If you are the bearer of this incredibly bad news, you may not be sure of how your spouse will react, especially if infidelity is involved. That fear can cause you to make some bad decisions, for example thinking that breaking the news to them in a public place, will less likely lead to hysterics on their part.
In reality, this simply means they have to endure this with everybody else around, while their world crashes down around them. Many emotions may be uncovered that neither of you even knew you had. Having to sort them out in public certainly doesn’t help the situation.
There probably isn’t one right answer to how to do this. But here are some tips to consider when it comes to having one of the most difficult conversations you probably will ever have in your life:
1) Make sure your children are somewhere else when you tell your spouse.
It’s a great time for them to sleep over with friends or spend the night with grandparents. You both need space to work through this yourselves first, then figure out how and when the two of you together will tell them.
2) Allow plenty of time for your spouse to process what you say.
You may consider just telling them simply and directly, followed by the fact you don’t want to discuss anything in detail right then. You also may feel it would be better to leave and spend the night somewhere else.
3) Tell them in person.
Be courageous enough to tell them face to face. Whatever you do, don’t do it in writing, by email, or for goodness sakes, please not by text message!
4) Speak only about yourself.
Do not go into this conversation intending to attack and blame, and also don’t use “You” statements accusing them of anything.
Instead, maybe it should go something like this.
“I have made a decision for myself that I need to tell you about. At this point, I can no longer stay in our marriage, and I believe it will be best for both of us to start the divorce process.”
“All of the reasons why aren’t important anymore. I just know that things need to change. I also know this is a lot for you to absorb, and it’s not really a good idea for us to talk about details right now. I’ve made arrangements to stay somewhere else tonight, so you can have some time to yourself. I’m really sorry.”
Then quietly walkout. Now, it may not go that smoothly but you should start off with good intentions.
5) Make sure you’re safe.
If there is any possibility that you might be met with anger or violence, be sure that someone else is with you. Don’t go at it alone. Perhaps have them stand by the front door while you speak to your spouse in private, and then they can leave.
I know this conversation can be very scary, but your life can’t move forward until you do this and get things out in the open.
At any time, feel free to contact our Panama City, Florida office at (850) 252-6325 if you have divorce-related financial questions. Our goal is to help you navigate your divorce with calm and confidence, and we can work with clients all over the United States.