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5 Steps For Leaving Your Spouse

Naturally, when we get married we often say “Divorce is not an option!”, and I always loved those memes floating around on the internet “I want my first marriage to be my only marriage!” The truth is though, divorce actually is an option. It will always be an option, as it is legal to do so. Even if it wasn’t legal, know that some have been driven so far as to still leave their spouses- even if it meant being stoned to death!

Divorce doesn’t just happen, often times it is years in the making;  a build up before the “I do” was ever uttered. Marriage is definitely hard. I would say from my experience, divorce was harder. This blog is over advice given on how to leave your spouse first that may prevent the divorce.

Some people are just really great at hiding their major flaws, and there is always the classic excuse of “You can’t help who you fall in love with!”… So without further ado, for those that married their kryptonite, here are 5 Steps for leaving your spouse that may prevent the divorce (*note that I did not say 5 easy steps, because rarely in life anything worth keeping ever ends up being easy!):

Step 1.
Acknowledge the problem, find out exactly what the root of the issue is that brought you to the stage of “I want a divorce”, and then confront your spouse in the most gentle way possible. If needed (especially if Abuse is the issue!), confront your spouse with a counselor. Watch out for the blame game and be sure that your approach is gentle and not accusatory. Statements like “I feel like your ____ (insert issue, ie drinking) is hurting our relationship, and I was hoping you would quit ____ (insert issue) so that our marriage can begin healing.” Then add the boundary, “I need for this lifestyle change to take place for the sake of our relationship. If this does not stop, I will have to leave for a week so that we can establish healthy boundaries.”

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 2.
If the spouses typical answers occur a. or b. (IE the lifestyle change does not cease) then you must stick to the consequence you ascribed in Step 1. Leave for a week. Stay with an understanding family member or friend. Explain to your spouse that you must establish healthy boundaries, and in order to maintain your relationship they must quit (insert issue).

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 3.
If the spouses typical answer a. occurs – you will not want to return to the marriage OR If the spouses typical answer b. occurs  (so you have returned after being gone for a week. Everything seems to be going great. Then the issue returns – as it often does, because lifestyle changes are hard!)  ->  You will want to explain that you will continue to stay away now for an additional month.
– AND with a. or b.: Now you should leave for a month. Stay with an understanding family member or friend.

Spouses typical answers:
a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t)
b. Okay I will stop (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 4.
If the spouses typical answer a. occurs – you will not want to return to the marriage OR If the spouses typical answer b. occurs -> You will want to explain that you will continue to stay away now for an additional 6 months. And require them to see counseling and/or attend classes like AA (you may even want to begin counseling yourself, especially if you’ve made it to step 4!)

Spouses typical answers:

a. Okay I will stop (but doesn’t), and doesn’t attend counseling.
b. Okay I will stop, attends counseling (stops for awhile, and then starts up again)
c. Spouse quits lifestyle issue permanently (You have successfully “left” your spouse, now your marriage can begin healing)

Step 5.
If you have made it to step 5, you would continue with Step 4 on repeat, but adding additional weeks, months, and years to the time frame, for as long as you are willing to stay committed to the failing/hurting/broken marriage.

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*Understanding that lifestyle changes are hard to make and harder to stick to, and also knowing that at any time divorce is an option. If you start step 1 of this advice, I recommend seeking counseling immediately alone and together (whether it’s your Pastor or other Professional counselor). Surround yourself with understanding and loving family and friends, who will both encourage you in your marriage but also in safety and health.

*This does not guarantee your marriage will be saved, but it is at least a last resort before the divorce is final.

*And if you feel your in danger – get out! and get professional counseling!

With a quick side note to this blog: This is not really advice to be taken because your partner is always leaving the toilet seat up or even the “we argue all the time” issue (although if you find it useful, to each their own) but more along the lines of advice to be taken when your partner has a lifestyle choice you realized you can’t live with (if you are NOT married yet, as mentioned in the “9 things…” blog #1,  If you have problems with their behavior now, it’s not going away when you get married. Not right away, maybe not in ten years, maybe not for the entire duration of your marriage/life – so make sure it’s something you can live with or it will be something you divorce over).

The lifestyle choices I am referring to here fall under the three A’s (alcohol, adultery, and abuse). I would like to define those three A’s a little further. A for Alcohol could really be any addiction (ie alcohol, drugs, pornography),  Abuse can be verbal or physical, and Adultery is adultery is adultery; if you feel betrayed by your spouses missing commitment to their vows to love you and only you – you could probably throw this under adultery. When it boils down to it, the issues in marriage that often lead to a divorce aren’t black or white – but making the decision to “leave” your spouse has to be something where your at the stage of “Divorce is your only option if they don’t change” but you are willing/hopeful that they will choose change over divorce.

(They may not choose change over divorce…)

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

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9 things you may want to know before you get married.

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Big Gig Photography MM#656416

Married at 20 and Divorced at 24…
Here are 9 things you may want to know before you get married that may save you from a divorce.

1. If you have problems with their behavior now, it’s not going away when you get married. Not right away, maybe not in ten years, maybe not for the entire duration of your marriage/life – so make sure it’s something you can live with or it will be something you divorce over.

2. Marriage is Hard.  Divorce is Harder.

3. Make goals together and more importantly make a goal for your marriage. “This is/these are what our marriage is about…”

4. If they are a drunk/addicted to drugs now don’t marry them. (If you made the mistake of marrying them, then leave them – at the very least until they’ve been sober as many years as they’ve been drunk).

5. You will get used to their quirks (like leaving the toilet seat up, throwing their clothes on the floor, leaving dishes in the sink) but if you don’t communicate about how much it bothers you as each item comes up you WILL blow up and your conversation will sound much like “TOILET SEAT’S CLOTHES IN THE SINK HATE YOU!!!” And it’s harder to recover from that than the occasional ‘nag’ of “I feel like the house is getting cluttered and I need some help keeping up with the chores” (bonus: “let’s tackle this together, when is a good time for us to do together?” )

6. Don’t go to bed angry. Unless they are drunk and that upsets you; Then go to bed angry in a different area of the house or stay with a good friend so when they wake up and you aren’t there they know a “we need to talk” is coming. And then calmly talk about it, and make a plan for a change.

7. Talk. Ask each other questions. (You’ll never know everything) ….. 8. And more importantly Listen. (If you don’t make a habit of 7-8 with your spouse, someone else will and they will more than likely leave you for them.)

9. Also – have sex. (um… for clarification – I mean with each other) All the time. Even when you are angry, tired, or “not in the mood” because at some point you’ll go months being angry, tired, or not in the mood.

Divorce is hard.

Did you read my blog Marriage is Hard (or a blog/book out there much similar to it)… and got married anyways? If you’re reading this blog, it might be because at some point in your life you were looking at who you thought was your soul mate; Your one true wonder.  Now, however, you find yourself at a crossroad, looking at a stranger; Maybe even a monster.

I am not here to encourage you to get a divorce, nor to persuade you to stay married. If Marriage is hard, Divorce is harder. Your reason for pursuing divorce is your’s, and your’s alone.

What I am NOT here to do is judge you; heck – I am in the same boat as you. And although this sinking boat seems like quite the failure and recovery nearly impossible (and drowning very likely) – I do know, whether this divorce was in or out of God’s plans, that God has a plan.
(*Edit: Do not fret so much on whether it’s in or out of God’s plans. You don’t know God’s plans for your life, your neighbor doesn’t know, your pastor doesn’t know, your sister-in-law doesn’t know…. If God can use a murderer to do His work, He surely can use a divorcee too)

Hitting rock bottom and chilling with Davy Jones is apart of life. God may throw down a life vest, and pull you to safety. He may also give you the resources to breath underwater, and witness to mermaids.

Myke Warthen MM#1193926

Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometime he lets the storm rage and calms His child.

What I am here to do is tell you “It’s going to be okay“. It’s not going to be okay right away. It might feel like it’s okay right away, but it’s not. The recovery time after a divorce is estimated statistically at two years; that’s a lot of anger, mourning, relief, crying, joy, sadness, bitterness, drinking and growing… 

Just know that every choice you make is yours to make, and although you are free to make all choices – you are not free from the consequences of the choices you make. Whatever those may be. The good, the bad, and the ugly (one night stands).

Life is full of ups and downs. Mountains and valleys. Marriages and divorces. Try to keep your head high and look for the brightness in the next day. Keep in mind, too, that if you feel like crying and watching re-runs of your favorite TV show or drinking a little and ripping up your old wedding album – It’s okay. 

It’s going to be okay.

The Pursuit of Happiness.

Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

As I am sitting here, drinking my coffee, I find myself reminiscing. Just thinking about life. My life. Looking back five years ago, three years ago, even last year – where I am, what I am doing today – this is not where I had imagined myself at. If you told me a year ago that this is where I would be, living at home with my mother, and that I would be happy about it – I would have laughed at you. I would have gone as far as to call you crazy. “My mom lives in Ohio. I am never going back to Ohio. Have you lost your mind?”

I know what happiness feels like. It feels like wanting to be awake. It feels free, lifted of any burden. It is the feeling of contentment AND the motivation to change.

A short five years ago… I was at a strange time in my life. I was selfish and self-seeking. A huge part of me still is selfish and self-seeking. If you asked me five years ago what was important to me, I would have answered very different from what I would tell you today. My priorities included money and myself. Not family and friends, certainly not God. As far as I was concerned then, there was no God.

However, I was hungry for something more. An adventure, and an adventure I would most unquestionably get.

It was around December 2008 that I had decided I needed to move to Florida. I had no family or friends in Florida (yet), but doggone it, that’s where I needed to be. Lucky for me, a photographer I had worked with in Toledo, Ohio knew a friend in Destin, Florida who needed a roommate. It was a ways off from my original plan of Miami, but Florida is Florida is Florida – and that’s where I was going to be!

Four years ago today I was still in Ohio, my car had broken down and drained all the money I had saved to move to Florida – it looked hopeless (as it should be very obvious to you now, nothing stops me from getting what I want – not even money or the lack thereof). I just didn’t believe I was going to make it out of Ohio alive. Then it dawned on me, the love of money controls everything. This love for money controls your thoughts and actions. It caused fear and uncertainty. Doubt. If there is one thing life has taught me, it is that I have no time for doubt.

A second thing life has taught me? That I have no time for bull sh*t.

So the next month I hopped in my car, let my boss know I was taking a week vacation to Florida (which required me to put everything I owned and could possibly fit into my car…) and I made the drive. The photographer’s friend still needed a roommate, and I conveniently needed a place to stay. Just for a week, right? While I was here on my week vacation, it occurred to me that I would also need a job, wouldn’t I? Seeing how unemployment was at an all time high, I was shocked to be hired at the first place I applied.

At this moment, I realized – I should probably let my boyfriend and work know that I am not coming back.

Three years ago from today, I was very far from where I started this post and equally far from where I am going to end it.  I was unhappy and married. Not necessarily unhappily married, just married and unhappy – and the two may or may not go hand in hand.

That’s probably an exact thought I had three years ago from today.

I was getting  ready to go to my morning serving job and then preparing my other uniform for my night serving job. Work. That is what my year consisted of. Work and sleep. It was then that I found out how happy you could be while you were dreaming, and how angry you could be when someone woke you up.

Shortly after, I had an epiphany –  you didn’t have to be asleep to dream.

2011

Two years ago I was training to run my first 5k. I hate running. I hate exercising in general. I ran most of the 5k, and walked the last bit. Let me assure you, this was an accomplishment. Not necessarily one I was proud of. Yet, an accomplishment still the same.

However, it was just like the year before, filled with the never ending excitement of sleep. At this moment it was impossible not to have imagined a rejected future, but also I imagined a life of many countries, of vast and enduring adventure, of walking, riding, and driving in foreign places.

July2012

Just one year ago from today – more recent, yet still just as unreachable as any other event in the past; I was getting ready to go into Carrabba’s for work. I was sure to work as many hours in the night as I could, and sleep the rest of the day away. I would find myself sleeping until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I was most certainly depressed. Some people turn to alcohol, drugs, television, or other addictive behaviors to tune out the reality of life; I sleep.

I sleep, because in my dreams I am able to make up a reality much more suited to my overactive imagination and vain ambition.

It was this summer that I planned out what was to be the most epic road trip of all time. My plans were a facade (a word with which I know the meaning, but butcher the pronunciation of every time). Planning was the dreaming  I could do while I was awake, at least until I could escape to the solace of my bed. It was everything I talked about, wrote about, and thought about. “The Trip.” It was going to take me away from whatever nightmare I felt I was living through, and it was going to be memorable.

The trip was most certainly memorable, but I learned the nightmare wasn’t one you could escape simply by waking up.

Then there is today. July 20, 2013. Had you told me last year that a year from now I would be living with my mother, and I would be happy, you would have been right. However, Ohio would no longer be her home anymore either.  The place I am at now is happier than I could have imagined for myself in the buried chaos of the last five years.

What I find even more crazy is that a year from now a stranger will pull this blog up, read this post, and then think to themselves what an odd person wrote this blog – and then that stranger may realize that they were indeed the author of this blog, just a very different version of themselves.

It seems that every day that passes nothing appears to change; yet looking back, nothing is the same.

me

Trying to recollect the steps down memory lane,

wondering if my futile attempts are in vain.

One would think,

without ink. 

The past would remain,

to drive one insane.

Was it this way or that?

Changing by the tip of a hat.

Within a moment of time,

one would look at a line.

Forever lost,

within a rhyme.

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