Divorce Blog

How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

By Karen Stewart

Telling a Spouse You want a DivorceFor those who have carefully and thoughtfully considered their situation and come to the decision that it is time to get a divorce, the first challenge they face will be figuring out how they should approach the discussion with their spouse.

No matter how you look at it, telling your spouse you want a divorce is daunting; just thinking about where to begin is enough to paralyze the average person in fear. In our opinion, honesty is always the best policy, and by approaching the conversation authentically, you’ll be able a deliver a strong and clear message to your spouse. The word ‘divorce’ is an emotional trigger for many of us so always make sure you approach the conversation with care and caution.

If you need to lay down the harsh reality that your marriage has come to an end and you want a divorce, then speak with a caring tone. Above all: be clear and leave no room for misinterpretation. There is nothing worse than being wishy-washy about this life-defining topic. If the marriage is done, then it is done and the best way to approach the conversation is with certainty. If you do not do this, then you are going to send mixed messages and that is unfair.

Do not immediately bring up the words “divorce lawyer” or you will send your spouse into an unnecessary state of fear. You can always have the “How we’re going to get divorced?” conversation later when you’re both in less emotional states.

A few do’s and don’ts when asking for a divorce:

  • Use only “I” statements not “you” (ie: “I want a divorce”, “I think it’s time we separate”);
  • Do not bring up the past — there is no need as the time for counselling has passed;
  • Speak in short, concise sentences – be clear;
  • Men appreciate short and to the point — be clear and concise;
  • Women like a bit more detail — but do so using “I” language;
  • Do not talk about how to get divorced in the heat of the moment;
  • Do not ask for a divorce unless you are 90% sure (100% will never happen);
  • Be in a peaceful place before you have the conversation;
  • Do not have the conversation when the kids are around or asleep;
  • Do not at any cost get into lengthy dialogue – if you do find that you are reminiscing about the past negatively or positively, stop and continue the conversation another time;
  • People with certainty are forthright and confident about their intentions — use that as a roadmap;

Approaching this conversation with caution and carefully thinking through your position before you speak can help avoid blow-ups or miscommunication. Follow the tips provided above and go in with a plan. Most of all, have the conversation with love and respect regardless of what the other person says. Do not feel guilty, as it is only misguided anger!