We may not want to be married to our spouse anymore, but we may still love them in a way, or at least don’t want to hurt their feelings. So if we have decided to get a divorce, perhaps the toughest part is telling our husband or wife.
To try to soften the blow, many people try to make up for the upsetting news. They may give their spouse gifts, spend time with them, even have sex.
This may seem like “being nice,” but it is really just sending mixed messages to your husband or wife, according to an article in PsychCentral. Think of it from the dumped spouse’s perspective: their husband or wife tells them they want a divorce, but then acts “nice” again. It may be natural to assume that the spouse has changed their mind. Learning that they have not will likely make the dumped spouse feel confused and hurt all over again.
In reality, many spouses who are trying to be “nice” about wanting a divorce are really trying to protect their own egos, and avoid feeling uncomfortable. A good way to prevent this is by following these three steps:
1. Know what you want. Are you sure you want a divorce? Or are you really asking for counseling or a trial separation? Not having a clear understanding of your needs could lead to confusing behavior later.
2. Time and place. Before delivering the news, pick a place that will give you privacy and plenty of time, while also keeping safety in mind.
3. Be direct. This does not mean blurting out, “I want a divorce!” But try to avoid making your spouse guess what you are trying to say.
Obviously, this will probably be a difficult conversation, and your spouse may be shocked and upset. But clear communication and a good understanding of your own wishes are perhaps the kindest way to let your spouse know that your marriage is ending.
Source: PsychCentral, “Want a Divorce? Stop the Emotional Yo-Yo and Be Clear About It,” Dr. Karen Finn, Aug. 8, 2014