While there is no right way to answer this question, there are some guidelines Susan Pease Gadoua, L.C.S.W., who is the author of Contemplating Divorce shares with her readers and even her own clients that have helped them decide whether they should or shouldn’t file for divorce from their spouse [Source: Psychology Today]. The reality is, every relationship is different. The circumstances you might be faced with are nothing like those another struggling couple might be dealing with. There are many factors that come into play when the topic of divorce is brought up and one thing Gadoua says if you are considering filing for divorce but aren’t sure if you should do so is think about what is leading to this indecisiveness.
Are you wanting to remain married because you are working toward a goal or are you staying in the relationship because you are attempting to avoid pain or fear? To help you better understand what Gadoua is referring to, below are a few examples of each.
Staying Married in Order to Achieve a Goal
When a person decides to stay married, although they are considering divorce, they may say they want to raise their children under one roof with two parents. Another goal might be for them to want to stay together until their kids go off to college so they won’t feel as guilty about breaking up the relationship and forcing the kids to live in two separate households.
Staying Married Because You are Afraid of Divorce
Now, the other thing that Gadoua says that keeps unhappy people married is that they are fearful of taking the necessary steps to file for divorce or are worried they will suffer if they were to leave. Some examples of this might involve someone who is scared to divorce because they worry they won’t see their children every day or they “don’t know how [they would] make ends meet without [their] spouse.”
Now, aside from considering why a person might stay in a committed relationship with their spouse, Gadoua also asks her clients why they are thinking about leaving. For those who have a goal in mind, they might say something like “I want more out of life than staying in an unhappy marriage.” For someone who is wanting to leave because they are living their life in fear, they may say “I want to get away from this abuse.”
Based on the experience she has acquired, Gadoua says that she has noticed those who are goal driven are more likely to actually file for divorce than those who are only staying married out of fear. She says that when “action-based people set their sights on a goal, they see what opportunities and benefits might come from moving forward.” She explained that “these people are more willing to take risks and go for what they want,” unlike those who are “motivated primarily by avoiding pain.”
Now, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no one answer as to whether you should remain married or file for divorce as this is something you must decide, however, there are certain factors you should consider that will help sway your decision. The truth is, divorce lawyers, especially those who have extensive experience in the field have worked with individuals just like you who are struggling to decide whether they should file or not and can provide you with useful information that can aid you in the decision-making process.