Don’t get divorced till you read this!

If I had a magic wand I could wave to get you and your partner to really see and hear each other; if I could draw you a line under a past of broken promises, angry words, hurtful remarks, and all the sadness of your yesterdays by creating a newly defined future for you, isn’t there just a tiny part of you, that would like to give that a chance?

It may not seem possible from your vantage point, but it is from mine. I imagine you know people who have divorced, and you’ve seen that it’s not a walk in the park. If it’s not your choice and it’s a done deal, well, we can deal with that further down the page, but really?

This divorce thing is not for the fainthearted.

Having worked with divorcing couples for over two decades, as well as couples who work on redesigning their rocky relationships in a whole new way, the latter end up far happier (healthier and wealthier) than their divorcing friends.

Believe me; I am divorced with two small children, no money, holding down three jobs and studying at the same time. Been there, done that, and that’s why I don’t want you to have to go through it, especially when it’s possible to make changes that really work.

Divorce is not like getting over a cold.

This is the amputation of your other half combined with open heart surgery, and there’s no surgeon at hand to install a new valve, no anaesthetic that could numb the pain and no nurses on standby 24 hours a day to attend to your every need.

In fact, your heart must learn how to heal itself. This situation didn’t really happen overnight for at least one of you, and it won’t heal overnight.

It involves children who will be impacted, families that are broken, social structures that fall apart and finances that are often far more stretched and which translate into cutbacks that really do change the way you live your life and what you can provide for your children.

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Take a look at this list and answer honestly:

Signs you should get divorced

  • Are you experiencing aggressive behaviour?
  • Are you experiencing physical or mental abuse?
  • Have you made unacceptable personal compromises?
  • Does your partner put you down, undermine or embarrass you?
  • Are you able to speak openly and say what you want to say?
  • Are there lies and incidents of deception?
  • Are you being ignored?
  • Are you experiencing guilt?
  • Have you lost trust in your relationship?
  • Have you existed in silence?
  • When were you last intimate with your partner?
  • Are you being criticised or judged?
  • Does your partner abuse alcohol or drugs?
  • Has your partner cheated on you?
  • Are there excuses for everything?
  • Have you lost interest in each other?
  • Do you talk openly to each other?
  • Has your partner stopped listening to you?
  • What is the reoccurring conflict between you?
  • What reoccurring conflict makes you put up your barriers, attack each other and end up with a stalemate?
  • Are you willing to let go of this conflict and find a resolution?
  • If not, why not?

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Questions to ask yourself

If you have thoroughly answered the questions above, looked at all the symptoms that led you to this place and for any reason, you still have even the slightest doubts, then I would urge you to answer the next 7 questions before giving up on your marriage.

Q: Are you sure that the difficulties in your relationship are not just a product of your own thinking and attitudes?

Q: Do you understand your own ‘rules’ for relationships? Are you clear about what you must have in a relationship, and can you make a distinction between what you want and what you are getting?

Q: Have you clearly communicated your needs to your partner in a way that they can understand?

Q Do you understand enough about your own role in this relationship to be sure that you can and will choose a better partner next time?

Q: Have you tried everything? Have you seen a reputable counsellor or divorce coach individually and together? (I have helped many couples rebuild their relationships, so I know that it’s possible).

Q: Whilst it’s important that you don’t stay in your relationship out of fear or dependency (and you certainly must not tolerate any form of abuse), have you considered the consequences of divorce in every area of your life, and can you see yourself coping with them?

Q: Having answered all the above, are you absolutely sure that you still want to go ahead with your break-up?

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Still want to go ahead?

Very few divorcees sail through this experience unscathed. Fewer still fall instantly into the arms of a perfect partner who is waiting in the wings to scoop them up (and their children) and take them off to ‘Happy Ever After Land’.

I’m not saying this to frighten you, simply to point out that during difficult times, it’s easy to think that the grass is going to be greener outside your relationship, but that isn’t always the case.

All I am saying is, be as sure as you possibly can that you are doing the right thing for you. If you have any doubts whatsoever, get in touch with me so we can look at what can be done to save your marriage.

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Definitely?  Then read on........

However, If the prognosis for you is definitely divorce, here’s some advice:

Did you know that it doesn’t matter how your partner behaves or what they say or do? Absolutely anyone who wants a drama-free divorce can follow specific guidelines to learn how to cope with the emotional and practical stages of the divorce journey.

Why do I say that? How can I say that?

Because there will be a lot of things happening. Financial, emotional, the children, your home, your health, your family etc. Each time something happens, you have two options:

1)The Best Way

Awareness of how you react is vital (because if you observe yourself, you will see your own reactive patterns and become more aware of your partner's reactions. Knowing this will help you decide the best possible response in any given situation.

It’s a paradox that at the worst point in your relationship, understanding your partner is paramount in ensuring you stay drama free and retain your own sanity.

2) The Worst Way

Become unconscious. Go into drama, spill yourself all over anyone who will listen, get overwhelmed, cry, resist your reality and react in whatever is your preferred fight or flight mode. Dig your heels in with your lawyers and spend all your money in retribution, mess up your kids by being weird (their words, not mine) and generally fall apart. All guaranteed to make you feel much worse and make your situation seem insurmountable.

Don’t discuss it with your friends. Their good opinions are mostly coming from what they think they would do or have done. You are not them. Their story, past and present, is not yours. A best friend is one who will listen without judgement, put herself in your shoes and as much as she can look at it from your point of view and your partner’s. That’s very helpful to give you a balanced perspective. This is why people work with coaches or counsellors. They are trained to do this.

Do not be the product of the last person you spoke to, and act on it. Sleep on every decision (maybe for a whole week), and don’t act in haste.

No one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce. There was a time when you loved your partner, and your partner loved you. You may still have deep feelings for your ex-partner even though your marriage is no longer viable. But this doesn’t mean that you have to participate in all-out warfare. Bearing in mind that neither of you planned for this to happen, how about considering a different way of ending your old love relationship?

How about becoming an example to yourself by divorcing with dignity and emerging with your sanity intact instead of becoming a warning to others about the miseries of divorce?  

It’s absolutely true to say that there are people who have been fabulous examples of how to divorce without drama, and most of us know of a friend of a friend who spends summer holidays with their ex-partners and their children. So how do they do that? Why is it possible for some couples and not for others?

For most couples (the exceptions being in situations where violence or abuse has reared its ugly head), it has nothing to do with their specific or unique circumstances. It’s simply because no one showed them how to do it differently. Until now.

From where I am, I know that it’s perfectly possible to write your own happier ending because every day, I work with couples to give them the skills and tools to do just that. I watch them as they end their own private war, stop defending and justifying their positions and move towards an understanding of what happened and why it happened to finally move forward in peace.

For further information, support or advice, you can contact me here via my website.

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