How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

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so what do you do when you know you want

a divorce

but you have no idea how to tell your

spouse how do you have the talk about


I'm Karen Covey I'm a divorce adviser

attorney mediator and coach and today I

want to talk about the talk but before

we talk about how you have that talk how

you tell your spouse that you want a


let's talk about you because you know

your circumstances and your spouse way

better than anyone else and if there is

a chance that by having this talk with

your spouse he or she is gonna react

with violence if there's been violence

in your marriage and you're worried

about your safety then what I'm about to

say in this video is not for you you

need a whole different video because

you've got to make sure number one first

and foremost that you're safe but let's

assume that you're not in that situation

that you're not worried about your

personal safety how do you tell your

spouse that you want a divorce well step

number one is to have the conversation

and I know you're probably thinking what

are you talking about Karen of course

that's what we're talking about is we're

talking about having the conversation

but you would be surprised at how many

people try to go around that and not

have the conversation they go to their

lawyer they have their lawyer file for

divorce and then they have their lawyer

call their spouse or they have their

lawyers send a letter to their spouse or

worse yet they have their lawyer you

know file the divorce papers give them

to the sheriff and have the sheriff's

serve their spouse I have to tell you if

you want to have any hope of making your

divorce amicable and civilized starting

it off by having the sheriff serve your

spouse with divorce papers and have that

be how your spouse learns about the

divorce is the worst way that you can do

it I really can't think of anything that

is more likely to cause a war and start

things off badly and the problem is how

you start your divorce sets the tone for

how everything goes from that point

forward so if it all

possible number one you want to be the

person to have the talk and you want to

do your best to make sure that it goes

well which leads us to step number two

and that is know what you're going to

talk about here's what I mean there's a

big difference between having this

conversation which goes I'm really sorry

I'm not happy I want a divorce I'm done

it's over I I just want a divorce

that's one conversation and having

another conversation which is really not

happy and I think I want a divorce

let's talk the first come the first

version of this was a decision you are

presenting your spouse with your

decision you were done it's over the

second one was a conversation and in

that conversation you were opening the

door to talk about the state of your

marriage with your spouse and include

your spouse potentially in the

decision-making process now in general

if you can include your spouse in your

decision making process that's always

going to go better why because no one

wants to be told what to do no one wants

their spouse to say this is it it's done

you have nothing to do with about it and

do about it you can't you know you can't

stop it it's over

that hurts that's really harsh so if you

can include your spouse in the

decision-making that's always going to

be better unfortunately sometimes you

can't do that for whatever reason but

that's just not possible if that's the

case if what you have is a decision then

you need to present this as a decision

to your spouse not have a conversation

and pretend that you're open to

something that you're not open to

because that's just mean I mean saying

to your spouse yeah let's talk about

this and maybe we can save the marriage

when you know in your heart there's no

way that's gonna happen that makes no

sense at all so if you've got the

decision say it as a decision if it's a

conversation it's a conversation but

whatever it is know what it is and be

honest about it so that's step number

two step number three is to pay

attention to the logistics because they

matter you want to have this Congress

when you and your spouse are alone you

do not want anyone else around and you

certainly don't want your children

around when you're having this

conversation you don't even want them

anywhere in earshot because if they can

hear it they'll listen so have the

conversation when you're alone with your

spouse that's the first thing to think

about the second thing to think about is

when you have the conversation you want

to have it when you have time for it if

you're leaving to go someplace in ten

minutes now is not the time to have this

conversation you want to make sure that

you have time to talk about it time to

process emotions yours your emotions

your spouse's emotions you want to have

time for the conversation you don't want

to have it right before you're going to

bed when you're tired and your spouse is

tired and when you have the conversation

you want to pay attention to the

conversation what does that mean it

means turn your cell phone off your cell

phone should not be anywhere even in the

same room you want to focus on what

you're doing focus on the conversation

and give it its due that's going to be

the best way to have the conversation so

that's step number three step number

four is to be sensitive to be as kind as

you can with this conversation it's

gonna suck no matter what you do I mean

let's be honest but think about it if if

the tables were turned if the shoe is on

the other foot and your spouse was

telling you bad news how would you want

to hear it

use that level of kindness and

sensitivity when you're talking to your

spouse even if you can't stand your

spouse even if you are so done you want

this to be over yesterday that's okay

take the time to be sensitive take the

time to be kind it will set the stage

for things to go better from that point

forward and that's what you want plus

it's just a decent thing to do so step

number four is to be sensitive to be

kind step number five is more practical

tip actually it's to rehearse and I

don't mean where her sing in your head

you've probably gone over this

conversation five thousand times in your

head that's not what I'm talking about I

mean stand in front of a mirror and

rehearse or if you have a good friend or

a therapist that you can talk to

rehearse to them

if you don't have that then rehearse in

front of a mirror but actually say the

words and rehearse because when you do

you're gonna find that you stumble you

trip up you didn't think of something

bla bla bla bla bla rehearsing is going

to make you more confident it's going to

make you more clear about what it is

that you're trying to say and when

you're rehearsing take a moment to try

to anticipate what your spouse's

reactions and responses are going to be

because then you can formulate in your

head how you'll react to the reaction

how you're gonna respond to the response

and again it will help build your

confidence and in the end it doesn't

matter when you actually have the

conversation if you said anything that

you rehearsed the conversation can go in

an entirely different direction but

you're going to feel more confident and

you're gonna be stronger in what you say

if you've thought about it and rehearse

it ahead of time so that's a big tip and

the last thing I want to say is I said

be kind to your spouse be kind to you

this is a hard conversation to have it's

not easy and no one wants to have it so

the fact that you're even stepping up

and having conversation is a big plus

for you and know that no matter what you

do it's not going to be perfect and

that's okay all you can do is be

prepared and do your best really there's

nothing else that you can do hang in

there it's gonna be okay you're gonna

get through this I'll talk to you next