So you’re considering the possibility of ending your marriage and seeking the services of a Long Island divorce attorney. You could be at any of a number of stages in the divorce consideration process. Maybe you and your spouse have been having problems for a period of time now and you are unsure of what direction your relationship is headed. Or maybe you have alone been feeling differently about the relationship. Whatever the case may be, you now find yourself wondering if a divorce is the next step for you.
As with most difficult situations in life, you have to take the rose colored glasses off and look at the situation realistically. For most of us, our minds automatically jump to the worst possible outcome in any potentially stressful situation. That is not different here. A divorce is a stressful process during which negative feelings and emotions may be displayed on behalf of both you and your spouse.
While some people imagine getting back together after a divorce, that is usually difficult if you and your significant other have said hurtful things through the divorce process. Therefore, while I am unaware of the specific details surrounding your personal situation, it is important that before embarking on this journey you are sure a divorce is the proper step, and the difficulties you and your spouse are facing are not just temporary bumps in the road.
There are a number of steps you can take to try to repair your relationship, after which you can be more positive about whether or not a divorce is the right decision.
Make Sure You Spend Time Together
Solo time with one another is an extremely important part of any marriage. Unfortunately, with everyone’s busy daily schedules this often seems to be the first thing to be pushed aside. And once you’re not spending time together, you lose your connection and it becomes easier and easier to avoid your partner. This is especially true for couples with children. If you find that you and your spouse have had difficulty connecting lately, the solution may be as simple as planning a night out together once a week. Setting aside time for date nights with your significant other may help rekindle the romance and remind you both why you fell in love in the first place.
If you and your spouse have children, especially newborns or young babies, you may both find it difficult to leave the child at home with a relative or babysitter. While I am not a parenting expert, I know that most grandparents would love to spend a night watching their grandchild. Or even a close sibling would love the opportunity for more time with their niece or nephew. Talk to relatives or good friends who live close by and see if they would be willing to babysit for a few hours each week. That way, you and your spouse can enjoy each other’s company while being sure that your child is in good hands.
If you do not have children, the only thing that needs to coincide is the schedule of both you and your spouse. Take vacations from work at the same time, meet each other after work for dinner every Friday, or go to breakfast together every Sunday. It is as simple as setting aside a few hours each week to reconnect with your spouse. You may be pleasantly surprised what a little time spent together can accomplish.
Talk Openly and Honestly with Your Spouse
Talking about emotions seems to be one thing many people have trouble with in today’s society. But setting aside some time for this perceived difficult task may help you and your spouse move away from divorce and closer towards happiness. When something is bothering you, the best option is to talk about it. Holding something in because you are attempting to avoid confrontation can lead to more negative feelings and explosive fights when the issues eventually come to light.
This is not time for the blame game, so when you are speaking to your spouse about something that has been upsetting you, make sure you express how you are feeling, and not just tell them how terrible they have been. Speaking about yourself may allow your spouse to see that you are being genuine, and help them feel they are not being attacked.
Make Sure You are Taking Out Your Stresses in the Right Place
Life itself is stressful. Between work, the children, family pets, medical concerns and the like, it can be easy to take out your anxiety on the person closest to you. In most instances, that person tends to be your spouse. If your spouse is not the root of your anxieties and stress, than he or she should not be the one to feel the brunt of those emotions. Pay careful attention to direct your negative feelings at the source of your pain and not the people who are just trying to be there for you.
Before you hire a Long Island divorce attorney, it may be in your best interest to consider marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is a form of therapy which allows you to work together with both the therapist and your spouse. At times, the therapist may request to speak to each of you individually. But the goal is always the same: recognize and resolve the conflicts in your relationship. The length of time you will undergo counseling depends on what brought you there in the first place. The resolution of one argument over an issue one of you feels strongly about may require only a few sessions, while years or months of turmoil may require counseling for an extended period of time.
Your visions of marriage counseling may include you and your spouse sitting on the therapist’s couch divulging your innermost thoughts and feelings. While this may happen in some instances, it is not always the case. It is important to be aware that marriage counseling sessions can go by in silence, with neither one of you feeling comfortable enough to talk about personal problems to a complete stranger. Or, marriage counseling sessions can fuel fights and arguments. How the sessions go are completely up to you and your spouse. You both need to take it seriously and commit to discussing how you truly feel AND be willing to listen openly and honestly to what your spouse has to say. Your marriage counselor is there to provide a safe, comfortable environment and to help you open up, but they cannot force you or your spouse to cooperate. A good counselor can help and guide you to open up and protect you from overt negativity but they are not miracle workers. It’s up to you and your spouse to make marriage counseling work for you.
If you have tried spending time together and attended marriage counseling, both to no avail, the next option before a divorce could be a temporary separation. This is basically a trial divorce but without going through the legal motions. You and your spouse will live separately, keep conversation to a minimum, and go about your daily life as if you were no longer married. This gives you both time apart from each other to think clearly about your individual goals for the marriage. The idea of a temporary separation is scary, especially to the spouse that does not want a divorce. But setting guidelines and boundaries may help to make what seems like the end of your world a little less painful.
If a temporary separation is the route you and your spouse decide to travel, it is important to set ground rules. In terms of communication during a temporary separation, you and your spouse may decide to speak only once a week, or once a day if you have children together, but only about the children. You may even decide to not speak at all. Additionally, some couples may opt to set limitations in terms of the type of relationships they will get involved in if one spouse wishes to date. Arguably most important however is to ensure that the temporary separation has both a beginning and end date. Whether it be one month or six months, you and your partner must have a time frame in which a decision will be made about continuing or ending the relationship. It would not be fair to either of you to continue this type of situation indefinitely, because as you likely know, not knowing is much worse than knowing.
Ready to Move Forward with Your Long Island Divorce?
If, now that you have read the possible options to help repair your marriage and avoid a divorce, you still feel that a divorce is the only solution for you and your spouse, you have come to the right place. The experienced and compassionate Long Island divorce attorneys at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC and his team have been helping couples end their marriages and move on with their lives happily through a number of proven divorce methodologies, including divorce litigation, divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, no fault divorce, contested and uncontested divorce. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary divorce consultation where we’ll discuss your unique situation and the options available to you.