Every Top 10 list of life's biggest stressors includes it. And it's usually right at the top, right below the biggest one of all, death of a loved one. So if you're a woman facing this life altering process, it's certainly understandable that you would be looking for some specific divorce help for women.
As a marriage counselor it's not my goal for couples to call it quits. I want to help people fix their relationships and make things work, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. So unfortunately I do divorce counseling too. I've found that one of the most common forms of divorce help women need is getting the courage to take the risk of living without their husband.
People who are facing the possibility of divorce typically either feel one of two ways about splitting up from their spouse -- they clearly want it or they don't. There usually isn't any middle ground. Sometimes women want to be apart from their husband, but in my experience a majority of times they don't want to split. Most people in troubled marriages will agree that change needs to happen, but they can disagree widely about how to go about making that change happen.
Divorce Help Is About Accepting Risk
Ending a marriage forces you to take risks -- the risk of what your new life will be like, what living on your own will be like, what not having a partner will be like. I wrote the following post on our social media pages about taking risks and accepting the risks is one of the biggest areas of help divorcing women need.
I've worked with so many women who've felt stuck and were afraid to lose their husband and marriage. Financial dependence is one of the most frequent reasons for feeling trapped, but that's becoming less of a reason for women not wanting to get divorced. More often women just don't want to give up on the relationship, lose the life that they've built together with their husband, or have to start over. Sadly, in my experience, more men are willing to do those things.
Divorce is an ugly, painful, destructive process. But unfortunately, if you want your life to change, sometimes the only way to get that to happen is to be willing to risk leaving your relationship behind and moving on. And I've counseled many women who got divorce help and found a better life on the other side.
Women Who Needed Divorce Help
Here are some women whom I'm counseling right now:
- Erin's husband moved out on her unexpectedly. He cut off all communication and told her he wanted a divorce. They've had issues in the past, but nothing in her mind that would justify ending the relationship over, certainly not without trying to fix it first. Erin doesn't want a divorce, but it's being forced upon her. And she is struggling mightily to accept this reality that she did not choose.
- Bonnie is very unhappy in her marriage. Her husband quit attending our couples counseling and will do nothing to resolve his anger issues. She feels stuck. She wants things to change and to be happy, but doesn't want to get divorced and be alone either. She wrestles with having his companionship, even though it's not very good and very unpleasant at times, with her fear that she'll be alone for the rest of her life if she leaves him.
Here are the stories of a couple of women I helped through divorce:
- Sheila, like Erin, had her husband divorce her, and she did not want it either. Just like Erin she had no choice but to deal with what was forced upon her. What's been the hardest thing for her has been learning to be on her own again. No partner to share decision making with, no one to talk to when she goes home. Sheila has always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, but never dared to try while married because her husband repeatedly told her she had no talent. After the divorce she decided to begin taking lessons. She's done so well that just played in her second recital -- solo.
- Karen, like Bonnie, had to choose how to deal with an abusive husband who would not change. She did not want a divorce either, but found it to be her only option to get her life to change. After it was finally over, Karen decided to change careers and get a job that allowed her to travel -- and she loves it! In her 50s like Bonnie, she feared being alone the rest of her life too, but unexpectedly met somebody new and is now married again.
Sheila and Karen both say that they're lives are better now than before. This doesn't mean they're glad it happened or still don't wish sometimes it didn't happen, but rather that this bad event ended up bringing good into their lives too.
This article is not an endorsement for divorcing. There's no question that it brings a lot of bad with it and should be avoided if at all possible. But the divorce help women most often need is learning to believe that on the other side of their fears can be many new and wonderful possibilities that can only become possible when they take the risk to fly solo.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
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