Oh, the holidays can be so stressful, kid expectations, like that crazy elf, and all of the presents. Family demands like having to be at 4 different places in a 6 hour timeframe; social calendar craziness and huge messes to clean up the rest of the weekend. It's no wonder more people file for divorce in the month of January!
Handling divorce in Colorado as an attorney and mediator, I find the post holiday craze to be a significant time of year for new cases filed. We call it the Happy New Year divorce!
I always spend time with my clients exploring if they really are seeking to get out of their marriage, or if possibly there is just stress and disdain for their current life that makes them think divorce is the answer.
Ask yourself these questions before running to the courthouse and filing for your Happy New Year divorce.
1. What's my role in my own misery?
Maybe it isn’t him at all. People so often forget that without loving ourselves first it is difficult to expect others to love us.
Whether a weight issue that makes you feel fat and ugly, a job issue that has you miserable daily, a financial issue that has you stressed, or a dependency issue that has you loving something other than your husband, looking in the mirror is the place to start when thinking about divorce.
2. What about the marriage is really the problem?
Maybe it’s not the marriage at all. It wasn’t until six months of great counseling that I understood that feelings of inadequacy, power issues, methods of communication and the involvement of others were all reasons other than the two of us that were burning up the marriage.
Turns out being married to an over the top, accelerated thinking, controlling lawyer isn’t good for some people.
Who knew I was like that? Who knew he didn’t like that? Who knew how much of our past would play out in our future?
3. Would counseling or a relaxing vacation solve any of this?
Can you imagine how much therapy or what kind of vacation you could take together and possibly save your marriage instead of each paying lawyers a retainer fee?
Marital counseling is a profound experience. I’m not trying to be over the top, but whether you learn to be married differently or ultimately learn to love each other enough to walk away, no one should divorce without first trying to understand the real issues.
And a vacation? Are you kidding? I probably had 5 cases just this year where I truly believed that the couple got so disconnected in life that they didn’t know how to love each other anymore. One client I told her to use $1000.00 of the retainer she was prepared to pay me and go away by herself for the weekend – no phone, no contacts, just 100% me time and get some perspective and self-love. She never called back to retain me.
4. Am I prepared for what’s on the other side?
You can get a divorce but with children you are forever tied together anyway.
Media, social circles, and some would argue, even the Pope himself seem to accept divorce.
Shows like True Tori and The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce are even attempting to make leaving your marriage look like the thing to do.
In the real world, mom’s hear their babies cry for daddy; see the ex at least once every week, most likely, and then deal with what was supposed to be a dual income – shared responsibility bargain all by herself.
Instead of talking to all of your girlfriend’s who will support your desire to leave the man you don’t love anymore, or who isn’t treating you well, or maybe isn’t working enough, go find those single moms who wish they better understood having holidays without their babies every other year, or thought the grass would be so much greener on the other side.
Anyone with even one ounce of uncertainty or inability to answer this question should not be getting divorced!
Everything from goal setting to careers and life paths tells us to find our why.
Why is this better for you?
Why and how would this be better for your children?
Divorce and life after is sometimes more difficult than working through a struggling marriage. Before you think of getting divorced, know that you’ve answered these questions honestly before changing the vow of “I do” to I don’t anymore.
Happy New Year!
For those thinking about divorce: