A tough decision to make. For people who have not experienced, it is hard to imagine.
Some people may take time to think it over, and over, and over. While others may rush through the process motivated by strong emotions and compelling reasons.
Whichever the case, you must realize that divorce is not just an ending, but also a new beginning. While you may have a very good reason to divorce and wish you had done that yesterday, it is still highly recommended to think through some important considerations related to the divorce and post-divorce, some of which are discussed below.
Reason to Divorce
Maintaining a marriage is never easy. Thousand things could go wrong. It kills the idealist in us that the reality of life is anything but perfect. According to an online survey of 500 Singaporeans conducted in 2016, 1 in 4 couples are seriously considering divorce. 1 in 3 couples fight regularly. If you want to leave a person, you can always find a good valid reason because people are not perfect, life is not perfect.
Expectations on your part could also contribute to disappointment and dissatisfaction with your partner. Doing a reality check on your own expectations could be the first step to understanding the problems in the relationship better. Sometimes with better communication and understanding of expectations, couples can improve their relationships significantly. Also understand that it is a give and take, that compromise may be the solution to making each other happier.
So is a good reason to leave good enough? Perhaps not, if you have not yet thought about your reason deeply.
Having said that, there are reasons which are red flags that could not be worked on or compromised easily. Violence and abuse would be a strong reason to walk away, in fact, to run from. Addictions could be a tough problem to deal with, when your spouse’s character and behaviour become so changed and controlled by the addiction that he or she is no longer the person you know and understand. In such cases, you working on thinking and understanding may not have much effect in resolving these problems. Then it would seem that leaving is the best option.
Effects on People You Love
People always have the freedom to choose to be happier, or at least move away from a negative environment. This is from a more individualistic mindset when you make decisions that affect only yourself. When you factor in the effects on others, especially people close to you and the relationship, there may be conflicts of considerations that make decision less straightforward.
For the right or wrong reasons, people around you may have different opinions about your situation. First, you should not take opinions from people who are not directly involved in the situation too seriously, for example, relatives, neighbours and friends, who do not live the consequences of any decision you make. This is not to say that their opinions are not valuable, or that they do not care about you. It is simply to do yourself a favour of making a clear decision for yourself and the people whom you love and are directly involved in the situation. You do not want to confused by the variety of nonessential opinions no matter how well-intended they are. You can seek wise counsel and advice from trusted professionals or friends with experience. But the objective of seeking advice and opinions is to make a more informed decision rather than confusing yourself.
Undeniably, your divorce will have significant impact on children in the marriage and perhaps, familial relationships that have been built on the marriage, for example, relationship with parents and in-laws. No sugar-coating, divorce will scar relationships and young hearts. While this is inevitable, it is an important consideration to have when you are weighing the decision, whether to move on and make life better for yourself at the price of hurting them.
However, sometimes, ending a toxic relationship may be better for all parties involved, including children and other close family members involved. Many psychologists strongly believe that bad marriages are worse for children than divorce. Children stuck in a bad marriage may experience chronic tension, an unstable sense of self, fear for intimacy and mood problems. While these may also apply to children in a divorce situation, psychologists believe that the constant and persistent exposure to trauma of a bad relationship could have stronger detrimental effects on the young minds.
Financial costs will definitely add up quite significantly in a divorce case.
Divorce is costly. Depending on the complexity (can be reflected by the amount of time spent by the lawyers), it is at least in the thousands. For simple uncontested cases, some law firms offer a flat fee ranging from S$2,000 to S$4,000. For contested cases, fees may be broken down into fixed amounts corresponding with different stages in the divorce process. Contested divorce usually costs at least 5 figures. Costs may add up further if there are more complications, e.g. cross-border, procedural irregularities and advanced litigation tactics.
Related to the divorce and post-divorce, as the couple part their ways and stopped sharing resources, there will be additional costs and higher costs of living in general, for example, losses associated with selling the matrimonial home, costs of running two separate households, maintenance or the inadequacy of maintenance etc. Such costs should be taken into consideration when you are planning out the divorce and have a realistic expectation of your life after divorce.
Financial costs aside, most of the time, people forget that there are non-financial costs to a divorce, such as substantial time spent and emotional pain suffered during the process and after. The truth is, life will not be a bed of roses after you leave the relationship. The “fresh start” promised by a divorce is overrated because it is premised on the terms of divorce which will govern the future too. The cruel reality is that you will not be able to escape from the shadow of the past. Accepting this fact is essential to dealing with the problems and make the best out of the future despite the past. Is it worthwhile then to go through the pain of divorce and still be chained to some extent to the past? It depends.
At the end of the day, know that there is no absolute right or wrong decision. Do what you think is right for you. That is all we know and all we can do. But before making any irreversible decision, take some time and effort to know more, do a reality check and try to understand different perspectives. Give yourself the opportunity to discover what else you could do first. Then and until then, when you finally make your decision, you know you have tried your best to make the best decision possible without regrets.
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