“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” – so how on earth do you tell your spouse you want to leave?

As a bride, you were perhaps hopeful that you had finally found your life partner. But years wore on, and your marriage just isn’t what you dreamed it would be.

Maybe your husband cheated on you. Or you discovered he had a drug problem you were not aware of. Perhaps you realized that neither party is at fault – you just have irreconcilable differences.

Or, perhaps you are a woman who is in a loveless marriage.

So now you have made the decision that it is time to move on. How do you tell your husband you want a divorce?

In general, women and men handle things differently. You will need to assess where your husband is at and come up with a plan for your divorce announcement. (If you are in a gay marriage, some of the tips below may also apply to your situation, but the dynamics may be a little different.)

The Best Way to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce

Telling your husband you want a divorce won’t be easy. You can’t just send him a Facebook message or text. And while it might be tempting to write a “Dear John” letter and pack up and leave in the middle of the night, that won’t help your divorce go smoothly. (However, there are times when you may need to pack and leave, quickly.)

Notifying your spouse that you want to separate will be challenging and painful for both of you. Here are a few tips:

1. Are You Safe?

Before doing anything else, be honest with yourself. Are you and your kids safe? If you are in a relationship with an abusive husband, you may need some professional help to leave safely. If you are a battered woman, and/or your children are being abused, you need to call your local battered women’s shelter or domestic abuse hotline.

In certain situations, you may not be able to tell your husband you are leaving, and you just need to leave quickly and quietly in order to keep yourself and your children safe.

2. Consider Marriage Counseling

how to tell your husband you want a divorceHave you gone to a marriage counselor to try to work out your differences? If you have not done this yet, it is worth your time, even if you are convinced you will still get the divorce. The counselor will be a neutral party that can help both of you work out issues and improve the separation process.

Your counselor may also have suggestions on how best to bring up the subject of divorce. It is also possible that the counselor can be present and help you broach the issue during a couples counseling session with your husband.

3. Tell Your Husband You Need to Have a Talk

If you aren’t going to use marriage counseling, you will need to let your husband know that you want to have a talk with him. Don’t just keep it vague. Men in general don’t like it when women say, “We need to talk” without being specific.

You can tell him that you would like to discuss your marriage, and you need to do this at a time where you have some time, quiet, and privacy.

4. Plan Out What You Will Say Ahead of Time

Depending on the state of your marriage, your husband may or may not be aware of the potential for divorce. He may or may not want a divorce. You probably have some idea how he might react, so prepare ahead of time. Write out what you want to say and get clear on your points first. That way, if he becomes upset or pleads with you, you will have a way to respond to him.

5. De-Stress Before the Talk

What helps you relax and calm down? A hot bath? A walk? Yoga class? Or maybe support from a friend. Take some time to calm and center yourself prior to your talk.

6. Have Your Talk

Now the rubber meets the road. You are finally having this talk. But if you’re still worried about how to tell your husband that you want a divorce, try not to be accusatory as much as possible. Make this more about your feelings and needs than his shortcomings. Be as gentle as possible. Try to remain friends. Try to listen to his point of view.

Divorcing Your Husband Won’t Be Easy – But It May Be Worth It

It won’t be easy to go through a divorce. But once you have shared your intentions, you can move forward with the separation and start to make plans for your brand-new life.

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