About 50% of first marriages end in divorce.
For every marriage after that, the divorce rate only goes up. This means that, statistically speaking, your best chance is always to work out your current marriage.
If you are considering divorce, but still have the slightest doubt about this course of action, try these two options first:
Couples counseling is a lot less expensive than attorney fees. When couples are struggling they tend to re-enact the same fights over and over again, as if both parties are reading from a script. Couples counseling tries to replace this tired script with meaningful, thoughtful communication. It helps couples dig deeper, revealing the core issues that fuel all this ineffective arguing. When I work with couples seriously considering divorce, I often suggest they take a period of time–3 months, 6 months–and go “all in,” doing everything they can to work on their relationship. If at the end of this period of intensive couples counseling they still want a divorce, they still have the option to pursue this path.
You wouldn’t buy an expensive car without driving it first. Yet couples often make an emotional decision to file for divorce without having any realistic sense of what divorced life is like. A trial separation allows you to “test drive” divorce. Couples counseling can help facilitate a healing and productive trial separation. A couple agrees to a period of time–usually between 6 weeks and 3 months–in which they will live separately and keep contact to a bare minimum. This quickly “stops the bleeding” in the relationship, as the same tired arguments get put on hold. It gives each party space–and with it the chance to miss and better appreciate their partner. Couples generally continue couples counseling during a trial separation, working on their issues under the guidance of a professional, but no longer playing out knee-jerk conflicts outside of sessions. In my clinical experience, trial separations lead to couples getting back together, and with a much stronger relationship foundation, about 50% of the time.