Is Divorce Your Only Option?

When I first read this piece by Matt on why he declined to participate in Huffington Post’s collection on when divorce is the only option, my knee-jerk response was that sometimes divorce is the only option.

When I filed for divorce, my husband was MIA, married to another woman and still actively funneling my credit and paycheck towards his new life.

I certainly didn’t see any other option other than cutting those legal ties as quickly as possible.

But what if I had discovered the infidelities (financial and relational) months before? The decision to divorce at that point would not have been so clear. Perhaps he could have received intensive treatment for addiction. Maybe trust could be rebuilt along with the finances, a team approach towards mending a broken marriage.

And if I had been aware of his shame or his unhappiness or his struggles with employment years before the end (and realized my own fear of confrontation), the entire trajectory of those final years could have been altered. Tracks built together towards a different future.

What if we had made a more conscious start to our relationship rather than simply following one foot in front of the other? What if we had spent more time discussing the potential hardships that can befall a marriage and explore ways to avoid those traps?

Or, tracing that reasoning all the way back, what if I had been more aware of my own struggles with abandonment and anxiety and more attuned to his struggles with avoidance and shame when we first started dating? Maybe I would have chosen a different husband. One that wouldn’t have made divorce the only option.

Any marriage can get to a point (The “F” It Point) where divorce becomes the only option.

From ‘Til Death Do You Part?:

I see the vows as like the wheels on a bicycle. Ideally, both are fully functioning and working in concert. If one tire is a little flat, the other can help support the weight for a time until the tire is re-inflated. If one wheel is bent, the ride may not be over as long as the metal is hammered back into shape. Yet if one wheel is removed, the bicycle is useless no matter how hard the remaining wheel works. And it’s time to either find a new wheel or learn how to ride a unicycle.

But that point doesn’t spontaneously generate. And its creation is ultimately the responsibility of both partners.

Sometimes divorce is the only option.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you enter marriage with your eyes open and your ego checked.

If you commit to fixing yourself rather than blaming another.

If you quiet your fears enough to face the truth and trust that you can make it through.

And if you understand that divorce is always an option and that it takes awareness, intention and effort for it to never become the only option.

Should I Divorce? 12 Questions to Consider

 

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12 thoughts on “Is Divorce Your Only Option?

  1. hmmm the trouble is, I think one enters marriage with an idea that the other has a certain level of internal morals; sometimes it just takes ONE event of bad behaviour to make you see the person in a different light. It highlights who they actually ARE as a person. This casts doubt on whether you whether you actually want to be married to this person at all. I discovered (as you did) financial and relational infidelities and, if that’s the only way that this person can figure out how to deal with a problem, it didn’t occur to him to be honest at all, then no, I don’t want to me married to a person like that and I think one is better divorced. It’s about making a decision not to be married, rather than making the decision to divorce (if that makes sense!).

  2. I agree with a lot of thoughts in this article. I too learned of infidelity and other bad behavior way too late. The mask fell off of my ex-husband cry dramatically after his indiscretions were revealed. Had I known who he really was I would have never chosen him as my life partner, let alone someone to have children with. In my situation, divorce WAS the only option.

  3. Thank you for linking to that, Lisa.

    I hope it was clear to anyone reading that I do realize divorce is the appropriate, best, and only choice for people in abusive, dangerous, criminal, or otherwise damaging relationships.

    But I thought that given my general commitment to encouraging people to tackle marriage more thoughtfulness and care than most of us do, it would have been weird for me to champion “Sometimes divorce is the only option” without context.

    And there’s no way to provide context in just a few sentences.

    And there’s no way for me to only write just a few sentences, because I’m entirely too wordy. I need to take some lessons from you. 🙂

    1. I like your piece- it made me think:) It’s weird- in my first marriage, I never thought divorce was an option. It made me vulnerable because I trusted it would persevere through any hardship. Now in my marriage, I know divorce can happen. And that realization in a way brings more security because I’m committed to ensure it doesn’t happen. Does that make any sense at all??:)

      1. Yes. Because of how much I didn’t like my parents’ divorce, I spent my youth and early adulthood vowing to never divorce.

        But then it happened. And now I get to be better, both as an individual, and in terms of having the honest and vulnerable conversations that need to happen long before people agree to love one another for life.

        Anyway. Thank you for all you do on this subject which means a lot to me, and your general support of my writing. I hope you know how appreciated and flattering it is.

        Please have a great weekend.

  4. That is a mind bending post. We both approach these thoughts from a different perspective but with similar problems (money & debt). What I know in hindsight is that trying to fix (counseling) the problem(s) actually started after the decision to leave was set. I also know, and have been told, not to try and figure out why it happened. My hope is that divorce is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  5. I totally agree with you. When I was married we went around saying that saying “divorce is not an option.” There are so many divorced people who said that same thing. Divorce is an option, but like you said it doesn’t have to be the only option.

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