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Should You Escape Your Marriage?

Should You Escape Your Marriage?

One of my dear blogging friends is Lisa Thomson, who blogs about life after having left her  marriage. Lisa has guided thousands of women who have made the difficult decision of leaving their marriages. She left one herself and not only survived it, but is thriving after having left it.

Are you stuck in a marriage that you’re not sure about anymore? Should you stay or leave your marriage? What can you expect when you do leave your marriage?

Although Lisa’s first book published in 2012, answers many of these questions, she now has a new book out. Well, it’s not so much a book as a divorce manifesto. A Divorce Companion: The Best of the Great Escape Blog will guide you through the ups and downs of divorce. Lisa prepares you to deal with the psychological, financial, legal and parenting aspects of divorce in her new book which is a compilation of some of her best blog posts.

I chatted with Lisa recently and asked her some of the most pressing questions I had about leaving a marriage. If you enjoy the interview and are considering a divorce, pick up Lisa’s book today here.

Ok, Lisa, a few questions for you.

Thank you Vishnu, for hosting and interviewing me here at your wonderful blog!

What led you to leave your marriage?

Well, I guess you won’t be surprised when I say it was multiple things rather than one event. It was many small and big things over many years that ultimately led to the demise of my marriage. I finally accepted my unhappiness at the core of my being and gave myself permission to accept that life wasn’t turning out the way I expected. I faced the fact that it had to change. I realized too that ending a marriage, knowing what we need in our life to live authentically, is a very personal matter.

What factors should women consider before leaving a marriage?

There are many and here I will list in order of importance;

Children-your children will always be your #1 concern so, ensuring they understand what’s happening, that they are comfortable and well cared for is priority. Keep the communication open and ongoing, too. Often couples forget to talk about things after the big announcement. That is wrong—keep the conversation going and be as honest as possible while reminding them that their only job is to ‘be a kid’.

Finances-determine accounts, credit card debts, loans outstanding and actual income as a couple. Also, get your own credit card and bank account as soon as possible. If you’ve been a stay at home mom, without an income, it is reasonable to take some money from the joint account and put it into your new account.

Living arrangements/logistics-who will move out and will you sell or keep the matrimonial home? These are questions that don’t have to be answered immediately however, you should begin to think about and discuss together.

Child custody- Will you both co-parent? This is the most popular child custody arrangement and works well for the children if you are on good terms and there is no abusive patterns. Best to discuss this together and independently with lawyers. Take into consideration your special requirements and circumstances.

Division of assets-begin discussing a fair division of assets. Knowing what your assets and liabilities are as a couple and agreeing on these can make a world of difference in creating an amicable divorce.

Make all agreements binding-if you are lucky enough to agree with your soon to be ex (STBX) on important issues listed here, then make sure you have ‘consent orders’ that are written by lawyers and signed by all parties.

Family therapy-consider attending counseling as a divorcing couple. This is not something we did but I can see how it would help. Just because you’re divorcing doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to work together cooperatively (with the children and other divorce related issues).

Finally, family and friends-try not to neglect your relationships with extended family and keep them in the loop in so far as the child custody is concerned as well as living arrangements.

What was the most difficult part of leaving your marriage?

Hands down, the hardest thing about leaving my marriage was having less time with my children. It was emotionally wrenching initially. I was a full time stay at home mom (SAHM) at the time and raising them was my job from infancy. My ex-husband was a business traveler and not at home as much. I can say though, that in time, the pain and feeling of loss went away and was replaced with more gratitude for the time I do have with my children.

How do you adapt to life after separation and divorce?

Slowly LOL. It really is a personal process. One thing I can say is, I don’t know one divorced woman who hasn’t found happiness after a period of adjustment. It is hard. I won’t lie about that. It is also rewarding and a growing experience. It’s worth every tear.

What would you tell others about parenting after a divorce?

This is also a transitional period. You have to learn to parent more sensitively. Keep the communication open and don’t shut down your child’s sadness. Let them cry. Let them show you how much it hurts that mom and dad are split apart and everything is changing. Honoring your child’s feelings is one of the most validating things you can do for them as a parent. It was one of the hardest things for me to learn because every time they showed me anger or tears my guilt shot up and all I wanted to do was fix it. We can’t fix it, we can only make it easier for them.

What is your message in your latest book to women who are considering leaving and filing a divorce?

My latest book’s message overall is to embrace your individual strength as a woman. You can get through it but be prepared for frustration and anger to rear up while at the same time, finding the most joy you’ve experienced in years. It’s a real mixed bag. My book certainly covers many topics from Narcissism, financial budgeting,  re-setting your career path to dealing with anger, and letting go. It’s designed to provide companionship and practical tips to those suffering right now.

What would you advise someone who is torn between staying and leaving?

This is always a tough one. It is the hardest part, the ‘thinking about it’ stage. I advise all women the same thing at this stage; do what is best for you and your family. It’s a personal decision. No one can tell another person when to end their marriage (barring obvious situations where a person is being abused physically, mentally or is in a life threatening relationship).

I advise to read, write and really be honest with yourself at this stage. Stop the denial. Make lists. Pros and cons, list unhappy events no matter how small. Life is made up of a million small things so if those are the unhappy events, well what does that say about your life? This is a decision that is not done over night and will take some introspection.

Where can people pick up your latest book?

It’s available now on Amazon. It’s designed to provide that companionship one needs during divorce and can only find through someone who’s been there. The variety and depth of topics act as a self help tool providing much needed tips and simple solutions to common divorce problems.

Lisa Thomson has gone through a unique divorce and faced unusual challenges. A mom, a writer and an interior decorator, Lisa also loves to draw and paint. “My passion is to encourage women going through divorce. It doesn’t have to be “the end” but rather, a new “beginning.” You can find her latest book on Amazon here and in Canada, here. She blogs at www.lisathomsonlive.com and active on Twitter and Facebook.

Should You Stay Or Should You Go? 5 Signs on When to Leave a Bad Marriage

Should You Stay Or Should You Go? 5 Signs on When to Leave a Bad Marriage

stay or go

Not all of us get to choose when we leave a marriage.

Sometimes, our spouses make the decision for us with a gentle nudge or by packing up all their belongings and moving out. Or if you come home and find the locks changed and a stack of suitcases with your clothing sitting in front of the garage, you’re right to believe that a divorce is coming!

Yet, often in relationships, one spouse or the other has to make the first move to leave the marriage.

How do you know when you should stay and when you should leave?

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that you’ve spoken to your astrologer, checked in with your lucky tarot deck and are mentally at your wit’s end. You literally can’t take another day with this intolerable person but you’re still not sure if leaving makes sense or not.

On one hand, you know you’ll find peace, sanity and joy by leaving.

On the other hand, you think you’ll ruin your kids’ life, disappoint everyone who loves you and fear living alone the rest of your life.

So, what do you?

In my friend Lisa Thomson’s new book, A Divorce Companion, she asks and answers this question about when to leave a marriage.

It’s one of the most common questions she gets from the readers of her blog.  In general, she believes the answer is different for each person because everyone has a unique circumstance and relationship.

But if you’re thinking about leaving your marriage, Lisa suggests these 5 signs to watch out for:

1. Your spouse is emotionally, verbally or physically abusive.

Lisa says that it may be abusive in even the slightest of ways but if you’re in an abusive relationship, the abuse is likely overt, destructive and unbearable.

2. You’ve tried marriage counseling and it hasn’t change anything.

Personally, I don’t think too much of marital counseling, as it may be way too late when you get there. In my personal experience, I found that counseling just made things worse. Our faults and dysfunction were amplified and more public with our therapist.

3. You are last on his list.

Hmmmmm, I would say this is definitely a sign. You may not be last on his list but you’re definitely not his priority. When you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, you don’t value or appreciate each other.

4. Your sex life is non-existent.

I’ll let this one speak for itself.

5. He doesn’t consult with you before making important decisions

You’re left in the dark on important decisions about parenting or finances. He might make unilateral decisions for both of you and not consult you on major decisions that affect both of you.

Lisa thinks it’s our inability to accept the truth that ultimately keeps us from moving forward and leaving our marriages.

“The truth can be easily justified with excuses,” she writes. “The truth can be replaced with false hope – hope for an improved tomorrow that never comes.”

Instead of accepting the truth and doing what is necessary, you make up excuses and justifications to stay in a marriage that kills both of you. You hold onto false hope and promises of a better day simply to avoid the pain and suffering that divorce brings with it.

Will you continue to accept a troubled marriage without taking any action about it?

Will you live a life that’s filled with false hope for a person you should have left long ago? Realizing you’re in a bad place and accepting that there may be no chance for improvement is a good first step, Lisa reminds us.

Rooting in your truth and accepting the circumstances as they are will give you more clarity and courage to do what’s necessary.

You could lie to yourself and live small while suffering through an intolerable marriage.

Or you could check in with the many external and internal signs about what’s going on in your life and practice acceptance. Not acceptance so you can get a divorce but acceptance so you can live your truth.

Living truthfully will give you clarity.

Clarity will help you guide your future decisions and actions.

If you’re looking for clarity in all aspects of your divorce, from when to get a divorce to how to get over your divorce, then Lisa’s latest book is for you. It will give you much needed hand-holding and guidance to make good decisions during a difficult time.

Pick up A Divorce Companion today on Amazon here.

Lisa Thomson is a Canadian blogger, writer and author. You can find her blog on leaving a marriage, dating and parenting here: http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/

* Photo credit Unsplash