When two people in love decide to spend more time together, they either end up in a “live-in” relationship or “marriage”. For me, both are similar with their own advantages and drawbacks. While you could easily move out when you are in a “live-in” relationship, the only way out of a marriage is probably a divorce or separation. My parents and my grandparents grew up learning to live with a person no matter what happened; they would be appalled at the thought of ending a marriage. I don’t blame them, they were born in such an era that if they walked out of a marriage, they perhaps would have to live a life filled with guilt and being subjected to the whole world’s judgment. Instead of this, they would work to reconcile their differences or simply learn to live with the other person until the day one of them died.
Fast forward to present day; divorces are common, and no, they aren’t as bad as you would think. It is the only logical way out for two equally strong-minded individuals, and it is better for everyone involved when you do it amicably. While I don’t want to tell you how to end a marriage, I’d like to meander a little and tell you how to do so on good terms.
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However, how do you know your marriage is over and, when to end a marriage are two major questions to consider before taking any action.
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There could be plenty of reasons why someone wants to end a relationship or marriage. It’s not like a one night stand where you don’t expect anything the next day, or a short-term fling with no major expectations. Marriage works differently. The very fact that they want to end it is proof that something wasn’t working the way it was supposed to be. There could be compatibility issues, infidelity, a financial crisis, abuse, or something else that led to a loveless marriage. There could be any number of reasons that would make an individual want to put an end to that self-destructing misery. A separation or divorce can turn into a complete nightmare when the two people involved lose respect for each other and compromise their own dignity. The world has seen a lot of famous people who battle bitter divorces and end up publicly shaming the other person and doing a whole lot of things that not only make a fool of themselves, but also makes the whole ordeal extremely painful and unnecessary.
However, there are better ways to deal with it and here are 10 tips that you can use when ending a marriage.
1. Talk like adults
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Fine, you have decided that you cannot live with the other person anymore. The least you can do is inform the person yourself before your lawyer sends them copies of the divorce papers for signatures. More often than not, both the husband and wife can usually tell when it’s about to be over, but in some cases, you may not have conveyed your thoughts to the other person and this could come as a rude shock to them. In such cases, it’s best you first talk like grown-ups without starting arguments and hurling accusations at each other. Chances are that this little talk might help make the relationship improve. Also, when you communicate your feelings to the other person, you will realize how important it is for you to either stay in this relationship or get out of it.
2. Enroll for counseling
And no, the counseling is not to reconcile the existing relationship but to ensure that neither of you are harboring bad feelings toward each other and to hear each other’s perspective rationally. When people go through a divorce, they usually aren’t thinking straight due to the immense stress of the whole situation and often end up doing things impulsively. Speaking to a professional will reduce such risks caused by irrational thinking. Moreover, only you know what you are going through and it may not be possible for you to make anyone else understand your plight. A counselor doesn’t take sides but helps you overcome the hurdle while still helping you maintain your sanity!
3. Prepare your children
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Kids probably suffer the most during a divorce. It will be difficult for them to imagine a life without one of their parents living with them. They will often have a lot of questions and you need to sit them down and speak to them about what’s going to come their way. Courtrooms, arguments, custody arrangements, and having to part with a parent – are all quite traumatic. While it is hard on you, it’s harder for kids to cope with the circumstances and they often feel that they have no one to fall back on. Depending on the reason for your separation, you need to assure them that this is the logical thing to do and they will benefit from your decision in the long run. Also, don’t create a situation where the kids are forced to choose a parent. It will have a bad impact on their psyche.
4. Keeping things low-key
You don’t have to go around town blowing a trumpet to let the whole world know what you are going through. I’m sure you can’t always escape some prying eyes (and ears), but don’t be quick to announce something that hasn’t yet been finalized. Especially at your workplace where you spend most of your day, see to it that your story is safe with whomever you wish to share details with (your boss, HR etc.,).
Suggested read: Things to consider when dating someone going through a divorce
5. Divide assets rather than fight over it
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Even if your significant other hasn’t particularly contributed to the family financially, you should figure out a way to divide assets in a way that is fair to both of you. At the time that you both were together, they did have some privilege over all that you both owned together. So, considering and respecting the time that you were both together, you’d rather divide the assets peacefully rather than add yet another conflict.
6. Showing rage or other drastic behavior
If you aren’t expecting a divorce, the news could make you go berserk and your immediate reaction could be full of rage, hurt, and vengeance. It’s wise to stay in control of your actions and emotions than going all out and crazy, and ending up with a restraining order or stalking charges. It’s normal to be in denial, but you can’t stop someone from not wanting to be with you. If you are a person who is vindictive in nature, you may want to try some breathing exercises or meditation to prevent yourself from doing something regrettable and landing you or your (ex)-spouse in trouble. So, be careful.
7. Stop the blame game
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You can’t clap with just one hand, can you? It takes two to tango. So, don’t blame each other or yourself solely for what is happening or has happened. Sometimes, you just can’t stop thinking about whose fault it was and you end up feeling miserable. There is no point in digging up what was buried long before, and that will in no way make things better. Neither for you nor for your ex.
8. Stay in touch
Well, this might be tricky in some situations. But if your relationship involves children, you may want to keep in touch with your ex occasionally in order to show your children how to end a marriage on good terms because you don’t want to spring hatred in their minds against their other parent. Fortunately or rather unfortunately, children below a certain age aren’t allowed to take sides in a divorce as the jury decides their custody. So, it’s best to keep your relationship cordial for the sake of your children.
9. Dating soon after
Everyone knows this, after any breakup it’s not advisable to start seeing other people. Not immediately at least. Because believe it or not, you are vulnerable and could make a bad decision that you might regret later on. You might also be a tad bit angry and still a little withdrawn, so you may want to give yourself some time to heal, preferably a fairly long time, before you get into a relationship of any sort.
Suggested read: 12 dos and don’ts of dating after divorce
10. Refrain from character assassination
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We get it, you didn’t end your marriage for some cheap thrills but because of strong, valid reasons known only to you and your former better half. Keep it that way. Don’t let the cat out of the bag and begin bad mouthing your spouse. In your attempt to belittle the other person, you could be projecting yourself as someone who is inconsiderate and petty. And trust us, it’s not very nice. Your partner still deserves some dignity; moreover, you need to stay dignified!
One shouldn’t burn bridges and live with ill feelings. Life is too short for you to stay mad at people, thereby causing yourself heartburn. Let it go! If it’s possible, also forgive the person and try to move on; it helps everybody. You are going to be at peace with yourself, and that’s what is important.
Take some time off to cool down once you are through with the whole episode and look forward to what life has to offer.
And this is how to end a marriage on good terms. Good luck.
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