It’s a sad truth, but sometimes divorce is the best option for couples who simply can’t make their marriage work. But divorce isn’t like breaking up, where you always have the option to get back together again — it’s a major financial and emotional strain and chances are that once all is said and done, you won’t want to give it a second shot. But before you and your partner bring up the dreaded “D” word, there are a few important matters you should consider, both emotional and logistical. Ask yourself these questions before you decide that you’re really prepared to serve your partner divorce papers.
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What Is My Role in the Problem?
When you’re fighting with a partner, it can be difficult to find anyone besides them at fault. However, sometimes the only way to get to the root of the argument is to identify how you may have contributed to the conflict. You may think yourself blameless, but the only way to be sure of this (and to potentially relieve your partner of some blame) is to examine your own actions and behavior in the situation.
Have I Clearly Expressed My Concerns?
If you and your partner cannot both say with full certainty what has caused the riff in your relationship, then you still have some talking to do. The only way to eliminate any misunderstandings is to be as specific as possible about what’s causing you grief or unhappiness in the partnership.
Would I Stay If My Partner Changed?
Not everyone is willing to change, but imagine that your partner was able to change for the better — would that make a difference? Though there’s no guarantee that any personal development you see in your partner will last, ask yourself whether a change in behavior or attitude would be enough to keep the relationship afloat. Are you willing to forgive, or has your partner done something unforgivable?
Am I Prepared For the Potential Social and Financial Stresses?
Being part of a partnership often means sharing a home, a friend group, a bank account, and countless other possessions that will be divided between you if you decide to split. Though many of the questions to consider before a divorce are emotional, the logistics must also be taken into account: can you support yourself on a single salary? Are you prepared to lose some friends and potentially even your home?
Would I Be Happier Without My Partner?
Try to imagine life without your partner — would single life present new opportunities for you, or would being on your own limit your possibilities? You may be dependent on your partner for things that are both tangible and intangible, so consider whether that dependence is a crutch or a necessity. Perhaps you’d thrive on your own, but you might also find yourself needing the help and support of your partner.
Do I Still Love Them?
This one is tricky, because you can still love a spouse without being able to stay with them. Though your judgment may be clouded by anger, ask yourself whether the spark that was there when you exchanged your vows is still alive. If you still love your partner, reconciliation might be possible.
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Are There Other Options?
Divorce is messy and expensive and taxing. Have the two of you tried everything you can to reconcile? Splitting up should only be discussed once all other options have been eliminated, such as counseling or a trial separation. Do everything you can to make your marriage work before you conclude that it isn’t working.