Telling your spouse that not only is the honeymoon over but also the marriage takes planning and tact. How you ask for a divorce depends on the maturity level of the spouses involved and their ability to control their emotions. If you live with a drama king or queen, it will not be easy.
How you approach ending the marriage will likely depend, at least in part, on the reasons for your decision. The most common reasons for divorce include the inability to communicate and understand one another, infidelity, abuse, finances, control issues, and unreasonable expectations. These factors are usually caused by misunderstandings of what marriage and love are all about.
How to approach ending the marriage depends on the reasons for the decision. The most common reasons for divorce are the inability to communicate and understand each other; infidelity; abuse; finances; control; and unreasonable expectations. These are usually caused by misunderstandings of what marriage and love are all about.
6 Tips on How to Ask for a Divorce
What’s Love (and Self-Love) Got to Do with It?
I wrote a book a long time ago that details the nature of love called What is Love? A Book for Men and the Women Who Love Them (Divine Light Publishing House); it’s free to download at www.jamesgrayrobinson.com/product/what-is-love. Most people have no idea what love is and get married for a lot of reasons that do not include love, which makes a divorce hard. When two people love each other but decide that marriage doesn’t work, divorce is easy (or at least easier).
You can only love someone as much as you love yourself. You must be very honest with yourself about your motivation for wanting a divorce. If you want the divorce because you don’t feel safe, then your motivation is self-love. If you want a divorce because you are bored, fettered, found someone new, or tired of the relationship, the motivation is other than self-love.
The short story is if you don’t love yourself and are seeking a divorce for selfish reasons, the divorce will probably be emotionally charged. In order to ask for a divorce peacefully, you have to have compassion and anticipate their feelings.
I was a divorce attorney for many years and have been divorced twice. I used to joke that I know more ways to end a marriage than to make a good one. I have seen couples divorce amicably and I have seen Armageddon. The amount of suffering is indirectly proportionate to how much you care for them. Here are six suggestions on what to consider when breaking the news:
1. Go to marriage counseling first.
If you have not expressed any dissatisfaction with the relationship before you decide to divorce you need to ask them to go to counseling with you. It is not fair if you have not been honest with them during the marriage about your feelings and problems with the relationship and you suddenly break the news you want a divorce. The purpose of counseling is not only to save the marriage, but to ease the couple into the reality that a divorce is a good idea. It is not inconceivable that you may discover the true reason for your desire for a divorce and the marriage can be changed to be more beneficial. If they refuse to go, then you have a segue into asking for divorce and they won’t be blindsided.
2. Treat it like a proposal.
How did you propose, or did they propose? Recreate the scene. Allow them to as feel safe as possible and let them know you care about them. Many people react emotionally and negatively because they feel like they are being attacked and rejected. If you show them you care, hopefully, they won’t get triggered and can rationally think the divorce through.
3. Step up financially.
If you are the supporting spouse or the breadwinner, you will be expected to support your spouse for some amount of time. If you let them know you are prepared to do that, then their fears of the future can be avoided. The amount of fear they will feel is directly proportionate to your possessiveness. If you are prepared to give everything to them, they won’t be threatened. The more you can share, the less they will be triggered. Generosity goes a long way.
4. Have a plan.
The more answers you have to their concerns the better. Seek legal advice before you announce a divorce. There are some wise pre-divorce planning steps you may need to know before divorce becomes a topic.
5. Look for the positives.
Remember that there must have been a reason you married. I always asked my clients why they got married and what happened. Many times, they blamed the other spouse, but something changed in my client. All perception is projection. If you can remember the good times, and remind your spouse you remember those good times, it will go more smoothly.
6. Make the children the primary focus.
If you have children, then it can’t be about you. You have to make them the primary focus. If not, you will reap unpleasant rewards.
Remember that you are ending a marriage, not a relationship. Just because the marriage ends does not mean it is the end of the world. The more you can support the other, just like in any relationship, the better.
When You Ask for a Divorce, Expect the Best – but Prepare for the Worst
The art and skill of how to ask for a divorce require you to anticipate the fears, needs, and negative emotions that your spouse will experience when you bring up the subject. If you haven’t had a loving relationship for a long time, you can expect feelings of anger, grief, rejection, abandonment, and revenge in response to asking for a divorce. Fear of the future may also figure large in their minds. Your spouse’s emotional maturity and resilience will determine how you ask this question.
For some, the reaction will be volcanic and cataclysmic no matter what you do. If you focus on helping your spouse cope with their fear, anger, or rejection, you’ll experience a much more peaceful exit.