Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!
Recently, a friend who was contemplating separating from her husband gave me a call and asked my advice. A few years ago when my emotions were spinning out of control and I was in the throes of my marriage breakdown, I would have shouted, “Divorce the bastard!”
Now, six years post-divorce, I have gotten off the emotional rollercoaster called relationship breakdown and a cooler head prevails. My advice to her: slow down, you move too fast!
What’s the rush to get a divorce? Unless you or your children are in physical danger, why rush? Divorce can be a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
When my marriage was breaking up, we both got on the merry go round and didn’t know how to get off. I hurt him. He hurt me. I hurt him again. He one upped me. And so on and so on and so on. If only we had someone sit us down, shake us, and say, “Get off the ride!”
I’m not saying that divorce isn’t the right choice in some cases; sometimes it’s the only thing a person can do. But, when one in two marriages end in divorce, perhaps we need to slow down.
So, if you’re in the middle of a breakup or thinking about initiating one:
Slow down. Breathe. Weigh the pros and cons and evaluate all options.
Seek counsel. Professionals can see the sides of a story we miss. They teach tools that may restore and enhance the relationship.
Confide in a trusted friend. Seek someone objective who will not fuel the fire.
Extinguish your anger. Put your pride aside. There doesn’t have to be someone who is right and someone who is wrong. It takes two people to make a relationship work. It’s difficult to see clearly when looking through a lens of anger.
Open your heart. Talk and talk and talk until you can’t talk anymore.
Listen. When talking, be sure to listen. Really hear what the other is saying and strive to empathize and sympathize.
Remember why you fell in love. Recall the early memories and the way that you felt when you were together, before life got in the way.
Think about how things will be down the road a few years after the dissolution. Visualize a new girlfriend or husband. Children from other relationships blended into your family. Financial upset. Loneliness. Regret. It is estimated that within five years, one-third of divorced couples regret their decision to split.
While the grass may look greener on the other side, remember that’s because of the manure.
Slow down. What’s the rush? You have plenty of time for forever.