How To Tell Your Spouse You Want A Divorce: 10 Ways To Try

After much deliberation, you may have decided that you cannot go on with your marriage anymore. If the decision is heartbreaking, communicating the message to your spouse is even harder, especially if your spouse wants to go for counseling and preserve your relationship.

The process is painful, but doing it sensibly and calmly can prevent massive damage. Inform your spouse about your decision by speaking frankly and firmly while also acknowledging their emotions and sentiments. Keep reading this post as we help you with how to tell your spouse you want a divorce.

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How To Tell Your Spouse You Want A Divorce: 10 Ways

Once you are completely sure about wanting a divorce from your partner, keep these points in mind while sharing your intention with your partner.

1. Plan what you want to say

Once you have decided you want to go ahead with your divorce, plan what to tell your spouse. Whatever you say, ensure that you appear firm on your decision. Do not look hesitant or make your partner believe there is any scope for reconciliation when there is not. Also, be prepared to answer their questions.

2. Don’t drop a bomb on your partner

Tell your spouse want to speak about something

Image: Shutterstock

Things may not be going well between you and your partner, but do not expect this friction to prepare your partner for the news of separation. Since it can be traumatic. Do not shock with a sudden change by notifying them with your decision one fine day. Instead, slowly broach the topic by first telling them you need to speak about something important. Allow them to be prepared mentally before you share the big news.

3. Choose the right time

Ensure that you and your spouse are in the right state of mind. Do not start the conversation when you are already stressed, as you may not handle their questions or an extreme reaction. Instead, pick a time when you and your partner are relaxed and in the best position to handle this difficult situation.

protip_icon Point to consider
It is a serious discussion, so choose a time you won’t be disturbed. If you are concerned about your safety, disclose the information in the presence of a lawyer.

4. Be considerate, but also direct

Do not be blunt, how to tell spouse you want a divorce

Image: Shutterstock

When you break the news of divorce to your partner, be mindful of what you say to them. Do not be blunt, but also do not beat around the bush. Be compassionate and tell them you understand how difficult it will be for them to process this new development in your relationship and how the decision is the right thing to do at the moment.

Erin Blaskie, a brand marketer, recounts the moment she initiated the discussion about divorcing her husband. She recounts, “I walked home after yoga class, looked at my partner and said, “We need to talk.” Thus started the long and painful conversation around the state of our relationship and how a change was needed. That conversation wasn’t a surprise, however. We had been having that same conversation for years — we just hadn’t reached the climax yet. When we did, it was hard and painful and eye-opening but we knew that there wasn’t the possibility of moving forward together — we had taken the relationship as far as we could (i).”

5. Avoid getting defensive

When you tell your partner about your intention to divorce, you have to give them valid reasons for it. You can point out the short comings or explain how every effort to be together is going in vain. Instead of getting defensive, listen to them patiently. Give them a chance to vent out their anger and grief. Try not to argue with them, as it will only aggravate the situation. However, if this is emotionally taxing, take a break and calm down before talking.

6. Do not play the blame game

Avoid the blame game

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You may have had certain expectations from your spouse when you married them. But sadly, both of you were disappointed with each other. It is natural to be frustrated but avoid blame games when talking about separation. Your criticism may not be taken well so it is best not to get too critical, and be more emphatic. You can tell them how their behavior affected you, but do not push the blame entirely on them. Also, you may share your mistakes to help reduce defensiveness.

7. Dismiss the idea of trial separation

In trial separation, a couple lives away from each other as they take time to ponder over their relationship and keep the option of reconciliation open. However, if you have decided you want a marital dissolution and that nothing can salvage your marriage, then make it clear to your partner that trial separation is not an option for you. If they suggest the idea, then turn it down as it will delay your divorce.

8. Ensure your safety

Break the news to them in the company of someone

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If you are in an abusive marriage, then chances are your spouse might get violent learning that you want a divorce. In such a situation, try to break the news to them in the company of someone. Or you can try talking to them in a public space so that their reaction is relatively more controlled.

protip_icon Quick tip
Establish a term, phrase, or gesture that you can use to warn your family, neighbors, friends, or coworkers that you are in danger and that they must call the police.

9. Stick to your decision

After finally breaking the news to your partner, they are most likely to feel upset, and you might feel guilty for hurting them. It may even weaken your resolve to separate from them. However, the moment you feel you are falling weak, remind yourself of the reason why you sought a divorce in the first place. Keep distance from your spouse, so they too are aware of how serious you are about the divorce. You may even seek a licensed professional while transitioning. They can help you navigate your feelings of guilt and work towards a better future.

10. Seek a good lawyer

You may opt for a collaborative divorce

Image: Shutterstock

Once you have had a word with your spouse, then start looking for a good attorney. Look for someone who can understand you and your case and also make you feel comfortable and who will notify you about the paperwork, laws, legalities, and proceedings. Keep all your legal documents ready, as they will come in handy when you have a discussion. If possible, try to speak to your partner to have an amicable divorce. Even a collaborative divorce can be set aside as an alternative option as it is easier and quicker than amicable divorce.

Marriage and divorce rates in the US have dropped between 2009 and 2019, yet state-by-state fluctuations remain.

In the United States, 16.3 new marriages for every 1,000 women aged 15 and over were registered in 2019, decreasing from 17.6 in 2009. During the same period, the divorce rate in the United States decreased from 9.7 new divorces per 1,000 women aged 15 and over in 2009 to 7.6 in 2019, as depicted in the graph below.

See How Marriage and Divorce Rates in Your State Stack Up

Source: U.S. Marriage and Divorce Rates Decline in Last 10 Years; United States Census Bureau

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it better to divorce or stay unhappily married?

Divorce seems to be a legitimate option when there is no way to save an ending marriage. A toxic relationship can seriously injure your mental health. Parents may decide to stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of their children. Though this cause may be defended in terms of financial liabilities, dissolving the union is a better option than an unhappy marriage in the long run for partners as well as children.

2. Why am I so scared to ask for a divorce?

The unforeseen future may be the cause of fear when deciding to ask for a divorce. For the financially dependent and those lacking financial planning, a divorce may make them worried about their future. Parents are also concerned about the future of their children, child custody, the impact of the divorce, and the accompanying instability.

3. Is it selfish to ask for a divorce?

No. Divorce is never easy for those involved, and it is difficult to survive unscathed. However, you must accept that people are going to be hurt. If you have children, you might have to discuss with them and explain what you are going through so they understand your state and be with you in your decision.

protip_icon Point to consider
Consider how a divorce will affect your children’s financial security in the short and long run.

Divorce is a life-altering decision, so do not make it in haste. But when you have decided, then do not waiver from it. Hurting your spouse in this scenario is unavoidable. But there is also no way to ask your spouse for divorce without causing them some pain. So, try to be considerate of their feelings and speak to them calmly when sharing your decision.

Infographic: How To Ask Your Spouse For A Divorce?

You’ve tried everything to save your marriage and finally decided to end your marriage. But discussing divorce with a spouse is a complicated and sensitive matter, requiring extreme care and consideration. In this infographic, we’ve explored some approaches to initiating the conversation of divorce with the spouse.

different ways to ask your spouse for a divorce (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • If you want to convey to your partner that you need a divorce, you should plan what to say and choose the right time.
  • Avoid getting defensive and playing blame games; rather, talk calmly with them.
  • Stick to your decision and get help from a lawyer once you have discussed the matter.

Wondering how to breach the topic of divorce to your spouse? This video can help you do it in a respectful and compassionate way.

Personal Experience: Source

i. How to get amicably divorced;

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