By Matt Allen
Going through a divorce is a difficult process and the first step – telling your wife of your intentions - is hardest of all.
When it comes to divorce tips for men on how to prepare to tell your spouse, it is important to have a strong support system in place to help you deal with the fact that your marriage is irretrievably broken – even if you are the one initiating the divorce.
How, when and what you tell your spouse will set the course for your divorce.
First, you'll want to make an educated guess of how surprised she will be when she hears the news, according to a Psychology Today article written by Sam Margulies.
"The more she is surprised or shocked by your revelation, the longer it will take him to accept the divorce. And the less she accepts it, the more she will try to talk you out of your decision," wrote Margulies, who has been engaged in the practice of mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution training and consulting for 30 years.
Margulies wrote that you must resist the natural urges to defend yourself and your reasoning in the ensuing discussion. Listen quietly and do not interrupt her.
Psychiatrist Gail Saltz wrote in a divorce article for NBC’s "The Today Show" that it's OK to acknowledge feelings of sadness or shame during this time, but you should remain firm in your intent to go forward.
Instead of listing her failures and deficiencies in the marriage, Margulies suggests you just simply say the marriage is not and has not been working, and divorce is the only option you can see.
"In 30 years of mediating divorces for thousands of couples I have never succeeded in helping a couple agree on history," Margulies wrote. "You must acknowledge that both of you have contributed to the erosion of the marriage and that it is pointless to try to figure out who is more to blame."
This initial conversation is not the time to discuss the inevitable details and negotiations of the divorce, according to Margulies. That time will come when she has had the time she needs to reflect and feels ready to begin, he wrote.
An important aspect of this initial conversation is setting the tone for an amicable divorce. Treating each other with decency and respect will suck a lot less energy out of you and will occupy less negative emotional space in your head, according to Saltz.
"Having a healthy divorce is as important as having a healthy marriage," Saltz wrote.
It’s also important to minimize negative fallout for yourself and more importantly, for your children.
Rosalind Sedacca is an author and the founder of National Child-Centered Divorce Month, and she lists common mistakes parents make when discussing divorce or separation with their children. These include:
- Asking children to bear the weight of making decisions or choosing sides.
- Failing to remind children that none of this is in any way their fault.
- Forgetting to emphasize that Mom and Dad will still always be their Mom and Dad - even after divorce.
- Confiding adult details to children in order to attract their allegiance or sympathy.
- Neglecting to repeatedly remind children that they are safe, innocent and very much loved.
- Failing to explain clearly that everything is going to be okay.
Parents usually fail to convey these messages because they are just simply not prepared, Sedacca said.
Of course, before initiating a conversation of this magnitude with your spouse you need to consult with a family law attorney beforehand so you are fully aware of what you are getting into.
A lawyer will be able to discuss legal strategies and possible ramifications of your actions. Cordell & Cordell has mens divorce lawyers located nationwide.