There you are each day, unhappily married.
It’s to a point in which the people that love you including your kids, (if you’ve got them) don’t remember a time in which you were happy. And if they do, it was in a galaxy far, far away.
The unhappy you. The depressed you. The quietly miserable you is the one people get to deal with, day in and day out.
Every day people ask when or if you’re going to divorce finally and you say the same thing:
“I’m working on it.”
And while you’re “working on it,” which is really just a BS excuse covering the fact that you’re doing nothing but panicking over how and when to make the decision, your life is passing you by.
Days, weeks, months and maybe even years go by…in which you spend such little time happy. At this point, you’re used to it.
As unhappy as you are, you are comfortable. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, you tell people.
You make excuses and say it’s easier this way. You say you don’t have the money. You say you’ll do it when this happens…or that kid gets older…or you finish paying that bill or this bill.
There is always something that is keeping you from ending your dead decaying marriage, but while you delay, the smell and rot from that decaying marriage is growing stronger and bigger.
The space between the two of you is getting so big, you could place another galaxy in-between you both, and there would still be plenty of room between the two of you.
The bickering or the intensity or the distance between the two of you are so bad, it impacts everyone from your families to your friends.
Honestly, from the outside in, it’s hell to watch. It’s like watching an impending car crash and knowing the end result, but not being able to stop it.
So how do you finally cut off the dead marriage and start over? How do you stop ignoring the elephant in the room and start calling it quits?
Here’s how to do it. For good.
1) Call A Mediator & A Lawyer & Make That Appointment, Stat!
Unless you think it’s going to be a damn nightmare, call the mediator first and make the appointment. Tell your spouse you’re doing it and he or she needs to show up. If your spouse doesn’t, you’ll have to file on your own.
What’s the lawyer for? The lawyer will review your divorce agreement that hopefully, you’ll make with the mediator and your spouse.
Just make the appointment and find out what you’re in for. Stop wondering or agonizing over what might happen, and start doing the work to end this hell.
2) See A Therapist & Man Up Your Life
See a therapist. Walk through the guilt, anger, fear, and sadness with this person. It will help you come out stronger on the other side.
You’ll be glad you did this. If you’re a man, please, stop being macho. This is the millennium. You need help and that’s ok. It doesn’t make you a weak man, it makes you a smart and evolved man to get help.
As far as “manning” up your life, you need to create a support network that will hold you to this. That will remind you that even if it sucks today, it won’t suck tomorrow. A group of people who will cheerlead you on and help you. People who will help you move if you’re leaving your marital home. People who might help babysit your kids if you’re about to become a single parent. Make your tribe.
3) Divorce Yourself Quickly From Objects & Money
You’re about to lose money, most likely, as well as “things.”
You can’t die with your money or your things, but you will die with your memories and your legacy in the world. Get used to the idea that your life is going to be different and that’s ok, as long as you’re happy.
Meditate. Read Buddhist philosophy. Go to church or synagogue. Volunteer. Pray. Whatever it takes to remind you of what’s really important in life. And I’ll tell you what: it isn’t your home, your money or your marital possessions. It’s not.
4) Get Separate Living Quarters
This is difficult for some people financially. So, I understand for some of you it may not be a reality but if you can, get out…at least one of you should. Start living separately. Start sharing custody if you’ve worked out something with the mediator or even temporarily. Start dealing with the discomfort and changes. It will suck at first but like everything else, it will get better! Living separately really helps you both be ready to sign the papers and move on. Sitting around unhappy together is good for no one, and no, it’s not good for the kids either. The unhappier you are, the harder it is for the kids to deal with. The kids have to sit around deciphering in their minds, “Why is daddy and mommy unhappy? Is it my fault?”
They’ll blame themselves for your marital misery. Do you want that?
5) Make Peace With The Fact That You Are Facing The Unknown
What will happen now? Who knows? No one knows. There is no crystal ball to shake to get the “magical” answers to your life issues.
You can, however, accept that you have no idea what is coming next. That’s fine. When you were married, stuff could have happened unexpectedly as well, too.
You don’t know what will happen but you know what? What might happen could be damn wonderful. It could be one million times better than the life you have now! And also, there is one thing you know that won’t happen again: you won’t be miserable married.
The bottom line? You can’t control everything.
The one real way to get rid of your dead and rotten marriage is to tell yourself that you deserve better, today. Not two years from now when all the planets align. Not two weeks from now when you get X paycheck because I promise you, there will always be money trouble.
The time is now to be happy. Today. This instant. Beyond everything I wrote decide that today, you deserve better and that go for it!
The devil you know may be familiar, but the devil you don’t might not even be devilish at all. Life might actually be everything you ever wanted and more if only you find the courage today, to move on.
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is frommtvtomommy.com.