I’ll never forget the day I knew I no longer wanted to stay “stuck” in my marriage. While having lunch with a friend, she pointed out that I didn’t seem happy a few days earlier when she was having dinner at my home with her husband. For years, I had not told anyone I had been so unhappy, hoping that one day I would decide to finally file for divorce. It was my friend’s words over lunch that never left my side throughout my divorce, which was “Hayley, life is not a dress rehearsal. You only get one chance at this.” I cannot express how powerful those words were to me, which is why I drove home and immediately found an attorney and filed for my divorce the following week. Unknowingly, my friend pushed me to not only become unstuck but break free of the emotional jail I felt I was in for so many years.
So many of us stay in unhappy, unfulfilling marriages for years, allowing our most precious commodity to slip through our fingers…. time! There are so many things you may lose in life, that you may get back later such as money, material items, and sometimes even your health. However, there is one thing you will never be able to get back, something we all lose every day and that is our time being alive. So, let me ask you, do you find yourself making excuses why you find yourself stuck? Have you become paralyzed with fear?
It’s very common for people to spend years paralyzed in their thinking about whether to move forward (or not) with their divorce, only to conclude one or all the following:
- They have grown apart from their spouse
- No longer connected or share the same value system
- Have too many arguments about the petty things
- Do not parent the same way, nor can agree on how to
- Do not have common interests anymore
- No longer truly enjoy one another’s company
Sound familiar? How much time do you spend thinking about these issues on a weekly or monthly basis? Do you hear tick tock, tick tock in your mind? In the back of your mind, you most likely hear the “tick tock, tick tock,” and desire to change the remaining time you have left. I’m willing to bet if you’re experiencing this, you know deep down in your heart, that you are not truly happy, nor living the life you wish you could.
As a divorce coach, people assume I would advocate for a divorce, however, quite the contrary. The very first question I will ask during my consultations is whether an individual has exhausted all other options, especially when children are involved. Have they gone to marriage counseling? Have they truly worked on saving their marriage? The answer is usually yes, only to learn how unhappy they have been for long periods of time.
How will you decide to remain in your marriage or get a divorce? This is the heart-to-heart conversation you need to have with yourself. No one else including a therapist, coach, family, or friends, can give you these answers. You can be influenced by others; however, this is your life, and only you should make this decision. Also, keep in mind that family and friends love you, however, they are biased.
When emotions and thoughts fly around in people’s minds, they need some grounding. They need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They need a process to enable them to go from where they are today to where they want to be “tomorrow” and complete the process.
But before taking any action, I highly recommend you take the time to answer important questions, here are a few examples:
- Do you enjoy your time with your spouse when you are together?
- Am I able to accept my spouse for who my spouse is, or will this bother me for the rest of my life?
- Do you still have feelings for my spouse? If so, how strong are my feelings?
- Do our children experience a lot of stress from our marriage? Could I be a better role model to my children if we were divorced? Will our children’s lives improve with two happy homes, rather than one unhappy one?
- How will your kids be impacted by a potential divorce?
- Can I accept a different standard of living than I have now?
- Could accept being alone when not with my children?
- If you had to describe how you vision your life going forward, what would it look like?
- How do I get from where I am today to where I want to be?
- What plan will I have to set in motion for myself to make a difference for myself and my children?
Life requires processes to put desired outcomes in motion. Otherwise, life stays the same way it has been, likely for years. People remain lonely and miserable for years, and if a change is desired then getting unstuck in the mind is critical. Opportunities can be in front of us we just have to choose to act vs. remain stuck in our minds. Either choose to remain married and find a way to enjoy your marriage and your life with your spouse and children. Or choose to change your life and move forward in a direction that you need or want for your life. The decision is yours, and remember “Life is not a dress rehearsal, you only get one chance at this.”
Hayley Lisa, The Divorce Coach for Men