By Susan Regan
A while back, I was interviewed about my methods when helping people contemplating Divorce. Here is an excerpt from that interview.
Many people who are considering divorce or separation have trouble making the decision. Maybe this is something you are going through right now. You may feel unhappy in your marriage, but afraid of the unknown – deciding to divorce can be scary. Perhaps the same questions keep going around and around in your head, and answers seem out of your reach. How can you figure out if divorce is the right decision for you?
We asked one of our Divorce With Dignity referral associates, Marriage & Family Therapist Susan Regan, MFT (www.susanregan.org), to give us some insight on this topic.
How do you help people to decide if divorce is the right decision for them?
I talk with them about the history of their relationship and find out where they are stuck. Then I educate them about the different processes the person who is initiating the idea of divorce goes through as opposed to the recipient. Initiators are often in a very different place than the recipients. By the time they have notified their partners that they are thinking about divorce, they have gone through some of the grieving already and may have “moved on” emotionally. Recipients, on the other hand, tend to cycle through rejection and hope. Sometimes initiators will be friendly to the recipients and try to help them out. This can give the recipient the false hope that they may be getting back together. Initiators often react to this by becoming angry and mean toward their spouses, which causes the recipients to feel rejection again, and everyone just gets stuck. I help people identify this emotional cycling and teach them how to get out of it by responding instead of reacting, and learning to take care of themselves.
How does “couples therapy” help people to sort out their options and decide whether to try to work things out or end the relationship?
Every relationship has its challenges, and all have the potential for healing to happen. Couples who address their problems early on can conquer them and heal by finding new ways of negotiating and finding harmony. But if they ignore their problems for years and years and then come to therapy for one last-ditch effort, it is sometimes too late. If they decide they can’t stay together anymore, then I can help them learn how to leave each other in the most emotionally effective way.
If the decision is to start the divorce process, what advice can you give the couple about doing so in a peaceful manner?
This is where I use Divorce With Dignity (findaprovider.dwdignity.com) a lot. Clients can work with one of their providers to figure out what issues they agree on and what still needs resolving. There is usually one thing they don’t agree on that is really symbolic of what the relationship meant to them. Having a Divorce With Dignity professional to talk to helps them negotiate the practical aspects of the divorce agreement in a peaceful and fair way.
If you have decided that divorce is the right decision for you, Divorce With Dignity (findaprovider.dwdignity.com) can offer you a safe place to talk about your unique divorce situation. We can help you achieve your divorce with the least amount of stress possible, while saving you a great deal of money over the litigation route. Let us help you get through this difficult time – with peace and dignity.