If you’re contemplating divorce, there comes a time when you inevitably wonder—is my marriage even worth saving?
While you are the only one that can really answer that, there are a few things you need to consider. It’s never a good idea to divorce someone without putting a lot of thought into it. It’s worth stepping back and thinking things through, especially if you have decades invested in the relationship. No one gets through a marriage without some rocky times. It’s important to figure out which things are insurmountable and which you feel you can work through.
These things are different for everyone and should be carefully considered. Keep in mind that a separation is not a divorce and can be a good cooling off time that allows you to seek help from a counselor. This is especially important if there is abuse involved. If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to be safe from the abuser. Get yourself and the kids to a safe place and then get counseling to help with your decision.
You Saw Something in Each Other
Let’s be honest. You’re married because you were drawn to each other for some reason. You saw something valuable in each other. That needs to be considered.
Were you duped by a narcissist or did you grow apart because of circumstances? Sometimes you can overcome years of hurt and growing apart if you are both willing to do so. Take a few minutes and list a few reasons you got married in the first place and some of the happy memories you share. If you could regain those feelings would you want to hold on to your relationship?
Will your spouse work on the relationship, too?
Infidelity Is a Tough One
Cheating is hard to get past. It isn’t just the fact that your spouse had sex with someone else; there is a trust issue as well. Having your trust broken is tough to get past. If it is the first time that your spouse has cheated, then it is worth trying to figure out what led to the infidelity. Maybe it’s something that you can work out with the help of a counselor.
Others may disagree, but my opinion is that if someone cheats more than once then it’s hard to overcome. Looking back on my relationship makes me wish I’d left after the first infidelity because it ate away at my confidence over the years. I don’t buy that infidelity is both spouses fault—if that were the case everyone in an unhappy marriage would cheat. I know that I never cheated even though I spent more than a decade being very unhappy in my relationship.
A cheater is going to cheat, period.
Is the Problem Temporary?
Sometimes the problem seems overwhelming but it’s temporary. For example, a period of unemployment can be really hard. There is a lot of stress, a lot of pressure, and married couples can take out their frustrations on each other. Once the period of unemployment is over, that stress fades away and things may get back to normal.
If you marriage has been good up until the point of a stressful life change, then it’s worth giving yourselves some time to see if the marital issues work themselves out. Don’t bail in the middle of a tough time if you don’t have to.
How Is It Affecting the Kids?
I stayed in my marriage for a long time after I was personally “done” because I thought it was best for them. I was able to deflect most of the junk, and we didn’t have violent altercations--at least not at first.
If your marital problems look like they might be solved at some point, and if the kids aren’t exposed to your violent arguments, then you can think about waiting on moving forward with divorce to see if you can get past your issues.
How Is It Affecting You?
Marital issues are hard. Sometimes they can kick you so hard you don’t feel like you have anything left. If your marriage has become verbally abusive or so hurtful that you become suicidal, then it’s time to move on for your own well-being.
Be honest with yourself about how you feel, and assess where you are emotionally when you make your decisions.
Realize that Divorce Is Not a Magic Fix
Divorce is not going to fix all of your problems, and it is likely to cause different ones. Finances may be harder than before. You’ll have to work through grief, loneliness, and splitting up your property. You’re not going to sign papers and suddenly be swept back to the carefree single self that you were before marriage. You’ve changed forever, and you’ll have to move on from here.
Divorce is not an easy button!
Take All the Facts into Consideration
Take everything into consideration and make a decision that is best for you. No one can make that decision for you.
Your marriage is only worth saving if you want to save it. If you can only give it a half-hearted effort, or if your spouse is only making a half-hearted effort you may be wasting your time and putting off the inevitable.
Realize that if you get married again you will likely bring a lot of the same baggage with you to the honeymoon. You’ll have to work through a lot whether you work on your marriage or work on creating a new life.
Talk it over with others who have been where you are. Join First Wives World and talk to others who have been faced with those same questions.
Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User: Robert Couse-Baker