How to Know When Divorce Is The Right Choice

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Getting divorced is a deeply personal decision, and you shouldn't make it in haste. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, you may be struggling to face up to the potential consequences of your actions. You may be wondering if it would be easier to stay married than to deal with the emotional turmoil and financial pressures of divorce. If you have children, you may want to stay together for their sake. Every situation is different, and ultimately, you are the only person who can decide whether divorce is the right choice.

Ask yourself what would be your reasons for staying married. If you have an objective in mind that you could achieve if you were able to work through the problems in the marriage, your relationship is more likely to last, says Susan Pease Gadoua, author of "Contemplating Divorce." You could set a positive goal to maintain a secure, two-parent family for your children or to work through your trust issues to improve your relationship and your self-esteem. If your main reason for staying married stems from an avoidance of difficult emotions, the marriage is less likely to survive, says Gadoua. Staying married because you are scared of being alone or you can't bear the thought of spending time apart from your children is not likely to lead to long-term happiness.

Make sure you have done everything possible to improve the relationship. If both parties are committed to working through issues to create a healthier relationship, the marriage may be salvageable, says Gadoua. If you both want the marriage to last, consider marital therapy to help you identify the problems and develop the skills required to solve them.

Accept when the relationship is over. A healthy, fulfilling marriage should have honesty, trust, commitment, fidelity, care, respect and common goals. If any of these are absent, it may be better for you to go your separate ways.

Put your own needs before those of your spouse, children, and anybody else who may be affected by a divorce. Children will be happier being the product of a broken home than living in one, says psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. Don't stay together for your children's sake if that means living with stress and unhappiness. Look deep within yourself to find the answer. There is a part of you that will know whether divorce is the right option, says Judith Johnson, an interfaith minister who holds a doctorate in social psychology.