The decision to seek a divorce or separation is a very difficult one for most people. Most often, either the husband or the wife makes the decision to break the news to the other only after thinking about it for a long time. The decision is accompanied by many negative emotions such as frustration, anger, despair or fear. The term I use for the person who first decides to separate or divorce is the ” initiator”. I call the other spouse the “non-initiator”.
One of the most difficult parts of the divorce or separation process is deciding how and when to break the news. In my experience, even in the worst marriages, when the initiator brings up the subject, the non-initiator’s first reaction is shock, surprise and hurt. The initiator has had time to get used to the idea of divorce or separation and the other spouse is far behind emotionally. When people are hurt they often react with anger and resistance.
Very likely, the result is that the initiator, who has come to the decision after thinking about it, is now in a hurry to “get it done”. The non-initiator is likely to react by dragging things out and making the process as slow, as painful and as expensive as possible in the hopes that the initiator will give up the idea of getting separated or divorced. Both sides are acting on their emotions, rather on their own best interests.
If you are the initiator, recognize that your spouse may need some time to think and adjust to the idea of separation or divorce. If you are the non-initiator realize that you may need some time to catch up emotionally, but that the other person will not wait forever. Once both you have come to terms with the situation and can appreciate the position of the other, you can use your intelligence, rather than your emotions, to make the right decisions which will end up with better results for both of you.