o you feel unhappy in your marriage? Have you felt this way for quite some time? Maybe you just started thinking about divorce or it’s been on your mind for years and you’ve been too afraid to bring it up to your partner.
When it comes to splitting up from your spouse, it’s understandable to feel wary, and it’s typical to be nervous about bringing up the conversation.
Some relationships don’t work out. The divorce rate is currently at 39% which means it’s not entirely uncommon for marriages to fizzle out at one point or another.
Maybe your marriage flourished at first and the passion has since started dwindling. Or something more difficult happened between you and your partner that feels impossible to work past. For whatever reason, if you’re serious about getting a divorce, you owe it to yourself and your partner to sit down and have an honest conversation about whether or not separation is the best option.
Truth is, if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already taken the time to think over the decision and you’re unsure where to start. Initiating the conversation about divorce and navigating through the entire process is never simple, however, we’ve tried to make it easier for you.
Decide if divorce is what you genuinely want
Many marriages experience rough patches from time to time. It’s difficult to share your life with someone without feeling moments of uncertainty and stress that cause strain for you or your partner.
Sometimes these issues are isolated incidents that seem to resolve themselves after some time, but in certain circumstances, relationship issues are an ongoing problem that create strife for both parties.
The first big step in talking with your partner about divorce is being certain in your choice. A divorce is much messier than a breakup. It involves costly legal proceedings and can affect those around you. Rushing to the conclusion of divorce over a couple of heated arguments may lead to you regretting the hasty decision down the line.
Although your relationship might have problems that need to be addressed, divorce may be avoidable through other avenues like marital counseling or short-term separation. Marital counselors in the US report around a 70% success rate and see incredible improvements with couples who are committed to trying to fix the issues at hand within the relationship.
If your marriage is past the point of rehabilitation, however, and you feel it’s time to step out of the toxic relationship you find yourself in, you have options on how and when to discuss the decision with your partner.
Don’t stay together for reasons that don’t directly involve your happiness
Divorce can be a lot trickier with children involved. It’s important to make sure your children understand that the separation is not their fault. Too many times kids blame themselves for the marital issues that arise between parents and it can become emotionally and mentally detrimental in the future.
If kids are the main reason you’re staying together—it might be best to rethink that idea. As a parent, you’re meant to lead by example. Staying in a loveless or unhappy marriage only makes your children think that it’s normal to do the same.
Think about the type of relationship you would be happy to see your children in one day. Now think of them in a marriage that resembles your own. Would you urge them to stay for their children? Or would you want them to find happiness elsewhere?
You may think you’re doing them a favor, but staying together for the kids and constantly fighting isn’t going to help anyone. Go and find your happiness, your children may take it hard at first, but one day they will understand.
Know what you’re getting yourself into
Before you bring the topic up to your partner, it’s important to research the nitty-gritty details of divorce and how exactly the proceedings may impact the months following the decision.
You’ll have to be prepared to hire a divorce attorney to represent you in any legal proceedings regarding the splitting of assets and custody of the children.
Each state has a different set of laws when it comes to divorce, so it could be helpful to do some research on how your state handles the various issues that will come up in a divorce.
Discuss the divorce somewhere private
When it comes to deciding where you should talk to your spouse about getting a divorce, try to avoid public areas. Having a conversation about separating is difficult enough without worrying about what others around you may think. It’s best to handle this painful conversation in a private and comfortable place like your home.
Because of the magnitude of the decision, it’s likely to bring out emotions from you and your partner, but it’s important to try to remain calm so you can civilly discuss the divorce.
Bringing up the topic of divorce in the middle of a heated exchange can cause more problems than it’s worth. If you find yourself in a relationship where fighting is common, and divorce is thrown around constantly as a hollow threat, the seriousness of the decision will lose its weight--even if you genuinely mean it.
This is why it’s best to approach the topic calmly so your spouse understands the importance of the conversation.
Be honest about why you want a divorce
Telling your partner exactly why you’re making this choice is important. You owe it to them to be transparent about the issues that lead to this conclusion, just as you would expect an honest reason from them if the tables were turned.
This conversation is not going to be easy, but waiting to have it will be unfair to you and your partner. You both deserve to find happiness, so the sooner you rip the band aid off--the sooner you’ll both get the chance to move forward with your lives.
If you are someone who has brought up divorce on multiple occasions and it hasn’t sunk in with your partner, you may need to take a more professional approach to the issue, so that you’re taken seriously. Plan out ahead of time what you want to say. Write it down if it helps.
Give your partner some time to process
After you’ve had the initial conversation about going forward with a divorce, your spouse may not know how to react right away.
Talking about separating can come off as quite a shock to some spouses. If that’s the case in your specific situation, give them the necessary space to think about the situation and decide how to proceed from there.
Don’t let the topic get put off for too long after the initial conversation. You want to be able to continue the process swiftly and not let the difficult decision drag out longer than it has to.
Some conversations about divorce can cause a spouse to want to change the way they’ve been acting or attempt to save the relationship. Your spouse is most-likely experiencing emotions of guilt and regret that are blinding them from the problems the two of you have had throughout the relationship. This is common.
If you’re open to committing to fixing your marriage, hear your partner’s ideas of improvement out, you might just be able to save the relationship.
However, if you are certain divorce is what you and your spouse need, try to sit down again and talk through the issues that brought you to this point. If your reasons don’t sink in, give your spouse a few days to process and come back to the conversation.
Wait to file for divorce until your partner is ready
An amicable divorce might sound like an oxymoron, but spouses can separate without any bad blood. When filing for divorce, it’s important to wait until your spouse is ready.
Springing divorce papers on them a day after you’ve talked about it can come off as insensitive and hurtful. Give your partner some time to hire an attorney, prepare for the legal proceedings, and come to terms with the divorce on an emotional level.
Divorce doesn’t have to be all bad
If you’re constantly searching for reasons to stay or giving your partner the benefit of the doubt even if it leaves you feeling miserable, divorce may be the right decision for you.
It’s easy to think about divorce in a negative light, but if you feel unhappy in a relationship, separation is your chance to start fresh and find what makes you happy.
Relationships can feel like trial and error sometimes. It takes experiencing a bad relationship to make you understand what you want OR don’t want in your next relationship. So don’t think about it as an end of a marriage, but the beginning of your freedom and happiness.