7 Important Considerations when Pondering a Break-Up

The consequences of divorce can be life shattering and usually include emotional and financial difficulties. The decision to separate, even temporarily, can be excruciatingly hard.

Even when couples know they are unhappy, there are many factors to consider, especially when children are involved and/or finances are tight. On the other hand, staying in an unhappy relationship can also take its toll on all involved family members.

Deciding whether to break up or not can be so overwhelming that some couples end up making a hasty, emotionally-charged decision. Others often become paralyzed, caught up in a tidal wave of confusion.

Before finalizing this life-changing decision, it may be helpful to review the following considerations. Use them to examine your relationship and make the most informed, easy-to-live-with choice, regarding the rest of your life:

(#1) Did you do everything possible to work on the relationship?

Most folks who have a healthy divorce feel okay about the outcome and themselves and recover faster from the breakup, when they believe they did everything they could to save the relationship.

In general, those who feel they didn’t give it their best shot often have lots of regrets, and wonder if their divorce was the right choice.

(#2) Examine what you consider to be the biggest problem(s) in your relationship.

It’s important to take the time to determine if your relationship problems are directly related to situational or temporary stressors, instead of more permanent issues or incompatibilities.

Sometimes, too many temporary negatives happening at once are so overwhelming, they can make it seem like your relationship is hopeless. Consider if this is your situation and, if so, realize that situational struggles will usually improve.

(#3) Imagine your future.

Project 5, 10, or even 25 years ahead and visualize both situations: Staying together versus living apart. Evaluate, and rate on a happiness scale of 1 to 10, the different scenarios in terms of your personal satisfaction, finances, and your kids’ wellbeing.

(#4) Reflect on your relationship and determine what individual needs have been met, as well as those that haven’t.

Have you expressed your needs and emotions to your partner in ways that could truly be heard and weren’t experienced as an attack? Have you assumed you did, but perhaps didn’t?

(#5) Equally important, clarify the needs and expectations of your partner as well.

(see #4 above).

(#6) If children are involved, how will they be impacted?

It’s common for parents to ask, “Should we stay together for the kids?”  Research shows that the biggest damage to children comes from any conflict between parents, even after a divorce.  Will you and your partner be able to maintain a civil relationship for the sake of your kids, and focus on what’s best for them?

(#7) Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to not make a hasty decision.

If you’re in doubt for any reason, it’s generally best to postpone making anything permanent. Consider a trial separation, or waiting six months to have a period of self-reflection.

Often an “in the moment,” emotionally-made decision by one partner can have permanent consequences. The partner on the receiving end may have originally wanted to try and stay together, but the impact of the blow is too much, and they throw in the towel too.

Deciding to break up with a long-term partner is such an important and life-altering decision that all available resources should be utilized to ensure you’re making the best decision possible. In order to process all the above factors, strongly consider seeking couples and individual counseling. Some may also benefit from the advice of a financial planner to help determine your fiscal health in both scenarios.

In order to have the peace of mind that you’ve made the best decision for your situation without any regret, take the time to process all the above considerations so that you can move on in your life in the healthiest way possible.  And if you do decide to end your relationship, you’ll be able to do so confidently, without any doubt.

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