When you’re married, it’s normal to experience relationship lows like fights, emotional disconnect, and dry spells in your sex life. If those problems don’t ever seem to go away, you may start to wonder if this is less of a “rough patch”, and more of an omen of the inevitable:  Divorce.

If you’re unsure about pursuing a divorce, it’s important to understand why you want one and whether you’ve exhausted all options to repair your relationship. Ask yourself some questions:

Have I Talked to My Spouse About My Frustrations?

Sometimes couples assume the other partner knows what’s wrong in the relationship and isn’t willing to work on those aspects. Once they discuss the marital problems that brought divorce into the conversation, however, they often realize they weren’t on the same page to begin with about their relationship woes.

Consider telling your spouse what’s bothering you about your relationship in a kind, but direct way. This will front the issue and at least bring things out into the open for discussion.

Are we both willing to put in the work to improve our relationship?

Things like going to couples’ therapy, taking a couples’ workshop or retreat together, or reading up on some relationship advice books are all common and viable options. If your problem is more physical, like having a low libido, consider seeing a doctor who can discuss potential medication options with you, if it’s not something you’ve already considered.

If you have already tried to repair problems using these strategies, or you simply don’t have an interest in trying to repair them, it could mean it’s time to get divorced. And don’t beat yourself up during this process.  It takes two people to work on a relationship. If your partner isn’t interested in working with you, then you have your answer.

 

How will staying in or leaving my marriage affect my kids?

Unfortunately, parents often decide to stay in an unhappy or unhealthy marriage because they believe it’s the best option for providing their children with a stable and happy life. But when parents resolve conflict in destructive ways with yelling and screaming, that’s just as detrimental, if not more, than getting a divorce because they are modeling these inappropriate behaviors for their children.  One of the worst things parents can do is imply (through their actions) that a defective, failing relationship is normal. Kids deserve better than that. Preventing the children from growing up thinking that these actions are normal or appropriate is a far more important concern than any negative impacts the divorce itself brings.