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Breaking it to your spouse that you want a divorce

If you and your spouse have tried date nights, counseling and retreats to reclaim the spark in your marriage, you may be able to say with confidence that you gave it every chance for success. However, if you have reached the point where you are ready to bow out and have a chance at a happy, new life, your first concern is likely breaking the news to your spouse.

The efforts you have been making may mean one of two things. Either your spouse is well aware that the marriage is in trouble or your spouse is confident that your relationship is on the mend. In either case, you may not be able to predict his or her reaction to your announcement, but you can prepare yourself for the conversation and the steps to follow.

A difficult conversation

Before approaching your spouse with your bad news, you may want to arm yourself with legal advice by meeting with a California attorney who can answer your questions and help you understand the divorce process. Then choose a quiet, private time and place to have an honest conversation with your spouse. During the conversation, keep these things in mind:

  • Do not drag it out, place blame or revisit old arguments.
  • Remember that your spouse is hearing news that you have already had a chance to process and assimilate.
  • Try not to argue with your spouse who may greet the news with anger, tears, accusations, silence or some other emotional reaction.
  • Be ready to acknowledge the pain of the moment but stress that you have made your decision.
  • Save talk of property division and other legal matters for another conversation.

Although your spouse may suggest it, it is important to understand that agreeing to try one more time or to separate as a trial may only prolong the unhappiness and delay the inevitable. It can also make your divorce more complicated and bitter when it finally happens.

Concern about an emotional scene may have you considering asking friends or relatives for advice. This may be a mistake since the news may get back to your spouse, making matters worse for both of you. Many unhappy partners have broken the news by having their spouses served with divorce papers or by simply packing up and leaving. While these may relieve you of an awkward conversation, they may also create unnecessary pain for your unsuspecting spouse.

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