10 Tips for Surviving the Aftermath of Your Spouse Asking for a Divorce

Say What!? 7

After announcing my own impending divorce, I was inundated with sweet and kind emails from people who had been long-time readers of my site.

Many of them offered love and support, a rare bright spot during those dark days.

Still others told me their story: they'd come home from work to find their husband had left ... for good. They'd woken up to the words, "I want a divorce."

The problem, they informed me, was that they did not.

Talk about making an already soul-wrenching situation even worse. Here are some tips for coping with a divorce ... that you don't want.

1) Remind yourself that you're going to be okay. I know it feels like the air has been sucked out of the room, but it's still there. I promise. Keep "I'm going to be okay" as your mantra for this period.

2) Talk out your feelings with a trusted friend and a therapist. Yes, I said both. Because you're going to need both. Finding out your husband of a zillion years doesn't want you anymore is like the world's biggest failed job interview.

3) Do your best to remember that the "why"s don't matter. In fact, they may make it worse. And I promise you this: they do not fix the situation or allow you closure.

4) Do not ask your soon-to-be ex too much about why he or she is leaving in any vivid detail. An unruly imagination on top of your already broken heart is enough to deal with.

5) Avoid stalking him. I know, you share bank accounts and possibly an email account, but don't make it your goal in life to find out what he's doing. You can't unlearn that sort of thing no matter how hard you try.

6) Remember that you are not a failure. I don't know how low my self-esteem plummeted when the "D" word got brought up in my house, but I'll tell you that it was a very, VERY dark space and time for me.

7) There is a world outside of divorce, I swear. It's a different one, for sure, but it's a world in which you can make your own decisions. There are upsides to divorce.

8) Don't freak out if your emotions range from frantic to rage to hysterical. This is normal. I had a "crying hour" from about 9-10 p.m. each night for months. This is okay.

9) Don't bother trying to "get him (or her) back." No matter how many frilly undergarments you buy, it's over. I'm sorry. I really am.

10) Above all else, remind yourself that you do NOT need to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you. That's the truth, not fiction.

What advice would you give to someone who is getting divorced ... but doesn't want to?


Image via Paul Stuart Iddon/Flickr



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nonmember avatar sisterlylove

Wow, this is really nice. I'm really sorry. You know why it's poignant? Because none of us are immune. This could be any one of us an hour from now. I'm sorry it's you, ever.

nonmember avatar Samantha

A man who i thought was the love of my life walked away from me, had cheated and got caught, then left me for her. It was horrible. It felt like i would fall apart if i didnt hold myself together. Like nothing would ever be ok again. It took me 2 years to get over it. And sometimes it still hurts. It damaged me in so many ways. Ive been in a relationship for a year, its been a key point in my recovery. I dont feel for him with the SAME intensity as i did the one guy, but watching my family grow has added a whole new level of love i never experienced before. Its different. Better really. If i had never let go, i wouldve never found this joy. I cant imagine watching my family break up in front of my eyes, and being helpless to stop it... But now i know im strong enough to do what i have to do.

tuffy... tuffymama

Hold your head and your standards high! That is my best advice. A broken heart can sometimes lead you to actions and people that will jeopardize your heart, safety, and reputation. Just stay the course and you will heal faster. I know.

Susan Wagoner

oh dear... where was this article 2 years ago when i needed it most?..although.. to tell the truth.. most of it STILL is relevant!

Christine Westrom-Seip

I was married for 19 years to the father of my 3 kids, and it was horrible when he left. Even though I didn't love him anymore. Even though I didn't respect him anymore. And he left me (and my children, unfortunately) for a girlfriend, who he promptly knocked up. I was nuts for awhile.

The great news is that, after 4 years, my children and I are thriving. The first few years were pretty terrible, but we're doing well now. The ex is essentially out of the picture, but we've all learned how to be happy without him. Anybody going through this, hang in there. You can be happy (or happier) again.hugs

UKFan136 UKFan136

I wish I could've passed this article along to my soon-to-be-ex-husband, he tried almost everything in that list & then some.

nonmember avatar Robert

I'm sorry ukfan136 can you please expand your post? Do you wish your soon to be ex husband had not tried to hang on to you? I'm confused. I assume you initiated the divorce. Are you saying you would have preferred that he be accepting and non resisting? I'm uncertain as to what any woman wants from a soon to be ex husband. Was your statement made to save him pain or you trouble and time and energy? Robert

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