Stage Two of Divorce: Hitting the Trigger

Liza Caldwell:
Divorce Stage Two or “Hitting the Trigger”

Philosophers, scientists and theologians have long debated the psychology of how we make decisions. Is it out of basic self-preservation? Or are we tempted by the idea of the person we hope we are? Do we lean toward safety or go out on a limb hoping everything turns out for the best?

This week, I spoke with Liza Caldwell, cofounder and director of SAS For Women, graduate of Fordham University with an MA from Columbia Teachers College where she studied Gender and Leadership Development. She’s trained in transformational coaching and she’s a certified professional coach and recognized by the International Coach Federation.

Caldwell breaks down the divorce process into four stages. Last week we examined stage one—the realization that something is wrong. This week, I’d like to look at stage two: hitting the trigger.

Making a Decision

Business publications have spent reams of paper on dissecting exactly how risky someone should be with investments. A recent Fast Company article broke down the steps of making a decision. They suggesting being sure you allot time to think things through and that you approach the decision with clear terms. In this case, it would be whether or not you want to end the marriage.

The article suggests that you:

  1. Fall back on your values. Having clear priorities—family, work, religion—can make decisions clear.
  2. Talk it through. If you are a “verbal processor” you may find solutions to problems more easily when you discuss.
  3. Ask for perspective. This can be tricky when it comes to divorce, but the principle is the idea of getting an outsider’s point of view about what you’re experiencing.
  4. Test it out first. Really sit with the decision for a while. What would it look and feel like in the day-to-day?
  5. Listen to your hopes. In the tug-of-war between heart and brain it’s important to listen to which side you’re pulling for.

Coming to this important decision may take some time, but eventually, you do come to Caldwell’s “stage two”. Pulling the trigger.

Pulling the Trigger in Divorce

Caldwell defines this “pull the trigger” moment as looking at the possibilities. This is where, just like in a business decision, you try on some of the possible outcomes and sit with them a minute. It’s an information-gathering moment where you reach out to professionals, not just friends and family. This is the moment where you arm yourself for the next steps and ask yourself if you a really ready to walk this path.


Caldwell hits on something important in discussing this stage: relief. Finally, at this moment, you are free to talk, use the word “divorce” and open up about your dissatisfaction. It can be liberating. And, finally, there’s some forward motion. This is a huge step forward that can be scary, but also enormously satisfying.

We’ll look more in-depth at Liza Caldwell’s four stages of divorce and the path to truth and recovery, find them here:


If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.

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