Making the Decision to Divorce
We meet a lot of people who spend years deciding whether to divorce. You read that right – years. In some cases, decades.
Divorce is a huge decision. It changes everything from where you live to your relationships with your spouse, kids, family, friends, strangers, professional colleagues, strangers – well, everyone. It is the opportunity to create a completely new future, but in doing so upends the vision of the future that you’ve had in your head for years. And it upends the vision of the future – and of you – held by the important people in your life.
But indecision is absolute misery. The people that we talk to month after month or year after year are in pain. They have unhappy marriages (or they wouldn’t call us). Their lives do not match the vision of the future they had (or want) for themselves (or they wouldn’t call us). Every time we speak, they are older than the last time we spoke. With every subsequent call, the time they have available to live the life they truly want has decreased.
Indecision is Hell, Deciding is Happiness
The single biggest impact we have on people isn’t how well we manage to get them divorced (we are excellent). The biggest impact we have on people is helping them out of the hellish limbo of indecision. Go, no go. The decision of whether to divorce itself isn’t as critical as deciding.
In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson has a whole section titled “Happiness Comes from Solving Problems.”
“Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is ‘solving.’ If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you can’t solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place. Whatever your problems are, the concept is the same: solve problems; be happy.”
(If you want a copy of the book, just let us know, we will send it to you. It’s one way for us to live up to our commitment to help you get yourself unstuck.)
How to Decide Whether to Divorce
Here’s where you might think – “Okay, Meghan, I get it. But if I could have decided, I would have decided.”
First, you need to reach David Emerald’s book The Power of TED. Let us know, we will send you that one too. Suffice it to say, you’re wrong. You can make a decision, you just haven’t made a decision.
When I make big, tough, life decisions I use two tools to change my perspective: the Time Test and the Best Friend test.
The Test of Time and the Divorce Decision
When you’re making the decision whether to divorce, think about it from the perspective of your future self, “Future You.”
First, ask yourself: “Looking back on this decision 5 years from now, which decision will I wish I had made?”
(Notice that I didn’t say to ask yourself “where will this decision put me 5 years from now?” The key here is to put yourself in Future You’s shoes.)
Next, ask Future You “Looking back on this decision 10 years from now, which decision will I wish I had made?”
And then do it again for 20 years, and so on and so forth. The key is that the perspective of time helps you understand which choice will lead you to greater fulfillment.
For more ideas on what questions to ask Future You, read: How To Decide Whether to Divorce.
The Best Friend Test and the Divorce Decision
The most powerful question for resolving the question of whether to divorce is probably “What would I tell my best friend to do?”
Think about what you would tell your best friend to do were they in your situation.
This test works, of course, because it’s easier to have a clear opinion when it’s not about you. This test allows you to see your situation more clearly. It will not only help you to make a decision but also to make a smarter, braver decision.
At Freed Marcroft, we have helped hundreds of people move forward to a better life. At our first step, the Goals & Planning Conference, we start by guiding you through a process to figure out your goals. If you decide that divorce is part of what you need to do to get you to the future you want, we can help you. If it isn’t, we will support you and help you figure out what you need to get you there instead.
Let’s keep you moving forward.