How to Tell Your Spouse It’s Over

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If you’re Di-Curious, have you thought about how you’ll tell your husband or wife you want out, if in fact you decide to Divorce?

And for those who’ve already been through it, how’d you handle the situation, whether you were the giver or receiver of the news? Did that initial statement/conversation get your process off to a reasonable start, or did it dial up the anger and set a negative tone that lasted the entire process? 

Divorce mediator BJ Mann offers a simple, straight-forward guide to telling your spouse the marriage is over. (It’s just one of the very informative articles she offers on her website).

Her piece is entitled “This Marriage is Over For Me,” which are the exact words she suggests you use when breaking the news. You want to be gentle, but definitely make clear the topic is how to end the marriage, not if the marriage will end.

Once that’s been put out there, here are four more suggestions from Mann:

  1. No defending yourself. No matter the insults, no matter the blame, simply answer with “Okay, that’s who I am.” Defending yourself just adds fuel to a conversation that’s probably been going on for months or years already.
  2. No persuading. Don’t try reminding your soon-to-be-ex about the situation — how unhappy you’ve both been, how you’ll be better off, etc. There’s no way he or she is going to hear you and say, “You know what, you’re right.”
  3. No negotiating. Your spouse may make threats like, “You’ll get nothing, I’m keeping everything.” Just say, “I don’t know, we’ll have to figure that out.” You’ll eventually have professional help for reaching a settlement; don’t say anything about it over the kitchen table.
  4. Next step. Give him or her the choice of using a mediator together, or each having your own attorneys. Then set a reasonable date by which you’ll get the process started.

Mann’s full piece offers more detail, as well as thoughts about not getting drawn into old conversations, and  how you might try therapy as an intermediate step. Check it out…

If you’ve already had this conversation, please use the comments below to help the Di-Curious among us be better prepared. Was your break-up talk handled well? What would you have done differently, or what do you wish you ex had done differently? Let’s hear from you!