Divorce is never easy. Having “the conversation” is even harder because you never know the way it’ll go. You might plan it all the way through only to be blindsided by unexpected circumstances. Still, working in divorce therapy, I found that there’re six important goals to keep in mind if you’re the one to initiate the divorce talk.
1.Safety Is Your First Priority
Many professional women I work with feel ashamed to admit to the history of domestic violence and emotional abuse in the marriage. For some reason, there’s a stereotype that violence is reserved exclusively for “the poor.”
Please know, if your husband tends to get physical when angry, ask for a divorce in front of a divorce therapist or people. You have no power of his behaviour, but you have control over the environment in which you choose to have the divorce conversation.
2.To Blindside is The Worst Approach
The best way to make asking for divorce more painful is by breaking the news out the blue. You don’t want your divorce announcement to be the first time your partner learns that you’re unhappy and dissatisfied in your marriage.
The more your spouse is blindsided by divorce, the longer it will take him to digest it, accept it, and work with it. All of these cause resistance in allowing the divorce process to start.
3.Empathy and Kindness Are The Keys To Success
The pain and hurt you’ve been feeling that brought you to end your marriage can blind you and prevent you from feeling compassion and empathy for your spouse. Remember that you once loved this person.
It won’t be easy for your partner to hear the news, the same way it wasn’t easy for you to arrive at this decision. Have compassion for yourself, for your spouse, and the relationship you once had.
4.Always Take The Easiest Route
The best practice for “the conversation” is to have a focus on a positive and stress-free approach to divorce. This conversation is your first primary opportunity to set a tone for an amicable divorce.
Since you’re the one initiating the conversation be a role model to set up respect and honesty in this life transition. He might show you the same.
5.Fire The Gun When You Know What You Want
It’s wise to ask for the divorce only when you arrived at this decision with unshakable certainty. Don’t start a conversation with the hidden agenda for your spouse to show and prove you how much they love you and want you back.
Asking for the divorce is NOT a great manipulation tactic. Some men or women ask for the divorce only to find themselves making love and on the plane to Maldives, even though they know they want out of the relationship.
6.The War With Guilt
When you the person who’s asking for the divorce, it becomes impossible to numb yourself out from guilt and shame. Unfortunately, if you give too much voice to guilt, you’re risking to continue acting married out of guilt even when you hate staying married.
Give yourself a gift of acknowledging guilt because when you resist it, you give it more power.
7.There’s a Journey Before The End
Divorce is the second most painful life experience you can ever have. It’s only surpassed by the death of a spouse. Don’t expect yourself or your partner to get over the divorce in a week.
There’re a few stages before acceptance and finding yourself again after divorce. Your spouse might one day go through shock, the other through denial, then anger, post-divorce depression, and the silent treatment, and then trying to get you back before coming to accept that your relationship is over.
Now that you’ve read the best practices for having “the conversation,” let me know what fears are still lingering in your mind. What’s holding you back from asking for the divorce? Maybe you’re the one who was blindsided by this conversation. How do you wish it was different?
The overwhelm you’re feeling right now will subside.
The best advice is to seek the best advice. Don’t rely on your best friends to help you. Seek professional help. It’ll save you tears, time in pain, sleepless nights, and bottles of wine.
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