Let's talk about fear. While it is true that getting divorced usually sucks, BEING divorced doesn't, and sometimes, people don't make it to "being divorced" - not because they work things out for the better (which is not what I am talking about) but because they are scared. I am here to tell you that its NORMAL to feel scared in divorce. Scared of the unknown, scared of what life will look like for you at the end of it, scared of how this may affect the kids, scared about money.... Some of these fears are things that you may want to work through with a close friend or therapist, other fears are things that you will want to talk about with your lawyer but if you feel that divorce is the right thing for you, please don't let fear stop you. Many people tell me that while they are scared, it is equally or more scary to think about spending the rest of their lives with the wrong person.
The focus of this article is about a particular kind of fear and that is the fear that your spouse is deliberately putting into your head. This doesn't happen all of the time and may not be happening to you, but if it is, read on...
Usually (but not always) it is the person who is on the receiving end of the divorce who tends to do it, and that is to try to scare the other person into not leaving the marriage. Aside from the guilt tactics that may be put out there, your spouse might be TELLING you what is going to happen to you in a divorce situation. The reason that it can work so incredibly well is because of your history with each other. There must have been a time when you were happy. Think back to before things went wrong in the marriage. Remember how you used to go to each other with ideas, for advice, and rely on or at least value the other person's opinions and beliefs? In most marriages, people get used to listening to what the other person thinks. Depending on how long you have been married, he or she may still subconsciously be a "voice of reason" which makes it that much harder to turn it off when they try to tell you what will happen if you file for divorce. We've seen pretty much everything, including the lengths to which some people will go to convince their spouses that they will get nothing. I will never forget once talking to someone who believed that because she did not cook for her husband, that she was not entitled to any part of the house. Guess who told her that? Her husband. And he told her that this was the law. Don't listen to what your spouse tells you you will get / or won't get. The outcome of the divorce will depend either on what you BOTH agree to (willingly, and hopefully- after speaking to your lawyer) or, if that can't work, then what the judge believes is fair. NOT what your husband or your wife THINKS should happen. So the next time your spouse tries to TELL you as fact what WILL happen, ask yourself if it sounds reasonable. It might, but don't take it as the law. Run it by your lawyer. Likewise, don't use your friend's divorce as a benchmark for your own. Every situation is different.
Bottom line is this: Get the facts and learn your options. You will not be sorry that you did and it will make the whole thing less scary. If you do the research up front, it can only have a positive impact on you and your family. If divorce is on your mind, set up an appointment to talk one on one. It doesn't mean that you have to get a divorce, it just means that you will be that much more prepared if you decide to do it.