My Spouse Wants a Divorce – How to Stop A Divorce from Being Filed

For those men and women who find themselves in a position of knowing “my spouse wants a divorce”, it’s a life changing experience.  There are some things you can learn, though, that will help you understand how to stop a divorce from being filed.

My Spouse Wants a Divorce

First, let’s understand the normal pattern of behavior when one spouse learns the other wants a divorce.  This is the pattern you need to break out of:

The husband or wife who wants a divorce has spent a lot of time – perhaps even years – considering a divorce and dealing with the emotional guilt of the idea. They’ve planned the discussion, they have considered alternatives, and in their mind they have finally resigned themselves to divorce as the only possible course of action.  They have had lots of time to prepare themselves for the idea of being divorced.
The spouse then either suspects their spouse wants a divorce or hears it directly from them.
Not understanding how much mental preparation the other party has already invested in the idea, the spouse who has just learned about or discovered that their husband or wife wants a divorce is forced through a rapid stream of emotions:  fear, shock, anger, sadness, guilt, insecurity, doubt, and confusion.
The spouse who does not want the divorce to happen is raw with emotion may cry, beg and plead for another chance or for their partner to reconsider. The spouse who wants a divorce is pushed further away by the emotion and tears and does everything they can to make the divorce happen more quickly.

It is, without a doubt, completely unfair and yet it happens over and over every day.  To get married, there was an agreement, right?  Will you marry me?  Yes, I will.  In a divorce, there is often no agreement.  One party makes the decision and the other is forced to comply.

If you can break the normal behavior pattern, you have a chance to change the outcome

How to Stop a Divorce from Being Filed

Next, you need to buy yourself some time to keep your spouse from actually fililng for a divorce.

Try not to cry, don’t beg, don’t apologize profusely for every little thing you do, and don’t try to over-compensate by doing special things for your spouse that you wouldn’t normally do. All of these actions reinforce the deeply hidden feelings of guilt the spouse who wants the divorce is trying to cover up.  This will only rush your spouse into escalating the divorce.  If you can’t control your emotions (and, really, no one expects this to be easy, seek individual counseling to help you cope).
Use logic and reason when talking to your spouse.  They may not admit it, but your spouse is probably still a little unsure of their decision – even if they want a divorce because they are already seeing someone else.  It is really difficult to decide to leave a marriage and while they have had plenty of time to prepare themselves, they have not truly considered all the ramifications of a divorce.  If you can communicate with maturity and calmness, you may be able to open the crack in your spouse’s self-doubt and find some alternative ways to fix the relationship.
Agree that there are problems in the relationship that need to be fixed. Denying that anything is wrong when one spouse wants a divorce is like saying the Titanic isn’t sinking when the bow of the boat was nose up in the air.
If you can do so without a fight, encourage them not to move out if they propose leaving.  Suggest that it would be financially beneficial that they stay in the home.  If you have not made things too uncomfortable for them, they may consider this based on the money they will save by not moving out right away.
Gain some time to think and plan appropriately.  Use the fact that divorce is extremely costly if the two parties can’t work details out for themselves. Explain that you would rather the two of you tried to negotiate reasonably up front rather than have all the decisions made for you.  Suggest seeing a counselor or a mediator to help you work through things before actually filing.  If you can buy some time, you have a better chance of actually repairing the relationship.


Assuming you can accomplish these steps – control your emotions, communicate rationally, point out the benefits of sorting out the details together rather than with expensive attorneys and have been able to find the cracks in your spouse’s doubts about the divorce, then you can use the time you have bought for yourself to simultaneously work on a plan to improve and strengthen the old feelings your spouse had for you in the earlier stages of your marriage.

That means if we can get you from thinking “my spouse wants a divorce” and through the actions about how to stop a divorce from being filed then we need to get you through to reigniting the old flame.

Getting Your Spouse to Love You Again

This is the part where you stop your divorce, save your marriage and become a healthier couple. You need to do a couple of things:<br>

Get your spouse to see you as they used to see you, hence the importance of trying not to cry and look forlorn the entire time.  They didn’t fall in love with you because you were sad and lonely.  They enjoyed your company, they liked your energy, or you shared a great number of interests.  Show your true self and do the things you enjoy doing.  Don’t bury yourself in the stress of a pending divorce.
Your spouse has planned the conversation about divorce around you being upset and afraid.  If they see that you are handling things rationally and still going through your normal routine, they’re going to start to doubt that you loved them.  It’s a shock to THEIR system this time.  Sometimes this can jolt their ego into trying to get YOU to love them again, even if they were thinking of divorce.
Understand the reasons your spouse wants a divorce.
Research the relationship skills important to a healthy marriage.  Identify the missing skills that led to the break down of your own marriage and try to build on those skills.

That last part is probably the hardest.  If I know my spouse wants a divorce, and I figure out how to stop a divorce from being filed, I might not know how to rekindle the flame since it died out somewhere along the way without my knowing it.  You could find yourself floundering in the fix department.  Find a great relationship guide that gives you step by step instructions for getting your love back so you don’t get through the rest of the plan only to find you missed a chance to keep your marriage intact.

Sara writes relationship advice for couples who are struggling to stay together or who have broken up and need help getting back together. You can find more advice and resources at Get Your Ex Back Mastery or by clicking this link:
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