Peacefully End a Marriage

July 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm


“Divorce.” Even the word sounds cold and final. For many, the “D” word brings up images from the classic 1989 movie, The War of the Roses, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Sure, underhandedness and mass destruction is one way to handle it. Fortunately – with a little effort – it doesn’t have to be that way.

A marriage might come to an end for many reasons: your lives have changed, the love is lost, or sometimes you find that you just can’t stand the person to whom you are married any longer. Whatever the reason, the truth comes out – the marriage isn’t working, or workable, any more.

Although divorce is not a pleasant experience, it doesn’t have to be a complete nightmare. Especially for those lucky few who realize they make better friends than lovers.

The end…
Ending a marriage is hard. It is hard if it is your choice, and it is even harder when it is the last thing you wanted. Even under the best of circumstances, when each of you are prepared to move on in another direction, there is likely to be a challenge or two while you are navigating the path to freedom. It is an emotional time – one that is often made even worse by the division of property and your financial upheaval. It is the perfect setting for nastiness, revenge and financial loss. But there are ways to limit the drama – especially if you want to remain friends.

Acceptance is key
Whether the end was your idea or not, when you accept the facts – the partnership is over, and things are about to change – two things begin to happen: 1) you start planning for your own future, and 2) you are setting the stage for a different kind of relationship with your soon-to-be-ex. That one act of release can save a whole lot of drama, and spare you both a lot of resentment and pain.

Plan ahead
Feeling “entitled” is an emotional reaction, and that feeling isn’t enough to protect you. Arm yourself with knowledge of the laws in your state, and do what you can to keep your wits about you. A cool head may be hard to maintain, but in the long run it will help you a lot. A third party can help you immensely with this goal – let them handle some of the practical matters.

Respect
Knowing that your future is about to unfold in a way that you didn’t want (or never saw coming) can easily lead to rash decisions and emotional turbulence. Respect yourself enough to leave with grace, or maintain your dignity if your partner is leaving you. Fighting causes drama, and drama is likely to only bring on more difficulty and pain. While you may not like yourself, your soon-to-be-ex, or the situation, the outcome is still going to be the same. You are going to be divorced. The one thing you can control is how you handle yourself.

Your choice
It can be tough to be civil, and even tougher to be nice – particularly when legal matters and property division come into play. Talking like reasonable adults can do wonders. However, if you must throw down and engage in a conflict, choose your battles wisely – not everything is worth fighting over. Keep in mind that in your future you’ll be on your own, and you will enjoy a lot more freedom. Being hateful or hurtful isn’t going to change that, but it could very well affect who you will become.

End of an era
The marriage is over, and the lines are drawn in the sand. The person you married then is most likely not the same person that now stands before you. Chances are good that you have changed as well. Looking back may bring joy or pain, but what really matters is now. You still have a whole life ahead of you, one that is different than you had originally planned.

Through marriage and divorce, you now know your ex better than you did before. Some people find that when love has gone wrong they have a friendship in its wake. Many people know before the divorce is through that they make better friends than lovers. Friendship with an ex-spouse is sometimes possible – but it truly depends on the people involved. Some pains cannot be forgotten, and some hurts cannot be forgiven. That is for each individual to decide.

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