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How to Bring up the Topic of Divorce

December 1, 2015

Bringing up DivorceDivorce is one of the greatest stresses we can experience. It sits alongside job-loss, death in the family, and catastrophic illness on the Mount Rushmore of human stress. But it is also true that divorce is a reality for many couples, and may be the only solution to the problems that have grown between you and your spouse. And like many things in life, taking the first step is often the most difficult thing we can do. Johnson Mediation can provide assistance in taking that first step, as well as progressing through the complex nature of the divorce process.

Here are some things you can do to begin the difficult conversation:

  • Prepare yourself for the conversation. You will do yourself a huge favor by trying to understanding your spouse’s emotional state. If divorce has been discussed before, the element of surprise may be minimal, and the conversation may therefore go more smoothly. But if you are relatively certain that your spouse will be surprised by your bringing up the topic, your spouse’s response could be very different than you would otherwise expect.
  • Be thoughtful about your choice of time and place when beginning the conversation. If children are involved, do whatever you can to have a private conversation with your spouse. Let a family member or trusted friend keep your kids during the time you have the conversation with your spouse, if possible. In short, be empathetic toward your spouse, especially if the topic of divorce has not been discussed and your spouse may therefore be surprised by its introduction.
  • Be gentle, but also be firm. If you have been honest with yourself, and you are certain that divorce is what you need in order to find solutions to the problems that exist between you and your spouse, honor that honesty by communicating a gentle firmness to your spouse.
  • Be prepared for your spouse’s response. You will know best whether or not your spouse has also been thinking about divorce. If your spouse does not suspect that you have been considering it as a possibility, it will be important to think about the response ahead of time so that you can maximize your sensitivity to your spouse’s reaction, but also so that you can engage in the conversation in the healthiest manner possible.
  • Know your limitations. The initial discussion of divorce is likely to be difficult and possibly traumatic for both of you. Try to avoid the temptation of addressing every specific associated issue by focusing more on the rightness of the decision. Recognize that the divorce process, however amicable you and your spouse may be, is complex and difficult. And above all, seek help in the process from a proven service, such as Johnson Mediation. Our team is available at 1-952-401-7599 to help you at any point in the process.
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