Why Not Just Divorce and Start Over?

(Nagging Questions Continued)

For some, the question finally arrives: why not just divorce my spouse and move on?

I’ll never forget, Samantha and I were in our room talking, and she launched out into a pretty good rant about how angry and hurt she was.  In a defining moment, through tears of very defining sorrow she said to me “if we didn’t have kids, it would be easy: we could just divorce and move on. But now, I don’t know…..”

It not only hit me like a ton of bricks, it sobered me up a bit to the reality that she was considering all options, including separation and divorce. I didn’t want her to consider all options. I wanted her to simply say “I want to work it out. Let’s ride off into the sunset of ‘Another Chance’ and be happily ever after.” Nine years later, it’s been quite a ride, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

If you’re considering this reality today and are asking yourself this same question, here are some helpful insights from both myself and others who have had to walk this nightmare out before.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. The marriage may be restorable and may end up being a new marriage, even if you can’t see it right now. The old marriage is dead, I know. But you can’t make a case to me that I would believe, that it can’t be restored and renewed, if both parties are willing to work on it and obtain the right kind of help.
  2. Divorce wreaks havoc on everyone: you, your spouse, your kids, in-laws, EVERYONE. It’s not a decision to be rushed into or made out of hate, haste, or raw anger alone. Being raised under three different divorces, I hated them all and they tore apart every family. From the many who have in fact divorced and had significant talks with over the years, at least 90% have no idea what the process of divorce actually looked like. It’s not going to be without an incredible amount of hurt and pain. You may not see it, but I assure you it will be harder than you can imagine.  
  3. What if you’re just too hurt and too full of pain to be seeing straight? You may be missing out on a chance to see a miracle before your very eyes. Don’t’ let your current frustration blind you to the reality that you may be acting out of hurt and pain, not wisdom. How long has it been? What kind of help have you received?  General counseling is almost never enough to help you: that’s the truth. Often times, it makes it worse. You’ll need expert help to deal with what you’re facing. Saying “we got help” as a cop out, almost always reveals the fact that we’re using other excuses to opt out of the marriage.
  4. What if you, the unfaithful, are too disillusioned by your affair partner to be seeing straight? What if you’re in too deep to make a rational decision and you may be giving up on your spouse before he/she has had a chance to get the help they need? What you may be looking at right now, is not the extent of what the marriage may be, after the right help is administered to both of you. You have to admit feelings change, and feelings are no compass in life.
  5. If you, the unfaithful, think you’re going to simply leave your marriage, divorce, and go be happily ever after, I’m sorry I’ve got news for you. You’re still leaving your marriage and taking your own personal unresolved issues (which created the affair in the first place) with you to the new relationship and marriage, and it’s really just a matter of time before that relationship is in upheaval as well.  Your luggage follows you and will always, always, always arrive in your relationships if not dealt with. The trouble is, you can’t see it as you’re probably blinded by the euphoria of this new relationship when, years ago, you felt the same way about your spouse. Life, bills, seasons have all caught up to you and you may be throwing it all away unnecessarily.

Before you consider divorce, I hope and pray you’ll exhaust all opportunities to get help. If your spouse refuses to change or get help, then divorce may be your only reasonable option and anyone in their right mind would support you in that decision. 

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reaching out

We've been married 35 years and have three beautiful children together. They've been our everything, but over the course of our two year long separation, he has cared little about family. I recently discovered he was having an affair and that was the reason for no effort to get help or a need to come home to work on our marriage. He always gave me a little hope to keep me controlled. I was traumatized and in disbelief when I discovered the betrayal. Within a month of exposing it to him; he was speaking of divorce. I had no opportunity to absorb the affair, and now I was hit with divorce papers too.. He denies the affair, and will not speak of it. For awhile as long as I was nice and didn't bring it up, he was easier to deal with. He was helpful and kind. When I ask for answers or bring up the affair, he cuts off all communication and help as a form of control. He currently is becoming aggressive in the divorce and is asking for everything. The general therapy he and I have explored individually has not helped, but made matters worse since I believe the therapist is in favor of the divorce. I'm not ready to make these difficult decisions in his current state of mind or mine. He is so full of hatred and restates how I have everything and he has nothing regarding the assets. I've begged in the past to explore options for help, and he has attended therapy, but it doesn't seem to be the right kind of help. I feel he is acting out in every way possible to hurt me. I don't know this man; he is so full of hatred. Is this the beginning stages of an affair or much later. I have no idea how long this has been going on, but I'm thinking about two years. Is their anything I could do or say at this point to begin to improve our communication and get expert help? He seems to be so caught up in the affair, and he can't think of anything else. I've become the enemy. I'm worried that we have not exhausted all options to see if our marriage could be saved, but can't communicate this to him. He just wants a divorce, so I've had to give him to God. He is avoidant by nature, and he will not take responsibility for any mistakes or faults in the marriage. I continue to pray daily. This is tearing me apart. This man seems so evil and vengeful. He was always such a caring and loving father and spouse, but now he is a total stranger.
Am I within my rights to take the divorce as slow as I need and prolong it? I just can't think clearly right now. My health and well being are suffering. What can I do right now to improve our relationship. I realize any comments about the affair are off limits and causing him to act out further in the divorce. I'm in the Harboring Hope course and seeking support there. I would like to give my husband information on the program, would this be the right or wrong thing to do. I've asked if I could send him information, but he will not respond. I'm having difficulty finding an expert therapist to help guide me, so I've relied mainly on Samuel and Rick's videos for support. They have saved me from so much confusion and damage. I can't thank you enough. I would like to hear more from Samantha and Leslie since they are the betrayed and know what I'm experiencing. We need more women willing to speak up that have been through betrayal and what did and did not work for them. Thank you for your response.

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