Has your husband told you he wants a divorce out of the blue?
Sometimes life throws us massive curve balls that send shockwaves, and this might feel like one of those moments for you.
If you’re trying to figure out what to do right now, you’ve come to the right place.
1) Be a good listener
So your husband has dropped a bomb on you that he wants to divorce, and you’re shocked to hear he seriously wants to do this?
I understand this is a situation no one wants to face – especially if you don’t want to separate. You might have kids together and your lives are likely pretty entwined.
As if that’s not enough, nobody gets married with a view to separating.
So, the first thing you need to do is to understand where this has come from. You’ll be able to start piecing this together by taking the time to listen to him.
Naturally, you’ll feel emotional and like you’re out of control of the situation, but try to remain calm so you can understand what he is saying.
Take a deep breath and do your best to keep it together.
Become an active and engaged listener, and ask him questions.
It might feel like him asking for a divorce is totally out of the blue, while what he’s saying doesn’t reflect this.
So you can get to the bottom of this, you could start by asking him questions such as:
- How long have you been feeling like this?
- When did you first have this thought?
- What’s made you feel like this?
By asking these questions, you’ll give him the opportunity to explain so you can get clarity.
Now, rather than responding with anger… hear him out and try to understand what he is saying.
Show him that you’re willing to listen and get your head around the situation – by listening.
By being so reasonable, you might take him by surprise. And it might leave him wondering if he’s made a mistake by suggesting you two should divorce.
2) Find the positives in the situation
Any big life-changing event presents us with opportunities.
Whether it’s a separation or getting sacked from or maybe not landing a job you wanted, there are always new opportunities that come about as a result.
However, I understand that it often doesn’t feel like this at the time.
But, the truth is, change shakes up life as we know it and forces us to look at things differently… And that’s not a bad thing!
When we’re pushed out of our comfort zones, we’re thrust into courage.
By taking a growth mindset, you’ll hopefully be able to see this even when your husband wants a divorce.
There will be positives to take from the situation.
Think about it: it’s a new chapter for you if you two go through with the divorce.
It’s a chance for you to just do you without any pressures from another person. It’s just you, on your terms.
The world will quite literally be your oyster.
Get excited for the future by thinking about all of the things you’d like to do.
- You could fill your evenings with new hobbies
- You could move to a new city
- You could spend more time with friends and seek out new people
- You could learn new skills
Make a list in your journal so you can get clear on the scope of opportunities.
Being single again will mean you get so much time back for you to pour into your personal growth. Ultimately, you’ll have so much back for you to do exactly what you want with it.
Think: new found freedom!
3) Suggest going to therapy
It’s important to ask yourself: have you and your partner been having relationship issues for a while or does this seem like it really is out of nowhere?
If you feel like he’s being totally irrational and you haven’t been down the therapy route together before, suggest that you at least speak to someone to see if you can work through things together.
Your husband may have lots he’s working through internally and be unable to see that you’re not the problem, yet it’s actually him who needs to figure things out.
Speaking to a therapist for the both of you might illuminate this.
“See if your spouse might be open to going to couples counseling with you to identify and work on the issues in your relationship. Therapy, both as a couple and as individuals, could help you understand if there’s a way to move forward together and reconcile what’s causing a rift.”
There’s a good chance that therapy would provide the clarity you both need to be able to move forward.
This is where the coaches at Relationship Hero come in.
Through Relationship Hero, you’ll get personalized support from professional and certified coaches, who will guide you through whatever struggles the relationship is going through.
I know first-hand how beneficial it is to speak to a relationship coach.
I connected with a Relationship Hero coach, who has a BA in psychology, to talk through the issues my boyfriend and I were facing.
I felt like he wasn’t picking up my needs and cues when I made them clear, and I needed someone to speak to about this.
She taught me the tools I needed to communicate effectively and helped me to not assume that he knew what I was thinking. I gained a lot of clarity from talking to her.
Now, not only can you talk to the coaches 1:1 but you and your partner can talk to a coach together to try and navigate your relationship issues.
4) Allow yourself to grieve
If you’ve spoken through your thoughts and maybe even gone to therapy, you’ll have an idea about whether your marriage can be saved.
Now, if you know the relationship is definitely coming to an end, you’re going to need time to allow for grieving.
Grieving is healing and necessary to allow you to move on.
There is no set timeline for how long this can take – it might be weeks, months or years.
We’re all different… it depends on how long you two were together and the hopes you were pinning on the future.
Separating from someone is no different to losing someone to death, so give yourself all the time you need to move through the different phases that follow this loss.
The grief phases usually follow a five-step process, including:
Initially, you might feel a lot of anger towards him as you might feel as though he’s ruining your life and causing you to start all over again.
For example, when I separated from my ex-partner, he got angry and said he’d wasted five years of his life. He said he didn’t want to move out of our flat and start living in a house share again and that by me separating with him, he was going backward in life.
He was overwhelmed with anger towards me.
But what followed was denial, and this might be the same for you.
My ex was so in denial about the possibility that we could split. He didn’t believe it was really happening even when I confirmed I was moving out of our flat. He still thought we could give it a go from a distance. He didn’t listen to what I was saying and almost refused to process the situation.
Very Well Mind explains that denial happens because it: “helps us minimize the overwhelming pain of loss. As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.”
As I said, going through this process doesn’t have to be a loss of a person from death but a metaphorical death through separation.
Bargaining follows, where you might find yourself begging for it not to happen.
In my experience, my ex encouraged us to have numerous conversations about our relationship and to consider staying together, and I got into a really confused place.
Very Well Mind adds:
“When coping with loss, it isn’t unusual to feel so desperate that you are willing to do anything to alleviate or minimize the pain. During this stage in grieving, you may try to bargain to change the situation, agreeing to do something in return for being relieved of the pain you feel.”
Now, unfortunately, one of the necessary steps in the grieving process is going through a period of time where you might feel a bit depressed. But this will pass!
The reality of the situation will dawn on you and it will be time to sit with your feelings. Naturally, during any depressive episode, you might find that you retreat into yourself and reach out less to other people, but it will allow you to work through your feelings and find strength.
Finally, once you’ve got through the grieving rite of passage, you’ll move to a state of acceptance, which is a healthy place to be.
You’ll be much more at peace with the circumstances and no longer resisting.
That said, you might still have waves of sadness and feelings of regret, but these will be far less evident than they were before.
You see, healing isn’t a linear process and you might find that you still get upset from time to time, but as you pass through these stages you’ll find more strength.
Things will get better.
5) Be grateful
Hearing this one might be triggering.
You might be thinking: how can I be grateful that the person I love wants to leave me?
But hear me out…
After going through all of the stages of grief I’ve outlined, you’ll do yourself the world of good if you can be grateful about all of the wonderful things in your life and able to reflect on the good times you had.
As if that’s not enough, that doesn’t mean thinking: ‘this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me’. But being grateful that it’s happened because there’s a reason it has.
It might be hard at first, but when you’re ready, I encourage you to make a list of all the reasons you’re grateful for the split.
- It’s given you time to focus on you
- It was the right decision as you two weren’t really working anymore
- You’re able to align with a more compatible partner in the future
- You have so much time to do exactly what you want
- It’s given you the push to do that new thing you were thinking about
- You’re no longer tied to anymore and free as a bird!
Try writing between five and ten statements.
Bringing gratitude to any circumstance is an amazing way to reframe your reality and shift the energy you’re putting out.
This is what my ex and I managed to do eventually.
We’re still in touch and we’ve recently expressed how we’re grateful for the lessons we learned from our split. It taught us that hard times aren’t here to stay and that we are much more capable of dealing with change than we realize.
It helped us step into our personal power.
6) Stay connected to yourself
Hearing that your partner wants to divorce might cause you to feel a whole host of emotions, and it might drive you to doing things you wouldn’t usually.
But there are dos and don’ts when it comes to navigating a potential divorce.
I’ll start with the don’ts… avoid:
- Self-medicating with alcohol and drugs
- Flirting with other people
- Trying to buy them back
- Pleading with them
These tactics and behaviors aren’t going to work in your favor.
The last thing you want to do is to disconnect from yourself through substances and unhealthy behaviors; instead, during this time, you want to stay grounded and connected to yourself.
You can focus on staying connected to yourself through your breath.
This unusual free breathwork video created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê, will bring you back to yourself in an instant. Rudá hasn’t just created a bog-standard breathing exercise – he’s cleverly combined his many years of breathwork practice and shamanism to create this incredible flow – and it’s free to take part in.
Breathwork became my go-to tool when my ex-partner and I went separate ways. Even though I’d called time on the relationship, I was still battling with masses of heartbreak.
I had never cried so much in my life and felt so lost and miserable. I spent a lot of time in my head, and I was, well, disconnected from myself.
Simply, I had nothing to lose by trying something new, so I gave this free breathwork video a go, and the results were incredible.
I felt a real shift in myself as I moved from my mind to my body. It was like I was coming home to myself.
Although you might not feel like sitting with the situation, the best thing you can do for yourself is to come back to your body through your breath.
Here, you’ll find your power and sense of self.
7) Avoid begging, acting out or trying to buy them back
If your goal is to stay with your husband, don’t act out by flirting with other people to make him jealous.
By doing so, he’ll think you don’t take the relationship as seriously as you’re saying you do.
You might be flirting because you want your husband to see how much of a catch you are and how other men go crazy for you. But, the truth is, it will have the opposite effect that you want.
Trying to buy back their love and pleading with them will also have an adverse effect, even though you might think it would be the opposite.
Your spouse will likely not respond well to you trying to buy back their love through excessive gifting or pleading.
Remember, this energy never works in your favor – regardless of the circumstances. It’s the basic principle of the Law of Attraction, which is like-attracts-like, so be mindful of the energy you’re putting out.
Instead, there are some dos you should prioritize when faced with a difficult conversation of divorce with your partner:
- Hear what they’re saying
- Try to understand
- Ask to be heard too
You see, the more you endeavor to listen and try to understand, the easier the situation will be. This will show your spouse that you’re serious about trying to understand the issues they have built up in their head.
It shows you take a mature, healthy approach, which is a positive trait in a romantic partner.
It’s also key to remember that relationships involve two people and your voice is valid, too. Your spouse should allow you the space to respond to him and present your case.
If they don’t allow this, you have to question whether you want to be with someone like that!
Remember, you have a lot to offer a relationship and your partner should be able to recognize how great you are.