As we write this article we are getting ready to close the office for Christmas. When we re-open on the 29th December many people will have indulged in the divorce fantasy.
It will have been the first time for some. For others it will be a regular occurrence. But what is the divorce fantasy, what does it mean and what should you do about it?
What is the divorce fantasy?
The divorce fantasy is the idea that forms in your mind that everything would be better – or at the very least, easier – if you were divorced.
Perhaps pressure is escalating within your relationship, particularly over the Christmas period. Maybe your partner’s less attractive qualities have become more pronounced over the festivities – drinking, rudeness, aggression, selfishness.
For some couples they will look at their finances during the day and after and regret the extra debt they have taken on.
The divorce fantasy whispers “I’d be better off on my own.”
Sometimes it comes on slowly; a nagging unrest met with your attempts to silence the inner doubts. Sometimes it comes on in a crashing crescendo, startling and undeniable in its clarity. It might last a few seconds or many hours passing into days.
Many will have felt it and many of those people were and remain happily married.
Many people will have been wrestling with their divorce fantasies for many months and even years, so what might the divorce fantasy mean?
What does the divorce fantasy mean?
For those who are deeply committed to their relationship, the divorce fantasy can be genuinely alarming.
“Why am I thinking these things? Does this mean that we are over? Is divorce inevitable?”
We suggest that is far from the case.
The divorce fantasy might be a fleeting reaction to a short-term stress issue. It is normal when we are faced with pressure and discomfort to imagine our lives without those challenges.
The divorce fantasy perhaps attributes the challenges we are facing in those moments onto your spouse or partner. It is for this reason that care needs to be taken when we become aware of the divorce fantasy kicking in; we’ll discuss this more below.
Where the fantasy is a constant companion then it is probably an indication that something much more deeply rooted is at issue and it is here where you should seriously consider getting advice.
What should I do?
If you have had a flash of the divorce fantasy do not be overly alarmed. It might be good to recognise it for what it is. Acknowledge it, privately. There is probably no need even to share it with your partner at this stage. The “Do you know what I was thinking about last night…” conversation can be fraught with the potential for misunderstanding
Instead ask yourself whether the seduction within the fantasy – that life would be better without your partner – is accurate or not.
Consider these questions
- Would life really be better? If so in what ways?
- Assume that there would be things that you would miss. Challenge yourself to come up with 3-5 such things.
- Who else would be affected?
- What steps would you have to take not only to separate and divorce but to shape a new life afterwards.
- What might be the particular stress points in your life at the moment that this divorce fantasy could be a response to. Would divorce or separation really change those aspects? Would I be out of debt/happier/less lonely if we were divorced?
Be slow to assume that divorce is the way forward.
If the ideas keep on recurring then get advice.
Do not be anxious about meeting with counsellors or therapists. Doing so can give you the space and time to fully explore your feelings, motivations and concerns. That, in turn, can help you to build strategies to move forward.
Couples counselling still gets a fairly bad reputation but we think there is a good explanation for that; we tend to only hear from the couples who tried counselling and it didn’t work. The couples who tried it and it did work just get back to getting on with their life together. They tend not to talk to others about the challenges they faced.
And do get legal advice, as early as possible.
You do not want to be making decisions at this stage without knowing what the important issues and, in some situations, what steps you should be taking immediately, to protect your position.
If you have been experiencing the divorce fantasy, don’t panic. It does not necessarily mean your marriage has ended.
If the thoughts are more than fleeting indulgences, however, then you should take them more seriously. They are telling you that something is not working.
Take advice and find out what services are available and also what steps you need to take to protect your position if there is going to be a separation.
We can help you
Here at Diane Genders, specialist family solicitors in Lincoln, we can help you to make sense of the steps that lie ahead for you.
We can introduce you to excellent counsellors and therapists if you would like and we can make sure that your best interests, and those of any children you have, are protected and met.
If you, or someone you know, is thinking about divorce or separation get in touch on 01522 516500 or email, in confidence by clicking here
We will have experienced divorce lawyers in the office between Christmas and the New Year so you don’t need to wait if to get your questions answered.
In the meantime may we take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a peaceful, happy and prosperous 2016.