How Do I Tell My Spouse I Want a Divorce?

Some clients ask me the best way to bring up the subject divorce with their spouse. I've always said, you might try asking questions, like "Are you happy in our marriage?" and "What do you see in the future for our marriage?" If that doesn't work, or you don't want to do it, I'll do it for you by sending a lawyer's letter to your spouse to begin negotiations on a separation agreement. Today, however, I found a better answer in a thoughtful article by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, which I am going to start giving to clients who ask me that question. She says, you don't want to bring it up in anger, or to punish, shape up, or shake up the other person. And you don't have to mention divorce every time it passes through your head. Instead she counsels basic fairness. She says it's not fair to conceal crucial facts that affect your partner. Divorce should never come out of the blue. Talk frankly about divorce with your spouse and first give your spouse a chance of deciding whether to make the necessary changes to make your marriage work.

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