How to Approach the Topic of Divorce
Although divorce has been an unfortunate part of society for a long time, the prevalence of divorce in the United States has grown to an alarming rate in the last few decades. By now, just about everyone has known or heard about couples who have been divorced and remarried several times, and some of these couples even end up back together a few times before finally calling it quits for good. Depending on the circumstances leading up to divorce, these reversals of vows can be devastating not only for any children from the marriage but also for future trust between the former spouses and their friends and extended families. With so much at stake, husbands and dads should give extra consideration to the act before even bringing it up as an option.
Discussing Divorce with Your Spouse
Talk. While feelings are probably the last thing you want to talk about with your wife, it is better you do it now than regret it later after you divorce and discover that you still have feelings for each other. It is especially important to discuss any negative emotions prior to unleashing the d-word, or you may end up paying for it in the long run. For instance, infidelity on the husband’s part often evolves into some major hostility post-divorce, and you may end up with larger child and spousal support payments and less time with your child if your wife decides revenge is her kind of thing. You need to address these feelings and try to smooth them over before, not after, you begin divorce proceedings.
Get couples’ counseling. There is really no such thing as a casual divorce when kids are involved, so really think about what you’re feeling before suggesting such a drastic option to your wife—even if you decide against it in the end, the level of trust in your relationship will likely be greatly damaged. It may turn out that you had a misunderstanding about each other’s expectations and never really were a good match at all. Knowing why the relationship failed will only help you both in future relationships.
Discussing Divorce with Your Children
Explain things clearly. While you may have heard about kids blaming themselves for family problems, you might still think that your kid understands well enough not to do so. No matter how tough and smart your child may seem to you, it never hurts to be explicit about the facts—that it’s not his or her fault.
Don’t assign blame. It may be tempting for you to cast yourself in a better light than your spouse when you are explaining things to your kids so that they might love you more, but you have to remember that you are always going to have to deal with that person. Your children need both of their parents, no matter who actually initiated the divorce or caused the most friction in your marriage. Keep your discussion with your children as positive as possible.
Dealing with Shared Friendships
Again, talk. Discuss your problems with a few good friends who understand both you and your wife before bringing divorce up at home. Your friends might notice things about your relationship that you don’t, and you may be able to salvage your relationship.
Again, don’t assign blame. Besides the fact that your friends will quickly tire of your negative talk, you may alienate your spouse even more if what you say makes it back to her. Your objective should not be to divide your friends up, and they won’t appreciate any of your attempts to do so by spreading libel about your wife.