No ethical divorce mediator (or attorney) would ever push you to end your marriage or partnership without making sure that one or both of you are completely certain that you are no longer willing to stay in the relationship.
Many couples come to our consultation at different places about ending the relationship. If one person has decided to end the relationship, it is likely that they have been considering it for a while and have had time to come to terms with it. It can be very hard for the spouse who hasn’t made the same decision to psychologically process their spouse or partner’s decision in the amount of time they have before there is a move by their spouse/partner to initiate a separation or divorce.
While it would be wrong to give false hope to your spouse/partner if there is no hope that you will continue to stay in the relationship, if there is a willingness to explore that possibility, there can be many benefits to both of you. The intent of going to counseling at this point would be to see if there is still an opportunity to work on saving the marriage/relationship. This will give each person a chance to get clear about what your needs and goals are for this point in your lives, which may not be the same ones you had at the start of the marriage.
Both partners can benefit from this exploration. It will help each person clarify what they want from their marriage and it will help you decide if those needs can be met by your partner. The process may make it clear to both of you that you can’t give each other what you are looking for, or you may discover that there is room within the marriage/relationship for that to happen. Even if counseling isn’t going to save the marriage, both of you will be clear that it is ending and be aware of why it is ending. The process will offer the partner who doesn’t want to end the marriage more time to get used to the idea, and it will also provide closure to the partner who is ending it, knowing that everything was done to try to make the marriage work.
Even if the relationship will end, through the process of working with the counselor you may have regained some understanding and respect for each other, which will be helpful in being able to work together in mediation to create a fair and equitable divorce agreement that will be in the best interest of you and your children. It will also be a great starting place for you to re-define your future relationship in a more positive way, which is especially important for co-parenting children.
Should you end your marriage? Not until you are completely sure. If you would like referrals for marriage/relationship counselors, please call our office at 585-244-2444.
Barbara Kimbrough Mediator