Wondering what to do if your husband says he wants a divorce? Chances are he’s been unhappy for a long time, yet this announcement may come as a shock. Your husband might be someone who avoids conflict or does not open up very easily. Or he’s a man that just can’t stand negativity, and the arguing, nagging, criticism that may be occurring has finally worn him down. It’s possible he’s met someone else or it has nothing to do with you, but more likely he either feels like he can’t be his best self with you or he feels like he’s failing all the time, constantly disappointing you or unable to make you happy.
So, here’s what to do if your husband says he wants a divorce:
Step #1: Evaluate where you’ve been critical, depressed and/or not much fun to be around. Have you been withholding sex or letting resentment keep you cranky? Certainly there might be areas where you have been hurt and upset with him, but if you’re surprised by his desire to get a divorce, you might be completely unaware of how much you’re withholding or how much negativity you’re letting come in to your marriage. In other words, start to get in the mode of taking some personal responsibility for how you’ve been behaving in the marriage.
Step #2: Find out what’s really bothering him. Really listen to him without defensiveness. If he complains about not having enough sex or affection and is feeling rejected and hurt, consider what it’d be like to not have him around to wake up with. Let yourself be close to him again. If you find out he’s feeling trapped by the weight of family burdens, talk about how he can get time away to de-stress and have fun. If he’s feeling controlled or emasculated, talk about ways he can have more power in the marriage. If he says you’re no fun to be around, really get to to bottom of it for yourself. If there’s something he’s doing to hurt you and cause resentment, be honest about that. If you’re depressed, stressed out, deal with that and show him you’re taking action. Bottom line: be willing to be responsive to his hurts and frustrations.
Step #3: Be your best self. Be the woman he met and fell in love with. Yes, now you have kids and sagging parts and stresses far beyond what you’d imagine, but find her again. She’s in there. He misses her. In most cases, he doesn’t really want someone else, he just wants the woman he fell in love with (and thus, a part of himself that he’s lost too). Commit to being nicer, more loving and more fun. Find time to do things for yourself that enrich your life! If you need his help to make this happen, tell him that. See my article, Ignore your relationship, focus on yourself.
Step #4: Get help when you don't know what to do if your husband says he wants a divorce. What I see often is that husbands don’t always know how to open up and express themselves. They just know they’re frustrated and in pain. Sometimes a therapist can really help them explore and share their point of view in a safe environment.
If you need my guidance, give me a call at (720) 432-4409 or send me an email! I'd love to help you start to sort it out.