You have felt something is off. Things aren’t like they used to be.
Then, out of the blue, you get slapped with the news.
Your wife wants a divorce.
So, what’s next for you? Are you thinking to yourself, “What the heck do I do if my wife wants a divorce?”
Let’s talk about some options that you have.
You Just Got The News That Your Wife Wants a Divorce
I know you’re scared. (Heck, you may even be happy.)
But, with the right guidance, you can get through this.
The first thing you want to do is get your bearings.
You may be prepared to do anything to save the marriage, including therapy. But your wife may be saying, “I’m done.”
If you truly want to avoid divorce, you must demonstrate that you are capable of real change.
Think about what has gotten you both to this place.
Chances are that you are experiencing some of the most common reasons for getting a divorce.
What behaviors are you willing to change to get your marriage on track?
Think about what your wife has probably been complaining about for a very long time. What have you been remiss in hearing?
It may seem unfair that you have to do all the changing.
For now, yes, you most likely need to do so because you are at a disadvantage. You don’t have the upper hand in this negotiation.
Especially if she just gave you the divorce papers and you’re on a hard defense.
What NOT to Do If Your Wife Wants a Divorce
You want to save your marriage. You’ve built your life with your wife.
You’re in choppy waters. She’s expecting you to be upset, beg, and plead for them to change their mind. She is bracing for this and she is on the defense.
Many people sabotage this by acting desperate, angry, nasty, or vengeful. (This is the opposite of what you should be doing.)
Here’s a breakdown of what NOT to do when your wife drops the bad news onto you.
Manipulating Your Wife
Telling your wife lies to get her to stay with you might work momentarily, but for the long term, it does not fix anything.
In fact, IF you end up staying together, fabricating a web of lies is going to end up hurting your marriage even more.
Nagging Your Wife
Honestly, nagging probably isn’t the best route to take even in a healthy relationship.
But it’s especially not going to help in a shaky one.
If they need their alone time then let them have it.
Don’t resort to consistently calling and texting them to check up on them or get their attention. This will only push them away.
When your wife wants a divorce, being needy is the opposite approach that you should be taking.
There’s a saying that you if you chase the puppy, he’ll run away. But if you run away from the puppy, then he’ll chase you.
There’s some truth in this statement. Playing hard to get (a healthy amount) will work in your favor.
She’s expecting you to chase her. And remember that she’s on defense for that situation.
But, if you give her space, wait for her to text or call you, and just act somewhat disinterested then she’s going to be more drawn to you.
Do you want to really ramp up the chase? Then, go out and have fun. No, we’re not recommending seeing other girls.
We’re recommending going out with the guys, spend time with friends, and do FUN things.
You’re going to take your mind off things. You’re going to be less available to her. And she’s going to be pulled back in because she sees you are having fun without her.
Even if your wife is in love with another guy and wants a divorce (and you don’t want her back), going out and having fun and disengaging with her is probably STILL the best approach.
Trust me. It works.
Acting out just won’t do it for you. MAYBE you get her to come back to just calm you down, but do you think that’s a long term solution?
(I guess it depends on how long you can act crazy lol.)
But seriously, don’t go wild. Don’t start using drugs and alcohol. Stay away from the bar scene (yes, even with just your friends). And don’t go messing around with other girls. This is ESPECIALLY true if you want an amicable divorce.
If you really want to get your girl back, this is not gonna do it for you.
What TO Do If Your Wife Wants a Divorce
For some reason, if your wife wants a divorce, she is probably thinking that she has outgrown you.
She wants someone she can grow with, who can challenge her, and who can push her to be better.
I mean, if your situation is such that, ‘my wife says she wants a divorce but says she loves me,’ then she WANTS you, but you’re not fulfilling her basic needs.
Some icing on the cake? She wants someone that she can have fun with. (Don’t you?)
These steps are not intended to have your wife change her mind. These steps are for you to fundamentally change to be a better person.
But what if you “waste your time” on this?
Listen, bettering yourself is NEVER a bad investment. If you become a better person and your wife decides she still wants to pursue a divorce, then make sure that you build a better life for yourself so that you attract someone who appreciates you.
This can come in many forms. But like I mentioned before, go have fun.
Go see some family and spend time with them. Chances are that you haven’t seen them enough. (I always feel pulled to go see my family more, but I’m weird.)
Go out with some friends. Maybe even take a mini vacation to the beach or the mountains for the weekend.
If there’s a craft that you want to pick up, like pottery or writing, start going to classes that teach you more about this.
Keeping busy means that you’re investing in time with yourself to figure out what you enjoy and spending time with loved ones.
Always remember that the more fun you’re having (genuinely), the more attractive you are – to your spouse or anyone. People want to be with FUN people. But, obviously, don’t fake having fun. People can tell.
Be Your Best Self
You need to improve yourself. Everyone does.
Start going to the gym. Get back into shape. Chances are that you got that dad bod going on.
The key here is that you are exercising. Exercise releases dopamine, which is a chemical that makes you feel happier. So, exercising can be meditative.
Make sure you find something you enjoy though. Because you want to do this over the long term.
The added benefits are that you become healthier, get into better shape, and you’ll live longer. Plus, you’re going to feel sexier. (Big bonus.)
Another thing is to learn something new. Education is key to growth. But this doesn’t mean you have to go back to school.
Target something that REALLY interests you. Do you like hunting, dog or cat training, gardening, or finances (if you’re a nerd like me)?
Whatever it is, pick something and buy a book on it. If you hate reading, then I can’t blame you. In this scenario, commit to watching 25 videos about your topic on YouTube.
If you really enjoy the topic, you’ll enjoy the content you’re consuming and you’ll be off the the races on your hobby.
No one wants to hear it. But you need help, bro.
But it’s not a bad thing. Even as someone who enjoys learning how to be a better spouse, I STILL struggle daily with my own problems and how I treat the relationship and my wife.
So, we all need help. That just means that you’re not immune to this.
I have to admit, I think a therapist would help me a lot. My sister-in-law is a marriage therapist, and every time I chat with her, I feel SOO much better.
(But I always feel weird going to her.)
But if you’re more of a DIY-er then there are TONS of people on YouTube (or podcasts) who teach people how to be better, more intentional spouses.
These people are most likely selling courses, but just know that they put out a lot of free content that can get you started.
Just start listening to their content and you’ll be on a better route to learning more about yourself and improving your current (or next) relationship.
Keep Yourself Up
Chances are that with the whirlwind of marriage, kids, work, and life, you got a little relaxed on your appearances.
I truly think this is the natural path we all take when we get married and we really are focused on other things.
Plus, it’s our spouse, we’re supposed to be able to let our guards down and be comfortable with ourselves.
But, you should definitely use this time to ‘freshen up.’ It’s NOT the time to just wear pajamas 24/7, not shower for 3 days at a time, and let your neckbeard get unruly (no one wants to see that), or turn into a hermit.
You know who you are.
This is the time to just schedule a new haircut (color it too if you’re into that). Get a new outfit, but pump the brakes on getting a new wardrobe, dude. That’s just not financially responsible.
Have your house deep cleaned by a cleaning company (trust me on this one). Have your car detailed. These two things will give you a jump start. It feels dumb, but every time I have our have cleaned, dude it feels SOOO good.
Allow Your Spouse To Talk To You
Now that we have worked on YOU a little, let’s work on the relationship.
You suck at listening. We all do because we REALLY want to be heard.
But the best way to understand how someone else feels, especially your wife who wants a divorce, it to just listen. This is important if you’re in the situation where ‘my wife wants a divorce but I still love her and want things to work out.’
When you two are talking, you don’t need to defend yourself with every little statement she tells you.
I know – it sucks to hear someone tell us why they don’t want to be with us or why they don’t like us and NOT defend ourselves or our actions.
But trust me, if you want to fix the relationship and make yourself a better significant other, then don’t respond with excuses, explanations, or anything of the sort.
To really dig into the root cause of the issue that they are having, respond with questions.
Now, this doesn’t mean to respond with, “Well, how do you think it made me feel when you did THIS and THIS!?”
That ain’t it, dude.
Questions are like, “Can you explain why that made you feel that way?” Or, “Can you explain what would have been a better approach in this scenario because I really don’t know?”
Basically, it’s just quetsions that make them ellborate on what they have on their mind.
This allows you to figure out the root cause of the issues so that you can BOTH work on the issues together.
An added benefit is that this approach causes a lot less arguments.
Disclaimer: it’s going to suck to hear what’s the root cause of the issues because it’s usually something you’re doing.
With all of the arguments I’ve had with my wife, this approach has allowed us to NOT fight, figure out the problem together, and finish a disagreement with a stronger bond.
Plain and simple – it works.
What If There’s No Going Back?
If the separation is just going to happen, you should start preparing for a divorce.
The first thing that you should do is consult a divorce attorney.
In the meantime, you should download a mutual separation agreement and a settlement agreement and start working through those documents to reduce your attorney fees.
These documents will help you figure out all of the details of the divorce. This is is especially true if you didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, prenup alimony, etc.
If you want to see what your situation is looking like, fill out the form below to get a FREE, no-obligation consultation.