There’s nothing harder than heartbreak – especially when you’ve had years to let your guard down, build trust, and make someone the focal point of your life. In any relationship, you give up a part of yourself in exchange for a bit of someone else. So it’s only natural to struggle when one or both spouses feel that they’ve reached the breaking point.
When it comes to deciding whether your marriage has run its course, no one can ultimately make that decision for you and your spouse. However, if the bad times have reached critical mass, there are a few things you should do before taking a running leap into divorce proceedings.
Take a Step Back
It’s definitely not good to jump to separation as the only possible outcome after every little argument. It’s natural for couples to fight and for passion to wax and wane. That said, there can be some major signs and symptoms that a relationship is deteriorating. Before you do anything else, it’s important to sit back and take a look at the big picture. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Does every trivial situation seem to devolve into a fight?
- Do you and/or your spouse continually bring up past hurts?
- Do you feel that there is no longer a mutual respect in your relationship?
- Do you and your spouse not share the same moral, ethical, and lifestyle values anymore?
Even if the answer to all of these questions is yes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is over – but it does mean that you might need some help to put the pieces back together. That’s why you should consider…
Talking to a Therapist
First things first – talking to a therapist on an individual basis can be a big step toward finding peace and security in your own mental and emotional space. Regardless of the outcome for your relationship, finding a therapist that you feel comfortable talking to and working with can be a huge benefit to yourself as an individual.
When it comes to the relationship, chances are probably good that you’re not the only one feeling tense and tired from fighting all the time. If you can, consider having a conversation with your spouse – as openly and honestly as possible – about seeking professional help as a couple. Working with a family or marriage counselor can help give you both a new perspective on the challenges you’re facing and how to cope with the issues in your relationship. It’s not a magic bullet, and it won’t go very far if both you and your spouse aren’t putting in the effort, but counseling can be very effective at reopening healthy channels for communication to start repairing and rebuilding your relationship.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees and sometimes the damage is already done. If you reach your breaking point, it might be time to…
Consult a Divorce Attorney
Even if you’re not 100% sure you’re ready to pursue a legal separation or divorce, it can still be to your benefit to meet with a divorce attorney and discuss your options. This type of consultation can help shed some light on everything that goes into a divorce – and doing it before you decide to bite the bullet can make sure that you take those critical first steps the right way. Avoiding missteps early on the divorce process can save your time, money, headaches, and heartaches as you and your family work through this difficult transition.