The end of a marriage isn’t something anyone initially hopes for. Yet, if you’ve been unable to make the marriage work, it may be time for a divorce. But how do you have this conversation with your spouse without starting an all-out war of words? While there’s not one answer for every situation, there are a few things you could do to help the conversation carry out as smoothly as possible.
Be prepared. Having an idea of where your spouse stands emotionally will make a difference in how you approach the topic of divorce. For example, is your spouse completely unaware of the situation, or have you discussed the possibility of a divorce before? Knowing how in-tune your spouse is to the status of your marriage will help you frame the discussion, as well as determine how they may react to the news. Remember that everyone processes difficult news in different ways. While it’s important that you be respectful towards your spouse during this conversation, it’s also necessary that you stand your ground as they come to terms with the impending divorce.
Choose an appropriate moment. Give a lot of thought to where and when you want to have the conversation. If you have children, make arrangements for them to spend time with friends or relatives. This way, you can talk without interruptions, as well as avoid any added stress of involving them before you’re ready. Choose a time and place where you’re both comfortable and have plenty of time to talk.
Ask for help. If you’re approaching the topic of divorce, there’s a good chance you may have already been to a counselor or therapist. Whether there are extenuating circumstances — such as an abusive spouse — or you want extra emotional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional to mediate the conversation. A counselor or therapist can help you both deal with the complex emotions involved, as well as keep the discussion civil.
Ending a marriage is never easy, especially when you first tell your spouse you want a divorce. Before taking any legal action, it’s important to talk openly and honestly with your spouse about where you stand and how you feel. By being aware, prepared, and open to help, you may find that taking this first step towards divorce doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem.