Friday, November 13, 2015

Making the Decision and Having the talk

When it comes to making the decision to divorce, unless there is some overarching circumstance, I view it as a mistake to do it rashly. In order to make the decision, dealing with the feelings and emotions involved first made the most sense. Often when things get changed in our lives it is because we have become fed up with the current state in some way or shape. In this case, there is a feeling that the time for Divorce has come.

Deal with your Feelings and Emotions first, noticing that there may be some distinction here. For me my emotions are concrete: Happy, Sad, Complacent, and perhaps fearful. Feelings are a bit more nebulous. I might feel trapped. I might feel subservient. I might feel powerful. None of these are truly emotions, but they are intangible, and somewhat subjective. For me, once I felt unhappy in the situation, I tried on various occasions to deal with why I had these unhappy feelings.

The feelings, more than the emotions were the primary driver of the change. More than anything, you should try to be clear about the feelings you have that are a direct result of something being wrong in the marriage. Use your gut to help you figure out if those feelings are temporary or if they are lasting. Then write it down and wait for some period of time before acting further.

Once you have your feelings in place, you can try to understand what the cause is. Perhaps you feel less important because your spouse is spending more time/energy on something else. Perhaps you feel less loved because of how you are treated/talked to. Perhaps you feel less connected since you don't spend so much time together raising the kids. Whatever the feelings are, they have reasons. Figure them out and write them down. It is good for you to have it be concrete. This will aid you when you have the talk.

Writing down reasons you want to get divorced makes the process real. Don't leave that lying around, but make sure to carry it and review it. Perhaps a day, perhaps a week. Take some time and sit with the idea that you might not be with this person anymore. Do not act rashly, but then reach out to one or two trusted friends and discuss how you've felt over lunch or over coffee. Nothing heavy. You do not want to over burden your friends so they don't feel blindsided. Some friends will feel dual loyalty. You should consider that early on.

After discussing with your friends, discuss with your family. Undoubtedly, they will be impacted by the process and if you've gone far enough that you are still certain, it is time to get them in the loop. Some people would caution against this, but for me, I think it is essential. You will need these family members to help you when you are dealing with your emotions and pain.

Once all of this is done, you are ready to have the talk. If you expect it to be particularly emotional, I recommend engaging a spiritual mentor (a priest or a rabbi if you are religious or perhaps a social worker or therapist). If you feel confident you can proceed alone, consider aspects of your safety and then ensure you have an immediate exit plan should things get ugly. Write down all of the details of the conversation once it is complete as this may be important.

Finally, consider the tenor of the conversation so far in the marriage and consider whether you want to proceed with getting a lawyer or a mediator before the conversation. None of what I describe here is legal advice, but only advice I can give based on my own personal experience.

Evening out the inequalities, Separating the assets
Moving out One Year Later
Living Apart, Living Large
Reclaiming Life, Restarting Goals
Dating with Data, Digging for Gold
Comparative Compromise, Coping with Change

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