OK, that’s it — you can’t do it anymore. You’re done; you want a divorce.
You’ve tried your hardest for years, but you can’t seem to make it work. You want out of your marriage. But how do you bring up the topic of divorce to your spouse without devastating them or triggering an all-out war?
As a divorcee, I remembered when I thought about divorce the questions that were rushing through my mind, the anger I felt and how painful it was to come to that place when in your mind you are sure you know it’s really over.
Be prepared. Understanding ahead of time where your spouse is emotional can make a big difference in how you approach the topic of divorce.
Is she blissfully ignorant? Is she just as unhappy as you? Has the “D” word been used in the past, or will it come out of the left-field?
Knowing how aware your spouse is of the state of your marriage can help you be prepared for both how to bring up the subject and how your spouse will likely react to the news. You may even want to consider working with an individual or couples counsellor to help you sort through your feelings and prepare for the conversation you’re about to have. They can help you role-play, asking for the divorce and even what to say.
Choose an appropriate time and place, One of the more important ways you can prepare for the unexpected when telling your husband or wife you want a divorce is by picking the appropriate moment; timing is everything.
Really think about where and when this should be, and make arrangements for your children to spend time with a relative or friend so that the conversation can occur without interruptions. Of course, there’s no great time to announce that you want out of your marriage, but there are certain scenarios that are better than others.
This conversation should never coincide with another major event in your life if at all possible. For example, if your spouse is sick or recently fired or laid off, it’s generally not a good time to announce that you want a divorce. Timing really is everything, and you’ll want to find the right time without adding more stress to an already difficult situation.
Be gentle but firm. The way you ask your spouse for divorce will likely shape the way the entire divorce process unfolds. If you come at your spouse with anger and frustration, don’t expect them to respond calmly to the words, you want a divorce.
Instead, be as gentle as you can, yet firm in your decision, so your spouse understands you have made up your mind and there is nothing they can do to change it.
Remember — you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this decision and preparing for divorce. Chances are your spouse has not, so be understanding and allow some time for the news to sink in.
Be ready for your spouse’s reaction. If asking for a divorce will come as a complete shock to your spouse, be prepared for retaliation as a response.
Frame the conversation with “I” statements instead of “You” statements to avoid blaming and starting a fight. There are a ton of emotions that go along with divorce. Support your partner in dealing with these initial feelings, empathize and try to remain as calm as possible. It is going to be so much more difficult if you are both from a denominational background.
Avoid discussing the details. If your spouse is on the same page as you, and the topic of divorce doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, you may find yourself already beginning to talk about dividing property or discussing custody arrangements. A word of caution – negotiating a settlement without the appropriate guidance could end up coming back to bite you.
Don’t discuss too many details on your own. It’s better to wait until you’ve hired the right professional to guide you through the process.
Get help. Once you’ve approached the topic, chances are you’ll both be dealing with many intense emotions.
Some of those emotions – like anger and resentment – can be toxic to your ability to negotiate with one another and move forward. A counsellor, therapist or professional divorce coach can help you deal with the emotional aspects of the divorce and gain the clarity required to work together toward a settlement.
There’s no simple answer. When it comes to how to ask your spouse for a divorce, there’s no simple answer. But if you prepare ahead of time, consider the tips provided here and get the divorce support you need to get through it, you’ll have a much better chance of making the divorce process as peaceful as possible for you, your spouse and your children.
Want a Divorce
It is best to get as much help on the matter as possible because as much as you want out when you are out, there is no telling where your emotions will take you, and you will need your energy for that. There are articles and contact for coaches all over the web, so take your time and get it done.
“This article was originally written by Equitable Mediation Services and was used with permission.”