Divorce has a bad reputation. While ending a marriage can definitely be a traumatic experience, it doesn't have to be. In fact, if you've realized that your marriage is little more than words printed on a sheet of paper at this point, moving on can be an opportunity for both of you to stop spending energy spinning your wheels and start living a more independent and vibrant life. Take the right approach and you can part amicably and perhaps even remain friends.
Be up front with your spouse, advises divorce attorney Carol Bailey Medwell. For example, if you've spoken to a lawyer and decided that you want a divorce, don't let the first news your husband hears of the impending split be from the person who served the papers. Rather, discuss your intentions with your husband, letting him know that you care about his well-being, but are planning to move on.
Respect your husband's rights. For example, don't change the locks on the door. Doing so is likely to create conflict along with hurt feelings that may linger. Even though there is little passion and love in your marriage, your husband can still feel a wrench in his gut at the thought of your life together dissolving, particularly in a harsh manner. Rather, if you've asked him to move out, let him know you'll be available to let him in to pick up things he needs, and work out mutually agreeable times for him to do so.
Avoid blaming your husband for a lack of love and the failure of the marriage. Instead, seek to understand the failure of your union by considering that both of you did not have the skills you needed to make it work or may not have handled stressors well, advises clinical psychologist Susan Heitler. Removing judgement can help you both to end the marriage in a friendly manner.
Hire a mediator. A mediator can help the two of you decide how to distribute property, consider child custody arrangements and determine child support payments. This person will help you and your husband reach agreement on these matters by working to keep the lines of communication open, teaching empathy and keeping you both focused on the task at hand, notes divorce mediator Brian James. In the long run, you can save a considerable amount of money and grief by taking this approach as opposed to working with an attorney who might encourage you to get the "best deal" as possible for yourself without regard for your spouse's feelings or your relationship.
Seek support. Either talk to a good -- and wise -- friend who can help you to sort through your feelings or find a counselor to help you through this transition in your life. Inevitably, difficult emotions will arise as you and your spouse work through your split, and you don't want to find yourself losing your cool because your husband insists on keeping all of the extensive DVD collection, for example.
Wait before diving into another relationship. If you've been in a loveless marriage, you may be vulnerable to the attentions of the first man who looks like he could give a good hug. Getting involved before the dust from your marriage has settled, however, merely adds unnecessary complications to the situation. Don't put your husband in the position of trying to handle jealousy at the same time you both are deciding who will get the house. When you are settled on your own and the divorce is final, then you can consider dating once again.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.