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Should I Divorce?

» Mental Health Library » Disorders & Conditions » Relational Problems » Featured Article

By Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.

Carolyn C. Martin, M.S., L.P.C., L.M.F.T.

Marriage is a lot of work sometimes. And, even though you may have worked hard to make things go well in your marriage, there sometimes comes a point in time when you have to make a decision the decision between staying to fight for your marriage, or moving away from the marriage to find happiness and peace.

In order to make the decision, you may need more information or someone to help you process what you're going through. Gathering information from books, magazines, the internet, etc. can help. Talking to a friend or relative may help. Or seeing a professional may be helpful.

The important thing is to make a decision. Being in "limbo" is a horrible feeling because you can't really get rooted if you are in limbo... all you know is that you aren't happy and don't know what to do. You may feel stuck in a rut or feel as if you are wandering aimlessly.

When trying to make a decision whether to divorce, consider the following:

  • Have you gone to marriage counseling? Many marriages that seem doomed can actually be saved.
  • Have you gone to marriage counseling, and it didn't help? Every therapist has their own style and belief about how marriage can be saved. If you did marriage counseling before, and it wasn't helpful, there may have been a miss-match between you and the therapist. Isn't your marriage worth trying again?
  • Have you and your spouse taken the time to talk and isolate the real problems of the marriage without blaming each other? This is hard but can be very worthwhile.
  • "But we're just friends now. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Friendship is the basis of the best marriage. If you need more in the marriage, you and your partner can work on that.
  • "We fight constantly. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Conflict is normal and natural in any relationship. The trick is to learn how to have conflict that brings you closer together instead of further apart.
  • "My partner won't change. Does that mean I should divorce?" Change isn't easy sometimes. It takes time and patience. See my page on Why Do People Change?
  • "We're not in love anymore." If you still love each other but aren't "in love," the marriage very possibly can be saved, and you can bring the romantic love back.
  • "I don't trust my spouse anymore. Isn't that a dangerous sign?" It could be. Trust is the foundation of all good marriages. If you don't have it, you don't have much, but many times the trust can be revived.

The following facts can also help you decide whether to stay in your marriage or divorce. No matter what your decision, these things may also help you decide how you will conduct yourself in either scenario.

  1. Divorce is always painful for children, no matter how old they are. But it's not always traumatic.
  2. Divorce does not end the relationship between you and your spouse, it just changes the rules of the relationship.
  3. The divorce takes place psychologically for children on the day of the separation.
  4. Two people living apart cannot live as cheaply as two people living together. Almost always both partners' standard of living drops.
  5. Unhappy parents cannot raise happy children.
  6. When parents live apart, children have more opportunities to manipulate them.
  7. Divorce is a process, not an event.
  8. There are no winners in divorce.

About the Author...

As a Licenced Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist in Austin, I provide counseling & therapy to individuals, couples, and families. I feel that my first task as a therapist is to establish trust with my clients. Then I help them discover better ways of dealing with their world. My approach to therapy is compassionate, reassuring and solution oriented. I see individuals for depression, anxiety and sexual abuse. I see couples for premarital, marital, post-divorce, specializing in issues of infidelity, affairs, and cheating. I also see clients for parenting issues, specializing in the problems of new parents.

When working with couples in premarital or marriage counseling, I assess & facilitate change using the research & methods of John Gottman. This approach for martial success is comprehensive and highly effective. I am a Certified Gottman Educator for the Bringing Baby Home Workshop also. For more info see

Last Update: 12/18/2006

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