“All couples have their ups and downs, and many can be weathered with love and a commitment to work things out.” says Sonia Frontera, a collaborative divorce attorney, empowerment trainer and author of Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist? “Filing for divorce is a life-altering decision that should be made carefully and never in haste.”
Before you head to your lawyer’s office, Frontera recommends doing emotional inventory and sorting through your marital dynamics to determine whether your marriage can be saved or if it is time to move on.
Frontera offers seven queries to help you gain clarity and help you make the divorce decision with confidence.
1. Do you still love your partner?
If you no longer love your spouse, it is more humane to get a divorce, so both partners can rebuild their lives and be happy. If the love’s still there, investing in the relationship can pay off and spare you from heartache and regret.
2. What do you need to be happy in a relationship and can you provide it to one another?
You may not be happy right now, but your marriage can improve if both parties are willing and able to work on it. Understanding your needs and communicating them to your spouse is the first step. Committing to a joint action plan is instrumental.
3. Are your spouse’s behaviors offensive to any reasonable person or just to you?
Ponder whether most people find the behaviors that drive you crazy offensive or if they’re your personal pet peeves. Some behaviors, like abuse, are deal-breakers. Lesser offenses, like leaving socks on the floor or the toothpaste cap off are annoying. But do they justify ending your marriage?
4. Are your spouse’s annoying behaviors mindless, reckless or intended to upset you?
Evaluate whether you are vexed by thoughtless behaviors that can be corrected or if your spouse is hurting you intentionally.
5. Do you contribute to relationship strife and can you make changes to reduce discord?
Pay attention to your words and actions and how they affect your relationship.
6. Would you be happier alone?
You deserve to be happy. You are not doing yourself or your spouse any favors by staying in a relationship that makes you miserable.
7. Are you afraid that, if you leave, you will regret it later?
Approximately 50 percent of divorced couples regret having divorced and wish they had worked harder at saving their marriages. If you are worried that you will be sorry you divorced, give your relationship one last chance.