Addicted to the Fight in a Divorce

When you think of divorce, some common words that might come to mind are costly, battle, and despair. While divorce is the end of your marriage and something that must be mourned just like the loss of anything in life, it doesn’t have to be a fight that completely strips you of all your financial security. So why are some people addicted to the fight in a divorce? The answer is usually found in how the relationship was during the marriage.

The dynamic during the marriage will often be repeated in the divorce.

If you and your ex often fought about money when you were married, it’s likely money will be something you argue about during your divorce. In fact, whatever you fought over during your marriage will only be magnified during the divorce process.

On the contrary, if you and your ex were distant during your marriage and rarely fought, but are getting divorced because you just grew apart, the divorce process might be much of the same. You’ll divide assets as needed and go your separate ways.

The dynamic that existed while you were married isn’t going to magically change because you’re getting a divorce. It will only intensify those feelings- which is why it’s so important how you handle your divorce.

It doesn’t have to be a fight.

The narrative that a divorce has to be a knock-down, drag-out fight doesn’t have to hold true for your divorce. While you can’t control what your ex does, you can control how you respond to their actions. You can choose to divorce with compassion and dignity, rather than confrontation and disrespect.

Even when the circumstances surrounding the demise of your marriage- such as lying or cheating- are painful and difficult to cope with, you still can rise above that and separate gracefully. Doing so requires the desire for peace- something that everyone deserves.

Wanting to hurt your ex will only end up hurting you in the end.

When emotions are high during a divorce, it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea of hurting your ex, whether that be financially, by withholding the children from them, or in some other aspect. Fighting over every little thing will rack up an astronomical amount of attorney’s fees. You may also end up airing your dirty laundry in court- something that can hurt both you and your children in the long run.

Before you choose litigation, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Is that extra overnight with the kids or that fancy leather couch really worth another $10,000 or more to fight it out in court? That money can be put to use instead for your or your children’s financial security. Pondering it in that light is often enough to make you think twice about taking things to court.

You must let go in order to move on.

Oftentimes, we hold on to any shred of our marriage that’s left because we’re afraid of what comes next, even if those shreds hurt us to hold onto. This is particularly true for co-dependents, who fear what life will be like without their ex- even if their ex doesn’t deserve their love.

The fact is, moving on requires letting go. That includes letting go of the fight. The fight becomes an addiction because it’s the last thing we have of our marriage, but by holding on for so long, it’s actually tarnishing any of the happy moments the marriage had. Choosing to let go gracefully takes a lot of courage. It also yields many rewards in the form of peace, clarity, and an appreciation for your new life.

Stopping the addiction means taking the right action.

Any sort of addiction is hard to overcome, and that includes being addicted to fighting with your ex. It requires making tough choices and taking the right actions to get you headed in the direction of your goal. In this case a peaceful divorce.

Litigation, unless absolutely necessary, is not the answer to overcoming the addiction. Non-adversarial divorce is a better option because it allows you to divorce with compassion and respect. Even those who are addicted to the fight find that choosing mediation or a collaborative divorce gives them more control over their destiny, and can save them a lot of money in the process.

Costly, battle, despair- it doesn’t have to be that way. Overcome the addiction to the fight and make your divorce the catalyst to the life you’ve always dreamed of.

More Resources:

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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