Many people become paralyzed in their thinking whether to move forward (or not) with their divorce. They’ve spent years with their spouse yet now feel they:
- have grown apart
- are no longer connected or share the same value system
- have too many arguments about the little things
- do not parent the same way
- do not have common interests anymore, among many other reasons
How many years have you been thinking about this?
One or both spouses have thought about getting a divorce for months or likely years.
They ruminate about it throughout their work week (or at least spend a lot of time thinking about it during any given month). They struggle to find a way to reconcile their thinking process whether they want to move forward or not. They think about the kids and how they will react. Among so many other thoughts that pass through their minds. This type of thinking creates a lot of stress in the body. Frankly, it makes people age. It makes people very unhappy, not only for the person thinking about it but also everyone around them. A black cloud of stress hovers over them for years. They wonder how did I get into this situation. It is a very personal question with not many clear answers. Some people fall into a deep depression about it. When these feelings are ever-present people continue to hold resentment towards their spouse and even their children. They critically evaluate their spouse’s actions along with everything else that comes with a marriage. All of this spells “no fun” for them, their spouse, their children, their friends, their colleagues and pretty much anyone that they come in contact with during their week. There is an edge about them that doesn’t seem to go away so easily. Living a life like this puts a lot of questions in one’s mind. Making a decision to stay or go is critical so you can simply enjoy the time you have in your life.
Do you hear tick tock, tick tock in your mind?
How much time do you spend thinking about these issues on a weekly or monthly basis? Many times, people just remain in unhappy marriages. People are often scared about the financial challenges they will experience if they make a move. At the same time, in the back of their minds, they hear “tick tock, tick tock”. They know the time remaining in their lives is ticking. They know in their heart of hearts they are not spending the time in their life the they want to or with the people they want either. Relationships are complex, especially when kids are involved. That’s why this decision is difficult to think through on your own.
If these people were able to reconcile their thought processes they could free themselves from their mental prison and fly. They could enjoy their lives, feel more enriched (even if they remain married to their spouse) and enjoy the time they have in their lives so much more.
So, what is the thinking process to get you “unstuck” in your mind?
How will you make the decision to remain in your marriage or get a divorce? This is the heart to heart conversation you need to have with yourself. No one else can give you these answers. You can be influenced by others but this is your life and you need to ultimately make this decision.
The following questions will get you thinking in the right direction. These questions are not a comprehensive list. You will likely have others that pop up in your mind that you should jot down and answer too. Yet, you will find your answers to these questions may create a theme for you. Unless other questions rise to the top of the list, your decision will likely lean in the same direction; either to stay and find a way to be happy in your marriage or close this chapter in your life and find a new path that will make you happier. Know if you have children, a new path to make you happier still means finding a way to become a functional family under either scenario.
You don’t want to answers these questions once and be done with it. It would be wise to sit down and answer these questions multiple times on different occasions. You may have a different mood one day which could influence your thinking process. That’s why it is so important to answer these questions more than once. Be sure to review your answers on a different day (even on 3-4 different occasions) to see if you come up with the same answers again. You may want to ask some of your closest friends if your answers make sense for you and your life. After you have let this settle in your mind then you will know you have made the right decision for you. Typically sitting on it for 1-3 months is enough to know you have the right answer for you. Then you just have to accept your thinking process. The first step always is to become mentally prepared about your direction. Once you get there then the rest is execution. Remain married and appreciate what you have or move forward and get a divorce. Again, the decision is yours.
Here are the questions:
- How do I want to spend the time in my life given that life is finite and opportunity exists everywhere?
- If I had to describe what I want for my life going forward, what would it look like different from today? Who would be in my life? Why would I include these people in my life? Who would no longer be in my life and why would I not include those people going forward?
- How can I attract more positive energy to my life using a different relationship framework than I have used in the past? This relates to marriages, friends and other professional relationships.
- What might I experience in my life that could bring me more joy than what I have today with or without the same people in my life?
- How do I get from where I am today to where I want to be?
- What plan have I set in motion for myself to make a difference for me and my life?
- Am I able to accept my spouse for who my spouse is or will this bother me the rest of my life?
- What changes will I have to make to continue in my marriage? Am I capable of making these changes? Will my spouse accept me if I make these changes? Will I be subject to a similar risk down the line if I don’t make these changes quick enough?
- A sensitive and somewhat morbid question that people have shared over time is “do I want to be buried for eternity next to my spouse”? Morbid to think about. Yet, important to be truthful with yourself.
- Do you still have feelings for this person? If so, how strong are my feelings?
- Would your children find your divorce more pleasant for their lives if you were no longer married? Do they experience a lot of stress from your marriage? Could you be a better role model to your children if you were divorced? How are your kids being impacted your marriage? How will your kids be impacted by a potential divorce?
- Can you accept a different standard of living than you are comfortable with today?
- Do you want to be financially independent from your spouse? Are your skills marketable? Do you want to financially support your spouse?
- Do you enjoy your time with your spouse when you are together?
- Are you the person you want to be? Do you feel you become stronger when you are with your spouse? Would you become stronger as a person if you were divorced?
Most people cannot get out of their own heads. They think a lot about the issues. When emotions and thoughts fly around in people’s minds they need some grounding. It becomes confusing pretty quickly. They need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They need a process to enable them to go from where they are today to where they want to be “tomorrow” and complete the process as soon as possible.
Life requires processes to put desired outcomes in motion. Otherwise life stays the same way it has been, likely for years. People remain “stuck” with “me, myself and I” which is a lonely existence. If change is desired then getting unstuck in the mind is critical. Life is finite. Opportunity can be in front of each person if they just choose to act vs. remain stuck in their own mind. Either choose to remain married and enjoy your marriage, together. Make the most of your time in your life with your spouse and your children. Or make the choice to change your life and move forward in a direction that you need or want for your life. The decision is only yours.
About the Author
Larry Smith CPA, MBA
Larry is a Founding Partner of Divorce Outcomes, a specialty professional services firm that analyzes, architects and negotiates all of the financial aspects of a divorce.
Since 2003, Larry has worked with divorcing parties as their fiduciary to design sophisticated divorcing strategies that enable clients to preserve and create wealth from their divorce. As a technical financial expert, he uncovers hidden tradable components through various analytical and architectural processes to arrive at desired outcomes. He is an alumni of KPMG and Andersen and has expertise in:
- technical accounting, taxation, business consulting, risk management, M&A
- forensic analysis, performance analytics
- M&A, business valuations, divorce management, family equity transfers, multi-party negotiations, communications management
- advanced process engineering, cognitive performance technologies
If You Have a Question
If you have a question, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 617-680-5222. The call is free. I will spend 30–60 minutes with you. I will provide you an honest assessment as to where I think you are positioned in your divorce process or answer any questions you have. I may provide you some guidance, insight or advice that you can take with you as you wish. There is no obligation to move forward. The phone call is designed to ease your fears, provide you some options to pursue and a potential road to run on that can lead you down a path to achieve a successful outcome.
About Divorce Outcomes
Divorce Outcomes is a specialty services firm that helps people both domestically and internationally manage all of the financial decisions that arise in a divorce process. We are not attorneys. We are financial experts who partner with our clients as their personal financial advocates. We help our clients:
- manage their divorce process
- uncover hidden financial risks
- architect divorce solutions
- manage ever-changing negotiating positions
- communicate complex financial matters
- close the divorce process as soon as possible
Throughout the process we evaluate our clients’ current wealth-at-risk and architect desired outcomes to best preserve or create wealth.
This communication is for general informational purposes only which may or may not reflect the most current developments. It is not intended to constitute formal advice or a recommended course of action as every person’s situation is unique and different. The information here is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient to make a decision without professional guidance.