How to Choose Your Next
Step As You Decide Whether or Not to Get a
By Susie and Otto Collins
Making the decision to leave a marriage is one
that probably no one
Ending your marriage and starting a new single
life almost always
means big changes and transitions.
involve moving to a
new home. It could mean negotiating child
custody arrangements. It
may also include making financial agreements
These looming potential changes may bring about
hesitation within you. It might appear to be
"easier" to stay in
your marriage so that you (and, if applicable,
your children) don't
have to deal with such life upheaval.
Emotionally, you might be experiencing a wide
range of feelings.
Perhaps you are afraid about the possible
changes ahead, grieving as
this relationship might end and also relieved
and possibly even eager
to try out a new life which might include new
Chances are, if you are still trying to decide
whether or not to get
a divorce, you feel confused and uncertain.
If so, this is perfectly natural.
There could be some aspects of this choice that
are clear and easily
apparent to you while others are murkier and
For example, if your spouse is abusive or has
had multiple affairs,
you may know without a doubt that it is time for
you to get out of
To deal with the confusion you might be facing
as you decide whether
to stay in or leave your marriage, we advise you
to make your
decisions one step at a time.
Try not to think
too far into the
future for now.
Sometimes when people are contemplating a
divorce, they feel like
they have to figure out everything about how
they will live their new
Of course, there are certain arrangements that
need to be made and
considered-- such as where you will live, who
will care for your
children and what your income will be.
saddle yourself with
the nearly impossible task of planning and
arranging everything about
This can overwhelm you almost immediately and
you will undoubtedly
have different preferences and desires as you
are actually living
this new life.
Get clear about what you want right now.
As you weigh your options while trying to make
that final decision
about whether to stay in or leave your marriage,
focused on what you want and need now and in the
If you don't feel safe, recognize that getting
yourself to a safe
place is of the utmost importance. Seek out a
shelter or lodging
with someone who can help protect you if you
fear for your (or your
children's) physical or emotional well-being.
In cases where you are not in danger but you are
dissatisfied with your marriage, present
yourself with as many
options for a next step as you can think of.
Include on your list
even those options that seem unlikely.
For instance, you might include such actions as:
meeting with an
attorney to get more information about filing
for divorce, asking
your spouse for a trial separation or seeking
out a professional
therapist or coach to see if you two can repair
Your list of options might also include: taking
a weekend retreat by
yourself, signing up for a self-esteem or
reading an e-book about communication in
relationships or merely
treating yourself to a leisurely hot bath and a
Now look over your list of options and circle
those that appeal most
to you at this time.
Remind yourself that you get to choose how to
recognition of your own power can help propel
you toward the future
you want for yourself.
Create a vision for your next step.
Before you take any action toward the next step
you choose, we
encourage you to create a vision in your mind
for your future.
Again, we don't want you to get overwhelmed and
try to plan out your
long-term future if that seems stressful.
Even if you envision yourself relaxed, at ease
and confident in your
decisions for the next week ahead, that's great.
If you have decided to meet with an attorney or
to seek out a
relationship coach, you could form in your mind
an image of you
attracting a person who will be supportive and
effective in guiding
If you choose to talk about a trial separation
with your spouse or
decide to let him or her know you will be taking
a weekend trip away
by yourself, consciously come up with
expectations for how you want
that conversation to go.
Be as general or specific as you like.
But be sure to take the time to line up in your
mind with the future
you want before you make any phone calls, have
any discussions with
your spouse or arrange any appointments.
This sense of clarity and positive vision for
the next step you want
can help lead you toward the future you desire.
If you would like more help
making the decision about whether or not to
leave your marriage,
you'll find many more questions, insights and
personal stories in our book
Should You Go?
To find out more about this
book visit our web site at