You once said ‘yes’ when the priest asked you if you wanted to make the person your husband. Young, full of dreams for the future, and head over heels in love. You are filled with happiness and love when he announced you as husband and wife. You knew for sure that you would live happily ever after together with your children in a beautiful, large house in a safe neighborhood.
Of course, the first years were great, with – admittedly – an occasional quarrel here and there, and then the children and you couldn’t get your luck on. But as the years went by, you felt like you were becoming more and more empty. The love for your partner ran out, and you want to secretly divorce him/her. But how do you do that?
Be sure of your case before taking action
Getting married is – in most cases – a life-changing action. You promise your eternal loyalty to someone, “in prosperity and adversity,” until death. ” That is a very heavily loaded promise, and therefore it should certainly not be taken lightly. You promise in essence that you will stay with your spouse for the rest of your life, even when things are not favorable.
So if you were to follow your promise very faithfully, you really couldn’t even get a divorce. Fortunately, times have changed and divorce is no longer a problem – it happens every day these days. Yet, just like marriage, the divorce should not be underestimated. Divorcing your spouse will have a huge impact on the people around you.
Now, of course, it is not the intention that you have to stay in a marriage, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to think carefully about your decision (divorce or not?). Do not make a hasty decision, but consider both options in detail. Is there really no hope for your marriage?
Tip # 1: Ask yourself these 7 questions
Instead of making yourself crazy with that one question (“Do I want to divorce him or not?”), you can make it easier for yourself by asking the following 7 separate questions. These will help you get an answer to your main question, and perhaps you can make a final, well-considered decision afterward.
# 1 Do you still have feelings for your spouse?
Unless you feel completely unsafe (emotional /physical/mental/ financial), the only real reason to divorce is a lack of the necessary affection for your spouse. Only make the decision to divorce when you can no longer encourage yourself to regard your spouse as a loved one.
Do not request a divorce because you argue so often, or because you are not intimate and together. These are reasons to talk to each other, share your feelings, and perhaps make the decision to go into relationship therapy. These are no reasons to divorce immediately! For example, as long as you still have feelings for each other, therapy can offer the solution!
# 2 Were you ever really married?
A marriage is only really a marriage if the two spouses can consider themselves a “we”, instead of two individuals living under one roof. Marriage is more than buying a house together, giving birth to children together, appearing as a couple on occasions. Marriage is an association of two people, a front based on love.
Find out for yourself whether you are really a ‘we’, or just a ‘you and me’. Were you simply married because you thought it was supposed to be that way, and did you only perform the required activities that were involved in the marriage because this was simply expected from a couple? Or were you married because you felt a burning passion for each other, and you really wanted to be married?
# 3 Are you really ready for a divorce or are you only threatened with it?
It is not uncommon for spouses to threaten divorce. During a popping quarrel, a husband can sometimes flapping hot out “I’m going to divorce you!”. These arguments can be driven for example by the following reasons:
- Anger and frustration
- A sigh for power and control over the other person, a way for the spouse to see matters from your own side
To let the spouse know that you really want something to change
As a wake-up call that your marriage is shaking
Note that if you often threaten to get a divorce, this will considerably diminish your credibility towards your spouse. Are you really ready for a divorce, you can safely think that you have peace with it that you can no longer do or give anything for your marriage. You will be able to discuss it with your spouse without flinging accusations at each other’s heads.
# 4 Is your decision based on self-awareness or is it an emotionally reactive decision?
Being in a position to divorce your spouse indicates you are able to make an unemotional and clear decision which you truly support, even in times to come. It means that you are able to let go of all strong emotional ties with your spouse – both the sweet and the hostile and the painful. Actions taken on the basis of emotions are often irrational and rushed.
You are ready to divorce if you can see that you are making a sincere decision, rather than an emotionally charged decision. For example, if you can say: “I acknowledge that you are a person with your own personality and dreams, and I respect you for that, but I no longer want to be married to you.” In other words, your emotional attachment to your spouse has decreased.
# 5 What is your motive for wanting a divorce?
If you have a motive for divorce other than stopping the marriage, it is an indication that you are not yet ready for divorce. Do not assume that your spouse will suddenly change and treat you better; then you will still have a hard time. A divorce does not give you the power to make someone change your mind, just to end a marriage.
# 6 Have you resolved your internal divorce conflict?
Precisely because your lives have become so entangled in each other, and you have become dependent on each other during your marriage, it can make you feel guilty if you suddenly realize that you are no longer happy and want to divorce your spouse. Recognizing these guilt, the internal conflict, and acknowledging that you are struggling with the impact of a divorce is part of preparing for a divorce.
# 7 Are you able to deal with the upsetting effects of a divorce?
Divorce is more than just putting an end to a relationship with your spouse. Before you make the decision to divorce, ask yourself if you are ready for the next changes. If not, you are not (yet) ready to divorce.
- Changes in your finances, lifestyle or traditions
Acceptance of the sadness and anger of your children
Acceptance of uncertain period, fear and the unknown
Tip # 2: Start a conversation with your spouse
Telling your spouse that you want to divorce him/her will become embarrassing anyway – unless it turns out to be a relief for those (lucky you). The way in which you tell your partner will, however, determine the further course of your divorce. Keep the following set-up:
Choose a moment when you are sure that you will not be disturbed – switch off your telephones and place your children with relatives/acquaintances. Then immediately start the conversation with what you want to tell him (the bad news). Do not turn around, and give direct and clear reasons. Do not plunge yourself into a lengthy story, but also give your partner the opportunity to respond.
Listen to your partner
You have to prepare yourself for your husband to be considerably surprised by your announcement and to react with angry and hurt. There is a good chance that he/she will throw all sorts of reproaches at your head, but do not allow yourself to be tempted to go into defense; this will only lead to a fight.
Tell your loved one as objectively as possible what you have seen and experienced in your marriage and thereby tell what (negative) feelings this evoked in you. In particular, do not say that he/she is “a bad husband” or something similar. This way you prevent your partner from feeling attacked. Let him/her talk and listen carefully, occasionally summarize your interpretation of what your partner says.
End the (first) discussion
Most likely this first discussion will not be the only one you will have about your divorce. There are many more details that need to be discussed regarding your divorce, but first, give your spouse the space to give your decision a place.
Tell your partner that you are sure that you will reach a reasonable agreement, but that this is not the right moment. Finally, repeat what you have said before. Assure your spouse that you sympathize with him/her and that you will cooperate when you are ready. Then end the discussion.
Tip # 3: Process your divorce
Although you are the one requesting the divorce, this does not mean that you are completely over your spouse and that you are ready to move on. Divorce has an impact on your entire daily life, and the changes that will take place in your life will have to give you a place.