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Divining the Divorcing TimeIn matters of the heart, all logic and reason seem to fly out the window; but when times get tough for romantics, hopefully the romantics turn into philosophers. In most marriages, there was something special that drew the people together in the first place. But over the years (or year), the rose-tinted glasses somehow morph into the very practical spectacles grandmothers peer disapprovingly over.

The trouble starts when a person suddenly looks up at their spouse through the spectacles and doesn’t recognize the rosy-hued person (or life) they married. This occurrence brings about an avalanche of questions; what am I doing with my life? Who am I? Who is my spouse? Is this the life I want? Am I happy? Will I be happy?

Though they may just be questions, they are hard-hitting and they can do considerable damage if the philosopher doesn’t emerge from the startled romantic soon.

The Real Questions

No one can tell another person if it is time to file for divorce. Now read that sentence again.

The only person who can tell you it’s time to sign those divorce forms is you, or maybe your spouse. However, it’s very rare for every part of a person’s heart, mind, and body to agree in unison on the divorce question. The day someone decides to divorce isn’t one that can be marked on a calendar; no one wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves over their morning coffee, “I’ll think I’ll go get groceries, pay the bills, and file for divorce today.”

The decision to divorce is a process, and there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you can really consider divorce as an option.

#1: Do you fantasize about your spouse’s reaction to the divorce? In your divorce musings, if your spouse breaks down in tears, begs for you to stay, sees the light and reforms, or suffers a lifetime without you, then you are not really seeking a divorce. What you are looking for is revenge, or your spouse’s comeuppance, and that’s not how divorce works.

Although it’s against my fiber to say the words “emotionless divorce,” I can’t think of another way to state what needs to be said. A divorce is the end of a marriage, and if you fantasize about divorce being more or other than that, then your marriage probably needs more honest communication before divorce enters the picture.

#2: Can you deal with the consequences of a divorce? Sometimes divorce can be oversimplified and glorified in movies. For example, if you were anyone other than a successful writer, a paid-in-full trip across the world to “Eat, Pray, Love” would be almost impossible. And besides, before you got to eat, pray, and eventually find love, you’d have to finalize the divorce, and have awkward run-ins with old friends and in-laws.

The reality of divorce includes, but is not limited to: worrying about your child’s well-being, having a lower standard of living, finding a new home, adjusting your relationship to your in-laws and mutual friends, and figuring out who you are by yourself. If you are ready to sludge through a horrible time before you get to the “newly single and loving it” stage, then you might be ready to consider divorce.

For the record (again), no one can tell you when or if to get a divorce. When faced with such a gray-area decision like divorce, it’s natural to try to find some tell-tale sign or definitive answer to your quandary. But once you’ve actually had a heart-to-heart with yourself, and answered the real questions for yourself, the path forward will be clear.

For those of you who have already made this decision, what were the real questions you had to struggle with?

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