Making the decision the get a divorce isn't ever easy. A divorce will affect many aspects of your life from your finances to your living situation to your social circle. But what do you do if your partner has brought it up but you don't want one? According to experts, there are some things you can do to steer your relationship away from divorce.
"Many people divorce for the wrong reasons, and some even have a fantasy version of what their divorce will be," certified divorce coach, Catharine Blake, LICSW, tells Bustle. "I have to talk people down to have a more realistic version of what it will be."
If you're lucky, divorce will be quick, easy, and painless. But for many, it can be a long, energy-draining process. It's also very expensive. According to Blake, money is arguably the number one reason why couples decide to rethink getting a divorce. "When couples realize the financial consequences of turning one home into two, they often realize that it is not a wise financial decision, particularly if they own property or businesses together," she says.
Money may be a major thing that can prevent someone from going through with a divorce, but it's not the only thing. So here are some other things that can make a couple rethink divorce, according to experts.
Sometimes timing can play a role in a person's decision to hold off on getting divorced. According to Blake, many individuals start contemplating divorce around seven to nine years into marriage. But in some states, waiting a couple years may be in your best interest. "At the 10 year mark in Massachusetts for example, your marriage is considered a 'long-term marriage' and you are entitled to different benefits in the divorce," she says. "So here, I actually have my clients consider whether waiting a bit is in their best interest financially."
Statistics show that 32 to 50 percent of people regret getting a divorce. "This statistic can be an incentive to try to work things out because once you're divorced, it may be impossible to rebuild the relationship," Sonia Frontera, family law attorney and author of Solve the Divorce Dilemma: Do You Keep Your Husband or Do You Post Him on Craigslist?tells Bustle. Many people who do get divorced end up regretting it. So if there's still hope for your relationship, it's worth doing what you can to work things out.
3. Honest Communication And Total Commitment
"Sometimes we assume our partners intentionally do things to hurt us when in fact, they may be oblivious to how their conduct is affecting us," Frontera says. For instance, maybe your partner has felt like your sex life hasn't been the best for some time, while you think it's perfect. Without open communication, they're going to suffer in silence while you assume everything is fine. Having an honest conversation about your issues can open the door to improved communication and interactions that can save your marriage, Frontera says. If both you and your partner are willing to communicate and are completely committed to making things work, you may want to put off getting a divorce.
4. A Change In Your Situation
When you're going through a stressful time, it can put a lot of strain on your relationship. For example, if you've been unemployed for a while, it can affect your sense of self-worth and behavior. Because of that, your partner might feel like they lost the person they fell in love with and might think about divorce. There are a lot of life stressors that can get in the way of your relationship. "But if whatever has been causing friction and unhappiness between you isn’t there anymore, your partner might change their mind about getting a divorce," Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW, tells Bustle.
5. Your Willingness To Make Personal Lifestyle Changes
Just to be clear, you should never have to change who you truly are in order to make someone want to be with you. But if you've done some self-reflection and realized that you haven't been prioritizing the relationship as much as you should have been, this can help get your relationship back on track. According to Koenig, making positive changes in your own life can cause you to act in ways that are healthier for a relationship.
6. A Rekindling Of The Spark
"When one of the parties doesn't want to divorce, that person can make an incredible effort to convince the other not to proceed," Penelope Hefner, family law attorney and principal of Sodoma Law Union, tells Bustle. This isn't about manipulating your partner in any way. It's just about making an effort to remind your partner of why you two fell in love in the first place and why your relationship is worth saving.
7. Marriage Counseling
If your problems stem from poor communication and a lack of conflict resolution skills, marriage counseling can be really helpful. According to Hefner, counseling can give you the proper forum to air out your issues and the tools you need to resolve them. "If the issues that made the person consider divorce can be addressed and in some way, resolved, many people are happy to resume the marital relationship," she says.
Keep in mind, you should never try to stay in a marriage if it's toxic or abusive in any way. You should also never try to force your partner to stay in a situation if they're not truly happy. Yes, divorce can be costly and stressful. But if you know it's the right call for your situation, then it might be in your best interest to go through with it. Otherwise, if you're unsure, these are some ways to steer your relationship in the right direction.