When things are not working in the marriage anymore, or spouses face irreconcilable differences, they might start thinking about getting a divorce.

However, many spouses admit that they are afraid of actually seeking a divorce. There are several reasons for this fear. Here is a quick overview of some of the most common reasons.

1. They worry about the effect divorce will have on their kids

It is true that a divorce will affect children in different ways. Depending on their age, they might feel sad or confused, or they might even rebel against their parents as they process their emotions. However, most of these children still develop into emotionally healthy and happy adults, even if their parents divorce.

This leads many parents to believe that it is better if they stay together for their kids. However, that does not always fix the situation. The Huffington Post published an article where now-adult children told the stories of their parents who stayed together on their behalf. They recalled tense households and confusion when their parents divorced after they were grown. Essentially, remaining in an unhappy marriage could potentially cause as much stress on the family as a divorce.

2. This relationship is familiar—and divorce will bring change

Often, marriage is the result of a long-term relationship. It is something familiar, even if the relationship is no longer what it used to be.

And many people fear change—or the unknown. Getting a divorce is indeed a huge life change that can make the future seem uncertain. Despite the uncertainties, divorce can actually help people discover a new and healthier chapter of their life that becomes their new normal.

3. They perceive divorce as a failure

The stigma surrounding divorce often makes people see it as a failure.

Several experts disagree. It is natural for relationships—and people—to change over time. And both the experiences of marriage and divorce can help individuals:

  • Grow as people and better understand their own needs
  • Get along with each other better in the future
  • Be better parents to their children

4. They are afraid of the arguments a divorce could bring

Not all divorces are like the ones depicted in television shows or movies, where spouses criticize each other constantly.

In fact, more California couples pursue divorce through mediation or collaborative divorce than court nowadays. These options allow spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce in a low-stress and productive environment. That way, they can better avoid conflicts.

There is no doubt that divorce can be stressful, but it does not have to be frightening.