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Tips on How to Ask Your Spouse for a Divorce

You've tried your hardest, but your marriage is irretrievably broken. How can you ask your spouse for divorce in an amicable way?

It’s unfortunate, but a beginning that was filled with hope and happy-ever-after dreams can deteriorate into unhappiness and disappointment. Perhaps you and your spouse were hopeful that you were a good match, but weren’t, or maybe one of you changed. The bottom line is that you have made up your mind and want a divorce.

There is no way to smooth this over. This will most likely be a bumpy road, with highs and lows.  If anger has been festering inside you for a while, wait until you are calm to have this discussion.

Here are some ways to make this difficult situation easier for both of you:

1. Prepare your spouse for this talk:

As the person who is initiating this discussion, you have some advantages. You also have a responsibility to carefully choose your approach. Avoid ambushing your spouse at the worst possible time. Consider his or her mental state. Do you believe your spouse is unhappy as well, or that he or she will be blindsided? Has the subject of divorce arisen on other occasions? Setting aside a time and place (i.e.: “Let’s talk this evening after dinner”) is always good idea.

Approach it from a place of love. When you approach things from a place of love, whatever happens was meant to be. Avoid coming from a place of fear, anger, or hatred.

You will want privacy. If necessary, arrange for children, if any, to spend the night with relatives or friends. However, if you have reason to be concerned about your spouse reacting badly or violently, have this talk somewhere public. Consider your timing. Don’t choose a day when one or both of you is having other problems, such as health or work-related issues. That will only add salt to an already festering wound.

Asking your spouse for a divorce will not be easy, so it’s a good idea to know what you will say beforehand. Perhaps even practice the words, with a counselor, if necessary. Discuss the general reasons for your unhappiness but refrain from turning this into a blame session. Also consider what the biggest hurdles will be before speaking with your spouse, so you can plan for an appropriate plan of action.

2. Prepare for an emotional reaction:

This will not be a pleasant talk, so be prepared for a release of emotions. Tears, anger, and recriminations may happen. Accept what your spouse is going through and give them time to assimilate the information. Be as gentle and understanding as you can be; but remain firm. Remember, if you having this conversation, you have already evaluated your relationship and have made the decision to divorce. Stick to it!

3. Do not cast blame:

You’ve undoubtedly lived through some bad days to reach this point. But refrain from casting blame. Focus on how you are feeling (i.e.: “I’ve been unhappy for some time.”) and make it clear that nothing will change your desire for a divorce.

Listen to what your spouse has to say, but remain true to your decision. If you have thought this out properly, this discussion will not take place until you were absolutely sure it’s the right move. If your spouse suggests a trial separation, tell him or her you don’t want to drag this out. Repeat that you want a divorce.

4. Don’t waver:

Your spouse may refuse to accept the inevitable. They might start preparing you special meals, bring you flowers, or surprise you with a gift. They are trying to change your mind. Do not send out mixed signals and respond with approval. Make it clear that the move toward divorce is non-negotiable.

5. Speak with an attorney and/or other professionals:

Work with a reputable divorce attorney as quickly as possible. Have financial statements, lists of assets, budgets, and information regarding children, if applicable, prepared. It is best not to discuss these specific details during this initial talk. The details should be handled by your respective attorneys.

I highly recommended seeking the assistance of other professionals such as a psychotherapist. Do the research. A great place to start is by calling your medical insurance (or navigating through their app) and listing out a few professionals that are within your zip code. When you narrow that down to an acceptable number, Google the name of the professional and research their reviews.

6. Leave with closure:

It’s also recommended to seek advice from a professional for this step as well. Keep in  mind that at some point in time, both you and your (soon to be former spouse) loved each other. There was a lesson in every fight, disagreement and sleepless nights. There’s a reason you were in each other’s life. You deserve closure. This step takes months. It’s like the grieving phase of a death of a family member. Because at the end of the day, it’s that’s exactly what this is.

Conclusion

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotionally taxing process. Unfortunately, sometimes, it is the only answer. Make sure you are as prepared as possible before approaching your spouse with the unfortunate news. It’s always a good idea to speak with a professional such as a therapist or divorce coach.


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