BRIDES is the oldest magazine of its kind in the world. Since 1934 BRIDES magazine has been dispensing practical advice and impractical fantasies to starry-eyed women. So, the appearance of an article on divorce in the magazine seems, well, unbridled. Still, many grooms and brides want to know exactly how to start that conversation.

Veiled Threat?

Love is a powerful emotion, right up there with fear and anger. Assuming a Virginia marriage was founded on love (which is, admittedly, not always the case), any direct attack on that love immediately triggers other strong emotions.

BRIDES magazine reminds you to take your wife’s emotions into consideration when starting the conversation:

  • Have the conversation; do not duck responsibility by having her find out your intentions from a process server delivering divorce papers to her
  • Give her room to react and inhabit the range of feelings, from loss to hurt to fear to anger to rage to resignation
  • Remember you do not have the power to regulate her feelings, only your own (and thinking you can somehow dictate her emotions diminishes both of you)
  • Avoid passive-aggressive tactics like packing a bag and leaving, or insinuating some sort of threat to her financial security, physical safety, or your children
  • Find an uninterrupted time without telephones, computers, children, or any distractions
  • Recognize that your emotions will not be hers, since you have had time to think about the topic and she has not
  • You do not have to like how your spouse reacts, but you need to stay through to the end, since your mere presence signals respect and empathy for the feelings you have brought about in her

Thoughtful Parting

Experts at Fatherly provide six facets to the thoughtful parting:

  1. Location—Only cowards choose public venues “to avoid a scene;” find a private, quiet space, which could be the offices of a marriage counselor if you are both in therapy
  2. Timing—Despite your emotional roller coaster, empathize with your wife and pick a time when her mood can handle the news; avoid when she is stressed or already dealing with a family emergency
  3. Wise Words—Avoid ambiguity; be direct and clear by using simple sentences; avoid casting blame, so use a lot of “I” phrases such as “I feel alone,” “I am hurting,” “I feel unloved,” rather than “You” phrases like “You never…” “You always…” “This is your fault.”
  4. Big Picture—The initial conversation will change her life, so ignore your desire to burrow down into ghastly details and conflicts (who will get the house, yacht, ATV, children, and so on); you and your attorneys will have ample time later to decide who gets the kids on alternate Flag Days
  5. Grumpy and Grumpier—Acknowledge and affirm that, to varying degrees, you are both unhappy; a good icebreaker is the phrase, “As you know,” as with, “As you know, we have had trouble feeling connected or close at holidays, birthdays, vacations,” or, “As you probably know, I have been very unhappy in this marriage for many months; I sense you have been unhappy, too.”
  6. No I in Team—Shifting away from matrimony and acrimony to a mutual task can ease the pain; highlight the common goals of making both of you happier, doing what’s right for your children, and moving into sunnier days ahead

Focus on Right Relations

Our society is biased towards the right: upright, forthright, right on, righteous, right as rain. You want your divorce and post-divorce life to keep you moving in the right direction and neither of you wants to be left behind.

Experts at DivorceMag use the phrase, “right relations” to suggest the responsibility you have in changing your wife’s world. Focus on the attitude and connections you two will have after you divorce, and seek to stay balanced, healthy, and kind even in the face of anger and despair.

You can start to move forward, to build those “right relations,” from the very first divorce conversation:

  • Be sure you have not overlooked other options, such as marriage counseling or separation, before leaping to divorce
  • Be clear and simple with your feelings and words: “I want a divorce because I am deeply unhappy in this marriage.”
  • Own your words and behaviors without dwelling on faults; do not instigate or prolong an argument when the thrust of the conversation is the need to divorce, to change the entire course of both your lives
  • Consider your wife as a whole person who must remain intact and well long after you finish your wounding words; respect her enough to keep those “right relations” clear in your mind as a goal

Consult with a Family Law Attorney at The Firm For Men

Your legal counselor is invaluable in helping you anticipate your wife’s reaction. Your attorney can offer practical tips for finding the right words, place, and time for your conversation. Your lawyer can also explain your paths forward:

  • Separation
  • An amicable property settlement agreement
  • An uncontested, no-fault divorce
  • A contested, fault-grounds divorce

Whatever you choose, The Firm For Men stands ready to work side by side with you. Contact us today to learn how we can protect Virginia men’s rights, their financial security, and the serenity of their lives after divorce.