Getting married is a big decision to make. You and your partner have decided to spend the rest of your lives together and be there for each other through thick and thin. This is why thinking about divorce is such an extremely tough choice to make. It is the end of a dream.
It is difficult for many married couples to admit that their relationship is no longer working, or that they do not have the same feelings as they once did. That is the reason why marriages often fail. There is a lack of early communication between spouses, and they allow problems to build until it is too late.
If you ask the right questions before getting divorced, it could prove worthwhile and potentially save your marriage. Specifically, we recommend asking yourself and your spouse, if possible, these 10 questions about your relationship before you decide to officially move forward with a divorce.
1. Have you tried to make it work?
Have you talked to your partner about the concerns you have in your relationship? Sometimes you may think you have communicated well with your spouse, but your partner may not have understood. Be clear, concise, and talk about the parts of your relationship you think need to be improved. Before you decide to move forward with a divorce, you should feel confident that you’ve done everything you could in terms of speaking the truth to your spouse to remedy the issues.
For example, let us say that you’re unhappy in your relationship because your spouse does not make you a priority. Are they aware of your concerns? Have they tried to improve the way they interact with you, so you do feel like a priority? Your partner cannot change their behaviour if they are not aware of how you are feeling.
Have you listened carefully to your partner to hear their concerns? Relationships are a two-way street. If you want your partner to be ideal, you need to be an ideal partner.
If you have communicated your feelings and you have tried marriage counselling, but still do not see progress, then it may be time to separate or divorce.
2. Do you and your partner have the same expectations of one another?
Sometimes in relationships, spouses have different ideas of how you should behave. Your partner, for example, may not want to manage the finances in your relationship so they expect you to take on that role. If you would prefer not to manage the finances, this is where problems can start arising. If you and your spouse have different ideas on how you need to behave, that is another indicator that your relationship may not be working.
3. If anything could save your marriage, what would it be?
The answer may not be as clear as you imagine it being. And, there may be more than one answer to this question. A great exercise to help you navigate your feelings is by creating two lists. For one list, think of things you need to do to save your marriage. In the other list, think of all the things your partner needs to do. Have your spouse complete the same exercise. Having both of you complete these lists will open the doors to how each of you feels about one another and yourself in your relationship. It can also provide better insight into the true issue and how they might be resolved.
If you know deep down there is nothing that you have not already tried that can save your relationship, it is time to move forward with a divorce.
4. Picture your life without your partner. Would you be happier without them?
The reason why a person chooses to get a divorce is that they see a different future for themselves and their current partner is not a part of it. How do you picture your future after getting a divorce? Will you be OK without them in your life? Weigh out the pros and cons of your relationship and see what the outcome is. Getting an idea of what is most important in your life can help you make the right decision. If you cannot imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair with your current partner, growing old together, maybe it is time to consider a change.
5. Do you still love your spouse?
If you no longer have feelings for your spouse and you know there is no longer love in your relationship, it is time for a divorce. Even if you do love your spouse, sometimes divorce is still necessary. You can love someone and still not be the right person for one another. Sometimes people choose to stay married because they still love their partner, even though they have issues. But the reason they stay is that they do not want to hurt the other person. Is love enough?
6. What is your biggest worry about ending your marriage?
Similar to question 4 above, when picturing your life without your partner, what scares you about moving forward with a divorce? It could be the fear of being single or the fear of being alone forever. For parents, their fear is usually how their divorce will impact their children. Once you understand what your fears are surrounding the end of your relationship, it can help you in deciding what your next steps are.
7. Does the thought of divorce ruin your self-image?
One reason many people put off their divorce is that they are worried about feeling like failures. It is a lot harder to admit that a relationship is over rather than staying in a marriage you are not happy in. So, try to look at your divorce as an empowering moment rather than a moment of failure. Focus on what you have done successfully rather than the things that did not work. Remember that you are not alone. Almost half of marriages end in divorce and an even larger percentage of common-law relationships end.
8. How will your divorce affect your children?
If you know you and your spouse are unhappy and miserable being together, you need to get a divorce. Married couples tend to stay married because they are worried about how their divorce will affect their children. But divorce does not end a family, it ends a marriage. You will always be parents together, whether you are married or not. But staying in a toxic marriage for the sake of your children is actually more harmful to your children than getting a divorce. If your relationship is toxic, you are modelling a bad relationship for your children.
What harms children is a conflict between their parents. Do whatever you can do to minimize the conflict, for the sake of your children.
9. Are you prepared financially for a divorce?
When thinking about getting a divorce, you will need to take a close look at your finances. It is ideal to meet with a financial advisor or divorce lawyer and write down what the divorce is going to cost. Not only this, but you will need to evaluate how you will survive living on one income. The more you can financially prepare for your divorce, the better. Make a budget. Lower your expectations. Be realistic and prepared.
10. How do you avoid making the same mistake again?
It is important to remember that the problem may have been you and not your particular marriage. If you do not identify what you could do better in your next relationship, you could end up repeating the same patterns of your previous marriage. As an example, if your partner felt you did not make them a priority, if you do not address this problem, you may see the same conflict appear in future relationships.
When you are ready, we are here for you
If you are ready to take the next step and file for a divorce, we can help you at Galbraith Family Law. When you choose our firm, we will pair you with the right divorce lawyer for your case and help you navigate your divorce as seamlessly as possible. To book a consultation, give us a call at one of our five locations throughout Ontario. For our Toronto offices call 647-370-8965, for our Newmarket office call 289-210-4692 or you can reach us at our Barrie office at 705-230-2734.