Your marriage sucks. You know this. Your spouse knows this. The two of you are getting to the point where passing and re-passing throughout your daily life is becoming emotionally and physically exhausting. Not to mention limiting. The conversation between the two of you has stopped completely, the sex is over, and the two of you merely more than roommates, cohabitants taking up the same place. Yet neither of you wants to be THE ONE, to actually pull out all stops and ask or file for divorce. Chances are the “D” word has rolled off your tongue a time or two during arguments and spats, but neither of you have the inertia to actually do something about it.
For one thing, it’s expensive. For another, the actual divorce can feel overwhelming and complicated. There are money and living arrangements to worry about. You may or may not have children to deal with. There are family members to talk to. The future becomes a big black hole of the unknown that can feel frightening. And, even though you are suffering on the inside, inhibiting your life in so many ways – you stay idle – hoping that your spouse will be the one to cast the first stone into the coals of the divorce fire. After all, if he or she is the one to cross that bridge – then you have someone to pin the blame on, someone to point your finger at, and a fall guy!
The question is who should ask for the divorce? And, does it really matter who does the asking?
According to experts, before asking for a divorce – it is vital that you make sure that is what you REALLY want. Its easy to feel unhappy, unfulfilled in a marriage, to be suffering from the after effects of an affair and to have lost touch with your spouse. But does this really mean you want the marriage to end? Ask yourself these 8 questions from the book, Is it Really Over to help you decide first and foremost if a divorce is what you really want.
- Were you ever truly married in the first place? Getting married does not automatically turn a ‘you and I’ into an ‘us.’ Many couples get stuck in an underlying power struggle that doesn’t feel much like marriage at all. If this is you, then while you may want out – you may have to ask yourself if it is the relationship that needs work.
- Are you truly READY for a divorce? Sure, you say you are unhappy. But you have to ask yourself if you are still staying in the marriage – why you are doing this? Are you hoping for a turnaround? Fearful? Guilty?
- Are you reacting to something that happened – or do you feel emotionally void? If you want a divorce because of infidelity or because of a lie or something that happened – you are in a reactive state. If you are emotionally void and disconnected, then you are in a better position to know that divorce is the right thing to do.
- What is your number one reason for wanting a divorce? The answer to this question can be very telling of what is going on (or has happened) in the relationship.
- Are you ready to deal with the internal conflict that keeps you from moving forward with a divorce?
- Are you emotionally prepared to deal with the divorce?
- And last but not least – are you READY to tackle your life on your own? Many people in a stalemate in regards to divorce aren’t quite ready to move forward on their own.
As for who should ask for the divorce? The truth is it doesn’t really matter legally or otherwise. If divorce is what you want, what you know is best for you – you have to take responsibility for your life and realize that taking action doesn’t make you a scapegoat. Someone has to do it. Controlling your destiny rather than waiting for someone else to ‘fix’ things for you – is the best way to move forward, especially if you feel a strong conviction that divorce was the best answer.
Additionally, it is important to understand that divorce is not the end of the world. If you are stuck in an unhappy place, despite the fact that change can be scary, your life will actually feel better. If divorce is the right thing for your marriage and for your happiness – you need to be mature and realize that life is short. Too short to stay stuck in an unhappy relationship waiting for someone else to make decisions for you. Legally speaking, there is little ramification for the person who files for divorce first unless the divorce is contested. In fact, often it is better to be the one to initiate the divorce legally because it allows you more control over the proceedings.
Still, your best option of course is to have an open, unheated conversation with your partner and come up with a plan together where you file for divorce as a united front. It could be the last good thing the two of you do as partners. And if you are truly ready to untie the marital knot, it could be the most liberating thing you do in the pursuit of your own happiness.