Divorcing the person you believed you’d be with for the rest of your life is rarely an easy decision to make. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult, emotionally painful and stressful situations you can possibly experience. Yet, while the process can emotionally and mentally exhaust you, knowing what’s ahead can potentially make it easier for you and your family to move on and begin a new life. But how can you prepare to leave such a significant part of your life? At Rice Psychology Group, we’re ready to help you understand and prepare for your divorce before, during and after it happens.
Are You Truly Ready?
If you are questioning your marriage, you may be wondering if it is time for you and your spouse to part ways. If this is the situation in which you find yourself, it’s possible that you have a stream of thoughts and questions running through your mind.
“Some days I am fully confident in my decision to leave, but sometimes I feel as if there’s still love somewhere in me.” Or, “I just want what’s best for my family, and I no longer feel love, but what if I make a mistake?”
In many cases, couples who begin the divorce process are unprepared or completely unaware of the other’s stance on the situation. This lack of preparation and communication can eventually cause the divorce to devolve into an unhealthy and negative competition.
To avoid this, you and your partner must understand how important the decision to divorce really is and take time to consider and reflect on your feelings, thoughts and opinions. One of the most important things you can do is ask yourself questions that will help you and your spouse decide if you’re ready to end the marriage. Here are just a few:
- Do you still have feelings for your spouse? – While many divorces occur due to a power struggle within the relationship that leads to a lack of intimacy or closeness, many of these people still have strong positive feelings for one another. If you find yourself in this situation, working on your relationship may be a better option. Otherwise, going through with the divorce can leave you with tremendous feelings of loss that can potentially leave you in a worse position.
- Is this just a threat? – It’s not uncommon for marital arguments and fights to end with threats of divorce. However, these threats can eventually cause the person making them to lose credibility. These threats can occur due to:
- Frustration and anger
- Wanting a more controlling or powerful role
- Wanting to be taken seriously
- Needing a wakeup call in your marriage
- Have you thought of the consequences? – A divorce comes with more than just a separation. If you feel as if you’re ready to begin the divorce process, then you must make sure that you’re also ready to:
- Face changes in your finances
- Face your children’s sadness, anger or frustration
- Experience times where you won’t know exactly where to go in life
- Leave your spouse in an emotional, mental and spiritual way
How Will the Process Go?
If you decide that a divorce is the only option, you will have to choose how to actually file for one to legally end your marriage. According to Forbes, the most common method is a litigated divorce, or a divorce where a lawsuit will be carried out. This doesn’t necessarily mean the divorce will end up in court as more than 95% of these situations reach an out-of-court agreement. But why would a divorce require a lawsuit?
The answer is simple: in 80% of cases, only one party wants the divorce. The very nature of this type of litigious divorce creates a combative environment right off the bat, which is unlike methods such as mediation or collaborative divorce.
- Mediation – in this type of divorce, both parties work with a mediator who remains neutral and assists in helping both parties through every facet of the process. This method can be used to help maintain a good relationship between both parties, make things easier on the children and make the process faster. However, this method can also be wasteful since you may be forced to start all over if an agreement can’t be reached. It can additionally reinforce poor behavior if one spouse tries to dominate or becomes submissive.
- Collaborative divorce – this approach was designed to complete the process away from the court while resolving it in a respectful, fair and effective manner. This team-based approach lets the couple, their attorneys, a neutral financial advisor and a mental health professional work together to find the best outcome for each party and their children. In some cases, a child specialist can also become part of the team to help children voice their feelings, concerns, needs and interests during the divorce process. This is extremely helpful in letting the parents gain perspective and reach an agreement that will benefit their children.
You may think that after signing on the dotted line and finalizing the divorce, the process is complete. However, you’ll still have to learn how to live your life as a single person. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting back into the dating scene and enjoying a “second adolescence.” This means learning to be whole again without the need of someone being there to make you complete. At this stage, you’ll learn to trust yourself, your decisions and the path you’ll wish to take. Whether it’s months after your divorce, or even years, you might find yourself back in the dating circuit, which will additionally be something you’ll have to learn to ease yourself into.
If at any point you meet someone whom you’ll want to be involved with romantically, you’ll have to learn how to do it in a way that won’t be detrimental to yourself or the newfound relationship. This becomes especially true if you or your new partner have children from a previous marriage. While this sounds particularly difficult, there are many ways you can slowly find the love you want in your new blended family.
The reality is, the process following a divorce can continue to be emotionally difficult for you, your ex-partner and your children, but with work and patience, you can eventually find the happiness you deserve.
Rice Psychology Group Can Help
There’s no easy way around a divorce. After all, parting ways with the person you loved can be emotionally, physically and mentally draining. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do it in an effective, respectful and fair manner. Whether you’re thinking about divorce, are currently going through one or are dealing with the aftermath, know that the psychologists at Rice Psychology Group are here to help.
We’re ready to listen to what you have to say and help you find the best path towards the decision that will benefit you and those you love. Give us a call in Tampa to learn more about what our team of psychologists has to offer today.