Divorce Conversation Questions You Want to Know Before You Start
Broaching the subject of divorce is quite possibly the hardest conversation you will ever have. Here are tips to help!
When you are ready to broach the topic of divorce with your spouse, there are a lot of factors to consider ahead of time. Obviously, you don’t want to blurt it out during a fight or present it as some sort of joke. One of the things to be prepared for is the questions from your spouse. They are bound to have questions. In this post we will talk about questions to ask yourself as well as questions to expect from your spouse:
Questions to Ask Yourself before Divorce:
Have you made your concerns known in a clear way to spouse?
Unfortunately, a lot of people, and women especially, have an issue with confrontation. If you want a divorce because you are unhappy, be specific about the things you are unhappy about. Then, be honest about whether you have presented these issues to your spouse.
Relationships are built on communication and it’s simply unfair to expect our partners to read our minds. Go out of your way to present your issues in a clear and productive way. This might be through a counseling session or simply writing down your specific issues and handing that piece of paper to your spouse when you both have time to talk it out.
If you had a magic wand, what would *you* do to fix your marriage?
Nobody has a magic wand but this question should lead you down the road to some self discovery. Before you focus any attention on what your spouse could be doing better, bring the mirror up to yourself.
Would you really be happier without your partner?
Grass is greener and all that. Are you sure that your life would be better or you would be happier without your partner? Visualize what life would be like without the presence of your spouse in your everyday life.
How much do you still love your spouse?
There are tons of reasons to get divorce and it is very common for people to be in love while getting a divorce. Don’t feel like you have to hate the person. In fact, if you still love them but don’t feel that love reciprocated then you might act out in hate when what you really want is to be valued. The first step in the healing process is being realistic with yourself about how much or how little you still love your spouse.
What do you think are the most important consistency items for the kids?
Before you broach the subject of divorce with your spouse, think about your dream list for your kids. Will they stay with you and in your house? And where’s your dream list for custody, will you have all the holidays with the kiddos? Dream lists are a good starting point as long as you recognize those are the most ideal. In practicality, compromises will need to be made. It’s a good idea to know what you are working toward before you even start the conversation.
How to Broach the Divorce Topic
Every marriage is different and while divorce might seem logical to you, remember the topic could completely blindside your spouse. Remember at some point you loved this person so much you were convinced you wanted to be with your ex spouse. Give them the courtesy of broaching this topic with respect and tact.
If you are in some sort of counseling, it’s completely appropriate to ask the counselor for help in bringing up the topic. If you are not in any kind of counseling make an appointment with your spouse for an important conversation. However important conversations works in your marriage. This could literally be a dinner or lunch appointment or just a casual night out.
This isn’t a college breakup. Respect your spouse and have this conversation in a place they will be most comfortable. The restaurant where they proposed is probably a bad idea. And for most marriages, a public place like a restaurant is probably bad altogether. Again, be respectful to this person you once adored.
The next step is to be prepared for all the questions they might ask during this conversation. And if communication is one of your issues be prepared to explain yourself if your spouse shuts down or tries to flee the conversation. Here are some questions they might ask you:
Is there someone else?
Prepare yourself for questions surrounding infidelity. And be honest if there has been any indiscretions. This conversation is going to be emotional and tough but do your best to answer questions frankly and without taking things personally. Take every question at face value and answer it as if you were on a witness stand. They might want to hurt you but that doesn’t matter. You want a divorce and that in and of itself is an emotional and painful bomb.
What about the kids?
At some point your spouse will likely bring up the children. Either out of their own desire to protect them or to manipulate you. Again, take the questions at face value and have prepared answers. Avoid comparing your families to others by saying so and so are divorced and the kids are fine. You may want to talk about your goals for the kids and what custody might look like. But emphasize that nothing is set in stone and you are just starting the conversation.
Is this about money? Will you be asking for alimony?
Be honest and think through the answers you want to give.
Have you hired a lawyer?
When a spouse asks this question they are typically trying to gauge how serious you are. If you have already hired a divorce attorney, be honest with them. This lets them know that you have been considering this and you are moving in this direction.
If your spouse is not asking questions or tries to flee the conversation, be prepared to demonstrate you have been putting thought into the divorce. Be assertive that you are not bringing this up to hurt them and you have already thought through some things like child custody. And if you have hired a lawyer, you can also mention that.
The bottom line is to make your spouse aware that you are thinking about divorce. This is not the time to use insults or place blame. Be prepared to take the high road if they start attacking you with their words. Be gracious as they have not been preparing for the conversation like you have.
Every couple is different. For some, it isn’t until divorce seems like the only remaining option that they finally consider counseling. For others, the first conversation regarding divorce is the very last conversation they have before lawyers are involved. It’s a big step and you should emotionally prepare yourself for a variety of outcomes.