If you are thinking about leaving your marriage, you should consider how to exit your relationship carefully before you take action.
Often one person in the relationship, I will call the ‘leaver’ thinks about ending their marriage for about two years before they act on their thoughts. Suddenly they reach the breaking point and they cannot be married a minute more and they just walk out on their long-time partner saying “I want a divorce” over their shoulder as they flee the scene. The ‘leavee’ is blind-sided by what appears to be a sudden and life-changing decision made by one partner with no obvious warning or chance to work things out.
While it may look easy to just walk away and leave your problems for others to deal with, the devastation after a blind-siding is usually much harder to manage long-term than a more thoughtful and kind exit. Blind-siding makes every aspect of divorce more difficult and divorce is already difficult enough! Often affairs are also announced as the leaver walks out the door, which just confounds the damage!
I highly recommend you plan your exit with thought and be there for the fall-out, even though it’s not easy. You’ll be more respected by everyone involved and have fewer regrets after the divorce.
1. Emotional Devastation
Blind-siding is one of the most emotionally painful and devastating things you can do to your partner during a separation. A person left suddenly will usually understandably react with exceptionally strong emotions. The sudden emotional pain will be very damaging to your partner’s self-esteem and their respect of you. They may have full blown denial, a difficult grieving period and will not be able to even discuss the future with much logic until they recover.
2. Long Recovery Time
You may have thought long and hard about what you want and don’t want. Many spend years thinking about a separation before they act on it. Unfortunately, your partner doesn’t know what’s going on in your head. Being left with no warning or preparation is such a blow your partner may take much more time to recover than if they were better prepared. They usually need a similar time to what you have already taken, so be patient. Some people may never fully recover their trust in people after such a painful event.
3. You will be judged and penalized by many.
Blind-siding basically makes you look selfish and frankly puts you in a very bad light. It appears that you are just thinking of yourself and none of the consequences to your actions. Judgment and divorce unfortunately usually go hand-in-hand, and you will find yourself severely judged by everyone around you. You will probably lose many relationships – not just your primary love relationship! Kids are often very angry at the leaver, and sometimes the relationship is damaged permanently.
4. You may repeat the same mistakes.
If you don’t discuss your unhappiness or why you want to end your marriage ahead of time, you cannot work on or solve any of the real issues. Working on problems – at best – may save your marriage and at worst will benefit you by helping you learn why your marriage failed and how you can avoid a repeat performance. So many people leave the failed relationship and jump into a similar relationship that presents all the same old problems. Give your relationship every chance to work and learn everything you can from the process. If it really is time to end it, you will both be more prepared to separate after exploring the relationship.
5. Not fully thinking through the consequences
When they blind-side, people often do not think anything through but the “freedom” they think they will get after they leave. I talk to people that seem to think they can carry on as usual, but just have a different partner in the equation. Divorce has many consequences. Are you ready to give up time with your kids, many friends, usually two-thirds of your money, your home, your cottage, your toys, and your life as you know it? Many regret leaving their marriage because they haven’t really thought out the full consequences of leaving in the moment they act. It’s hard to come back from blind-siding your partner, because so much trust is broken. You will lose much of what you value, so make sure you think the true consequences through.
6. Regret is common.
Looking back, people often say they wish they had managed their exit more fairly and with more kindness. Blind-siding is a cowardly act – it really is about avoiding interacting with your partner while they are most hurt.
Looking back at your divorce five years out, will you be proud of how you behaved?
If you are thinking about separating – a little planning goes a long way! I can help you find your best path through.
Please contact me.
I do offer a free strategy session.
The Divorce Coach in Dundas