The Collaborative Divorce Center

Healthy Divorce: The Importance of making good decisions during your divorce

Healthy Divorce: The Importance of making good decisions during your divorce

How can I be better at divorce than I was at marriage

Reasons to end your marriage with integrity:

1) If you don’t end it well, you may jeopardize the new relationship you can have for the future, if you are co-parenting.

2) If you don’t do this with integrity and respect, you could potentially hurt your partner’s feelings, which could mean they may want to hurt yours in order to find closure for the divorce. The process could drag on for a lifetime. Neither of you will find emotional satisfaction and you may be unequipped then to provide for your children.

3) Some partners who feel disrespected may create more chaos in the divorce, complicating the legal process and dragging it on, making your financial pressures greater for both of you now and in the future.

Rules of Disengagement:

1) Be clear. Make sure you are clear that you want to end the marriage. If you have not tried to go to counseling, let your partner know that you are not interested in pursuing continued therapy. If you want to try one more time, be specific about what you will or will not do. For instance, if you are willing to try six sessions, stay with the treatment for the whole six hours.

2) Set boundaries. Try to maintain a “light and polite” relationship, avoid personal discussions where sharing feelings may trigger arguments.

3) Make amends. Tell them you are sorry for hurting them, leading them on, or getting them into this mess in the first place.

4) Show empathy. Try to relate to how they are feeling, and take responsibility for your part in the marriage ending in this way.

5) Admit Ambivalence. Make it clear to them that you have to end the relationship, although you may have regrets and even second thoughts at times.

6) Thank them. If you feel it, thank them for all that they have shared with you. Appreciate what you have gotten from the marriage from one another. Don’t let a divorce lead you to rewrite the whole history of your years together. There were many good parts along the way.

7) Share priorities. Let them know that you are working on an intentional divorce and that your relationship with your children is your priority. This will let your partner know that you are not setting out to devastate them legally, emotionally or financially.

8) Be patient. Your partner is still catching up. You are way ahead. Let them have their feelings ; you may have already had these same emotions and gotten past them and even healed long ago.

After effects:

1) Grieve. You may have had a fantasy that the marriage would work out better than it did. You now have to grieve that possibility.

2) Guilt. The guilt and remorse over hurting your spouse may at times be very intense. Bringing all of yourself into your grief is actually the best way to move on with your future.

3) Vision. Sit down and think about what you want for your future. If you have children, create a vision together of what that would look like and what it will take to make it work.

4) Get Help. Most importantly, you can’t go through this alone. Get a therapist, find a support group. For more info on Imago Relationship Therapy, Intentional Divorce, Intensives or Retreats for Couples, or trainings for therapists, please go to

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