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Advice When You're Faced with the Divorce Decision
By Susie and Otto Collins

After Cheryl's husband Pete had an affair, she thought that she'd eventually be able to get over the shock, hurt and feeling betrayed.

This is her partner of over 20 years!

She and Pete talked, he agreed to end the affair and they planned to make significant changes in
their relationship in order to re-build trust.

That was 9 months ago and it seems to Cheryl that nothing has actually changed for the better between them. In fact, she's not even certain that he actually ended his affair.

After a betrayal of trust, such as infidelity, in a relationship, you might be wondering if you've had enough. Perhaps you've been unhappy with your spouse for quite awhile now.

Maybe the two of you argue frequently. Or maybe you don't argue, but there has been a distance and coldness between you for a long time.

Making the decision to end your marriage and get a divorce is one of the biggest you will probably make in your lifetime.

Even in cases where it is clear that breaking up is truly best for both of you, it still is not the easiest thing to do.

What is your bottom line?
We all have limits when it comes to what we will and will not tolerate. It can be the case that limiting ways of thinking can box us in and keep us stuck.

But other times, limits can serve as healthy boundaries. By honoring this type of limit, we remain true to our individual values.

Those limits-- what you are willing to tolerate-- probably have a bottom line. This is the proverbial line in the sand which you will not cross.

It's different for us all, but each and every one of us has a bottom line.

If you aren't clear about what your bottom line is, take some time to go within. You might write down on a piece of paper the qualities and aspects that are most important to you.

These could be called your values. We are not suggesting that certain values are good and others are bad.

This is an individual determination.

While you cannot determine another person's values-- not even those of your spouse-- you can make relationship and life choices that are
alignment with your values.

This often involve making agreements with your partner and setting boundaries when necessary.

Return to your list of values. Circle those that seem like a bottom line value to you. These are the things that you absolutely will not be flexible about.

Cheryl makes a list of her values. After this exercise, it's apparent that fidelity is a bottom line value for her.

She feels doubtful about Pete keeping his promise to end the affair and so her bottom line value seems to be in jeopardy.

As she writes down her values, Cheryl realizes that many of the other words she wrote on her list are not being honored right now.

By staying in this marriage, she is also not honoring her commitment to be in a trust-filled, mutually respecting relationship.

Cheryl is beginning to believe that ending her marriage is the only way she will be able to start lining up with her personal values again.

She plans to get more information to try to figure out if Pete is still cheating. And she also plans to obtain information about filing for a divorce.

What is your next step?
Just like Cheryl, by writing out what your personal values are-- especially your bottom line-- you might feel less conflicted or confused about whether or not you want to take steps toward a

And, even if you make the decision to end your marriage as Cheryl did, you don't necessarily need to run out, find an attorney and file for divorce immediately.

You can take this process at a pace that feels right for you.

You might, for example, choose to live separately from your spouse for a period of time.

During this separation, the two of you might meet with a counselor or coach or you might choose to begin your new lives apart.

You might also decide to give your relationship more time.

Perhaps the strategies to rebuild trust that you and your spouse have been trying just aren't a good fit for your situation.

Seek outside help from a professional and/or books and cds for new ideas that might help you form new relationship habits that will bring the
improvements you want.

On the other hand, you might feel so clearly that it is time for you to end your marriage that you do want to take the first steps in getting a divorce.

Only you can know what the best next step is for you.

If you have children, we encourage you to be considerate of them and keep them informed about the changes happening in your marriage as is appropriate for their ages.

We don't suggest that you stay together only "for the sake of the kids."

This can prove miserable for all of you involved. As
difficult as it can be for young ones to share time with divorced parents, it can be emotionally damaging for them to live in an environment that is angry, upset and hurtful.

Above all, we encourage you to trust yourself and your own inner listening.

Take the time to really tune in to what's most important to you and to what you decide for your next step.







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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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