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I Want a Divorce But My Husband Doesn’t

Chances are, when you got married, you and your husband were both equally excited to start your new life together. Unfortunately, when it comes to ending a marriage, the situation isn’t always so balanced. Many women call us and say, “My husband doesn’t want a divorce. What can I do?”
If you want a divorce but your husband doesn’t, it can be incredibly frustrating. But before you resort to paying an attorney to light a proverbial fire under your spouse (which will undoubtedly set a confrontational tone for the rest of the proceedings), consider the following tips for divorcing a reluctant spouse. Hopefully, they will help save you time, money and your sanity during the divorce process.


I Want a Divorce But My Husband Doesn’t. Now What?

Enlist the help of a professional.

First thing’s first. Divorce is stressful and can trigger a whirlwind of intense emotions – for both of you.

An individual or couple’s counselor or professional divorce coach can help you explore the reasons you’re considering divorce and determine whether there is still work that can be done on the marriage. and help you process your emotions constructively. If your husband is willing to join you in counseling, it can create a safe space for both of you to share your feelings.

Be compassionate.

Dr. Pamela Brand, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Chicago for more than 30 years, offers this advice to individuals who want a divorce but whose spouse does not:

“I typically encourage individuals to approach their spouse with the greatest compassion and to recognize the likelihood that they might be faced with a period of resistance, anger, and emotional escalation. It is important that the spouse who is announcing the decision to divorce present this in a way that conveys the process of thought and consideration that went into making the decision. The spouse who wants the divorce may also want to recognize and validate the hurt and pain that this poses for their spouse and offer to listen to what kinds of things may be helpful to their spouse during the initial adjustment period.”

Open the lines of communication.

The goal is to start a dialogue and discuss the situation as openly and honestly as possible. Often just talking it over candidly can help a reluctant spouse begin to accept the reality of the situation.

If you’re not sure just how to approach the topic, here are a few more tips on how to ask your spouse for a divorce.

Whatever you do, don’t wall off your soon-to-be ex. It will only make them feel isolated and defensive.

Give it time.

When it comes to divorcing a reluctant husband, it’s important to remember that you’ve already had plenty of time to deal with the idea of your marriage ending.If your husband doesn’t want to divorce, he may be resisting due to the fact that your news came as a shock he wasn’t quite expecting.

It can take some time for him to emotionally prepare for divorce. Once you’ve told your husband that you want a divorce, step back and give them some time to process their emotions and come to grips with the news.

Consider your options.

When the time is right, you’ll want to have a conversation about which divorce method to use.

If you’re frustrated because your husband doesn’t want a divorce, you may be tempted to hire a lawyer to force their hand and get the process underway.

But this can backfire and may not be the best way to proceed. If your goal is to get through the divorce process as peacefully as possible, take the time to learn about all of the available options for divorce first.

This way, you can choose the divorce method that is most appropriate for your particular situation.


For more information about divorce, visit Cheryl Dillon’s website, Equitable Mediation.

Cheryl Dillon

I am a divorce coach and co-founder of Equitable Mediation Services (, a divorce mediation company that I run with my partner and husband, Joe. We specialize in helping divorcing couples in New Jersey and Illinois negotiate a fair settlement that is customized to their unique needs and that puts their children first. We’re passionate about helping families avoid the destruction of attorney-driven litigation. To learn why you should mediate your divorce, download our free eBook: <a href="">10 Compelling Reasons to Mediate Your Divorce </a>


Wednesday 5th of November 2014

Honestly, relationships are a lot of work. On top of that, you need to be invested in it. I personally read a lot of relationship books and things like that to help me, but it didn't help me as well as one on one interactions. I actually signed up on multiple forums to get help with problems like this and even at to be led in the right direction. By doing this, my relationship has been extremely healthy now!

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