A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you. ~Margaret Atwood
Divorce is devastating on many levels. The shot to the heart takes your breath away, and leaves you doubled-over as if you were punched in the gut. And that's just for starters...
When in the throes of an unhealthy marriage that you've exhausted all options at restoring, you ultimately need to weigh two very difficult options.
Option 1: The Financial Cost of Divorce
Divorce is expensive.
An attorney in Minnesota estimates the financial costs to be around $15,000-$20,000, or roughly "the same amount as getting married."
The good news is once you've made the decision to weather the financial storm, the following strategies can help you get on the other side of fiscal hardship.
1. Commit to a strict budget.
Forgoing cable television, dining out and new clothes are small prices to pay when you no longer wake up exhausted after several rounds of psychological brawls.
2. Rebuild your savings.
This is essential not just for your bank account, but to build confidence in your future. Every little bit helps.
3. Look on the bright side.
You've lost a lot of emotional weight. After the hurt, shock and therapy sessions end, happiness can be yours when you vow to do things differently the next time around.
Option #2: The emotional Cost of Living With a Broken Heart
If your sole reason for staying married is to avoid the high cost of divorce, the following questions may provide a new perspective:
1. If you were to quantify your anxiety and stress in pounds, how much would your relationship weigh?
2. If you got paid for the sleepless nights, the knots in your stomach, and the feelings of regret, how much would you earn daily?
3. How do you measure happiness? Is it raising your children in an intact home? Is it being a home owner versus an apartment dweller? Is it the reassurance of not being alone?
4. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your physical, emotional, and mental health right now?
5. What will your life look like in five years if you stay?
You're the expert on your life. Only you can assess your comfort levels, and determine where you drawn the line regarding physical, fiscal and emotional well-being.
But if it's the financials that bind you, consider this:
Money will come and money will go. Money is paper and metal, and new currency will be manufactured when the old monies wear out.
Your heart, on the other hand, is a living, breathing organ with a single lifespan. And no amount of crisply printed Benjamins, newly minted silver coins, or 5,000 square foot living spaces will revive a broken heart.