I used to work primarily with women who were trying to decide if they should leave their relationship. They’d read my book, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” come to my women’s weekend retreats, and somewhere in there, for a minute or two, each woman would really, really want me to tell her whether she should get a divorce or not. I would strive to be open and fair, but always respect that the final decision belonged to her. “You might not be finished and that’s okay. I’m not the Divorce Lady!” I’d say. And then a couple of ago, The Omega Institute asked me to help put on divorce conferences.
Now I’m the Divorce Lady.
The Relationship Just Didn’t Work Out or It Was Destructive
If you are seriously contemplating getting a divorce, you need to know what is coming. For your own sanity, safety and your future planning, you need to know who you are divorcing. The options for repairing a relationship and for divorcing from one are very different depending upon who your partner is.
There are two main categories of relationship demise: 1) Didn’t Work Out and 2) Destructive. Where does your relationship fall?
In the Didn’t Work Out category, you have relationships where skills and values become your primary concern. Were you skilled communicators? Were you self aware? Did you have compatible values? Do you wound one another repeatedly? Is the relationship painful most of the time or loving most of the time? When it doesn’t work out, you will experience pain and grief. You will also have significant options for the divorce process. You can explore a range of mediation options and custody options if you have kids. It’s not easy, but you will have less to navigate than your divorce comrades working through the aftermath Destructive Relationship.
In the Destructive Relationship,
ü Your partner might be addicted to a substance or to a behavior, like gambling. This isn’t necessarily abusive behavior, but, unchecked, it can destroy a relationship no matter how hard the not- addicted partner tries.
ü Your partner might be Chronically Immature. This also is not necessarily abusive, but being the “parent” to your partner who can never quite care for him or herself will erode the relationship.
ü Your partner might be a bully who uses fear, intimidation, sexual coercion and other violence to get what he or she wants.
ü Your partner might have unresolved mental health needs, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, one of the Personality Disorders or Major Depression.
And, most challenging, your partner might have a toxic mix of the Destructive options outlined above. This makes for a Perfect Storm of a relationship and it means you have to proceed with caution while navigating a divorce!
Learn more about Destructive Relationships before you weigh out your divorce options. Your wisest options are planned knowing exactly who you are divorcing.