Divorce brings an entire array of negative emotions in its wake. Apart from the pain at loss of a marriage and uncertainty of your future and that of your kids, you could also be assailed with regret that you didn’t do something different which may have saved your marriage. Here are the most common reasons why you may regret your divorce in the long run.
Divorcing because of an affair
Adultery is one of the most common reasons for divorces in the developed world today. And if was because of your affair that you went ahead with a divorce, chances are that you will regret your decision at a later date. If you are so unhappy that you need a lover, find ways to fix your marriage so that you can find fulfillment and love in your spouse’s company. If you have moved so far away from your spouse that nothing can work out, then leave your marriage before getting entangled in an affair. For one the shame and guilt can become a permanent part of your psyche after the breakup of your marriage. And even if you don’t care what other people – including your kids – may think of the way you decided to end your marriage, the divorce courts may not be so forgiving. Overtly or subtly you may find decisions made against you since you were the one to precipitate the divorce. While it is true that most states have adopted no-fault divorces, being in the eye of the storm can make negotiations on alimony, child support and child custody all the more torturous.
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Divorcing because you did not see a counselor
While society may have become more open in matters of sex and relationships, a marriage is still assumed to be self-healing institution. It is as though if two people love each other enough, they will automatically solve major issues without any help. Seeing a marriage counselor in many cultures is interpreted as a failure of upbringing, social shame or even psychological problems. It may be that you wanted to go to a counselor yourself but was stalled by your spouse. Men especially from traditional backgrounds are often prejudiced against seeking help since it hurts their sense of pride, of self-sufficiency, of their ability to solve their own problems. The importance of seeking professional help to resolve marital conflicts cannot be emphasized enough. If you are not yet talking about a divorce, determine strategies for a difficult conversation with your spouse about the necessity of seeing a marriage counselor. Focus exactly on the issues that you think are troubling your marriage and what has happened to make you think so. Decide to talk about specific events and behaviors and not feelings and perceptions. If you are having doubts about your love for your spouse, make a list of all the things you love about your partner now. When you are ready yourself, set an appropriate time and place for conversation with your husband. Even if your partner does not wish to go with you to a counselor, see one yourself. This will not only prevent you feeling depressed or helpless but also go a long way in helping you to understand your role in the conflict in your marriage and to clarify your plans for your future.
Using your kids
Kids make for the most vulnerable area in a divorce – they not only feel emotions like pain, grief, abandonment and loneliness most intensely but are also most vulnerable to taking sides between warring parents. Thus if you have been making your kids a party to the conflict, it is something you live to regret long after they have grown up. Kids suffer not only when their parents fight in an unhappy marriage but also when their parents put them in the middle of a high-conflict divorce. Making your kids take sides, bad-mouthing your ex before them, forcing them to listen to sordid details about your failed marriage and coming in the way of keeping touch with the other parent can all have devastating consequences on your kids. Even if your divorce is far from amicable, make sure that you do not have angry conversations with your partner in front of the kids. Don’t make them carry messages to your estranged partner or employ them to spy on him/her. It may be difficult to co-parent with a person who is determined to be uncooperative but it’s important to find ways to honor that your ex will always be your children’s dad or mom.
Divorcing before you had all the facts
A marriage is, among other things, a practical and financial partnership. If you did not participate in the decision making and ask your spouse to share all financial details with you during your marriage, you are likely to receive quite a few unpleasant surprises on the way out. So while you are still considering divorce, find out all about filing taxes, home mortgage, how much your spouse makes in a year and how much he/she has stashed in various assets as well as retirement savings. Take responsibility for knowing everything there is to know about your family’s finances which means your own money, that of your spouse’s as well as joint marital assets. Don’t assume anything but as far as possible collect receipts, bills and documents which put facts and figures in black and white. Likewise gather evidence of the grounds you are seeking divorce on, like your partner’s indiscretions or abuse inflicted by him/her. It is far easier to do this while living under the same roof than after our or your spouse has already moved out. Knowledge is power so don’t leave home without it.
You cannot always stop a divorce; indeed sometimes it may even make more sense to end a bad marriage rather than pull along with a toxic relationship. However there are certain conditions which may make you regret your decision to divorce in hindsight; thus it is best to be aware of them beforehand so as to ensure you do not get caught in the vicious cycle of ‘what might have been’ and ‘what you could have done’ to avoid the ordeal related to divorce.