I wouldn’t wish a divorce on my worst enemy, but we all deserve happiness. Sometimes that’s not possible with the person we’re married to.
Divorce is never a decision to make cavalierly. It’s harrowing and heart-stomping on its worst day and extremely uncomfortable on its best day. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for some degree of pain. You’re admitting that your marriage failed, and that can sting.
I didn’t come to my decision to divorce until it was obvious there was no other option. In a nine month period, I discovered my partner had been abusing drugs throughout our entire marriage, had been running up a credit card without my knowledge, and had embezzled from his job.
When I felt like we were just getting through one terrible awful, another one was revealed. I met with a divorce attorney the day after I discovered his embezzlement since his criminal behavior and the way my state views marriage meant I could be held liable as well.
By the time I decided to divorce, “til death do us part” felt like it’d already happened. It felt like I had died. I was just a shell of my former self, of the bride who’d walked down the aisle six years before.
If you’ve arrived at this article, it’s likely you’re at a crossroads. You’re considering whether you should or shouldn’t pull the trigger.
I wouldn’t wish a divorce on anyone, but it was a necessary evil for me. I needed to live, for myself and my children, and I couldn’t live within that marriage any longer.
Many things in a relationship are salvageable, even terrible awfuls like the ones I listed above, but it takes two people to repair a relationship. Two people who are completely willing to make the changes necessary for both people to be happy.
Here are five reasons why you should get divorced:
We all have those things that we decide we will never put up with: If they ever hit me, if they ever cheat on me, if they ever become an addict…
There are plenty of couples that survive long past dealbreakers, but it all comes down to the desire, willingness, and ability of the offending partner to change, and how willing you are to forgive.
Once something like the above happens, assess your boundaries and if you’re willing to stay with your partner if they will do certain things (within reason) to help you come to forgiveness. It might be going to individual and couples counseling, rehab/treatment, anger management, etc.
If you are willing to try to stay if things are met, set a reasonable time limit. “I’m willing to stay if you find a therapist and begin working with them within the next 30 days.” “I’m willing to stay if you start attending a 12-step fellowship and get a sponsor within the next two months.” “I’m willing to stay if you never contact him/her again.”
If your partner doesn’t follow through within the time limit you’ve given (and, no, you do not need to remind them), it’s time to leave and file.
I will say for myself that doing this meant I left with no regrets. I gave my partner a reasonable amount of time to change and be honest. In the meantime, I worked on forgiveness, but since he wasn’t totally willing to be honest and kept screwing up, I knew there wasn’t any hope of salvaging our marriage.
Let’s say that before you got married, you both wanted to save every extra penny you could and travel the world, but then, now that you’re married, your partner keeps spending all of your extra cash. They want to lease a new car every couple of years, or regardless of your beer budget, they have champagne tastes.
Money is connected to our sense of security, and you must have shared financial goals. If you can’t get on the same page, maybe after making a budget, meeting with a financial advisor or a couples counselor, it’s time to leave.
3. Lack of communication
When we communicate with our partners deeply, we are encouraging intimacy.
Often a lack of emotional intimacy shows up in the bedroom. When we stop being physically intimate with our partner or you or they are continually turning down advances, it’s time to talk.
It’d also be a good time to seek out the help of a couples counselor.
If nothing improves within a reasonable amount of time and you’re not okay with the status quo, time to divorce.
4. Verbal/mental abuse
Like #1, this can be addressed. The problem can be that verbal and mental abuse are often insidious. It may take you years before you discover that the person who says they love you is showing your everything but by subtly chipping away at your self-esteem and self-worth.
Again, you can confront your partner’s behavior and see if they desire to, are willing to, and can change, or you can collect whatever is left of yourself and leave.
5. Not meeting expectations
They told you they wanted children, but then they come to you later and say they don’t, or when they realize it’ll be hard to have them and you have to seek medical intervention, they don’t want to go through with it.
You can talk to them about it and see if together you can make changes/compromises and that you’re okay with those, or you can make the first step in moving on.
I wouldn’t wish a divorce on my very worst enemy, but we all deserve happiness. Sometimes that’s possible with the person we’re married to; sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s possible after some work; sometimes it’s not.
The best advice I can give is try not to leave with any regrets. It should be your very last option and come to after you’ve given all you could to try to make it work.