It may not be particularly helpful or constructive advice but you will know when it’s time to end your marriage. Something will happen and it may not be significant to anyone else but to you it’s a sign. It says, “I’m done.”
My current guest, Lois Tarter had been married for about 25 years when she got divorced. Her marriage ended gradually and it took Lois sometime before she knew what she wanted to do. And then she had her catalytic moment. Here’s Lois:
I kept saying, “I don’t know what to do. What should I do? Should I? Shouldn’t I?” She had been divorced and she said, “You’ll know.”
And I said, “How will I know? What’s the magic bullet? Is there a sign coming out of the sky that’s going to say that the time is right or what?”
And she said, “No, Lois. You cross a line and once you’ve crossed it, unless you really want to go back and you really want to make it work and it becomes all-consuming, you’ve crossed the line and that’s it, you’re done.”
It did and it was a really stupid thing that happened. My husband had moved back east and I had moved into a condominium complex and I was taking out the trash, because it was trash day and on the driveway I slipped and the bag fell and broke all over the place.
I’m sitting on this mat crying and saying, “Oh this is so stupid? What are you doing? You shouldn’t be getting divorced. This is stupid, stupid, stupid and what are you doing and why are you doing it?”
All of a sudden this little thought entered my head that said, “Yeah, but if you were still together, you’d still be taking out the trash and there would be twice as much,” And I thought, “Yeah,” and that was it. It was like, “That’s it.” Obviously, I was looking for something and that was the sign.
Certainly the trash falling on the ground was not that big of a deal, but it was just like, “But you’d still have to do it and there would be twice a much.” It’s a tacky thing to think about, but that was the catalytic moment.
As unsettling and disturbing as it is, I think a period of indecision is healthy. Deciding to end your marriage should not be a snap decision, it needs to be a considered, intentional decision made after weighing all the options. Being unsure of where you’re headed is natural. The challenge of course, is accepting that uncertainty and resisting the urge to make a final decision just because of the pressure of the uncertainty. Take a step back, take a deep breath, wait for your moment.
Check out my Catalytic Moments category for more “the moment I knew my marriage was over… ” stories.
Don’t forget, I’m running a giveaway for a copy of Lois’s book, The Divorce Ritual. You just have to be a subscriber to be entered (see giveaway rules here) so if you’re not a subscriber, you can subscribe here:
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