Difficulty with Decision–Making: Another Symptom of Divorce

There is a scientific reason why you may be finding decision -making so difficult.

Dr Roy Baumeister tells us that “decision-making is a physiological process, directly affected by how rested we are, how much glucose we have in our system and how many other decisions we have already made.” Making choices, he says “requires mental energy or will power”, which gets gradually depleted with every choice.  The result is “decision fatigue” which stops us making a decision at all”.

When we are stressed, our ability to make decisions is challenged. Long term stress can make it impossible to make decisions.

When you are going through divorce, you are faced with many life changing decisions. The decisions you face are most probably involuntarily, (no one asks to be in an unhappy relationship and then having to deal with the consequences of a separation) and are mixed up with a great deal of emotion.

Why I believe decision-making is so difficult in divorce:


You don’t want to make the decisions you are faced with.

You don’t want to be in this situation to begin with. Psychologist Sue Firth says “when anxious, your adrenalin rises up, which shuts down the rational, decision making part of your brain. It’s a vicious circle. The more our brains shut down, the more we cannot make up our minds”.

Emotions are running high

There may be panic about making the wrong decision and being faced with making decisions that will change your life. Sue Firth and Dr Rob Yeung say that “when it comes to life changing decisions, it’s not only choice, but fear of the finality of the outcome that can cause mental paralysis”. Firth goes on to say “The more permanent the outcome of the decision, or so we perceive it to be, the more our confidence levels are challenged.”

You’ve made so many (uncomfortable) decisions that your brain just can’t take it anymore.

You feel stuck, unable to make the even the smallest decision. It’s as if you are completely empty of decision-making energy/fuel. Bridget Harrison describes a “vortex of indecision” when making a decision- big- or small- seems so impossible that your feel sick and panic-stricken, like you’ll never work out your best option.”


Please don’t worry. There is a way out of this. I come across these situations time and again with my clients. I totally understand the challenging decisions you face and I have a wealth of experience in dealing with this. I am here to provide support and guidance to help you navigate through this difficult time.

If you or someone you know can relate to anything in this article, please get in touch here to find out more about how I could help.


If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you will find lots more in my ebook “Tips for Coping with Divorce” which you can download here: free ebook.

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