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Before you divorce, you should sit down and create a checklist of your own that details the different reasons you have for being unhappy in the marriage. Be as specific as possible. For example, don’t list the generic “growing apart.” Specifically cite how you are growing apart and what makes you feel distanced from your spouse.

Once you’ve created this list, sit down and go through it (alone at first, but eventually with your partner), and answer the following questions for each item:

  1. Do both partners recognize this as a problem? If not, how do their opinions vary?
  2. Is this issue fixable? What impediments are there to fixing this problem?
  3. What specifically has been done to address this issue in the past?
  4. Will a divorce bring relief in this arena? Or might it make things worse?
  5. Is it possible to redefine the relationship in a way that might resolve these areas of contention?

Beyond this, there are two broader issues you should ask yourselves:

A) Can we fix enough of these issues to tilt the relationship back into the positive spectrum? Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, and your relationship will never be problem free. It’s not a question of finding a solution for every little gripe; it’s a matter of adjusting the equilibrium so that each partner derives more pleasure and satisfaction from the relationship than pain.

B) How will a divorce tilt these areas of dissatisfaction towards the positive? After replacing my current problems for all new ones, will my life be appreciably better?

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