How do you know when it’s time to divorce?
To understand what effect the relationship has on you and your condition, you need to compare yourself before marriage and after.
The picture can be called unfavorable if you find yourself with the following signs:
- Before the relationship you were active, cheerful, cheerful. Breathed optimism and went through life with interest. You dreamed, you had many desires, activities and energy.
- In marriage, your vigor disappeared. Your interests are gone. They have been replaced by sleepiness and lethargy. Bad moods are visiting more and more often. There is no strength or desire to try and start something new. And in general there is no desire for anything.
From your mysterious love,
I’m in pain and I’m screaming,
I’ve become yellow and hysterical,
I can hardly drag my feet.
© Akhmatova AA.
If such signs are present, you can say that the relationship is disastrous for you. Life-threatening in this case, of course, is not. But the destructive effect on your very essence is evident.
And to change a destructive relationship, you probably will not be able to. And here we need to remember that you have one and treat your own life is important carefully. So the best way out of this situation will be the rupture of the relationship.
2. The moment of no return
Very often in a couple, resentments and grievances are hushed up. Over time, conflicts accumulate, tension arises, which gradually increases. If the spouses do not begin to work on the situation, the next step is hostility towards each other.
This can be avoided by timely referral to a family therapist. A special training program is able to bring the couple to mutual understanding and win back what happened. However, if the spouses let everything drift away, then the moment of no return occurs. In such a case, the situation becomes irreversible.
Two factors that indicate that the point of no return is passed:
- Looking at your husband, you no longer see your significant other. You can’t remember the last time he seemed sympathetic to you. On the contrary, you find him irritating and no longer like him. There are no positive emotions. Only negativity and repulsive feelings.
- At the thought of starting a relationship, you no longer feel awe. The memories of tenderness and love are gone. It’s as if those feelings didn’t exist at all.
If you understand that these 2 factors characterize your case, you should not delay in divorce. Relationships that have outlived themselves will only lead to the torment of themselves and their partner.
If the point of no return is not passed, but close, then I recommend the free book “How to start getting closer to your husband without breaking yourself or him. Three Steps That Will Work.”
3. Cardinal differences in values
If the couple cannot reach a compromise in important aspects of life, the best way out is separation. For example, one spouse wants to be a parent, while the other strongly opposes a child. It is impossible to combine such opposite values in one couple. Spouses either have children or they do not.
Another case is moving to another country for a long time or permanently. When one in a couple needs this and the other does not want to, it is worth trying to negotiate. But if the parties do not make concessions and compromise is impossible, then you have to divorce.
4. The partner has serious personality problems
When the spouse is clinically depressed for a long time, but he does not want to be treated. Or takes measures, but there is no improvement. You long tolerate, support, worry, help. Doing everything to make your partner feel better, but it does not happen.
Or, for example, the spouse is a drug addict, alcoholic, suffers from addiction to games. You realize that you can no longer help, because his addiction is getting stronger. The partner is somewhere in his distorted world, and you are increasingly difficult to be around.
In cases like this, choose yourself. And your children. Otherwise, you may follow your partner into the abyss.
Do I save my marriage for the sake of my children?
Divorce is always a trauma. But life in a family where there is animosity between the parents, their quarrels, scandals – is also destructive and traumatic. In comparison, these situations are almost equally damaging.
Don’t be afraid to make your children feel bad. Beware of the consequences of living in a dysfunctional family.
Divorce or not? We sort it out with a psychologist.
Ending a relationship is hard. And if you are already married – especially: because you have invested so much in life together, and divorce always brings difficulties. How do you know when it’s worth trying to save your marriage, and when it’s better to separate?
The decision to divorce can hang in the air for years, preventing the decision to make important changes or find a way to survive a crisis in the relationship. A practicing psychologist explains how to help yourself sort out your relationship.
Svetlana Makhova, family psychotherapist, specialist service for the selection of psychologists Alter
Is it worth getting a divorce? In my practice, only a small proportion of couples come to a psychologist with this question. Many more couples go to therapy expecting a change that will help save the marriage. However, even in the process of psychotherapy, spouses can come to the decision to divorce.
Is divorce a good thing or a bad thing?
It is neither bad nor good. And it is hardly possible to assess it from such a position – good-bad, right-wrong. Divorce is preceded by a disturbance in the “homeostasis” of the family system, in which it becomes unbearable for all of its members to exist. Divorce is one of the ways to resolve the situation, in some cases it is the only way.
Divorce is always associated with hard feelings of loss, change, the search for new forms of existence for all family members. That is why partners often look for a way to restore the relationship, rather than breaking it off. Especially if there are children in the family.
Over the years of life together, spouses develop their own traditions, rituals, and habits. The thought of divorce is frightening and raises many questions, to which in a state of emotional stress it is not easy to immediately find an answer: where, who and with whom will live? on what means? return to my mother? will it be necessary to change the school / kindergarten? will not have to move to another city / country? how will participate in the education of children the second parent who does not live with them? will have to go to court for alimony? what to do with the apartment? who will pay the mortgage? These and hundreds of other issues do not bypass in a divorce, as well as for a long time after, so they will have to solve.
Should you get a divorce?
Before answering this question, let’s look at what the main reasons for divorce in Russia are. The list is based on statistics from open sources in descending order by the number of cases.
The main causes of divorce are
- Alcohol or drug addiction of one of the spouses;
- Domestic violence;
- lack of housing for the young couple, living with the parents of the spouses under the same roof, family interference in the life of the couple;
- financial difficulties;
- irreconcilable contradictions in their views on life;
- Long periods of separation due to business trips, arrests and other circumstances of one of the spouses;
- Inability to have children, unwillingness of one of the spouses to have children;
- the psychological immaturity of the spouses.
Addictive behavior of one spouse, as well as domestic violence are the most common factors. And when answering the question “should I get divorced?”, in the cases below, my answer is yes:
- If one partner is physically, sexually, and economically abusive toward the other spouse, as well as toward the children;
- If one partner has a mental disorder (a diagnosis confirmed by a psychiatrist) and his or her behavior may pose a danger to others;
- If one of the partners is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
It is not your job to rescue your partner from addiction; you should not wait for your spouse to figure out his or her aggressiveness, especially when your partner’s actions pose a threat to the lives, health and well-being of family members. In these cases, you need to leave immediately. Today – a “harmless” bruise on half your face, and tomorrow the abuse can end in intensive care or death. It is important to protect your life and the lives of your children.
Spouses who are in a situation are not always clear on this.
If the first three points are not about you, you should wonder if divorce is even worth considering.
Crises as part of marriage
There are crises in the life of every couple. The impetus for them is usually some new situation that cannot be resolved in the usual ways. Every couple experiences these crises at different stages of life together.
One of the founders of family psychotherapy Virginia Satir singled out the following stages of family life which are especially prone to crises:
- Birth of the first child;
- the child mastering speech;
- birth of the second child, children’s struggle for parental attention;
- child goes to kindergarten/school;
- adolescence in a child plus a mid-life crisis in a parent;
- empty nest syndrome, when children have started their own lives and have a family of their own;
- The wife’s menopause;
- the husband’s diminished libido;
- the new roles of grandparents.
I would add to this list the beginning of life together, when the spouses move in together and begin to agree on the management of the household, the distribution of finances and other issues.
Famous family psychologists Edmond Eudemiller and Viktoras Yustitskis have identified crises associated with unfavorable events in family life:
- illness of one of the spouses or a child;
- financial crisis;
- conflicts with other people;
- housing and household problems;
- A change in the social status of one of the spouses;
- excessive workload;
- domestic violence;
- adoption, guardianship.
Each crisis has its own difficulties and ways of overcoming them. Difficulties in relationships are inevitable. And when the issue of divorce comes up in conversations, it is important to understand which stage your family is at or which of the unfortunate situations it is in.
What exactly are the difficulties? What is preventing you from finding a way out of the situation? The answers to these questions will help you decide whether to keep the marriage or get a divorce.
For example, a young couple moved in together and started living together. And after a while faced with difficulties in the organization of everyday life: who cooks? Who cleans? Who goes to the store? Or the question of how to deal with finances became acute: who earns, who keeps them, who makes decisions about spending and so on.
How to agree not to get divorced
Carl Whitaker, a classic of family psychotherapy, wrote that conflict in the family is a struggle over “whose rules are right.” Each of the spouses remember the customs and traditions of his family, which he considers unshakable, and maybe never thought that there is another way.
If spouses are willing to listen to each other, share their preferences, fears, needs, habits, talk about their family traditions, and maybe even confess that he or she wasn’t allowed to handle financial matters at home and is now at a loss, it will give them more knowledge about each other and help them find a solution that works for both of them.
Often parents of a first-born child are on the verge of divorce. Beautiful pictures of other people on the Internet create unreasonable expectations of parenthood for the couple. And in fact the spouses find themselves facing a host of problems, many of which they can’t cope with – and should. Insecurity, shame, guilt towards each other and the environment for their own imperfections begin to destroy the relationship.
If the couple is ready to face their imperfection, admit the presence of problems and lack of experience, it is possible to overcome the crisis – perhaps seeking help and support from more experienced parents, a psychologist and other professionals, thereby relieving the tension within the family.
In my practice, I had a couple whose conflicts and difficulties were all due to the peculiarities of their characters. Each of the spouses had experienced childhood abuse, bullying, humiliation and the death of a parent. Each of them underwent personal psychotherapy. This helped them understand more about themselves and their motivations for their actions, particularly in relation to each other. Sometimes it seemed to me and to them that it would be better for them to get a divorce. However, in the process of therapy, they came to the conclusion that if they got out of that relationship now, there was no guarantee that they would not end up in exactly the same one.
When to get a divorce and why a psychologist is needed
Spouses may face the fact that their opinions and views, goals and values are very different, and no one is ready to give in to each other. And then the moment comes when both spouses recognize that their relationship has no development, and decide to divorce.
If you can’t make sense of the situation yourself, it’s best to talk to a family psychologist. Being inside the situation, being immersed in a lot of feelings and emotions, it is difficult to be objective. A couple’s psychologist is an opportunity to get a sober look from the outside, to see the “point of difficulty”, to hear and understand each other, and only afterwards to make a balanced decision.
During and after a divorce, there are many organizational, “rearrangement” issues. If you can not come to a consensus on the division of property, child-rearing, and other issues, you may need a mediator. He helps the parties build a constructive dialogue and come to a compromise.
What to do if there are children in the family and divorce is imminent
Often couples decide not to divorce because there are children in the family – parents want to keep the family together for the sake of the child, so he will not be traumatized.
Let’s turn to experience to see if this approach is actually less traumatic for the child than a divorce.
How does divorce affect a child?
Divorce is an upheaval that will have repercussions either way. People who grew up in a single-parent family often have low self-esteem, low or, conversely, high levels of pretensions, high levels of anxiety, shyness in relationships with peers, insecurity and personal insufficiency, and difficulty in starting their own families.
What leads to this situation?
In the case of divorce, the child is afraid of losing the love of one of the parents, and at the same time of losing a sense of security. Anxiety and fears are amplified if parents keep the divorce a secret until the last moment.
In these situations, the child does not understand the motives for his or her father leaving the family, for example, and he or she takes the blame for the divorce – Dad left because I was bad. If the mother does not allow the child to communicate with the father, he will be afraid of losing his love because they will stop contact, but the child will also be afraid of losing his mother’s love if she finds out that he is communicating with his father.
Children experience divorce differently depending on their age. Infants under a year old are dependent on their mother’s emotional state. The mother’s anxiety is transmitted to the child, with the mother often either acting aloof or becoming hyperactive.
For preschool children, divorce becomes a disruption of the stable family structure, the habitual relationship with parents changes, and attachment to parents develops into conflict. Children become more irritable, aggressive, and divorce can provoke delayed development. If the child is the only one in the family, he or she experiences the divorce more severely than in a situation where he or she has brothers or sisters with whom he or she can emotionally discharge. Adolescents have the hardest time with divorce. Experiencing a family split is superimposed on the complexities of adolescent change.
Research as well as experience has shown that exactly the same emotional problems arise in children from complete but dysfunctional, dysfunctional families, where quarrels and scandals often occur, where emotional detachment and coldness reign. Therefore, both divorce and life in a dysfunctional family leave a mark on the child’s character, development, and future life.
So the decision to keep the family for the sake of the child will not be less traumatic for him, because the relationship between the parents will remain tense. And as experience shows, parents, dissatisfied with family life, sometimes snapping not only on each other, but also take out their frustration on the child.
The position of the mother and father, their ability to cooperate after a divorce to a large degree determine the well-being of the child in an incomplete family.