It’s time. You didn’t think it would ever come to this point in your marriage, but you are done. You’ve put your heart and soul into making your relationship with your husband work, but things just are completely stuck. Unfortunately, your marriage is over. You want a divorce. Of that decision, you are finally sure. Now comes the hard part: how do you tell your husband?
Whether you’ve been married one year or 25 years, this conversation will be one of the hardest of your life. There are many ways to approach this, and how you do it will have a big impact on how the divorce plays out. Will the divorce get ugly or will it remain civil? While many factors play into this, how you tell him is one of them. So be thoughtful as you go ahead and reveal your decision. Here are some tips:
Gauge his possible reaction
Do you think your husband has any clue how unhappy you are? Also remember that there is a difference between general unhappiness and divorce. Has anything happened or have you said anything in the past to indicate whether or not you want out? If he is clueless, this will be even harder; to him it will feel like it has come out of left field, and he may openly fight even the mention of the idea. However, if you think he may have some clue, then this conversation may go a little easier. If he’s already been pulling away, then he may already be thinking that the marriage is on the rocks, and this pending conversation will be a natural progression for him.
Think about what you will say
With his possible reaction in your mind, it’s time to think about what you will say to him. Talk about how you’ve felt unhappy for a while now, and that you’ve grown apart. Then tell him you have felt for a while that the marriage just won’t work, and that you want a divorce. Make sure to say the word so he is clear. Wait for him to respond. He will likely have questions. Stay general. If he asks for specifics, still try to keep it general. If you must, then just mention a few major issues, but overall talk about how it’s your day to day life that is unhappy and not what you want. If you need to, before you meet write down your thoughts so you can organize them and be ready.
Set aside uninterrupted time to talk
Tell your husband that you really need to talk to him about something and set up the time and day. Go somewhere where you can be private and spend some time together talking. Turn off your cell phones, get a babysitter—whatever you need to do so that you are both undistracted and be uninterrupted while you talk. Maybe at your home, or a park, or somewhere else that is secluded.
Keep the discussion civilized
As you talk, things are bound to get awkward, heated, or both. Do your best to stay civil even if you are the only one who does so. If your husband reacts rashly, don’t fall into the same trap and react with harsh feelings. When you don’t react, he may then say things to try to rile you up, but again don’t fall for it. Remember what you are doing here—you are simply letting him know what you want. Your ultimate goal is a divorce, which is hard enough. Don’t make it worse by letting emotions overrule you.
Don’t point fingers
During this conversation, and during the weeks afterwards, your husband may ask you for specific issues or situations where either of you are at fault. He may even point blame at you, while trying to get you to point fingers back. Don’t play that game. You can go round and round in circles coming up with whose fault it was. In reality, the fault lies with both of you at least a little bit. At this point, the past doesn’t matter. What matters is the present and the future.
Agree to another time to talk more
This is not a one-time discussion. More feelings will come up, and if you both agree to move forward with the divorce, then you’ll be talking more about things. This first discussion is simply to tell him that you want a divorce. Nothing more, nothing less. If he brings up details, tell him you just want some time and set a future date to talk about money, where you will each live, the kids, etc. All the big stuff. But for now, you can rest knowing that you said your peace and you can finally move on.