Yes, there really are some circumstances that require you to get a divorce.
Very few marriages can be characterized as 100% "happily ever after". Every marriage hits bumps in the road. Every marriage requires effort to make them work.
But sometimes no matter how much work you put in it just doesn't seem like things get better. Or if they do get better, it's only for a little while. And that's what's brought you to this point - to wondering if you should get a divorce.
And yet it's so very difficult to know if divorce is the right answer for you. After all, you made a commitment when you got married. You've probably invested years in your marriage. And you might even have children together. But there are three situations that demand that you get a divorce:
- Abuse If you or your children are suffering physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from your spouse, you need to get a divorce. Absolutely. Positively. Period.
Signs You May Be In An Abusive Relationship
It's Time To Acknowledge Male Victims Of Domestic Violence
How To Recognize Trauma In Children
As much as you'd like to be understanding, forgiving and help your spouse, there's nothing you can do. Your spouse needs to decide they want to stop being abusive and then get the help they need to change. It will be a long, hard road for them, but your safety and your children's safety is most important. You must get out of the situation as quickly as possible.
Creating A Safety Plan
(If you are the abuser, then you need to get the help you need immediately and stop putting your family at risk.)
- Untreated Addictions If your spouse has addictions that they refuse to get treatment for, you need to get a divorce.
Two months after one of my friends married, she found her husband in the bathroom sitting on the counter, making strange sounds and staring into his eyes in the mirror. She immediately called 911. At the hospital, she was told that he was abusing drugs.
Her response to the news was swift. She filed for divorce. She knew there was nothing she could do to make him stop abusing and that she didn't want to live her life with a drug addict.
If your spouse refuses to seek treatment for their addictions, they are putting you and your children at risk. You need to do what's best for you and your children's safety. You need to get a divorce.
(If you have untreated addictions, then you need to get the help you need immediately and stop putting your family at risk.)
- Your Marriage Is A Horrible Example For Your Kids If you wouldn't want your children to grow up to have the type of marriage you and your spouse have, then you need to get a divorce.
Yes, I'll admit it. On the surface this sign that you should get a divorce might be a bit less clear than the other two, but it's just as valid.
As a parent, it's your job to make sure your children have the best chance of growing up to be healthy, happy, productive adults which includes knowing how to have a healthy relationship. If the example of marriage that you are showing to your kids EVERY DAY is terrible, then how is this helping you to give them the best chance of having a good marriage or even a good relationship? The answer: It's NOT.
Let me be especially clear on this: If you are working on your marriage to make it better or if you just have periods when things in your marriage are bad, then that's different from having a bad relationship EVERY DAY that you're just living with. It's only those marriages that are bad EVERY DAY that must end for the sake of the children.
Even if you're in one of these situations and know you should get a divorce, it can be really hard to decide to leave. That's because this - the way you're living your life right now - is what normal is to you. It may not have been this way in the beginning, but that's how it is now. (If it wasn't normal to you, you'd already be gone.)
But I'm here to tell you that you don't have to continue to live like this. Your life can definitely be better.
Sometimes it just takes a little extra support. Luckily, there are various support organizations you can call on for help.
You can get additional support in navigating the confusion of divorce by working with a divorce coach. If you'd like to see if working with me is right for you, schedule your 30-minute consultation at www.timetrade.com/book/2N7QJ.
Deciding to divorce is never easy, but if one of these signs you should get a divorce describes your situation, you now know that divorce is absolutely your best choice.
Even when you know it's the right decision, getting a divorce is pretty frightening. I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are contemplating divorce. And I can help you too. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you're ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.