Asking for a divorce can be one of the most difficult things you do in your lifetime. You may have been thinking about it for weeks, months or even years. Now you have decided to end your marriage and you’re preparing to ask your spouse for a divorce. It’s not going to be easy, but avoiding these 5 mistakes can at least make it a little less difficult.
1) Wrong Time/Wrong Place
Timing is everything. Your spouse walks in the door after a long day of work. The day’s stress is still clinging to them. They’re hungry. If you say you want a divorce now, you’re setting yourself up for a fight.
So when is the best time to expect a favorable response? According to an article from Psychology Today, asking questions after meals can be beneficial. After all, everyone thinks better on a full stomach. Place makes a difference too. Maybe you don’t want to ask for a divorce while having a holiday dinner with family. However, asking in a park or public space may prevent your spouse from responding angrily. If you are worried about your spouse responding violently, having support nearby is critical.
This is a big decision. Are you certain you want to go through with it? Your spouse may try to convince you to stay in the marriage. They may ask for one more chance, even if you have given them many chances.
Are there things they could say that would convince you not to move forward with a divorce? If you ask for a divorce and they offer to go to marriage counseling, is that something you’d be receptive to? If so, perhaps ask for that instead of asking for the divorce. Make it clear that it’s critical for the survival of the marriage. Then, if your spouse refuses, they won’t be able to use that to push back against your divorce request. Being certain and confident that this is what you want can make it easier to move forward when your spouse pushes back.
Anger just leads to more anger. If telling your spouse you want a divorce comes in a burst of anger from you, you should not be surprised that your spouse responds with equal or greater anger. An article from HuffPost encourages approaching the matter gently and calmly, but firmly. Bring that certainty that this is what you want to the conversation and make it clear you are confident in your decision.
Your spouse’s actions (or inaction) may very well have lead you to this decision. However, you have already likely had those arguments. You’ve tried to get your spouse to change or to fix what they did wrong, and you haven’t had success. Bringing those issues up again is pointless now that you have made the decision to ask for a divorce. Instead of reminding your spouse what they did wrong, explain why you have decided to end the marriage. Use “I” statements, rather than “you” statements.
5) Lack Of Planning
Since you are reading this article, you are obviously thinking ahead. Some other things to think about when planning to ask for a divorce include:
- What is your spouse’s state of mind? Do you think they are ready to hear what you’re going to say or will you need to brace yourself for them being upset?
- Is there something you can do to make this discussion easier for both of you? Maybe set up a situation where you’re going to have a night out with your friends and your spouse is going to have a night out with their friends so you can both have emotional support after the discussion.
- Where are you going to go after you ask for a divorce? Will you be comfortable staying in the family home, or should you plan to stay elsewhere?
- Where will your children be? Perhaps you can plan to ask your spouse for a divorce when the kids are with grandparents or staying with friends.
Even before you ask for a divorce, you can discuss the matter with an attorney to help you set the stage for a positive outcome. There are many little things you can do to make this difficult discussion go as well as possible.