“I want a divorce” – 5 Tips to Delivering the News With Respect

by Oct 4, 2019

I’ll begin with what NOT to do! I was on the receiving end of this news in my divorce and my ex-husband really blew it. He was so afraid of how I would react, since he was also going to tell me he had been having an affair, that he planned it all out and asked me to have dinner with him at a restaurant so he could “talk to me” about something. He hoped that if I was in a public place I would be less likely to become hysterical.

In reality, it just meant that I had to sit in a public place while my world came crashing down. Emotions swept over me that almost made me pass out. I immediately got up and left the restaurant and considered leaving him there to find his own way home. Do NOT do this to your spouse!

So what is the correct way to tell someone it’s over? There probably isn’t one. I do know that this will be one of the most difficult conversations you ever have and here are my best tips to keep it respectful.

1. Make Sure the Kids are Somewhere Else

This is a great time for sleepovers with friends (at their house) or a night with grandparents. You both need space to work through this.

2. Allow Your Spouse Time to Process

My best advice is say it simply and directly and then let them know you don’t want to discuss anything right now. Maybe even make arrangements to leave and spend the night somewhere else. You’ll both be better off for it.

3. Do it in Person

Whatever you do, do NOT do it in writing, an email, or God forbid a text message! Have the courage to say it to their face.

4. Speak Only About Yourself

Do not attack! Absolutely, no YOU statements. It should go something like this; “I have made a decision for myself that I need to tell you about. At this point, I can no longer stay in this marriage and I believe it will be best for both of us to start the divorce process. All of the reasons aren’t important anymore. I just know that I need things to change. I also know this is a lot to absorb and it’s not really a good idea to talk about anything now. I’ve made arrangements to stay somewhere else tonight so you can have some time to yourself. I’m really sorry.” And quietly walk out.

Of course, it may not go that smoothly but that’s a good intention to start with.

5. Make Sure You’re Safe

If there is even a small possibility that you might be met with anger or violence, be sure that someone is with you. Have them stand by the front door while you speak to your spouse in private and then immediately leave.

I know this can be scary but the only way to get to the other side of divorce is to go through it. Good Luck!

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5 Things to Do Before You Decide on Divorce by Nancy Hetrick

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