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How to approach the divorce conversation before and during

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2021 | divorce | 0 comments

You may anticipate that telling your spouse that you want a divorce will be painful. Unfortunately, in most cases this is true. However, it is not a good idea to skip this step, regardless of how difficult it is likely to be.

In the first place, a person with whom you have shared your life for a given period deserves a measure of consideration as you plan to bring the marriage to an end. Perhaps more importantly, the conversation can help to set the tone for the divorce proceedings and what comes after, e.g., co-parenting. Psychology Today offers some suggestions about how to prepare for the conversation and the approach you should take when you have it.

Before the conversation

Be sure that you give yourself sufficient time before the conversation to gain clarity about your decision and decide what you are going to say. Do not rush the conversation, and under no circumstances threaten divorce during an argument. Not only is this cruel and inconsiderate, but it undermines your credibility when you are ready to have the conversation in earnest.

Show consideration for your spouse and your family by not timing the discussion during a special occasion, such as a holiday or birthday. The negative association with news of your divorce can spoil the occasion for many years thereafter. Prepare for your spouse’s likely reaction, and do not choose a day that is important to him or her, such as the first day of a new job.

During the conversation

Keep your messaging consistent when you have the conversation. Stay calm but assertive even if your spouse becomes emotional. It may seem callous not to offer any words of comfort or sympathy for your spouse, but this could give him or her false hope of a reconciliation, which is cruel and unfair. Use “I-statements” to describe your reasons for seeking a divorce and avoid any statements blaming your spouse.

If you have children, eventually you will have to tell them about the divorce. However, for the initial conversation, you should choose or arrange for a time when your children are not at home to overhear.

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