How to Tell Your Your Husband You Want a Separation

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Separation or Divorce

10 tips to assist you in organizing and preparing yourself for a challenging discussion.

Getting prepared for a difficult discussion will help you make it through it.

How do you get ready to tell your spouse that you wish to separate or divorce? It will likely be one of the hardest and agonizing discussions you’ll ever have—even though you’re both know that the marriage has been exposed for some time.

Each of you will most likely recall this discussion for the rest of your lives. If you do get divorced, how you go through with this discussion sets the tone for the legal processes that follows.

Here are some vital tips to assist you in organizing your thoughts and preparing yourself emotionally.

  1. Are you sure that you’re making the right choice? After you let your spouse know that you want a separation or divorce, those words can never be taken back. Be sure to take some time and carefully think about your decision thoroughly.
  2. When in arguing, don’t make threats with divorce. This denounces your character and it is just plain mean. If you are adamant about wanting to separate or divorce, hold back your thoughts until you are composed, willing to talk, and have an idea of what you’re going to say.
  3. When you become positive of your choice, you can contemplate how to give the news to your spouse. This shouldn’t be done haphazardly when arguing, or during an important day for your family or spouse.
  4. Decide to speak to your spouse on a day when the children (if you have them) aren’t around. Let your spouse know that you would like to talk. You can have this discussion at home if it’s safer and more comfortable for you or you can decide on an impartial place such as a cafe.
  5. The objective is to be compassionate, determined, straightforward and neutral. For instance, “I want a trial separation if you’re willing to make a commitment to 6 months of marriage counseling and see if we can fix our marriage.”
  6. Be ready for how your spouse is going to react. Are they going to be shocked by your decision? Typically, individuals have an idea that their relationship is on rocky ground. No matter what their reaction is, do not get defensive and do not get dragged into an argument.
  7. Think in advance if you’ll be leaving the residence or if you’ll request that your spouse leave the residence. This is brief until assets and other matters get negotiated throughout the divorce.
  8. Recognize your spouse’s feelings and thank them for hearing you out. It might be tempting to try and put them at ease but know that you could unintentionally provide your spouse with a false sense of hope or mixed signals. Be kind, but express it clear about what you’ve decided.
  9. Allow your spouse time to reflect on your decision prior to telling others, including your children or talking about the planning of the separation or divorce. When talking about the process of divorce, don’t initiate negotiations about property and capital or custody.
  10. When you’re leaving an aggressive or abusive spouse, devise a safety plan for yourself and your children prior to talking with your spouse. The first days following you telling your spouse are the riskiest because the abuser has zero to lose. Talk with an attorney about how to safeguard yourself during this time. You might need to get a restraining order and/or go to a safehouse.


  1. How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Separation or Divorce.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

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