I Want a Divorce! Tips for Telling Your Spouse that It Is Over

want-a-divorce-telling-spouse

It is never easy to tell your spouse that your marriage has officially reached its end. Preparing yourself for the emotional implications of breaking the news to your spouse is difficult on its own, and it is even more difficult to plan how to do it. However, when you tell your spouse that you will be filing for divorce, it will set the tone for how your divorce process may proceed. For instance, it determines if you will continue having civil discussions. Therefore, the importance of proper planning cannot be understated.

When it comes to having this conversation with your spouse, there are a few general guidelines that all parties involved should try to adhere to. These suggestions do not vary, regardless of who your spouse is. So, for a more successful conversation right from the beginning, you should always follow these basic tips when telling your spouse that the marriage is over:

1) Select an appropriate time and place.

The best place to tell your spouse that your marriage is over is not in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Rather, select a relatively private setting and a time when you can talk without interruptions. If there are children involved, see if a trusted friend or family member can keep an eye on them for a while; it will be more appropriate to talk while your children are not listening.

2) Remain calm.

There is no need to fuel the emotional fallout that can occur during this conversation. Instead, you should strive to maintain your calm and composure, even when it becomes difficult.

3) Be prepared for an emotional reaction from your spouse.

Particularly if your spouse is blissfully unaware that you have reached your capacity to endure the relationship, be prepared for an emotional response. This aspect may take more preparation on your part, but you should be able to remain stoic and calm, despite their emotional reaction. If you are struggling with your own emotions over this decision, seek guidance from a professional therapist or counselor in advance.

With those guidelines firmly in place, you may also want to consider how having a conversation regarding the end of your union will look different depending on whether or not you will be telling your husband or your wife. For more detailed information regarding the best way to break the news, you can see the crucial tips you need to know below.

How to Tell Your Wife You Want a Divorce

Sharing the news with your wife can be an especially emotional ordeal. Before you begin the conversation, you should be certain that you have all speaking points prepared and arranged in advance. This preparation grants you a significant degree of control over the situation, and allows you to keep the conversation as brief as possible. By knowing in advance exactly what you want to say, you can stay on track throughout the conversation and steer clear of your own emotional reaction.

It may help to ensure that you are not blindsiding her with this information. In other words, she should already be aware that there are difficulties and struggles within the marital relationship. Excessive distance in a relationship is not necessarily a clear indicator that the marriage is headed toward dissolution.

Men should be particularly aware of their tone of voice throughout the conversation. Make an effort not to sound gruff or hostile. Instead, strive to maintain a gentle tone that is clear and calm.

How to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce

Breaking the news to your husband can be especially difficult for wives to work through. Remember, before you begin the conversation, you need to keep it simple. It is not the time to bring up past hurts or betrayals. A simple script that you have prepared in advance should focus on general unhappiness or primary issues within the relationship. While you tell your spouse that you plan to file for divorce, do not air out your grievances, as it can only make things worse.

Another key tip is to make use of “I statements,” instead of “you statements.” This tactic keeps your husband from feeling defensive and building up an emotional reaction while you speak. By taking responsibility for your own feelings through word choice, your husband will feel less like you blame him for the end of the marriage.

Consider curbing conversations about the specifics of the divorce until a later date. It will be far better to have a team of professionals help you navigate conversations further into the process. Particularly when it comes to negotiations, you will want professionals to help you get what you are entitled to, in order to secure a firmer financial future for yourself.

Keep the Conversation Simple

If you cannot handle the idea of telling your spouse on your own, consider enlisting the help of a third party, such as a therapist or counselor. With someone else present, it may be easier to handle the emotional responses you could face when discussing divorce.

This third party could be especially important if you have an abusive spouse. In situations when you are concerned about your safety, it is always best to refrain from telling your spouse in private. Ensure that you have a third party present or other witnesses that can assist in the fallout from the conversation.

Remember to be kind to your spouse during these conversations. Even when you are met with an emotional response, it is best to remain neutral instead of becoming defensive. To reiterate, this conversation can often serve as an indicator for the future conversations you will need to have regarding the specifics of your settlement. So be sure to guide the conversation toward brevity and simplicity.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.