How Do I Tell Him I Want a Divorce?



By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

Jackie, I don’t know where to start. Not with what to tell you, but with what to tell my husband.  I don’t love him anymore. I also don’t want to be married anymore.  I don’t understand the point of marriage and regret it everyday.  I have been married 5 years. We have no children together.  My problem is this: he has not done anything really that bad. Oh don’t get me wrong, he does the usual man things, like not listening, working to much, etc. But nothing that renders me leaving.  My question is this. How do I tell him I want a divorce?


This could possibly be one of the toughest questions I have ever received, but I am going to do my best to try to give you some of my thoughts and suggestions.

First of all, is your husband aware of your unhappiness? Does he have any idea of what could be coming? If not, I don’t think I would come right out and ask for a divorce. In this case, I would try talking to him. I would start with, “Would it be possible for you and I to sit down and talk about our relationship? I am feeling unhappy and unfulfilled in our marriage, and I want to hear how you are feeling.”

This way, you get to see where his head is, based on his reaction. If he gets upset and starts screaming at you, then he is obviously unhappy, as well. If he is utterly shocked, then maybe he will be up for talking once he absorbs what is happening. I mean, is there any way you’d consider trying to work it out if he was on board with that? He also might say, “I am unhappy, too,” and it could lead to some productive communication.

I will say this. People always say marriage is hard, and I agree. Sort of. It’s not really hard, but it is hard work. What I mean by that, is (and this isn’t just for marriage, but for any relationship) the two people have to be committed to keeping it alive, keeping it sexy, keeping it honest, staying best friends, and that is done through good communication.

In a marriage, the marriage HAS TO BE your number one priority in life. It needs to be nurtured, like you never want it to die. It needs to be fed. What that means is both people making sure the other is happy, sticking by that person when they are sick or in a bad place, being happy for the person and showing support when things are good, and of course, making sure the other always knows he or she is loved and that you have their back. It’s not easy because it takes effort. But it IS easy if you want to make that effort.

Now, let’s say you are so past this point. You are done. The two of you have talked until you are blue in the face and in your mind, there’s no going back. So, how do you tell him you want a divorce?

Gently. Kind. And in a caring way. But, the fact remains that whatever words you use will undoubtedly translate to “I want a divorce.” Examples: “I think I might want a divorce,” “I think we should talk about our future,” “I’m not happy.” “I think I might want to separate.” “I think we should take some time apart.” He will interpret all of these things as “I want a divorce.”

It will hurt him, shock him, destroy the ground beneath him. And that is so so very sad, but the reality is, every divorce started with someone saying those words.

One more thing. The fact that you wrote to me and asked me, “How do I tell him I want a divorce,” shows me that you care. If you didn’t, you’d have already done it and you wouldn’t want my advice. That says a lot.

So, ask yourself if you are sure about this, or if you think the two of you might be able to get back the love you once had. Maybe instead of “I want a divorce,” you could try, “I want to work on our marriage?”

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