One of my divorce coaching clients, I’ll call her Natalie, is struggling with knowing if divorce is the right answer for her. She has worked hard at taking all of the necessary steps to create an action plan – getting all the financial documents together, figuring out a budget and where she is going to live, consulting with an attorney, looking at divorce options, etc. But the hardest thing she’s dealing with is trying to figure out if divorce is the right answer.
Even though she’s been thinking about this for years – even being sensitive and waiting until her daughter is out of the house, Natalie is still having a hard time.
Although he has made promises in the past to change, her husband has not followed up on therapy or couples counseling. Other than the normal fears around being okay financially, she feels more guilt than anything else. Her spouse does have some health issues and she worries that he won’t be okay on his own, but is that really her responsibility? And it’s not that he’s actually been abusive, but his negativity and depression makes her feel like he has stolen so much of who she is – her self-esteem, her joy, her self-confidence, and her life.
Natalie has “stuck it out” with him for 17 years being unhappy and feeling unfulfilled for many of those years. She spent much of our session convincing herself of how bad things are and how she has no love for him, but then says that sometimes he does “nice” things for her – like bringing her coffee in the morning.
Jennifer Joy Butler, MSW and Love and Relationship Coach offers some incredibly valuable thoughts:
“Making the decision to divorce is not an easy one and so it makes sense that there would be questions circling around in your mind. At the end of the day, the only person who can know what is truly right for you, in your marriage and on your life journey, is you.”
“That being said, I would love to offer you words of wisdom and some tools to assist you in making this very big decision. I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge you for being so thoughtful in this process and reaching out for guidance. Taking the time to make this decision in a conscious way will allow you to move forward, no matter what you choose, with a sense of peace that might not otherwise be so.”
“When faced with a difficult decision, it is not uncommon to feel confused and as though you have different parts of yourself at war with one another. You probably notice that depending on the day, you can convince yourself that either decision is the correct one to make.”
“Although this can feel frustrating and impossible, it is actually an opportunity for you to tune in deeply and connect with the truth of who you are. It is an opportunity for you to align with and trust in your intuition so deeply and courageously that you will follow it wherever it leads you.”
Making this decision from the deepest part of yourself:
1. Your voice is the only voice that matters.
It can be tempting to seek out the opinions of friends and family, thinking it will help you in answering “When is divorce the right answer?” and make the “right” decision. Other people’s voices will only increase confusion though and drown out the sound of your own voice even further. Now is actually the time for deep reflection and connection, so that you can tune into your own truth and inner guidance.
2. Prioritize your own feelings and needs.
When overwhelmed with a difficult decision, it is common to get flooded with a spectrum of emotions and mistakenly react as an attempt to ease the discomfort that it creates. Instead, take the time to connect with and acknowledge your specific feelings, giving them a name and the space to be fully felt.
Allow these feelings to then communicate to you what it is you are needing and take actions to meet those needs for yourself. This is one of the most powerful tools taught by Katherine Woodward Thomas in the Conscious Uncoupling process, allowing you to create an internal safe space where your deepest truth can be heard.
3. Reflect honestly on the difficult questions.
There are specific questions about the relationship that will help you to connect to your deeper truth and knowing. Having the courage to answer them honestly will provide clarity as you navigate through making your decision.
*Do you feel emotionally safe and supported in the relationship?
*Do you feel safe to be the fullest expression of who you are?
*Is this a relationship you would hope for your children?
*If this person were to never change, do you feel fully able to accept them for exactly who they are now?
It is courageous and empowering to make decisions from this place of deep intuitive connection and knowing. The answers lie within you, trust in yourself and allow your deeper truth to guide your way.”
I love Jennifer’s advice and I hope it will resonate with you. If you need help and are struggling with this decision like my client, Natalie, please reach out – you don’t need to do this alone.