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How to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce

Saying “I want a divorce” will be one of the most difficult things you do. These tips on how to tell your husband you want a divorce will help you be honest, yet kind.

On How to Let Go of Someone You Love, a husband shared how his wife told him she wants a divorce:

“It’s been rough. My wife and I had been together 20 years, married 18 this June. The Friday after Christmas I got up and went to work. She got up, packed up all her belongings, and moved straight in with another man who she only knew for 4 months. Didn’t even tell me why. I tried to call her and she didn’t answer her phone. I get a text at the end of the work day that says ‘I’ve left you. Goodbye.” I didn’t even know there was a problem, much less that she was cheating on me. I am devastated. She just threw away our marriage and walked away.”

Whatever you do, don’t text your husband that you want a divorce. You owe him more than that – even if he was a “bad” husband. You owe it to yourself – if not to him – to gently and kindly bring your marriage to an end. You need closure, and you need to move on with self-respect and confidence.

If you know you’ll have financial issues to settle, read Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally: What Women Need To Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, and After Divorce by by Jeffrey A. Landers.

How to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce

Make sure a divorce is the best decision. In Is This Grounds for Divorce or Do I Stay Married?, I discuss a few reasons to pursue divorce. How you determine whether divorce is the best decision for you depends on your values, personality, lifestyle, children, and even your financial situation. Nobody can tell you if you should get a divorce – and you may never know if it’s the best decision for you. But, before you try to figure out how to tell your husband you want a divorce, try to make sure that divorce is the best decision at this point in your life.

Remember that there are no rules for the “divorce talk.” There is no script for this, because knowing what to say and how to tell your husband you want a divorce depends on so many different factors: your personality, your marriage, your husband’s personality, how long you’ve been together, etc. You’ll never find the exact right words online that will help you tell your husband you want a divorce because it’s impossible to give strangers a script. So why am I writing a blog post on telling your husband you want a divorce? Because a reader commented that his wife walked out and texted him that she wants a divorce. I just want to encourage you not to do the same thing to your husband, no matter how insensitive or emotionally distant he is.

If your husband abuses you, you’re in a totally different situation. Read How to Leave an Abusive Relationship for help on how to tell your husband you want a divorce.

Take time to talk. Ask your husband for an hour, and prepare to share your thoughts. You don’t necessarily need to build arguments or find reasons that you want to divorce your husband, but you should give him the courtesy of sharing the thoughts behind your decision to ask for a divorce. This will be painful, even if you think he should already know why you want a divorce because it’s painfully obvious. He may not know.

If your husband accuses you of being selfish, cold, and unfeeling, read Are You Wrong or Selfish for Wanting a Divorce? It Depends.

Expect a wide range of emotions from your husband. No matter how prepared you are to tell your husband you want a divorce, you may be caught off guard with what he says or how he reacts. If you think he’ll respond with anger or even abuse, make sure you have someone with you. Or, be in a public place. If you think he’ll say and do nothing, remember that people often react to shocking news in unexpected ways. Prepare yourself mentally for a range of emotions: anger, grief, disbelief, shock, hatred, frustration, and even threats.

If you hate yourself for wanting to know how to tell your husband you want a divorce, read 5 Reasons a Break Up Isn’t a Betrayal.

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2 thoughts on “How to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce”

  1. I want a divorce because my husband never set the boundaries with his family that he needed to. His mother is controlling, backstabbing, sneaky, and treats me like “the other woman”. He spent a small fortune and six years getting her memoir published. I read the manuscript and she omitted all the domestic violence child abuse and neglect that went on with her a-hole husband. She manipulated our child into her care under false pretenses and she and her other son (a drunken wife beater) psychologically abused her so severely that she attempted suicide. He walks away from our truth and gives her lies a Library of Congress number. Tonight I took off my wedding ring. 26 years down the tubes…

  2. It’s a rough road through a divorce. It’s not only the husband and wife who hurt, it’s family, friends and community. Ask yourself how much pain you are willing to put those whom you love through? Is there a right reason?