Most people react to the word "divorce" with dread. Divorces are typically portrayed as messy, unpleasant affairs that pit formerly loving couples against each other in endless squabbles.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
A divorce seldom comes "out of the blue" to either half of the couple. Admitting that the marriage just isn't viable can actually reduce your stress and help you focus your energies in more productive ways.
Here are some tips that can help you keep your divorce as painless as possible:
1. Recognize that fear is a major source of pain
Fear can cause someone to lash out and attack another person. When an unhappy couple heads toward a divorce, one or both members of that couple may feel somewhat panicked. Where will they live? Do they have enough money to make it on their own? When will they have to move out? How will the marital property be divided?
A lot of "unknowns" crop up at the beginning of a divorce. You may be able to diffuse some tension by assuring your spouse that you don't know all the answers but that you will work with your spouse openly and honestly as you figure things out.
2. Forget about blame and guilt and focus on the future
No-fault divorce has made "Who is at fault for the failing marriage?" a largely irrelevant question. Don't try to get revenge on your spouse for his or her mistakes -- that isn't the purpose of a divorce.
Instead, focus on what's important right now: finding a way for both of you to move forward as comfortably as possible.
3. Keep the kids out of the middle of your divorce
There's no reason to involve your children in the fights that you have with your spouse. As your divorce proceeds, work with your spouse to provide a united front for the children -- even as you gradually help them adjust to their new reality.
The fact that you and your spouse both want the best for your children can be a unifying factor that can help you focus on what's important during this time.
If you're unsure of how to proceed with your divorce, take the time to consider all of your legal options. It may be easier to move forward than you realize.