There are many reasons why people stay in marriages when they know it is time for the marriage to end. Children, financial stability or companionship are common motives for staying married.
If this sounds like your situation, you should know that these are valid reasons for staying with your spouse. You might feel like you are trying to do the right thing, put others needs before your own or avoid unnecessary conflict and drama.
Acknowledge that this is going to be a hard conversation
However, you may reach a point where divorce becomes inevitable. Not only do circumstances change, but you or your spouse’s needs can change, to the point that the benefits of divorce now outweigh the advantages of staying together.
Telling your spouse that you want a divorce is likely going to be one of the most stressful things you will ever do. It is natural to feel a wide range of emotions when making this decision, including sadness or guilt.
You may want to have a peaceful divorce, and the first step toward one is telling your spouse you want a divorce in the appropriate way.
Preparing to tell your spouse
Before you break the news, think about your spouse’s current mental and emotional state, both in general and towards your marriage. They might have a sense that this is coming, or they could have no idea. Take these things into consideration when choosing how to tell them.
First and foremost, tell your spouse in person. Have a real life, face-to-face conversation. Do not tell them through text, email, social media or any form of written communication.
Not only is it disrespectful to them, but it decreases your chances of having an amicable divorce.
Where to tell them
Tell them in a private place with a quiet and calming atmosphere. If you have children, do not do it in front of them.
The exception to this rule is if you fear an angry or violent reaction from your spouse that could put you in physical danger. If you are in this type of situation, tell them in a public place that still has a relatively peaceful atmosphere, such as a park.
When to tell them
Pick a time that your spouse is likely to be most receptive to hearing the news. Do not tell them you want a divorce when you know they have a major deadline coming up at work, or after they got home from a stressful day.
Managing your emotions during the conversation
As you tell them, do your best to control your negative emotions like anger or bitterness. You do not have to shut off your emotions completely. Emotions like sadness are valid and should be expressed.
State in logical terms your reasons for wanting a divorce. Explain why you think it is the best decision for everyone.
Your spouse is probably not going to react perfectly, and your emotions may flare up during the conversation. End it when you feel it is necessary and allow them some time to process.
Use your support system
A strong support system is necessary both before, during and after your divorce. Reach out to your support system for advice and guidance.
Divorce is never easy, even using methods such as collaborative divorce or mediation. However, telling your spouse you want a divorce in a respectful and appropriate manner increases your chance of an amicable, peaceful ending to your marriage.