One of the hardest conversations to have in life is the one where you are ending a long term relationship. It is incredibly difficult to muster up the courage to say those words “I want a divorce.”
I have had some kick ass executives who have exceptional strength and typically are not at a loss for words who find themselves unable to bring themselves to have that conversation. Finding the words to share how you feel and bring your partner into where you are is incredibly difficult, but vitally important in being able to move forward.
The biggest fear I hear from clients is what their partner’s reaction will be when they tell them they want a divorce. And here is where I have something really important to share with you – not one of my clients has had their fear realized. Every one of them said that it went much better than anticipated. That is not to say that it was an easy conversation or that their partner was not upset, but no one had anything thrown at them nor did anyone completely go off the rails. Of course, if someone is completely blindsided and unaware of their partner’s unhappiness, hearing of it for the first time along with, “I want a divorce”, can be quite a shock and the reactions may vary.
It is important to be prepared for the various possible types of reactions from your partner so that you are able to manage the direction that you want it to go. Some may need time to think and they may walk out of the room, others may cry, and then there are those that want to do whatever it takes to make it work. If your partner wants to go to therapy, are you interested in trying to work things out? Are you open to couples counseling? If your partner doesn’t want to be around you, do you have a plan in place to leave the house for a few days so you can both have some space? If they cry or walk out of the room, are you able to give them some space to digest the conversation?
The other piece to consider is where to have this conversation as that can often help keep things calmer and lead to a more productive conversation. If you are, for instance, talking about it at 10pm in your bedroom, that will likely lead to a more volatile and emotional conversation. If you are having the conversation at 10am on a Sunday while at a cafe or on a walk, there is a tendency to keep things more peaceful, especially if you are in a public setting. There is also a natural end to the conversation if you are outside of your home and the walk is over or it is time to leave the cafe.
The last, but certainly not final piece to think about is if you should consult an attorney prior to having this conversation. While a divorce coach can help guide you through what to say and how to have the conversation, an attorney can help inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities and give you a sense of what to expect in terms of support, custody, division of assets and other areas of concern that you may have within the law.
There are many things to consider before you have a conversation about divorce with your partner. It is always best to be prepared, have a plan and know your rights so that things have less of a chance to go sideways. If you walk into the conversation empowered with knowledge you will feel much more comfortable and less anxious having the discussion.
I can help.
If you are considering having this conversation and feel stuck, I encourage you to contact me. I am a CDC Certified Divorce Coach® who can help guide you through the process.