Divorce is usually riddled in drama. It’s not an easy decision to make, and it comes with a multitude of challenges. This is especially so if you’re a parent. We can all agree that divorce should be avoided whenever possible. It’s not a solution to marital problems. In many cases it’s more like an escape hatch – with no guarantee of a happy ending.
If you don’t learn the art of fair fighting … if you don’t use effective communication skills … and don’t show empathy and compassion for the needs of your partner … divorce is not likely to be of value in your life. Chances are you’ll move on to another toxic relationship, bringing with you the same unresolved baggage and issues. And that, sadly, is destined to lead to new discord with your new partner.
There are signals, however, that divorce might be the best option for a couple. These include:
- Irreconcilable Disrespect: If one or both partners reach a point of disrespect for their spouse there is little that can repair that damage. Sound relationships are based on respect. With awareness and work, relationship problems can be healed. But once the glue of mutual respect is gone there is little that can make a marriage work. And staying in a marriage in which you are feeling disrespected – a marriage in which your children are seeing that behavior modeled around them – is poor parenting, to say the least.
- Dramatic Parenting Conflicts: No two parents are in agreement at all times. However, constant fighting and discord around parenting issues hurts everyone in the family, especially the children. In many cases, the family dynamics work more smoothly when there are two parental homes for the children — and reduced conflict around them. So first seek out professional guidance from an experienced therapist or coach. Find one who can help you master conflict management skills and better ways to express your frustrations and disappointment. Try an online anger management program that offers usable techniques for making better choices. If counseling doesn’t work out, divorce may be a better option. Children exposed to continuous conflict are negatively affected emotionally and psychologically – damage you don’t want to inflict on the children you love.
- Emotional, Verbal or Physical Abuse: Abusive treatment on any level is a signal that the marriage is not serving or supporting your psychological needs. Put downs, threats, sarcasm, fear tactics, control strategies and other behaviors are all signs of abuse. Don’t wait for things to escalate to a physical level. Leave as quickly as you can. Or reach out for professional help immediately and create a plan of action for changing your environment and protecting your children from experiencing or watching marital or parental abuse.
You owe it to yourself and your spouse to do everything you can to resolve marital conflict before deciding to divorce. Seeking out professional support is always smart. An objective professional can provide insights that can inject new life into a marriage. However, that’s only IF both parties are on board to give it a chance. Once you’ve explored all avenues, then you can close the door on your marriage knowing there is no unfinished business left behind.
Of course, if you’re a parent, divorce does not end the relationship with your spouse. And, except in rare cases, it never should. For the sake of your children, it is important to make every effort to co-parent effectively and give your children the gift of love from both parents whenever possible.
That too takes skill. It also demands a commitment to put your child’s best interest first, even when you’re angry or hurt by your co-parent’s behavior. There are numerous online Co-Parenting courses available, which address better ways to handle parenting conflict and other challenges regarding divorce and successful co-parenting. Visit the Child-Centered Divorce Network for a free Post-Divorce Parenting ebook and many other valuable resources divorcing parents need.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce and Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love! To get her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, learn about her coaching services and other valuable resources for parents facing, moving through or transitioning after divorce, visit: www.childcentereddivorce.com.
© Rosalind Sedacca All rights reserved.