…and affects more than just the divorcing couple. Ending my first marriage affected me, my daughter, and my family. It also affected my ex and his family. My daughter was only 5 months old when I packed what I could carry for her, and very few essentials for me, and got on a bus. It took us almost a week to get across the country and finally arrive at mom’s. I regretted leaving almost immediately, which seems silly to me now when I think back. The relationship was abusive, and he made it clear that he never loved me; I meant nothing to him. I was now a single mother, living with my mother and her new husband, no job, no car. I was a failure. I think I was hoping that taking our daughter and leaving the state would be a reality check for him, it wasn’t. Like I said, he never loved me and he was burdened by being a father. His problems were more solved than not, by us leaving.
My relationship with my ex was unhealthy. And I had never really been on my own before. I had lived with family and friends, but never really on my own until I married my ex. Even then I had the support of a navy paycheck and benefits, and I knew I was in a good place. Once he was out of the navy though, we had nothing to fall back on except his family.
How do you know it’s time to file for divorce? I’m going to say that when you constantly and consistently finding you are unhappy for a long time with no sign of happiness in sight, then maybe it’s time to consider divorce. I’m not talking arguments or disagreements, I’m talking about unhealthy explosions of emotions, and zero communication, and no intimacy (not just physical, but emotional as well) for years, and feeling the emotional distance between you getting bigger and bigger until you are no longer acknowledging each other as a form of keeping the peace, and when you have no trust in the other person. And, of course, there is abuse. I stayed in an abusive too long for many reasons, so I get it, but abuse is bad. And infidelity…that’s another reason.
When is it ok to file for divorce? You don’t need anyone’s permission. You are your own person, with feelings and needs that matter. You don’t need permission from family or friends. Yes, it would be great if you had their support, but you don’t need it. Don’t worry about what others will think. Someone in your life will see you as a stronger person.
Who should be involved in the decision to divorce? Definitely NOT the kids! A divorce can leave kids feeling like they are to blame. They will wonder if they could’ve saved your marriage if they had behaved better, helped around the house more…the list goes on and on. An amicable divorce is possible if both of you agree and are able to compromise and be reasonable. There is little room for selfishness. Taking too much in order to force the other person to suffer or remain responsible for you is asking for a nasty divorce. Be reasonable and realize it’s hard for everyone.
Get legal advice.
Divorce is difficult. Don’t let it define you.