How to Tell Your Spouse That You Want a Divorce

“I want a divorce” – Nobody ever expects to say the words but many people have to find a way to tell their spouse they want a divorce. And, regardless of the circumstances, telling your spouse you want a divorce is not an easy thing to do. You have probably thought about divorcing for some time and consider your options or maybe tried counseling. When it comes time to tell your spouse, you will be breaking some major news to them and their emotions may range from surprise and shock to anger, maybe sadness, perhaps relief, and much more. It can be hard to tell how a spouse, even one you know very well, will react to hearing such news, so it is important to think about how you want to tell them that you will be pursuing a divorce.

Consider first the timing of when you will tell your spouse. For obvious reasons, it is better to do it when you can be alone and have a conversation. But, if you feel unsafe or uncertain how they will react, it may be better to tell your spouse in front of a neutral third party, such as a counselor.

Next, it is wise to think through how you will deliver the news. Big news is always a shock but it doesn’t have to completely blindside your spouse. Tell them you need to have an important conversation with them so that they do not feel ambushed or attacked. It is important to be clear and direct. It can be tempting to be vague in order to ‘soften the blow’ but explaining your unhappiness and desire for divorce, as uncomfortable as it may be, is best for everyone. Now is not the time to point fingers, it is better to focus on ‘I’ statements that explain how you feel. Stay strong and don’t get caught up in negotiating with your spouse if they ask for a separation rather than divorce – now is not the time for that conversation. You have prepared and are ready, be clear and to the point in delivering your news and then set up clear boundaries so you can move forward n a healthy way.

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