When you marry someone, you imagine it will last forever. Then, you pour everything you have into your marriage, working toward the realization of that dream of happily ever after. However, sometimes that vision gets shattered and you’re left grappling with the dilemma of how to tell your husband you want a divorce.
When you and your husband are never on the same page about anything, chances are that conflicts become a defining trait of your relationship. While disagreements and arguments are part and parcel of every relationship, when they far outweigh moments of happiness and joy, it’s time to accept that your marriage has become dysfunctional.
The journey from accepting that you’re in a failing marriage to actually having that difficult conversation with your spouse about calling it quits can be all sorts of daunting. To help ensure that you handle this delicate situation the right way, we bring you these tips on how to have a divorce conversation, in consultation with lawyer and single mom, Laila Zafar. These will make it easier for you to tell your husband you want a divorce while being considerate of your spouse’s feelings and not making him feel like he is being blindsided by this bad news.
Go Through Your Feelings One Last Time
Did you just yell at your husband during a difficult conversation? Has that conversation left you seething and almost convinced that your marriage is on its last legs and a divorce is the best recourse? While your strong emotions are justified, a decision as big as ending a marriage cannot be made based on emotions alone. Especially because when emotions run high, they tend to cloud our judgment.
If every fight and disagreement leaves you staring at divorce as the only solution to your marital problems, it’s time you discuss it with an open mind and with someone who won’t judge you for your choices. You need to introspect the entire situation and ensure that divorce is the only answer left so that you don’t have any regrets about making the wrong choice down the lane.
“Once you are sure about your feelings, you need to stand your ground moving forward with the divorce. You may strongly feel like defending yourself, retaliating, and giving back, but restrain yourself from making any statement that may make this messy affair even messier,” says Laila.
If you aren’t able to think about this without anger and resentment toward your husband, then have a discussion with a trusted family member or talk to a family therapist. They will help you navigate your feelings in a better way during these turbulent times. You need an attentive and empathetic listening ear and lean on someone who won’t give you any false hope.
Here are some difficult questions you need to ask yourself to clear your head before asking your husband for a divorce:
- Do I still have feelings for my partner?
- Am I making this decision hastily or in anger?
- Is divorce the only way to go about it?
- Am I willing to let the differences slide and reconcile?
- Am I just threatening or truly ready for divorce?
- How am I going to manage everything alone after the separation?
- How are we going to tell our kids about the divorce?
- Will I be able to handle the outcome of the divorce?
- Have I weighed the pros and cons of terminating my marriage?
Related Reading: 10 Things To Do When You Are Thinking About Divorce
When To Tell Your Husband You Want A Divorce
Laila says, “You need to see how you are placed financially and what kind of deal you will get if the property and assets are split up. You need to know if you can ask for maintenance and alimony if you didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement. Also, if there are kids involved, the custody and visitation aspects must be considered. Have a conversation about divorce with your husband only after you have addressed all these aspects at your end and are prepared for any and all eventualities.”
Figuring out when to tell your husband you want a divorce is just as important as how to tell your husband you want a divorce, if not more. You might have been contemplating divorce and discussing this option with the people you trust but you haven’t yet packed your bags and moved out nor have you had a conversation about it with your husband. This could indicate that on some level you’re still not 100% sure of your decision or perhaps you’re scared of how he will react.
That’s why it’s important to find the right time and place to broach this subject so you don’t wreak havoc in the lives of all the parties involved, including your children (if there are any). Here are a few things to keep in mind before you discuss divorce with your husband:
- Don’t announce that you want a divorce in the middle of an argument
- Avoid talking about divorce in front of your children. You need to figure out how to tell your kids about divorce, together as a team
- Don’t directly file for divorce without having a discussion with your husband
- He needs to know through you that you want a divorce
- You need to check your financial stability before making this decision
It doesn’t matter what your reasons for wanting a divorce are. It could be because he cheated on you, or because your man has anger issues, or perhaps you fell out of love with him, or just because he isn’t good in bed. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that you deserve a happy life and if ending a marriage is the way to it, then so be it. However, since your husband is an equal party in this relationship, he deserves to know those reasons. Unless, of course, he’s abusive toward you. In that case, you should walk out of your marriage as soon as you can and he deserves nothing more than your contempt.
Related Reading: When Is It Time To Divorce? Probably When You Spot These 13 Signs
How To Tell Your Spouse You Want A Divorce When He Doesn’t
Ending a marriage is never easy, but things get a tad more complicated when only one partner is in favor of a divorce and the other is dead-set against it. Navigating the emotional mess that arises out of this mismatched view of the state of your marriage can be a lot harder than preparing for the eventuality of a divorce. So, how do you tell your spouse you want a divorce when he doesn’t?
Clinical psychologist and counselor Manjari Saboo weighs in, “If ending the marriage is a one-sided decision, then think, re-think, and re-think. Breaking off may benefit you but not your husband and kids. If divorce is what you want because your marriage is taking a toll on your mental health, self-esteem, or safety, even then you need to discuss your decision with your husband before going through with it.”
There is no denying that it’s going to be very hard to figure out how to tell your husband you want a divorce when he doesn’t, especially if there are children involved. However, if you have carefully weighed all the options, gone over the divorce checklist, and decided that this is the best way to move forward, here are the eight most valuable tips on how to discuss divorce and trial separation with your partner.
1. Don’t make this decision alone
Laila advises, “The divorce of a married couple affects the lives of several people. Don’t escape the matter by throwing divorce papers on your husband’s desk or by simply packing your bags and leaving, especially when there are children involved.” Getting out of marriage this way is quick but it is immature.
Unless you are trapped with an abusive husband and marriage where you feel unsafe or feel that your children’s lives are in danger – in which case, you should get out at the first window of escape you find and end things – do the mature thing and talk to your husband, no matter how unpleasant that conversation is going to be. Ideally, you should aim to minimize the hurt this decision is going to cause your husband, who may feel blindsided by your decision. For that, it’s best to have this conversation in a private setting, remain calm and maintain neutral language when they get defensive.
2. Think about what you will say
Your anger, resentment, and frustration might get the better of you in such difficult times. It’s important you don’t let these strong emotions cloud your judgment and make the situation worse. You must remain mindful of your reasons for wanting a divorce from your husband and share them with him as honestly as possible but without making it seem like you’re assigning blame or making him feel responsible for your failed marriage.
In case there are signs you have a manipulative husband who will trick you into changing your mind, it becomes even more important to think about what you’re going to say when you have the divorce conversation. Don’t use hyperbolic statements and aggravate the situation. Just share how you feel. Tell him that you haven’t been happy or that you feel like you have outgrown your love for him and divorce seems to be the only answer.
3. Look for the right time and right place
Announcing a decision as mammoth as wanting a divorce should not be done in the middle of a heated argument. It’s equally unadvisable to ask for divorce over text. Likewise, talking about it in a public place can lead to huge spectacle that won’t do you or your spouse any good. Given that there are so many ways this conversation can go sideways, it’s important to figure out when and how to tell your spouse you want a divorce.
When and if you spot all the signs of divorce, including feeling suffocated in the marriage, when you feel like you have both given up on each other, or when you feel like you have had enough and can’t take it anymore and have had enough time to think your decision through, tell your husband you want to talk to him.
Choose a time that is convenient for you both and when the distractions would be at a minimum. Go to a quiet place like the bedroom and switch off your mobile phones. Make sure you have uninterrupted time to have this conversation. Ask the other people residing in your house to not disturb you for a while or maybe you can take a day off from work so that you can sort through the nitty-gritty of this huge decision without distractions or interruptions.
“A sensible, calm approach makes this seemingly daunting process that much easier. A peaceful setting will ensure a better discussion about the matter and will give you plenty of time to tell your husband you want a divorce without hurting him badly,” says Laila.
Related Reading: 7 Predictors Of Divorce You Should Be Aware Of
4. How to tell your husband you want a divorce? Be patient and direct
Asking your husband for a divorce is not going to be a happy discussion, especially since you’re not on the same page about this. If you begin playing the blame game, your husband is not going to take the news calmly. How you approach the conversation will decide how it will unfurl. Be compassionate and share your side of the story as gently as possible. You need to be respectful and patient in order to divorce nicely and without harboring any hatred toward one another.
Nonetheless, be direct and firm. Do not beat around the bush. Also, don’t give your husband false hopes. If your husband is the manipulative kind, learn to be firm. Likewise, when you tell an abusive husband you want a divorce, there’s always a chance of things getting tough for you. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t already bad enough. You have invested a lot of time thinking about the divorce, stick to it.
5. Involve a trusted third party for safety
If you are seeking divorce to get out of an abusive marriage, have a trustworthy third party like a family member, friend, family therapist, or lawyer in the room for safety. When you want to tell an abusive husband you want a divorce, having someone with you makes it safer and easier.
A history of domestic violence is proof you cannot peacefully ask your husband for a separation. “Talking to a close friend, whom you trust, for feedback on whether you’re approaching the situation the right way is crucial. You must also talk to a lawyer to understand what your options are and what is the best way forward,” says Laila.
Related Reading: How To Get Your Divorce Mediation Checklist Ready
6. Hear his side
Since your husband has no idea that you want to end things, he may be shocked and will need some time to process the news. Give him that time. Don’t just vent everything at once and walk away. Remain pacific, wait for him to respond, let your husband talk, and try to be respectful of his perspective.
Don’t cut him off and counter him. If you keep interrupting him, you will never reach a conclusion. Let him have uninterrupted time to convey his feelings about this divorce. Once he has processed this information, he may lash out and bring up things that can be used against you in a divorce to try and dissuade you. It’s better to be prepared for such eventualities and not let anything come in the way of your wants and needs.
7. Agree to have this conversation again
How to ask for a divorce? Broach this subject more than once because this is not a conversation you can be done with by simply telling your spouse you want a divorce. Once you’ve given them space and time to process this information, ask them if they would like to talk about it again. After you’ve worked through the emotional upheaval this decision rakes up, you’ll need to have many more conversations, about living arrangements, financial information, a trial separation, and settlement options, among others.
8. Take help from a marriage counselor
How to secretly prepare for divorce? Talk to a marriage counselor or family therapist. Marriage counseling will help you deal with the strong emotions associated with disruption as huge as a divorce in a better, healthier manner. Or maybe for you, the overriding sentiment is: ”I love my husband but I want a divorce.” If so, approaching a counselor is advised.
A marriage counselor will help you deal with the overwhelming feeling of handling the emotional, logistical, and financial repercussions of your decision. If you’re looking for professional help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is only a click away.
Be Prepared For Your Husband’s Reaction
Telling your husband you want a divorce can be ugly, especially if you have once loved him very deeply. Don’t make mistakes in anger, like asking for divorce over text. It won’t do either of you any good and will only complicate matters further. It takes great courage to make this decision and if you’re sure that it is what you need to be happier, then don’t let others opinions, including your husband’s, sway you.
“Preparing yourself for all possible ways your husband may react to your decision will help you handle the matter coolly, with maturity. You and your husband could prevent the situation from getting ugly with preparation. Take divorce counseling when it seems like it’s all going out of control,” says Laila.
How to prepare for divorce emotionally? Be prepared for all possible outcomes without trying to control where the chips fall. As they say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Your husband is bound to react to your decision to divorce him, and that reaction will likely be far from pleasant. Brace yourself and expect the worst so that you’re not taken aback or shaken up by whatever he throws at you. It’s best if you have a cooling-off period in order to prevent further damage.
Related Reading: How To Leave A Marriage Peacefully – 9 Expert Tips To Help
Following Through With The Divorce
Once the divorce has been finalized, chances are you will feel lonelier than ever. Life after divorce can be scary. However, it’s a new start. You may even feel anxious once in a while. You may even feel sad and mourn your failed marriage. You need to accept these feelings. It’s okay to mourn a divorce. After all, you loved him once and spent so many years with him. Here are some ways you can make coping with the aftermath of a divorce somewhat easier:
- Give yourself a break. Go out with your friends. Have fun
- Don’t feel guilty for having fun. You deserve this
- You don’t have to go through this difficult time all alone. Join a support group or talk to a certified counselor
- Don’t isolate yourself and learn how to love yourself again
- Try to step out more often and spend time in nature
- Let your children know you are there for them as parents
- Take care of your mental and physical well-being
- Avoid power struggles and arguments with your ex-husband
- Bear in mind that life will get better with time
- Telling you husband you want a divorce is no joke, make sure you’re 100% sure that this is what you want
- Prepare your reasons for divorce and what you want to say during the conversation beforehand
- Don’t involve your children in this conflict
- Make sure your message is clear and that you give your husband space to absorb and respond
Breaking the divorce news could lead to varied responses like anger, shock, weeping, and so on. This is exactly how you or anyone on earth would react when they hear their spouse wants to end things with them. Nobody takes divorce lightly. It’s important to find the right divorce consultant when the two of you agree to mutually separate. Respect the love you once had for him and be kind to each other during such difficult times.
You have to go through all the reasons you want a divorce. If those reasons are enough to warrant a separation between you two, you’ll be able to face every hurdle. If you have an aggressive or abusive husband, it’s better to contact the third party first so that you remain safe and comfortable.
The first step would be to figure out how to tell your husband you want a divorce. Once you tell him, you can choose your route based on what his reaction is. If he doesn’t want to divorce you, the recommended path would be to contact some family members who can convince him. If that doesn’t work either, you can contact a divorce coach who’ll help you with the proceedings.
Unless your husband is abusive, in which case it’s recommended that you leave the house as soon as possible, it’s recommended that you two see a marriage counselor. A counselor helps you two in figuring out the differences and sources of conflict in your marriage. If that doesn’t work out either, you know there isn’t much left to repair and the best way is to part ways altogether.