your current married life that are less than blissful, the reality is you have a partner, even if you feel as if that partnership is not as wonderful or equal as it used to be. Therefore, before you make an appointment with a divorce lawyer, I urge you to step through the sliding glass doors and truly envision what your life is going to look like when you are on your own but still responsible for all you created while you were married.
An Alternate Universe
Now you are standing on the outside, and you are looking in. Every time you are with your children now, you are on your own, or you are still dependent on someone helping you out? But now you are not only funding your own (and maybe your ex’s) lifestyle; you are also paying for a nanny or a babysitter. Your life is extra complicated, and are literally tasked with dealing with all the drama while still trying to get your presentation ready for work. The idyllic single life this is not. You will be the sole runner in a race that feels like an ultra-marathon most days.
What Is Harder, Marriage or Divorce?
This is truly the loaded question. Trusting your instincts is necessary. If there are any feelings or reasons why you might decide that divorce is not the best option, then you need to listen. This is your gut telling you what to do. As you start to figure out which way to go at this fork in the road, I want you to think about factors that are bigger than you alone.
• How are your children going to deal with this major life change? • How will you manage without the support of the person who has been there with you—through good times, as well as bad? • What are your true feelings about being single? • Is your divorce going to change your career trajectory or your ability to make (and keep) money? What do your finances look like, and how will this potentially change if you are supporting two households? • What lifestyle changes could occur? • Do you anticipate a big fight with your spouse over assets and property? • And seriously, how is your mental and physical health (because they will be impacted as well)? You absolutely must answer these questions honestly and examine your feelings regarding your truthful responses to such queries before you go home and tell your spouse, “I want a divorce.”
Some Tough Questions to Ponder
Here are some questions you should also think about as you look to make an educated and rational decision regarding divorce: • Have you tried to speak with your spouse about your feelings? Have you had an honest heart-to-heart about the issues you are facing as a couple? If so, what was the outcome? • Have you tried marriage counseling? • Have the two of you tried to identify and isolate the problems inside your relationship? • Do you have the ability to openly communicate with each other without nagging, arguing, or even talking over the other one? • Are you willing to compromise? Think about these lines of thought: • Are you going to miss your kids if you do not see them every day? • Do you feel confident that during your parenting time you could be the sole parent caring for your children’s daily needs? This affects not only your life but your children’s lives as well, so answer honestly. • How are your kids going to handle being shuttled between two households with different parenting schedules and styles? • What lifestyle changes are you willing to make?
Keep in mind paying for two households is much more expensive than one. Getting divorced is costly. If your situation is financially challenged right now, expect to tighten your belt even more. To summarize, weighing all possible options is imperative when considering divorce. And you must do this before you decide to pull the trigger and tell your spouse.