If you have been unhappy in your marriage for a long time, the benefits of divorce may be obvious to you. However, sociologist Diane Vaughan points out that when a marriage is falling apart, usually "One person wants out while the other person wants the relationship to continue." Your husband may think your marriage is fine the way it is and he may think that whatever problems the marriage has are problems that you and he can solve. Though it may be difficult, you can still divorce your husband, even if he wants to stay married.
Resolve Your Inner Conflicts
Inner conflicts over ending a marriage can make it difficult to ask for a divorce. If your husband wants to remain married, you may feel guilty at the prospect of hurting his feelings or destroying the dream that you would be together forever. If you have rarely or have never seen him cry, you may have difficulty facing his tears. However, resolving inner conflict is an essential part of the process of ending a marriage, say divorce counselors Bruce Derman and Wendy Gregson. Working through and understanding your conflicted feelings will help clarify what you want and will give you the strength to ask for a divorce, in spite of your husband's resistance.
Make a Financial Plan
The standard of living for a woman, declines, on average by about 30 percent after a divorce, according to "What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody." To increase your chances of staying financially solvent after the divorce, figure out a budget so you know how much money you will need to live on your own. If you haven't been working, decide whether you should go back to school or get a job. Make sure you set aside some cash to help cover legal fees and living expenses during the divorce process. Since your husband wants to stay married, he may be too hurt and angry to help you financially once you ask for a divorce.
Choose a No-Fault Divorce
Reduce the risk that your husband will be able to prevent the divorce by filing a no-fault divorce. All states allow some variation of a no-fault divorce, which means that the marriage is ending because it "just didn't work out," according to "Divorce for Dummies." One person can end a marriage simply by claiming "irreconcilable differences." However, if you claim that your husband caused the marriage breakdown because of physical abuse, abandonment or some other fault your state considers grounds for divorce, he can contest the divorce by disputing your grounds.
If you are afraid to divorce your husband for fear that he might become violent, plan your exit route carefully, to keep yourself safe. The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends that you be prepared to leave quickly. Memorize your husband's schedule so you know when you can safely leave. If necessary, ask your police department to provide an escort when you move out. Have a friend you trust store important items for you, such as medications, money, family heirlooms, information about your bank accounts and a copy of your marriage license.
- Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships; Diane Vaughan
- Mediate.com: Are You Really Ready for Divorce? The 8 Questions You Need to Ask
- What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody; Gayle Rosenwald Smith and Sally Abrahms
- Divorce for Dummies 3rd edition; John Ventura and Mary Reed
- The Harris Law Firm P.C.: No Fault Divorce
- The Hotline: Safety Planning
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images