You Want a Divorce, how do you Tell Your Spouse?
The process of coming to the decision that you no longer want to be married is painful enough but trying to figure out the best way to tell your spouse can be torturous. It is not an easy task by any means, considering you may have spent many years with this person and may also share children together. There are a few things you can do to help avoid making a bad situation worse. If you know that your spouse does not feel the same way that you do you are probably wracked with guilt and shame. If your spouse’s behavior has caused you to make this decision you are likely to be filled with rage and fear.
No matter what or who precipitates the decision, breaking the news is never easy. There are some things to take into consideration that can help to make the process less devastating. First, vacillating this decision or using it as a bluff for any reason is unfair. To the best of your ability, be 100% sure that this is what you want before you broach the subject of divorce with your spouse. If you feel you need more time before saying it then take the extra time to think things through. This is not a decision to be rushed or proclaimed lightly.
You should have a well-thought-out strategy as to when and what you want to tell your spouse. This is not an announcement to be made in the heat of an argument. If you have been in marriage counseling, consider making the announcement with the therapist present. Blindsiding your spouse with the line “I want a divorce” can be devastating and may result in a much more difficult transition for both people. Be as calm, kind, and direct as possible. After you tell your spouse how you feel, provide him or her with a chance to respond and allow them the time and space to process the information. If you have children together, your soon-to-be former spouse is going to be in your life for a long time. The compassion and patience you employ now will serve you well as you try to work how to best co-parent in separate households.
Many experts suggest using “I” statements and focusing on neutral language when telling your spouse. This can help avoid your spouse feeling like they are being blamed. This is a choice that you have made for yourself and not a choice that you made to punish your spouse. It will feel less like an attack if you state your feelings about the relationship clearly, honestly, and as kindly as possible, as opposed to calling out your spouse on all the things you think they have done wrong in the marriage. Saying, “I feel sad that we don’t spend time together anymore and that we’ve grown apart,” is easier to hear than blame.
Even after you have employed all these tips on how to tell your spouse that you want a divorce, the journey through the process will inevitably lead to some degree of emotional and financial stress. Mediation is a process that can be very effective in minimizing the emotional and financial damage that the divorce process can cause. Mediation works best for couples who have both come to terms with the fact that the marriage is ending and want to work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and does not represent either spouse. A mediator explains the law, educates the couple on the issues they need to address and helps them communicate effectively so that they can make the decisions about the restructuring of their parental and financial relationship in a way that is highly tailored to the needs of their family. Mediation allows the couple to maintain control over their lives. No one is in a better position to make the decisions about how your children will be raised and how your finances will be handled than you are.
If you are considering divorce and think that mediation may be the appropriate process for your family, contact us at 516-308-2922 to schedule a complimentary consultation.