Deciding you want a divorce is very difficult. Do you know what can be even more complicated? Tell your spouse that you made that decision. Because it's very serious, it's important to think carefully before talking to the other person. When you are ready, be prepared to discuss the matter in a civilized and respectful manner.
Part 1 of 3: Defining Your Intentions
Step 1. Answer some questions
Before discussing divorce with your partner, it's good to know exactly what you mean. Clarify what you want before the conversation, as this decision will affect your lifestyle, your savings, your children's lives, and your marital investments. Analyze such things carefully.
- Ask yourself: "What are my options and what are the strengths and weaknesses of each of them?"
- Ask yourself what the emotional impact of divorce would be: "What do I want? What are the reasons why divorce is the best option for me? How will it affect my family?"
- Also think about logistics: "Where am I going to live? How am I going to manage my finances? What are we going to do with the kids?"
Step 2. Accept your inquiries
It is impossible to know if you are making the right decision with a divorce. Maybe you're afraid of being rushed or not thinking about all the factors, but there's not much you can do. Obviously, don't rush into the decision and analyze how your feelings change over time. If you stand firm, trust your instincts. If you change your mind frequently, wait a little longer before making a decision.
- You can chat with friends and people close to you to ask questions, but be careful not to ask others for their opinions. It's your decision.
- Ask yourself if the decision was made in the heat of the moment. If so, wait a few days to find out how you will feel. Divorce must be a rational decision.
Step 3. Assess whether your partner is aware of your unhappiness
The other person may be aware of the problems or may be taken completely by surprise by the divorce petition. The bigger the surprise, the harder it will be to accept the situation. It is also very likely that your partner will try to change your mind.
If you have questions about marriage, discuss the issues before discussing a divorce. Don't dwell on what you're feeling and don't expect your spouse to read your mind
Part 2 of 3: Preparing for the conversation
Step 1. Take time to talk
Choose a time that is quiet and allows the two of you to discuss without interruption. It is important that both of you are free of obligations and that someone keeps an eye on the children so that the conversation goes smoothly.
Step 2. Prepare for discomfort
Talking to your spouse about a divorce isn't always easy. The discussion is likely to be uncomfortable for both of you. Feeling bad is not a valid reason to postpone the conversation.
Take a deep breath to calm your body and mind, especially if you're getting tense
Step 3. Expect an emotional reaction
Your partner will likely experience a lot of emotions during the conversation. Perhaps he expresses anger and asks what happened. Maybe he accuses you of being selfish or worse. Maybe you're sad and cry. In some cases, however, he may be relieved to think the same thing as you. Regardless of the option, it is very likely that there will be an emotional reaction.
- Prepare yourself before the discussion so that you can deal with the emotions that arise.
- If your partner responds in an exaggerated way, don't return in kind. Learn to listen carefully, letting him speak without interruption and without planning what to say ahead of time.
- If you're having trouble dealing with your emotions, check out this article.
Step 4. Get over guilt
Before starting the conversation, remember not to get pulled into arguments about blame for problems in your marriage, as they are irrelevant for the moment. Talking about the past is unlikely to solve the problems of the present. Instead, take responsibility for your actions and feelings. Don't discuss such issues: focus the conversation on your needs for the future.
- It's important for both of you to agree that you contributed to the breakup of the marriage. It's not just one person's fault.
- Speak in the first person so as not to blame the other person. For example, there is a difference between saying "You have disappointed me so much" and "I feel abandoned and forgotten by you". The focus should be on your feelings.
- If you think the conversation could turn out to be a barrage of accusations, try to find a way to resolve it in advance. Say something like "Look, this is irrelevant to the divorce and I don't want to be arguing about whose fault it is. We'd better focus on the future and wrap this up as civilly as possible."
Part 3 of 3: Talking About Divorce
Step 1. Be direct
If you want a divorce, you have to be firm and not hesitate. If you want something else or are not quite sure what you want, start the discussion by talking about your needs. Don't give inaccurate signals, or you could end up confusing your spouse. Be direct, even if you're going to hurt the other person.
- Maybe you just want to change things in your marriage. If you need more attention or couples therapy, talk about it before discussing divorce: "I feel like our marriage isn't working, but I don't want to give up on us. Would you be willing to go to therapy with me?"
- If you're really ready for a divorce, say it firmly: “This is a difficult discussion, but I have to say I want a divorce. separation is going to be the best thing for us, however difficult and painful it is. I have faith that we can mature through the process."
Step 2. Let the other person speak
It's important that you don't dominate the discussion and don't cut the other off while he's talking. Your partner must speak openly and sincerely. Understand his feelings and demonstrate it.
To demonstrate that you're listening, say something like, "As I understand it, you're unhappy too, and as sad as you are, you agree that divorce is the best option for us. Is that right?"
Step 3. Show compassion and respect
Now is not the time to blame the other person for all the problems in the relationship. The idea is simply to share your feelings and explain why you need a divorce. As uncomfortable as the argument is for you, chances are your partner is feeling the same. Treat him with compassion and respect, always. Remember, divorce is difficult for both of you.
- How you treat your spouse in the early divorce discussions will set the tone for the entire process. Keep calm and show your empathy.
- If the other person is nervous, say something like, "I know this is difficult and I understand your nervousness. It's still important that we respect each other."
Step 4. Be fair and reasonable
When discussing divorce, it is necessary to demonstrate that you are willing to close things out in the best possible way, meeting the needs of everyone involved. Perhaps this kind of discussion will make the whole process easier.