As a divorce mediator, one of the things I see a lot are couples who have prolonged the break up as long as possible, to the point where they show up at my door angry and completely over it. Often they’ll be so tired of dealing with their spouse and trying to work things out that it’s difficult to continue any kind of communication with each other.

This really isn’t the best space to help them through this difficult process, yet I understand how they got here. And often it’s hard to know when it’s really time to let the relationship go, so we remain loyal and committed, even if it pushes it past our breaking point.

But how can you really know when it’s time to say goodbye? 

I love the questions that this article poses to individuals who might be contemplating when it’s time to proceed towards divorce.  

Know that this isn’t an act like throwing your hands in the air one day and exclaiming you’re done, it’s a conscious decision you can come to so that you can actually feel good about moving forward on the path to divorce.

What are my excuses?
If I were to ask you why you’re not getting divorced, how would you answer? Take a look at what you would say and determine if those are simply excuses that you’re creating to avoid a difficult situation or if they are really true for you.

We often excuse our partner’s behavior or create excuses for staying together that actually don’t serve us in the end. When we know the path ahead could be difficult, it’s easy to have excuses as to why we should stay, even when we know that’s not what’s best for us. Get real with yourself and look at the reasons you’re choosing to stay. 

Breaking up is never easy and when a divorce is the path ahead, it can be too easy for us to fall into excuses, complacency or fear, just to avoid the process.

Ensure you are making conscious decisions before your entire relationship erodes and answer the following questions to help determine if it’s time to get divorced. 

Are you currently ambivalent?
If you’re currently sitting in ambivalence, consider what it’s costing you. You’re not really committed to the relationship, but you’re also not leaving it either. It’s a space of indecision, which drains your energy and is confusing to yourself and those around you.

Did you get married to have an average life where you don’t care if you’re happy? Probably not. If you’re in this space, figure out if you are committing to going all in or you’re ready to part ways. Staying on the fence is never a good choice. 

What are you afraid of?
I love this question because it really gets to the heart of the matter. Often, we don’t want to move in the direction we know we should because we’re simply afraid. Divorce can feel scary and dealing with the uncertainty of it all can feel overwhelming.

Figure out what exactly is the piece that you are afraid of and then determine what you can do to move through that. If it’s related to specific things in the divorce process then educate yourself. If it’s related more to pieces of uncertainty, then look at what those items are specifically and bring in more clarity around them or work on getting more comfortable not knowing what the future holds. 

It’s much easier to go through mediation and a divorce when you still have some respect for each other, rather than when all of that respect has eroded.  Break ups and divorces are never easy and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it is important to keep in mind that sometimes it is truly the best choice. Don’t wait until your situation becomes desperate. Make conscious decisions you can feel good about, so that even through something as trying as divorce, you can be as positive as possible.

And of course, California Mediation Solutions is here to help you ease this difficult process as much as possible. It’s our job to help you navigate divorce in a way that best fits your family.