Once you’ve decided to seek a divorce, the hard part begins — but, first, you have to get through the process of explaining your decision to your spouse. If you’ve been fighting a lot, maybe the news will come as a relief. If you’re like a lot of couples, however, your marriage may have been casually drifting along for a while, held together mostly through inertia. The sudden change can end up being a devasting shock to your partner.
Where do you start? Here are some suggestions from the pros:
1. Be sensitive about the timing
Everyone’s heard horror stories about husbands who have handed divorce papers to wives recovering from surgery or wives who broke the news on their husbands’ birthdays. Poor timing can create unnecessary hostility. Pick a quiet time on a date with no major significance to break the news.
2. Don’t start talking details immediately
You shouldn’t launch into what you expect custody arrangements to be like or who will get what property. There will be plenty of time to have those conversations after you spouse has time to process the new information.
3. Approach this as something for your mutual benefit
Even if your spouse wasn’t ready to take this drastic of a step, the odds are good that you’ve both been unhappy for a while. Don’t focus on what went wrong in the past. Instead, focus your conversation around what needs to be done to make things right in the future — and how moving on can benefit you both.
Making the decision to get a divorce can be a positive thing — especially when you handle that initial conversation with grace. You may set a tone for a civil parting that really will help.