I remember listening to a good friend of mine tell me her story about when she was making her decision to get a divorce. She left her husband because she wanted to get out of a completely dysfunctional marriage. Drinking and smoking, verbal abuse, financial irresponsibility, refusal to work, while she held down two jobs, the list went on and on.
But her family really liked her husband and made her feel guilty for leaving and persuaded her to go back to him once she’d left. When she went back, he changed his ways for about a month, then it all went downhill again. This time she knew that she had to leave him for good, only this time is was so much harder. The fighting between them was 10 times worse, the pain was that much deeper, and the damage done was off the charts.
Making the decision to divorce is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. In a lesson for an online course, I told those that had already gotten a divorce and who are wanting to start dating again, to never ignore the opinions of those who love you, namely your family and friends, when it comes to choosing who to date. But the exact opposite is true when it comes to making the decision to get a divorce.
The decision to divorce comes with all sorts of guilt and shame. Especially when you have children.
“Am I ruining my child(ren’s) live(s)?”
“Am I going to be able to make it on my own?”
“Is this decision going to destroy my spouse?”
“How will our families take it?”
“Will I ever be able to heal?”
So many things to consider. Even once you settle the answers to those questions in your heart and mind, many times you have to re-settle them once you leave because you almost always second guess yourself. Divorce is not fun for anyone involved. Every child or parent of divorce wishes that they could have had the fairy tale marriage the first time. There will be many times when you wonder if you made the right decision. As hard as the decision is, and as much as we may want to accept the help from others as we make it, here are three reasons not to listen to your friends and family when making the decision to divorce.
- You won’t be able to stick with it. Divorce is an issue where you have to be sure of your decision. If the decision to divorce, or even to stay married is made by anyone but you, it will be difficult for you to maintain the proper amount of confidence in your decision; to be sure that you made the right choice when things get hard.
- You are the only one with all of the facts. Your family and friends know you, but they only know bits and pieces about your marriage. They are not in a position to make a sound decision based on all of the facts. The puzzle they see is missing too many pieces for them to see the whole picture.
- You are responsible for and accountable to your children. If you have children, the decision you make will greatly affect them. It is very likely that your decision will come into question by them. They will want to know why you made the choice you made. I am a child of divorce, so I can absolutely speak to this. When they ask you why you made the choice that you made, you want to be able to confidently tell them that you made the right choice not just for you, but for them as well.
It is never a good idea to think that you know it all and that others don’t have wisdom to contribute to your situation, but the decision to divorce is a very serious one that will completely change your life. Make sure that the person ultimately making the decision, is you.