Love doesn't conquer all: Divorcing the spouse you love

One of the most toxic messages that people often hear (or are shown) in movies, books, television shows and more is that "love conquers all."

It doesn't. You can love someone and not like them. You can love someone, and they may not love you back. You can love someone and be so fundamentally different that you simply can't live together.

The reality is that sometimes two very nice people are simply too different to be married to each other. The perfectionist is never going to learn to love the "quirks" of a messy, free-spirited spouse. The free-spirit is never going to accept life as a "planned" event. The spouse that desperately wants children is never going to "see reason" and accept the other spouse's view that "child-free" is better.

Sometimes, people marry someone that's unsuited to them because they've gotten caught up in the early passion of their romance and have ignored all the red flags that speak to incompatibility, and sometimes, spouses (one or both) simply change. Either way, you can find yourself in the unenviable position of having to divorce a spouse that you still truly love.

Here's the truth: You can get through the divorce more amicably than you expect if you use the love you have remaining for your spouse to focus on crafting a future that's better for you both. Here are some tips to start:

  • Have an honest conversation. Forget about past hurts. Focus only on the fact that you are both unhappy and need to move on. Don't delve into the "blame game."
  • Treat your spouse with dignity and respect. Don't try to impose what you want to see happen on your spouse. Be open to compromise and listen to your spouse's needs.
  • Be supportive -- as much as possible. While you need to set limits, you can still listen to your spouse's concerns and be his or her friend.

If you and your spouse have largely agreed to the terms of your split, an uncontested divorce may be possible for you. Our office may be able to help guide you during this difficult time.

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