A woman in her late 40’s posted a comment asking for advice on how to start the conversation about divorce. She describes her husband as her best friend for almost 30 years. They have two kids. She has just started a new career that is emotionally fulfilling for her.
But, her and her husband “don’t have sex, ever.” It’s been that way for many years. They have tried counseling to turn things around and it’s still the same. They’ve talked until they were blue in the face about their marriage and sex life. It just hasn’t gotten better. More important, her husband seems content with the status quo. Now, she’s at the place where she knows divorce is the best thing.
Here’s my advice on how and when to start that talk about the “D” word.
- You can’t take another step. Before you consider talking about divorce, know in your heart that you can’t stand another day the way things are now. You have tried all that you think you should do to make things better and there is nowhere else to go. It would be emotionally unhealthy for you to continue in the same direction. You’ve had enough.
- Be ready to act. Often times, once you have let “Pandora” out of her box, there’s no turning back. Bringing up the subject of divorce can start you down that path that builds momentum quickly, making it hard to slam on the breaks, if you decide to change your mind. A good indicator that you’re ready to talk about divorce is when you are emotionally ready to actually file in court.
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- Be prepared for the response. His response and yours. What do I mean by that? If you’re husband doesn’t have much of a reaction to the news, sometimes that can cause you to wonder if he ever really loved you in the first place. It can shake your belief about who he is as a person and what you thought you knew about life. On the other hand, he could have an emotional breakdown and the situation could escalate. You may have to stay somewhere other than home for a day or two. Try to plan accordingly.
- Timing is key. People often go into “protection mode” when they feel like their stuff is at risk. They don’t know what to expect. They just know that the things that you both own will have to be divided somehow. They have no idea what that might look like. The impulse to start hiding papers, moving around money, putting stuff in someone else’s name, etc. can be overwhelming. If you think your husband is likely to do that or even if you don’t think that’s something he would do, always talk to an attorney in your area so you know how best to guard against this happening to you. It could make your divorce a lot more expensive that it has to be.
It’s never easy if you are the one who is going to initiate the conversation. One thing that helped me was the preparation I did before hand to get as much information about our joint finances as possible. The other thing was that I told him the day before I actually filed for divorce. I was ready to take that “legal” step. The papers were already drafted.
Divorce can be like a runaway train. Get as much information about the process in the state where you live as possible and position yourself to spring into action so you don’t end up feeling like you’re on a train going 100 miles an hour with no one at the controls.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide legal advice. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney in your area.