How Do I Know It is Time to Divorce?Jul 27, 2023
Knowing when it’s time to throw in the towel and start your MN divorce can feel like an impossible decision to make. Did you try everything? How will your spouse respond to the fact that you want a divorce? Where do you even start? These are all questions that marriage and family therapist Brian Burns and I discussed on this week’s episode.
First, I’ll start with how to know it’s time to divorce. This is no easy decision for most people. There may be a million questions spinning in the back of your mind about if now is the time to separate or if you should just keep trying a little longer. Our recommendation is that it’s time after you have done the following:
- You’ve done everything else to determine if your marriage is fixable.
- You’ve talked to your spouse about the issues you are struggling with.
- You’ve gotten individual therapy and couple’s therapy.
- You’ve gotten perspective from people who you know and trust, who will tell you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.
One piece of Brian’s advice that really stood out to me was that he said, “When you can look at yourself in the mirror and say I have gotten very clear on what my fault is, on what I do that is problematic or unhealthy and I’ve worked hard on that, and I’ve communicated with my spouse about what he or she is doing that's not working. And they have either worked on it and it hasn't gotten better: Or they don’t acknowledge it; and then you can say it's not gonna get better, it's time to change directions.”
Another way is to do a gut check on if the timing is right. Look forward to yourself at the end of your life and ask yourself if staying in the relationship is going to benefit you and lead you to the future life that you want and deserve; or if it is going to hold you back from living your best life.
Next, we discussed how to tell your spouse if they are unaware that you are at the point of divorce. The first step would be to tell them that there is something really difficult that you’d like to talk to them about, and ask when a good time is. When you sit down to have the conversation, acknowledge that what you are about to say may be completely out of the blue and that you should have discussed your marriage issues sooner. Present your decision from a place of kindness and integrity. Do not focus on the past and the mistakes that you or your spouse made, but do it from a place of looking forward.
Once you’ve told your spouse the information, give them time to digest your decision. Let them know that you are at the end of this road even though they may not be, and give them space and time to ask you questions. Ensure them that no decisions are being made today, and that you are just letting them know where you are at, and you are ready to move forward when they are prepared (within a reasonable amount of time). Give them time to feel their feelings, find a therapist, talk to the people they know and trust, and allow each of you to build a support team before going through the divorce process.
Lastly, here are my three steps to getting ready to go through a divorce.
- Get therapist or a coach. Get trusted people together to support you and do your research. There is so much great information available on the internet, through blogs, and podcasts. Research how to divorce and how to prepare for the divorce.
- Understand your finances. Check the mail, see what’s coming in. Become aware of your expenses and start building a budget. Figure out what you need to survive. This information will empower you as you make financial decisions during the divorce.
- Start getting some consultations. Schedule your free consultation with me here. Determine if you want to go through the process collaboratively, if you want to use a mediator, or if you need to hire an attorney to represent you.
Throughout the process, figure out what you want the foundation for the rest of your life to look like. If you have children, check out my online Parenting Plan Course, and think about what you want for your kids. There are great documentaries and books available for going through divorce with children. Determine how you want your divorce to go, create a vision, and use that as your north star.
While divorce is not an easy decision, preparing yourself and your spouse is essential to getting through it and maintaining a civil divorce. Check out Brian’s podcast, Bad Weather Podcast and schedule your free consultation with me today. Also check out the following podcasts for a deeper dive into each topic:
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