Sometimes, people have preconceived ideas about what constitutes a “good” reason to leave a marriage. For instance, some may think that divorcing due to infidelity or domestic violence is more understandable than leaving due to incompatibility. While adultery or abuse can certainly justify divorce, marriages also end because one or both partners are not getting what they need from the relationship. Even when a marriage appears to be “okay” on the surface, it may not be working on multiple levels. Here is why you may need a divorce even though everything looks fine:
The Reasons Why the Relationship May Not Be Working
Not being able to articulate a specific reason you are discontent with your marriage doesn’t mean you are any less unhappy. A deeper look at your situation may reveal the root causes. For instance, it could be that you married when you were young, and one or both of you has grown away from the relationship. Perhaps you got married without recognizing that you had different views on fundamental issues such as having children or how to manage your finances. There may also be a significant lack of physical or emotional intimacy between you and your spouse. All or some of these situations can create barriers in a relationship, some of which may be too extensive to overcome.
Uncertainty Can Lead to Inaction
Being uncertain about why you may want to leave a seemingly “fine” marriage can make it challenging to take action. Having some understanding of the issues often provides a pathway to the next steps that need to be taken to address the situation. If you are unclear on why you are discontent with your relationship with your spouse, it may help to spend some time considering the problems. Although you and your spouse may not have apparent conflict, a contemplative look at your relationship may reveal issues such as resentment, loneliness, and anger. You may also recognize that you and your spouse have a dysfunctional dynamic. It may be helpful to talk with a therapist who can help you clarify your emotions and give you feedback from a neutral point of view. Processing your feelings and working through them may help you gain the insight and perspective you need to move forward with ending the relationship.
Ending a Marriage with Children
Divorce with kids is always challenging. This can be especially so when you are married to someone you care about and believe to be a good parent. It can be agonizing to consider hurting your spouse and putting your kids through the pain of divorce. Not being able to pinpoint a ‘good reason” to upset the equilibrium can make it even harder. In this situation, being able to step back and see the big picture is crucial. One thing to consider is that you and your spouse are setting an example for your children through your relationship. Your kids will come to see how you relate to one another as their first model of a romantic partnership. If you are friends who are not in love, your kids may come to think that this dynamic is normal. If you are unhappy, your discontent may be noticeable even when you try your hardest to make it look like everything is fine.
When a parent is struggling emotionally, it can impact everyone in the household. Living with the tension of an unhappy marriage is miserable for families. It’s also stressful for children who often internalize the conflict, believing themselves to be at fault. While it may not be easy to see those you care about endure divorce, ending the relationship may be better for everyone involved. In the long-term, making this change may make it possible for you, your spouse, and your children to heal and begin happier lives.
If you are unhappy in your marriage and recognize that you and your spouse are incompatible, it may be time to consider filing for divorce. Before taking steps to initiate your case, you should consider talking with an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney. You and your attorney can review your circumstances and discuss available resources and your options. Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience assisting clients during and after divorce and can help you evaluate your case, connect with helpful resources, and determine your next steps. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.