Why the idea of divorce is really so hard for most people, and how to handle it
Many people outwardly reject the mere concept of their marriage ending in divorce even when they are miserable. In most situations, divorce is not an easy process, and, understandably, a couple would not volunteer to go through the experience. However, despite how one person may feel about ending their relationship this way, sometimes there won't be a choice. Here are some considerations about why the idea of divorce is really so hard for most people, and how to handle it.
The Couple May Believe They Have to Make it Work
For many people, when they choose someone to marry, they hope to be with that person forever. If the couple married young, they might not have had many other serious relationships, and they could have spent most of their lives putting their time and energy into one another. In this circumstance, a person's identity can end up woven into being the other's husband or wife. If one or both begin to feel like the relationship isn't working, it could throw them into a crisis. The mere idea of not being in the marriage can lead to a panicked state of trying to make the marriage work at all costs just to avoid losing this self-concept.
No one wants their marriage to fail, but they also don't want to be in an unfulfilling relationship. If you and your partner need to move on, it won't be easy, but you can work through the loss of the relationship. Are you going to experience loss during a divorce? Yes. However, you may already be losing yourself inside a failing marriage. Getting out from under a relationship that no longer serves you leaves room for your growth and healing.
Some Couples Believe They Have to Stay Together for Their Kids
Many of us know someone living in the difficult situation of having minor children in an unhappy marriage. Divorce can be painful for everyone involved, but it can be especially brutal for children. Parents sometimes know they can’t make things work but believe it’s best to stay together for the sake of raising their kids. Avoidance is understandable. As parents, we never want to engage in an act we know will hurt our kids, and the bottom line is that divorce can be devastating.
Sadly, it’s not possible to spare kids from pain in this situation. If parents are together, but in a dysfunctional marriage, their children will feel the pervasive and damaging effects of being exposed to it. When parents divorce, the kids will also feel the agony and insecurities that come with seeing their family fall apart.
How parents choose to rebuild their lives with their kids after a divorce determines a lot about how things will go for them in the future. When ex-husbands and wives manage to co-parent successfully and keep their differences away from their children, it is possible to create a functional relationship. There are also family and individual therapists, parenting coaches, and third-party communication tools that can assist families as they transition into their new life.
One or Both Partners May Believe it is a Personal Failure to Divorce
Today, our culture is replete with stories of grit and determination. You can seldom watch television or scroll through social media without seeing a news editorial about someone who made it through incredible odds and came out on top. These are great stories that draw our attention. However, they can also inadvertently send a message that it's unacceptable to quit at anything. When you got married, the last thing you wanted was to find yourself thinking of or being confronted with divorce. You may believe if you and your partner just try harder, you can persevere.
Should you and your spouse put energy into trying to work out your problems? If you are on the same page, then possibly. However, just because you want to go “all-in” on couple's counseling doesn't mean that your spouse feels the same way. The fact that marriage is work is not the issue. You and your spouse have to decide if this is labor that you are both invested in performing. It's also important to evaluate if you are spending more time "working" on your problems than enjoying your relationship. If one of you is done, it's probably time to respect that and focus on trying to leave one another with grace and dignity.
Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and mediator who has experience helping clients with Wisconsin divorce. Come in and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions.