Dear Barb—The Difficulty with Divorce

Dear Barb:

I want a divorce, but my husband doesn’t and I don’t know what to do!  We have been married for seven years and have two beautiful children.  I just don’t feel the love for my husband any longer.  We have been growing apart and rarely do anything together.  We are almost like a divorced couple just cohabitating.  Nothing happened to cause this; I just don’t have any feelings for him.  Well I shouldn’t say that, I do care about him, but only as the father of my children.  Dan says he still loves me and wants to make our marriage work.  How can I convince him I want out of this marriage, and what should I do in a legal sense?  Needing advice, Megan. 

Hey Megan:

My first question is, are you 100% sure this is what you want? Have you been to counselling alone or together? The decision to seek a divorce is one of the most life changing decisions you can make and should not be taken lightly.  Are you sure you are ready for all that is involved in going through the divorce process—as it is difficult for everyone?  There are several things you need to ask yourself, beginning with whether you still have feelings for your spouse, you say you don’t love him, but you obviously care about him.  Are the problems you are experiencing a result of your relationship, or possibly financial- or work-related unhappiness.  There are people you can see to help discover what is really causing this unhappiness.  Therapists, counselors and even mediators may be able to help you to make sure this is the right decision.

You may be feeling excited for a new start and be thinking about what it will be like with a new partner, but consider all your options carefully as research has indicated that children are never happy about their parents divorcing.  Children want their families intact and their parents to stay together.  One of the consequences of divorce will be that most likely the custody of your children will be split 50/50.  That means you will only see your children half the time.  Plus there will be people in their lives that you don’t know and there really is nothing you can do about it.  Your ex will be making decisions for the children that you may or may not agree with.  Eventually you will both meet other people and that’s another hurdle to cross, as your children may not accept a new person, or you may not like your ex’s new partner.  I don’t mean to sound negative, but all these things need to be considered.  I am not saying that you and your husband cannot work through these issues, as many people do, but you need to be prepared.  However, if the situation is abusive, then you have no choice but to seek immediate intervention for the sake of safety.  The place to begin is with a visit to your family physician that can refer you to a therapist or marriage counselor.  Good luck in the future and thanks for writing Megan

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