The topic of divorce is not an easy one to bring up in any marriage. It is a difficult conversation to have no matter what the situation and it is sure to make emotions run high. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are trying to decide how to approach asking your spouse for a divorce.
Make sure sure divorce is what you want
There are ups and downs in any marriage and it is important to make sure getting a divorce is really what you want. Don’t use the threat of divorce as a bargaining chip or something that you are using to get their attention. It could be that you are both still in love with one another but something has made you drift apart or fall out of touch In this case looking into counseling might be a better idea than throwing out the “D” word. There are professionals out there called discernment counselors whose specialty is helping people figure out whether divorce is really the right path for them. Remember, once divorce has been put on the table it can’t be taken back and can do a lot of damage to a relationship that you are actually still committed to.
If you have decided that divorce is the path you want to take it is important to do your research. Look into how the process of divorce works in your area and how it will affect your lives. Envision how aspects like property division, custody/visitation, child support, spousal support and both parties finances will look like in the future. You might also want to look up the difference divorce processes and family lawyers that are available in your area.
Understanding where your spouse is emotionally ahead of time can also help you prepare for the conversation. Are they blissfully ignorant or just as unhappy as you? Knowing how aware your spouse is about the state of your marriage will help you prepare for their reaction and strategize your approach.
Choose the right time and place
While there will never be the perfect time and place to bring up divorce with your significant other there are certain situations that are better than others. If you have children make arrangements for them to stay with friends or family, that way you will be able to have a private discussion without any interruptions. It will also ensure that they will not be affected if the conversation gets heated. Find a place that is quiet, private and make sure you have time to fully discussion your feelings and concern. Don’t just drop the bomb and walk away.
Telling your spouse you want a divorce should also never coincide with another life event like being sick or getting fired from a job. Timing is everything and you want to make sure there isn’t anything else going on that might make the conversation even more difficult.
Be gentle but firm
The tone in which you bring up the topic of divorce will help shape how your divorce process goes. If you come at it from a place of anger and frustration it will be much more likely that your spouse will get defensive as well. Frame the conversation with “I’ statements instead of “You” statements and avoid placing blame or starting a fight. Be supportive with your partner in dealing with their initial feelings about the situation, empathize with them but be as firm as possible. You have likely thought long and hard about you decision and you need to make sure that their emotional reaction doesn’t sway you once you have made up your mind.
Even if the conversation goes as well as can be expected both parties will need support in moving forward. Talking to a qualified therapist will help you work through the difficult emotions that come up with the end of a marriage and make sure you move on in a positive way. If the conversation doesn’t go well you will also need support to help you through what might be a rocky divorce process.
There is no simple answer
When bringing up the topic of divorce there is no one way that is right. It is always going to be a difficult conversation and one that no one would look forward to having. If you have made the decision that divorce is the right path for you, go with your gut. You future health and happiness is worth one difficult conversation and if you prepare appropriately it might go better than you expect.