Summer in Alabama is known for its heat, but the rise in mercury may also signal another form of meltdown. According to researchers at the University of Washington, August is one of two peak months when couples decide to divorce. (The other month is March.)
“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past,” explains researcher Julie Brines, associate sociology professor at the University of Washington. “The consistent pattern in filings reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don’t live up to expectations.”
Spending more time together can reveal the cracks in the veneer of a relationship and serve as a catalyst for the split. Summer months might also afford couples the opportunity to move forward with a separation or divorce when the kids are out of school and schedules are more relaxed. If you’re among those moving toward divorce this summer, here are four tactics to consider:
- Cool off. If your marriage is contentious, spending time apart may help you gain perspective. Resist the desire to burn bridges among shared friends and associates. Steer clear of social media and share your concerns only with your closest friend(s) or family members.
- Let off steam. Treat yourself to weekly sessions with a skilled therapist. During that time, keep the focus on you. Whether you divorce or decide to stay married, use the opportunity to explore your patterns, feelings, needs, and hopes for the future.
- Don’t fan the flames. Resist the urge to pick fights or make matters worse by having an affair or publicly humiliating your soon-to-be-ex by airing your grievances. If you are initiating the divorce, recognize that this is a difficult time for your spouse. Take the high road. In the long-run, you’ll find the path to happiness quicker.
- Dip a toe in the water. Divorce is a process (especially when children are involved) and a major life change. Before you take the plunge, meet with a trusted divorce attorney to discuss your options. Gather the facts and set aside knee-jerk reactions. Making this big decision — as well as others that will impact you emotionally and financially for years to come — is best done with a level head. A good attorney will serve as an unbiased voice of reason when your life is at it’s most confusing and emotional.