You've probably heard the depressing statistics that 50% of marriages fail, but the truth is that divorce rates are falling, particularly among Millennials. Four decades of skyrocketing divorce rates have taught Americans that breaking free of a troubled marriage may not be all it's cracked up to be. Indeed, if you have children, you'll likely be stuck dealing with the same issues you once faced while married – but without the security that comes with a lifetime commitment. It's easy to convince yourself that divorce is the escape hatch to a better life, but more than half of divorced couples regret their decision. Here are five surefire signs that you're not yet ready to divorce.
You Want to Teach Your Spouse a Lesson
If you think filing for divorce will be a wake-up call that encourages your spouse to finally do right by you, think again. Filing for divorce will likely activate your spouse's defenses, and may even permanently destroy your marriage. Divorce is not a bargaining chip, and using it as such is almost guaranteed to backfire.
If you can't stand the thought of your ex being with another person, ask yourself whether you're really ready to get divorced. Divorce is not a way to resolve disputes; it's a permanent separation that requires you to fully let go of your spouse. If you're not prepared to do that, then you still love your spouse. And that means there's still hope for your marriage.
You Hope You'll Stay Friends
Sure, the prospect of completely losing touch with someone who's played such a valuable role in your life can feel scary. Divorce, though, means giving up control. If you're willing to do anything to stay in touch with your spouse, then put that energy toward saving your marriage instead. Once you're divorced, there are no guarantees that you'll stay in touch.
You're Planning a Big Fight
If you're planning to milk your spouse for every penny he or she has, ruin your spouse's relationship with your kids, or otherwise engage in a massive legal brawl, consider your motivations. Fighting from a place of vengeance not only wreaks havoc on your marriage; it will also exponentially increase your stress levels. If you want to wage war on your spouse, this signals that your connection and your emotions are still strong. Put that energy into saving your marriage and you'll be happier a year from now than you will be if you accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills trying to destroy your ex's life.
You Haven't worked On Your Marriage
If you're sick of being married, thought you'd have fewer conflicts, or have some other amorphous reason for divorcing, it's time to take a long, hard look at your motivations. Marriage takes work, to be sure, but that work pays off in the form of greater happiness and a lifelong connection. If you haven't spent some time in therapy, explored your own behavior, or dedicated yourself to better communication, you haven't given your marriage a chance to succeed.