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Telling your Spouse “I Want a Divorce”

Divorce isn’t an easy process. The difficulty includes having “the talk” with your spouse. Initiating this talk requires a large amount of courage, especially because divorce is a time of great uncertainty. However, telling your spouse that you want a divorce is a conversation that needs to be had.

Some experts share their opinions on how to approach this uncomfortable and painful discussion. While this advice won’t make your talk easy, it may help give you the necessary confidence and help you better cope with your spouse’s response.

Expect the Unexpected

No matter how obvious it may be to you and your spouse that your marriage is failing, the words “I want a divorce” will likely result in an emotional outpour from your spouse. Family law Judge Michele Lowrance shared her advice in a column in the Huffington Post. She explained that your spouse may unpredictably react with fear, anger, pain or detachment.

Judge Lowrance advises people to be understanding of the reaction. Even though it may be hard to temporarily put aside any feelings of resentment or spite towards your spouse when they react dramatically, understand that it is painful and emotional for both spouses. Lowrance recommends avoiding retaliation if the spouse verbally lashes out; you are now expecting it and you choose your reaction.

Avoid the Blame Game

Don’t fall into the blame game; your spouse may want to go there. Psychiatrist and author Dr. Gail Saltz even advises acknowledging your part in the marriage’s failure. Dr. Saltz recommends doing your best to listen to your spouse’s reaction and even acknowledge their feelings – as difficult as that may be.

Don’t fall into a heated argument about who is at fault, encourages Saltz. Even though the marriage’s failure may not be the product of equal fault of both spouses, you are both adults and likely each made some mistakes during the marriage – you are human, after all.

Empathize, but End It

You started this talk because you have already scrutinized whether your marriage can be repaired and you decided it cannot. Although you can listen to your spouse, and even empathize with their feelings, stay confident in your decision to divorce, advises Dr. Saltz.

The Start of the Divorce Process

Each marriage, divorce, and person involved is unique. It’s not a bad idea to get a divorce attorney involved early in the process. The issues involved, such as child custody, division of the house, assets and pets are usually painful points of contention. Unfortunately, any mistake you make can have a permanent and binding effect. An experienced lawyer can help avoid these devastating pitfalls.

Sources: The Huffington Post,