In some marriages, couples drift apart over time. There aren’t big fights, infidelity or abuse. While there may not be a clear-cut reason for divorce, staying together may not feel right either. When you’re not sure whether divorce is right for you, what should you do? How do you know whether you can save your marriage?
The first step should be to seek the guidance of a mental health professional. A therapist or marriage counselor can help you to explore your feelings alone and/or with your spouse. Do you love your spouse? Why are you considering divorce? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship? The therapist or counselor can also help facilitate communication between you and offer practical tips for interacting with each other effectively.
If therapy does not seem to improve the situation or you feel time apart may help while you continue with counseling, one of you should move out of the home. Often, your feelings during separation can be a good indication of whether you should divorce. Do you miss your spouse or are you a little bit relieved?
During this separation period, you should continue the status quo in terms of paying expenses. Don’t move out and stop paying the mortgage or utilities. The same goes with spending time with your children. While you may be in separate households, you should try to maintain as much of the normal routine as possible.
Also, during the separation period, it is very important not to get involved with someone else. Pursuing another relationship will distract you from focusing on the future of your marriage and/or trying to save it.
If it seems that the separation will be prolonged, it is important to speak to an attorney and get a legal separation agreement that addresses financial issues as well as custody and visitation. However, if divorce is your choice, then you shouldn’t put off filing for divorce. While there are advantages to separation, it can also be a more costly path.
Ideally, you should address marital problems as soon as possible because waiting will only worsen things as you build up more resentment.
If you are considering separation or divorce, please contact us to discuss how we can help you move your life forward in a positive direction that best suits your goals.