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Thinking About Divorce

“The ‘D’ in divorce stands for DISASTER, DISTRESS, DANGER, DENIAL, DISEMPOWERMENT, DISRESPECT, DETACHMENT and DESTRUCTION in the dissolution of a marriage.”
Dr. Tanya Robinson in her book, DIVORCE: WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN

The saying goes, “…marriage is the leading cause of divorce…” Unfortunately we live in a society where most marriages fail. In South Africa, 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce. A number of people stay on in failed marriages while most embark on the legal process to try and begin a new life. Whatever decision you make depends on your circumstances, values and the attitude of your partner.

No couple goes into marriage thinking they will be the ones who won’t make it. 

Certainly, at your wedding, you thought you were promising a love that would last a lifetime. Now, for reasons you may not fully understand, that dream seems shattered.

As you try to understand the pain and determine what to do, divorce may look like an appealing way out. “After all,” you might reason, “life is full of second chances. Perhaps I simply married the wrong person, and Mr. or Mrs. Right is still out there somewhere.” You may think you were too young when you married, or that you never really loved your spouse. You just convinced yourself it would be better than being alone. Or maybe you are just tired of the arguing, tired of the lack of communication, tired of the coldness in your relationship. Perhaps you simply want out – period. Or maybe you are hoping against hope that your marriage can be salvaged.

Before you bail out of your marriage, look at what you’ll be diving into.

This site is to assist you to get a divorce, so we won’t focus on the choices you have to make, because you have to make them personally and its best to make them yourself or with the guidance of counsellors. Those choices obviously include the following:

  • choosing to stay together and try and improve your marriage
  • choosing to stay together and just ignore and manage the problems in your relationship
  • taking a temporary break from each other
  • stay married, but live apart or separate lives

Different things work for different people. 

It is of utmost importance that you don’t take any decision lightly; you owe it to your relationship to consider the various options and to get expert advice.

Remember to try your best to look after the interests of your children by not involving them in your divorce either directly or indirectly. Try and ensure, as best you can, that your divorce does not affect them. Put aside your hurt, your ego and pride as much as you can and do whatever what you can to assure them that you both will be involved in their lives. When it seems to go wrong, or they do become affected, get the help of child therapists.

Do you want to get divorced? 

The decision to divorce is critical, with consequences that can last a lifetime. Remember that marital problems, pain in your relationship and frustration with it does not always mean that you have to divorce your spouse.

Was there even a marriage to begin with?

Marriage is more than just two people living together and getting their own needs met. Marriage is a unified coupling of two people who work for the best interest of the relationship. If there is no “couple,” only two people fighting for their own needs then, now would be a good time to either commit to changing the dynamics of the relationship or parting ways.

Do you still have feelings for your spouse?

Have your feelings diminished or, are you feeling powerless over a problem in the marriage and due to this, there is a lack of emotional closeness. If there are still feelings of love and affection then you should work on the relationship and think twice before deciding on divorce.

Is it divorce you want or, are you just threatening divorce?

Are you angry at your spouse and threatening divorce out of frustration over the problems in the marriage? Do you use threats of divorce to get your way or as a means of having power over your spouse? Are you frustrated and feel that threatening divorce will finally get your spouse’s attention and they will take you seriously? If it is solutions you are looking for, threatening divorce will not get you where you want to be.

Is your decision to divorce based on emotional reaction or true self awareness?

If you are ready for divorce you will have let go of any emotional attachments you have with your spouse. These are good feelings and negative feelings that often come into play during marital conflict. Deciding on divorce at a time when you are overwhelmed with emotions won’t solve problems. It generates problems and compounds any hurt and frustration you may be feeling.

What is motivating you to divorce?

Are you hoping that a divorce will mean your spouse will start treating you better? Maybe they will realize what they have lost and make the changes you need them to make. If so, you are divorcing for the wrong reasons. Divorce will only promote conflict, not resolve it.

Have you thought about the negative consequences of divorce?

Divorce can mean a loss of dreams and goals. Even if you are positive it is a divorce you need to have a support system in place to help you deal with the stress associated with divorce.

You need to be able to face your children’s pain and be there to help them cope. If you are the one wanting the divorce, you will have to deal with the pain of others. Don’t let guilt over wanting a divorce stand in the way of helping those hurt cope with the divorce.

Are you able to act in a mature way after the divorce?

Your attitude will determine what kind of life you will have after the divorce. Will you be strong, take responsibility and let go of any anger and resentment? Or, will you remain bitter, resentful and feel like a victim? The attitude you choose to live with will determine, not only the kind of divorce you have but the quality of life you have after you divorce.