People typically do not decide to end their marriage with a single conversation. Rather, parties often go through stages of breaking the news. First, they tell their spouse, then their kids and then their loved ones.
Each of these conversations can be fraught and complicated, so it can be helpful to consider the following tips.
Talking to your spouse
Whether the decision to divorce is sudden or a long-time coming, approach the discussion with your partner from a place of respect and compassion. This can set the stage for the divorce process itself, so be honest and direct.
And anticipate a reaction from the other person. They may be mad, angry, confused or desperate to change your mind, so prepare yourself for these scenarios and how you want to respond.
Further, it can be wise to avoid making immediate decisions, demands or concessions about the divorce process itself during this discussion. Those are issues to work through with lawyers, mediators and others in the future.
Talking to your kids
Telling your kids about your divorce is another challenge. Parents who approach this discussion together can ensure they are consistent in their message and prevent a child from having to translate fractured, biased information.
Other tips for talking to your kids about divorce include:
- Keeping it age-appropriate
- Reassuring your children that you still love them
- Refraining from pointing fingers at each other
- Focusing on what will stay the same
- Discussing what will likely change right away
Approach the conversation with love and patience, and understand that any reaction they may have is completely normal.
Talking to love ones
How and when you tell your family and friends about your divorce is a very personal decision. Whichever approach you take, it can be wise to:
- Keep private information private
- Refrain from making false allegations
- Decide whether and which questions you are ready to answer
- Prepare for a range of reactions and questions
- Make your intentions clear (e.g., are you wanting advice or just looking for emotional support?)
No matter who you are telling about a divorce, focus on being honest and refraining from sensationalizing the details. Be prepared for questions and reactions. While these conversations are difficult, understand that your approach can impact how you and others navigate the divorce process.