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FAQ: How Do You Know if Divorce is The Right Decision?

Michael Tierney
October 16, 2022

Any relationship is almost guaranteed to encounter adversity and issues that lead to conflict between you and your spouse. These conflicts can vary from minor skirmishes to significant blowouts that can damage the relationship. Other arguments are less about discussions and more about differences between you and your spouse that are difficult to overcome. Ultimately, marriage requires intense commitment and work to maintain.

Solution When major conflicts or seemingly irreconcilable differences arise in a relationship, you must evaluate all the potential options you can use to overcome them. Some tools can help couples resolve their differences and get their marriage back on track. The real issues arise when these tools prove ineffective and you are forced to consider ending the marriage.

Divorce is not something any couple wants to go through, and most people will exhaust all potential alternatives before considering the process. Unfortunately, these alternatives aren't always viable for every couple, and some relationships may be too far gone to be saved. The line between a rocky marriage and an unsalvageable one can be challenging to see. Being unable to distinguish between the two situations can lead to couples pursuing a divorce when there is every chance to salvage the relationship and restore the marriage's strength. This brings us to determining when divorce is the right course of action.

Have You Gone to Counseling?

Rushing to divorce when you and your spouse argue regularly can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Many couples are under the impression that if you and your spouse cannot resolve your differences alone, you cannot resolve them at all. The reality is that it is often possible to find assistance in resolving the differences you and your spouse have.

While common, arguments and conflicts between couples bear the problem of being emotionally charged. We are too close to the situation to assess and understand our role in the issue objectively. Instead, the average person will become defensive about their role in the problem and argue against their alleged role in the issue.

Marriage counseling is commonly employed to help couples work through their issues via an impartial mediator. Marriage counselors benefit from psychological training that enables them to address the underlying issues in your marriage. By using the services of a marriage counselor, you and your spouse can uncover the core issues impacting your relationship. They can also help each party in the relationship come to terms with their toxic behaviors, so you can work through them and strengthen your relationship.

Attending Marriage Counseling

Unfortunately, marriage counseling is not a surefire tool and can fail depending on the circumstances. Regardless of whether the counseling fails or succeeds, pursuing counseling is a key detail in determining whether divorce is the best course of action. You should always pursue counseling before divorce is considered since most of the issues that lead to divorce are avoidable with assistance.

If you have not pursued counseling, it might be too soon to consider pursuing a divorce. If you have sought counseling with no success or your spouse refuses to attend, divorce might be the right decision since there seems to be no chance for reconciliation with your spouse.

Is Your Spouse Controlling?

An unfortunate issue with modern relationships is that we often do not truly know our spouse until it is too late. Sometimes, the hidden traits of the person we marry are harmless and do not impact the marriage beyond the damage inherent in keeping a secret from your spouse. Other times, the hidden trait of our spouse is far more devastating and can impact our mental and physical health.

Unfortunately, these more toxic traits do not manifest until later in the relationship, and they are usually normalized by the time we recognize them. One of the most nefarious hidden personality traits in a partner is when they become controlling.

A Controlling Spouse

Often born of insecurity or abusive personalities, sometimes our partners become obsessed with keeping us in line by micromanaging us. This usually translates to your spouse wanting unrestricted access to your private correspondence. This includes text messages, e-mails, and letters meant only for you. This normally stems from their desire to confirm you are being faithful but can also be weaponized to keep you from your support network. The latter of these motivations will be covered a little later.

Sometimes a controlling spouse can alter their behavior, but this is the exception, not the rule. For the most part, a spouse who has become this controlling is not likely to change their behavior and will defend their actions. They will either justify their actions or attempt to undermine your concerns entirely and make you feel like the villain. If your spouse has gotten to this level of controlling behavior, reconciliation might not be possible, and you might need to consider divorce. This consideration should be taken more seriously if your spouse's controlling behavior is part of a more aggressive marital issue.

Is Your Spouse Abusive?

A controlling spouse usually exercises this behavior to maintain full control over their spouse to protect themselves. While not always related, most abusive spouses are extremely controlling since it allows them to restrict their spouses from communicating with friends and family, which would be a support network. Without a support network, it can be extremely difficult for a victim of abuse to work up the courage to leave their spouse. Thus, an abusive spouse will readily cut off that support by micromanaging who their spouse can communicate with to avoid losing what they view as their property.

While it might seem like identifying an abusive spouse is simple, it can be more challenging than people realize. The signs can be subtle, and the victim will generally be too nervous about coming forward for fear of their safety or their children. Even if the abuse is clear for people to see, the victims can often be oblivious to the signs due to the constant manipulation tactics employed by abusive spouses.

Often, the victims are made to feel responsible for the way an abusive spouse treats them. Sometimes, a victim needs a little assistance recognizing when they are being abused so they can work up the courage to leave their abuser and start their lives over again.

An Abusive Spouse

When dealing with an abusive spouse, attempting to repair the relationship is never an option. Abusive spouses pose a physical threat to you and could cause fatal injuries if left to their devices. Allowing them the opportunity to fix the relationship will likely result in them attempting to cement your dependence on them so they can continue their abusive behavior unimpeded.

When dealing with an abusive spouse, the only solution is escaping, but we recognize that this can be daunting. Figuring out how to escape an abusive spouse can be one of the most difficult and terrifying experiences of your life but divorcing them is the truest path to freedom.

It is especially important if you and your abusive spouse have children. It is common for an abusive spouse to direct their abhorrent behavior toward your children, primarily in instances of physical abuse. Sometimes, the biggest factor in leaving your spouse is ensuring you are operating in your child's best interests.

Staying with a spouse who is abusing your children puts more lives than your own at risk and is a clear sign that divorce is the only recourse. Leaving an abusive spouse can be slightly more challenging since you must get law enforcement involved, but ultimately it will protect you from reproach.

Is Your Spouse Cheating on You?

Trust plays a significant role when deciding whether to divorce your spouse or work with them to resolve the issue. Despite marriage being a commitment to one another, some people cannot uphold that trust and will end up betraying their spouse. The most profound betrayal a spouse can commit against the other is to commit infidelity and seeking sexual contact with another person.

Regardless of how long you have been married or how much you love your spouse, infidelity is not necessarily something you can forgive. The act of infidelity shows that your spouse might not be as dedicated to the marriage as you are.

The trouble with infidelity is that not every incident is marriage-ending, and you can occasionally resolve it with time and effort. This makes infidelity one of the more confusing issues to confront if you are unwilling to give up on your marriage. Fortunately, there are a few qualifiers you can apply to the situation to determine whether you can truly restore the relationship or if your spouse's behavior will only recur later.

Husband Cheating on Wife

You should consider the following details:

  • How You Found Out: First, you need to consider how you learned of your spouse's infidelity. Sometimes, the guilty spouse will confess their misdeeds directly rather than wait for their spouse to learn the truth. Other times, a mistake leads to their infidelity being discovered when they intended to keep it a secret. Depending on how you found out, you might be able to gauge whether your spouse wants to restore the relationship or not.
  • Do They Regret It: The next thing to consider is whether your spouse regrets the affair or not. A repentant spouse might be more willing to work through the issues that led to the affair, whereas an unrepentant spouse will likely only care that you caught them. Determining whether your spouse truly regrets betraying you is essential to deciding whether to divorce them or not.
  • Is It The Only Time: The final detail to remember is whether this affair is the first and only time your spouse has cheated on you or if it is one of many. A single affair, especially one your spouse regrets, might allow you to salvage your marriage. Multiple affairs indicate your spouse is not committed to the relationship and will likely engage in repeat behavior. This distinction is essential when deciding whether you can save your marriage or if divorce is the better decision.

Infidelity is one of the country's most recognized causes of divorce, but it might not necessarily cause yours. This is not to say you have to forgive your spouse if they cheated on you, but only that certain details might make forgiveness feasible. Divorce might be the best option if your spouse has made infidelity a constant or you cannot trust your spouse after their affair has come to light. In situations where infidelity is involved, the divorce process tends to favor the victim of this betrayal rather than the perpetrator. However, this should not impact your decision to divorce your spouse, and you should make the decision based on the level of betrayal your spouse has inflicted upon you.

Learn the Law

Divorce is seldom the result people want in their marriages, and they only seek it when they have been left with no other option. Deciding between divorce and continued efforts to save the relationship can be challenging when considering the factors that led to your desire for separation.

Unfortunately, the decision to divorce your spouse puts you in a demographic that encompasses just over half the American population. Divorce should never be the first choice in a marriage that has run into trouble, but sometimes the issues are too severe to overcome. Most of the examples cited above have become leading causes of divorce in the country, which might explain the high divorce rates.

Divorce Law

As heartbreaking as divorce is, it only becomes more grueling when the process begins, and you are thrust into a world of lawyers and asset negotiations. The most hostile emotions can be thrust to the forefront during divorce, causing your spouse to employ underhanded techniques to get the upper hand.

While infidelity and abuse usually disarm the more common arguments, even the most despicable people can manipulate certain details in their favor. The only way to protect yourself against these issues is to learn more about divorce proceedings so you can be prepared for your spouse's tactics. We realize this is a difficult decision, and we hope this article has helped ease the strain it has caused.

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Written By:
Michael Tierney

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