Ending a marriage is rarely pleasant, but sometimes it’s unavoidable (here are 6 times when divorce really is the best answer). Every rocky relationship can’t be repaired—and even relationship experts aren’t divorce-proof. These pros share what they learned from divorce, how that first-hand experience shaped the way they guide their clients, and what they’ll do differently the next time around.
It’s okay to seek help.
“Divorce sometimes seems easier than fixing your marriage, but it’s usually not. When my [second] husband and I were about to get married, we were both nervous because of past failures. So we made a deal: If we can’t solve a problem within 3 days, we’d go for a therapy session. We had several sessions in the first couple of years, which helped us see the issues more objectively. We haven’t had to go back in 25 years.” (If you’d rather not go that route, here are 6 alternatives to couples therapy that can save your marriage.)
—Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in Southern California and author ofHow to be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together
Don’t settle for “good enough.”
“I learned that I had become a person who was unwilling to settle for a half life. My marriage was good, but not great. Comfort and security stopped working for me—I needed to feel every ounce of myself again, and going through my divorce was the only way that could happen. The most important question I ask my clients considering divorce is: ‘Do you want to bet on certainty or possibility?’ For some people, the thought of starting over is too daunting, and they decide they’d rather live with the certainty of some disappointment in their life than take a chance that they might find something better. Personally, I almost always lean toward possibility.”
—Holly Richmond, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist and AASECT certified sex therapist in Southern California
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