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How to Approach the Subject of Divorce with Your Spouse

Many people are unhappy with their marriage. They want to get a divorce, but one of the things stopping them is concern about how they can tell their spouse. It can be difficult to talk with them about subject of divorce, no matter how long you have been together.

It often feels strange to think about divorce, even when you know it’s the right thing to do. Below, you will find some tips that can help you when it comes time to have this hard conversation.

Make Sure It’s the Right Decision

Everyone gets upset with their spouse from time to time. Most likely think, however briefly, how much better life would be if they weren’t married. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s time to get a divorce.

Before you file paperwork, make sure that you really do want to get a divorce, and that you don’t have any intention of getting back together with your spouse. Making sure you are ready and that it’s the right decision is more affordable and practical than changing your mind in several months.

Know What You Need to Say

One of the reasons that these conversations are so hard is that people go into them without a plan. They don’t know what they should say, which leads to a lot of back and forth that doesn’t need to be there.

Instead, you should know exactly what you want to tell your spouse. Lay out the reasons that you have decided to file. Don’t tell them that they need to change and don’t blame them. Simply let them know the facts. Write down a list if needed to help you stay on track. They might have questions, and you can decide whether to answer them or not.

Don’t Keep Putting It Off

If it is the right decision, though, you don’t want to keep putting it off. Just like a Band-Aid, you want to rip it off all in one go. The sooner you do it the better, too. The sooner you talk with them, the better you will feel. It will be like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. The longer you wait to bring up the subject of divorce, the more difficult it is likely to be.

Don’t Ambush Them

Even when your spouse knows that you are unhappy with the current situation, you don’t want to ambush them with the divorce. Having them suddenly receive divorce paperwork from you will feel like an out of the blue attack—especially if you haven’t talked with them about this before. You need to make sure that your spouse knows that serious problems are brewing.

Find a Private Location

When you tell them that you are filing, or have filed, for divorce, you want to pick the right place to do it. The best course of action tends to be to find a private location where you won’t be disturbed.

If your spouse is violent or if you are otherwise concerned about your safety, you don’t want to choose a private location, though. Below, we talk more about what to do in these types of cases before and after bringing up subject of divorce.

Be Ready for Emotions

Even if they might have been expecting it and knew that you have been unhappy, it’s still going to sting when you tell them that you want to get divorced. They will still feel as though you’ve betrayed them, even though it may very well have been mostly their fault.

A lot of stress arises from these conversations because people start to realize that everything in their lives will change. This includes where they live, when they see their kids, what they own, etc.

Because of this stress, you can expect a lot of different types of emotions to rear their heads during these conversations. Be prepared for anger, denial, blame, crying, and begging.

Stay Calm

As mentioned above, your spouse may very well have a lot of emotions flowing through them when you tell them that you are filing for divorce. Although you might also start to have a rise in emotions, you need to do your best to stay as calm as possible. If you allow yourself to succumb to emotions, it is going to be more difficult to get through the conversation.

Remember that Now Isn’t the Time to Blame

Blame is easy. When you look at a marriage that failed—or just about any other issue in life—finding ways to point the finger at the other person is simple. However, when you are telling them that you want a divorce, it’s not the time to foist all of the blame onto them. You don’t have to bring up everything they did wrong, or things that you did wrong.

Just lay out the facts as we said earlier. Keep it simple and keep blame out of it, at least for now.

What If Your Spouse Is Violent?

Domestic violence is a massive problem, and there will assuredly be some situations when telling a spouse about an impending divorce or just the desire for a divorce could be dangerous. You never want to put yourself into a position where you or your children could end up injured or worse.

Therefore, if your spouse has been violent in the past or if they have threatened violence, it might be better to leave the home, find a safe place to stay, and then have the divorce paperwork served to them. Your safety is the most important thing.

If you are worried about your spouse harming you or your children, you should also consider getting a protective order at this time.

Don’t Be the Kid Who Cried Wolf

This is something that you need to keep in mind. Talking about the subject of divorce is one thing, but threatening someone with divorce as an ultimatum and then never going through with the divorce is going to get old. Don’t be someone who uses the threat of divorce to hang over someone’s head. Either you are or you are not ready to get a divorce.

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