What to Do When Your Wife Wants a Divorce
Perhaps you always knew this day was coming, or perhaps you were completely blindsided. You are likely overwhelmed and shocked thinking to yourself, “My wife wants a divorce. What are my next steps?” You may agree with your wife that the marriage should end, or you may want to fight for your marriage. Find out what you should and should not do if your wife wants a divorce.
Trying to Reconcile if Your Wife Wants a Divorce
If your wife wants a divorce, you may feel completely shattered and broken. Here are some things you should do and should not do if your wife wants a divorce and your goal is to reconcile.
Things You Should NOT Do If Your Wife Wants a Divorce and You Want to Reconcile
- Ignore Her. The last thing you should do is ignore the elephant in the room. If your wife has clearly stated that she wants a divorce, then you have to address the issue head-on if you want any chance to reconcile. You will never have a healthy, happy marriage if you fail to immediately take action.
- Beg or Nag. No one wins anyone else over to their cause by begging or nagging. This only increases the pressure, creates an adversarial atmosphere, and places your wife on the defensive. While you should not ignore your wife if she wants a divorce, you also should never smother her with excessive pleading, begging, or nagging.
- Emotionally Manipulate. If your wife wants a divorce, she likely has taken serious time to make this decision. Pulling out old wedding photos or pointing out all of the fun you had on vacations over the years is not going to resolve the issue. There are likely complex challenges in your marriage that have been brewing for quite some time. Make sure never to emotionally manipulate your wife or fail to address the challenging marital issues directly
- Act Needy. You may have been blindsided by your wife wanting a divorce, however, this is not the time to stalk her day and night and act like a sad puppy dog. Acting desperate and needly is never attractive, and certainly not going to win your wife over to your cause. Consider taking this time to really dig deep and listen to the reasons she wants a divorce, and really ask yourself if you can provide her what she wants and needs.
- Gossip. You may feel crushed and devastated that your wife wants a divorce. You should absolutely find a support network of family and friends to help you through this time, whether you reconcile with your wife or not. However, you should never take to social media or gossip with anyone regarding the state of your marriage. These actions could impact your ability to reconcile or could actually impact your divorce process.
- Attempt to Buy Her Love. While women may like nice presents, buying lavish and extreme presents in an attempt to win back her love never works, and never solves the original marital challenges that exist.
- Spy. This is not a game, and there are no winners. Spying on your wife by following them in a car, checking their cell phone text messages and incoming calls, and scouring old bills for evidence will never make things better between you and your wife. This is a time to rebuild trust, not continue to destroy it. In some extreme cases, this can lead to stalking and harassment charges against you.
- Yell. You may be angry and feel heartbroken all at once. Yelling and screaming may feel like a way to release this frustration, anger, disappointment, and fear all at once. Resist the urge to yell at your wife if she wants a divorce. You will never win her back by yelling, and possibly convince her that she made the right decision to want a divorce.
- Behave Irresponsibly. If you find out your wife wants a divorce, you should not go out and drink all night or start taking illegal drugs to numb the pain. Risky behaviors that endanger your life will only make your marital situation worse, not better. Additionally, refrain from flirting with others. While you may feel engaging in these behaviors is an outlet for your disappointment and frustration, they may prevent reconciliation with your wife, and could actually damage your legal rights in a custody case regarding your children if you do decide to divorce.
- Involve the Children. If your wife wants a divorce, never use your children as pawns in the divorce. They should never be told anything they do not need to know, and you should never attempt to win your wife back by using your children as your spokesperson. Leave your children out of this process if you want any chance of reconciling with your wife.
Things You Should Do If Your Wife Wants a Divorce and You Want to Reconcile
- Consider Therapy. If you want to try to salvage the marriage, one of the best ways to do so is to consider marital therapy. In some cases, this can give both spouses the opportunity to have their voice heard, and develop plans of action moving forward regarding how to handle difficult marital challenges.
- Listen to Her. Whether you go to therapy or not, at some level your wife has not felt heard regarding her needs or wishes. Take the time to seriously listen, consider, and reflect and her requests and why your wife wants a divorce.
- Keep Up Appearances. The last thing you may want to do is go to the gym, get a haircut, or maybe even shower. Many people fail to keep up their hygiene and appearance when they are deflated and depressed. Take the time to keep up your appearance, as this will not only prove that you are mentally healthy enough to handle serious challenges in your life, but doing so is also emotionally healthy for yourself.
- Keep Calm. Do not yell, throw things, cajole, beg, plead, or nag. Keep calm and find pockets of time or moments to visit with your wife about why she wants the divorce and what options she would consider that would allow you to both reconcile. Also, keep calm if your wife starts yelling or engaging in an argument. Let her yell or vent her frustration without engaging in similar behavior.
- Remain Respectful. You have an obligation to remain respectful to your wife, even if she wants a divorce. Make sure that you respect boundaries she establishes during this period of time. Doing so will only help increase the chances of a reconciliation.
- Remain Confident. Falling into a pit of despair is never attractive. Remain confident, calm and mature during the time after you hear your wife wants a divorce. While you may have to “fake it until you make it,” a lot of research shows that doing so actually benefits a person mentally and emotionally.
- Remain Busy. You have day-to-day activities that may include a job, friends, family, church activities, social activities, and children. Make sure to continue with your daily activities in order not to wallow in a pool of your own misery during this time.
- Remain Available. While you should never beg or nag your wife during this time, you should always remain available if they want to talk about the marriage. Always make sure to let your spouse know that you are available to either talk, go on a date, or answer any questions she may have about the marriage.
- Provide Space. Your wife may want a divorce, or she may simply want changes to occur in your marriage that would allow reconciliation. Give her the space she needs in order to help her process what she truly wants
- Prepare Yourself. You need to emotionally prepare yourself that no matter what you do, or do not do, your wife may still want a divorce. Take time to ensure that you can handle that emotionally by visiting a therapist, visiting with family or friends, or visiting with someone in your faith to help you emotionally handle a possible divorce.
Always Protect Your Legal Rights
Whether or not you want to reconcile, or agree that you should get a divorce, you should always ensure your legal rights are protected if your wife wants a divorce. The following are actions you should never do during the time following your wife stating she wants a divorce. Remember, anything you do or say can be used in the divorce process against your regarding the equitable division of property, child custody arrangements, child support calculations or spousal support calculations. Protect your legal rights and never do the following if your wife wants a divorce.
- Never Drain the Bank Accounts
- Never Attempt to Hide Marital Assets.
- Never Post Anything About a Possible Divorce on Social Media.
- Never Voluntarily Leave the Marital Home
- Never Abuse Your Spouse Emotionally or Physically
- Never Involve the Children in Any Aspect of a Possible Divorce
- Never Withhold Visitation Rights From Your Wife If You Separate During This Time
- Never Receive a Criminal Charge During This Time (Including a DUI)
- Never Get Another Woman Pregnant During This Time
- Never Fail to Visit as Soon as Possible With a Divorce Attorney (Even If You Do Not Want a Divorce).
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Even if you do not want to get a divorce, and hope to reconcile with your wife, you should understand your legal rights in case you find yourself served divorce paperwork. Consider taking our free mini-course that provides additional answers to frequently asked questions regarding the divorce process, and then contact us to see how we can help. We genuinely hope that you and your wife are able to reconcile. However, if it turns out that divorce is inevitable for you, learn how one of our experienced family law attorneys at My Modern Law in Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, or Phoenix, Arizona can provide you with answers and ensure your legal rights remain protected. Contact us at (480) 470-7731 or online today.