Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Patricia Lamas LCSW
5 Tips When You Don’t Know How To Ask For A Divorce
Published May 19th, 2021 & updated on May 19th, 2021
Let’s face it. Going through a divorce sucks for everyone involved, no matter what the circumstances are leading up to this big decision. Chances are, you probably thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with this person. Duh…that’s why you got married in the first place! But whatever your reasons might be, you’re ready to close this chapter in your life and that means ending your marriage officially.
This wasn’t some decision you made overnight. Asking for a divorce is a really tough thing to do and there are some BIG changes ahead. The thing is, you’re not even sure how to go about asking for a divorce (we get it, it’s scary as hell!). But, what you DO know is you want this conversation to go as smoothly as possible, even with all of the emotions that are bound to come up.
Here’s how to (hopefully) avoid a war and ask for a divorce in a calm, respectful, mentally healthy way.
1. Choose The Right Place, Right Time
Timing. Matters. The last thing you should do is scream, “IT’S OVER, I WANT A DIVORCE!” in the middle of a heated argument, or when your spouse is already dealing with another crisis. It’s safe to say neither of you needs the added stress!
Instead, find time to talk when neither of you is busy or have something else going on that needs attention. And, it’s probably for the best to make sure you’re not in a public setting or surrounded by a bunch of people. You both deserve privacy and the time to discuss something so important (with zero distractions)!
2. Prepare Yourself
If you’re feeling super anxious about asking your spouse for a divorce, it might be because you are anticipating a certain reaction. Maybe they’ll see this talk coming, maybe they won’t. Everyone’s relationship situation is totally different. But, chances are you know your partner enough to have at least some idea of how they’ll respond when you drop the D-word. There might be shock, yelling, crying, accusations, blame…maybe all of the above. Or, maybe none of the above.
Prepare yourself as much as possible for this emotional rollercoaster of a conversation, both mentally and emotionally. Think of what you wanna say to your spouse, write it down in a journal, and practice this talk with a friend you trust. It might also be a good idea to take the next day off from work in advance, ask your parents to watch your kiddos for the night, or whatever else you need so that you’re not worrying about too much at once.
3. Be Clear About Your Decision
Stating the obvious here, but asking for a divorce is not the same thing as asking your partner to fix your relationship. Maybe you’ve already tried working on your problems before and the results were, well…not ideal. The bottom line is: this isn’t a debate (or a chance for your spouse to change your mind about wanting a divorce).
Your spouse might have a hard time understanding your position unless you make it crystal clear. As firmly (but gently) as possible, let them know you’ve decided you want a divorce and your mind has been made up. They need to know there’s no chance of winning you over, or for them to manipulate you into staying. You want to end this marriage. That’s it.
4. Decide On A Plan Together
Divorce can be messy. Despite the whirlwind of emotions that you’re both feeling when this convo happens, make sure your spouse knows you want this divorce to be a peaceful one. You probably still care about this person and have love for them on some level, even though things aren’t going to work out between you two. So coming up with a plan of action together, calmly and respectfully, is the best way to end things and avoid more hurt in the long run.
Ask your spouse if you can work out those finer details when emotions aren’t so high and you’ve both had more time to process. If there are kids involved, it’s especially important to talk about what this divorce means for your family moving forward. There will be LOTS of decisions to make together, so getting through this as a team is better than starting a war.
5. Seek Professional Help From A Divorce Therapist
You might think couples therapy is only for partners who want to work on their problems or save their relationship…nope! That’s not the case at all. There are plenty of therapists out there who specialize in separation and divorce. Working through all of the emotions you and your partner are going through is an important process, and divorce therapy is a safe space for you both to express those feelings without any judgement or bias.
Divorce can come with emotional trauma, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, stress and a whole lot more. Neither of you needs to face those feelings alone! Don’t feel ashamed about seeking some extra help to get through this difficult time. You’re not the first person to go to therapy, and you won’t be the last! Plus, therapy is just really awesome.
Like we said, asking for a divorce can really take a toll on your mental wellbeing. But we’re so proud of you for choosing what’s best for you, even if it’s one of the hardest (and bitter-sweet) decisions of your life. Remember: you will get through this.