Updated: Jan 20
The first Monday of January has been named "Divorce Day" by lawyers because they typically see a rise in divorce requests. Divorce January is a bumper month of activity.
Lawyers see a 50% increase of filings for divorce. Relate have 85% more traffic to their website. The term "I want a divorce" is google 200% more than usual.
I suspect 2021 will not be different. The pressures of homeschooling, working from home, caring for sick or shielding relatives, work pressures or job losses and being separated from our friends and families are enough to tip any of us over the edge. There are a whole heap of challenges to deal with. You won't be who's seeing an impact on their relationship. Many will be pondering should I get divorced or separate during COVID. If you are thinking this, you are not alone.
If you feel like ending your relationship or, have found yourself thinking about ending your relationship, don't make any rash decisions if emotions are running high. Find space to breathe deeply and consider your next move with a clear head.
Emotions come from our thoughts. This triggers an emotional reaction both in our bodies and in the behaviour or action that comes next. Here's an example.
Thought: My partner doesn't really love me
The emotional reaction: Sadness, shame, embarrassment
The reaction in the body: A lump in the throat or knot in your stomach, your body feels heavy and sluggish
Behaviour or action: Isolate from others, stay home alone, withdraw
Thought: I feel alone, I feel sad, I feel worthless
Because of our fight or flight tendencies, we can make snap judgements and decisions whilst in this cycle of emotional turmoil. If your snap choice is always ending your relationships, it is worth considering where this comes from. Is it out of fear or avoidance?
When considering divorce or separation, it is often because we feel unhappy. It is natural to think should I get divorced because I am unhappy. Understand where the unhappiness is coming from is key to answering these questions. Anxiety may arise when we think about the future, will it destroy my family, can I afford to get divorced or support myself in the future. All of those thoughts are legitimate and future considerations. For now, it's important to stay in the present moment.
Take time out and calm the nervous system through centring. Ways to do this are, taking a warm bath, go for a walk, focus on breathing, meditation, free writing, watching a movie, read a book or sit in silence. Whatever you can deal with, without more overwhelm. You don't need to make any decisions today.
Knowing when to get divorced or when to end a relationship is a difficult decision. When you are ready, take time to reflect, consider where you are today. What have you tried so far? What's is and isn't working? (Tip: keep a daily list for a few weeks of positive & negatives to get a balanced view.) Consider what you would like for the future, pick three of four key things that are most important to you.
Ask yourself is divorce or separation is the only answer? Could you resolve your differences with help and support? Are you still in love?
People can stay in unhappy marriages for up to 6 years before ending it, that's a long time to be unhappy and keep things bottled up. There is no substitute for open communication. This is often a difficult area for couples and a key factor in relationship breakdown. Divorce is often hard too, and at times divorce can turn nasty. If communication is a challenge for you, try with small seemingly insignificant things, like sharing a load of dog walking or putting the bin out. Start practice respectful communication, voicing your needs or desires and asking for support to work on the problem together. Build the communication muscle first before tackling the big stuff.
If that's not an option or time isn't on your side, try alternatives to talking such as writing a letter or email. Start by explaining how it feels hard talking and, you've chosen to write it down instead. If talking okay but still feels awkward, it doesn't have to be face to face. Try a phone call or sitting back to back. You could talk and walk a different environment will help.
Whatever the outcome, staying in a relationship or moving on, getting a divorce or staying, communication is key to happy lie together or apart. Divorce can feel tough. It will change your family, not always for the worst depending on how things are handled. It is important to have support around you and get divorce help. As well as friends and family consider coaching, it will help you through this major life change. Listen to our podcast Geordie Lass and Doc Sass, where we discuss this very question podcast.
I know how challenging relationships can be and how exhausting it is when things don't feel right. It is emotionally draining and you can feel so alone. Don't suffer, if you need support make the first step, and start today, with a no obligation chat. I'm sure you feel better once you say things out loud.
Don't forget to tune into the weekly Podcast Geordie Lass and Doc Sass for all your relationship hot topics and questions, on all major platforms.