Some decisions in life can be made quickly - where to eat out tonight, which TV show to binge-watch over the weekend or which brand of dish soap to buy. These are the types of decisions that we make every day without giving them much thought. But divorce falls into a whole different category of decision-making. It usually belongs in a category that also includes buying a house, deciding whether to have another child or making a career change. It is seldom done hastily. While some people may be able to decide within a few months, especially if an event such as adultery occurred in the marriage, many people drag out the decision for years or even decades.
There are many reasons why people put off divorce. One of the biggest reasons has to do with how the decision may affect a couple's children. Many people fear that divorce will harm their children forever but forget to consider how staying together could hurt them in the long run. If a child is constantly around negativity and conflict, they may internalize it and even blame themselves for what is occurring. Filing for divorce may be difficult, but it can show your children that they can have an active role in their own happiness.
Another reason some people put off divorce is the fear of feeling grief. Grief will undoubtedly be part of the divorce process. It's obviously not a great feeling, but it's a necessary emotion that can lead to emotional growth.
Finally, a lot of spouses continue to hold on to the belief that "things will get better." Even after years of living in continuous turmoil, they stay in the marriage in hopes that one day things will change. Unfortunately, if little to no change has happened for a long time, continuing to feel hope can be extremely disappointing. Letting go of this hope and moving on can be extremely liberating.
In our next post we will continue this discussion and talk more about how divorce can improve a person's life.