Deciding to Divorce: Emotional Tug-of-War

Are you or someone you know, contemplating the thought of whether and when to file for divorce?

Since divorce cuts across all the parts of a person’s life, most people experience a lot of doubts about what to do and second-guess any of the decisions they do make.

In her book, “Contemplating Divorce” Divorce Expert Susan Pease Gouda describes seeing her clients struggle to gain clarity about the decision about when to divorce.

“They kept waiting for it to seem right, for their instincts to kick in, or for that still, small voice to direct them, but instead there were always two voices: one that justified staying and the other leaving.”

As a Divorce Strategist, I see firsthand the emotional exhaustion that clients experience from this stress-inducing tug-of-war as they go back and forth about the pros and cons of each possible decision. Although some people feel that they will just “know” when to move forward with filing, others keep putting the decision on ice, waiting for some future event to lead them into action.

Fear of the unknown is often the main underlying reason why people struggle so much with making these life-changing decisions. Some even remain paralyzed by worrying that if they do decide to file, everything in their lives will be bad from that point forward.

Fear holds us back from moving forward

Deciding to divorce or not?

By not taking action, they avoid their fear of falling into the black hole of divorce, but they also do not benefit from the positive aspects that can come from facing the reality of their problems, assessing their true needs and redefining their life direction.

Why do people often delay when it comes to filling for divorce? Common reasons include not wanting to have the expenses of maintaining two households, worries about how children and relatives will adjust, and the hope that the spouse may change for the better.

Digging a bit deeper, they often fear failing at marriage, disruptions in their lifestyle and the fear that they won’t have control once the divorce process begins. Unfortunately, the desire to deny that significant problems are not being adequately dealt with in the marriage can lead to even larger and more damaging cracks in the marital foundation.

“The safer and easier road now might be the harder road later on.”

Since deciding to decide is such an emotionally exhausting process, it is a smart investment to find out about all the options regarding ways to divorce and reach out to those who have the knowledge and experience to show how to navigate through the storm and provide valuable support and resources.

No matter when a person decides to venture into the process, it helps to remember that having an emotional support system in place from the beginning makes a huge difference when it comes to feeling empowered, confident and resilient during divorce.

Once a decision has finally been made, the massive amount of emotional energy that was soaked up by the decision making process can now be redirected toward getting through the divorce with the best possible outcome and moving forward with a new life plan.

Have you experienced this emotional tug-of-war about deciding whether to divorce or not?


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