Are you contemplating divorce?
Reading this article may help you decide what is right for you.
In my work with individuals and couples for the last 43 years, I’ve had two very different experiences regarding people who have divorced:
- One group of people are happy that they finally left a marriage where they were very unhappy. They feel that they have their life back, and sometimes even their health back. They feel relief and freedom and are proud of themselves that they finally got themselves out of a bad situation.
- The other group has huge regrets. They look back and see that, if they had hung in and worked on themselves, they could likely have created a loving relationship. They are disillusioned with their experience of dating, and realize that their ex is a good and caring person. Most of the time their ex has moved on and is in another relationship.
When is Divorce the Answer for you?
Divorce may be the answer for you when:
- You are married to a drinking alcoholic, a drug addict or a compulsive gambler who has no intention of healing
- You are married to a physically or emotionally abusive person who has no intention of healing
- You are married to a sex addict who constantly demands sex from you, and/or who has multiple affairs, and who has no intention to heal
- You are married to someone who refuses to carry his or her own weight and is draining you financially, and is unwilling to do the inner work necessary to heal
- You are married to someone with a severe personally disorder, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, and is not motivated to heal
- You want an emotionally connected and intimate relationship and you are married to someone who has no interest in a deeper emotional connection, and no desire to work on the relationship. You are very lonely in the relationship.
- You have fully explored and healed what originally attracted you to your partner, so that you don’t repeat the same mistake.
- You have explored and healed your end of the relationship system – such as your neediness, caretaking, enabling, anger, blame, compliance, demanding, addictions – and feel happy within yourself. Without healing your end of the relationship system, you will take your baggage with you, and create a similar relationship.
When Divorce May Not be Answer for You
- If you are angry and blaming your partner for your unhappiness, then you have not done your inner work to learn to take responsibility for your own feelings. As long as you are abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for your feelings, divorce may be a waste of time.
- If you believe that the problems are mostly about your partner, then you have not yet done the inner healing work to learn about your end of the relationship system. Divorce is a waste of time unless you fully understand and heal why you were originally attracted to your partner, and you fully understand and heal your end of the relationship system.
- If the passion and intimacy – which were originally a part of your relationship – have gone out of the relationship, but you and your partner still care about each other, there is still hope. When this is the case, it is likely that if each of you is willing to learn about your own end of the protective, controlling system – which is limiting the passion and intimacy – the relationship can heal.
- If you have children and are both involved with your children. Even if you have only a companionship relationship – getting along well and enjoying each other as friends, without the chemistry involved in being good lovers. If this is acceptable to both of you, then staying together may be fine while you are raising your children. If it is not acceptable to both of you, then staying together might not be the answer.
People who experienced the first list and leave a marriage, are happy they left. People who experienced the second list are often not happy they left. If you are honest with yourself, you will know whether or not divorce is right for you.
[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]