I Want To Divorce My Husband But He Doesn’t (11 Things To Do)

Last updated on June 8, 2022 by April Maccario

Deciding that you want a divorce may have been the biggest decision you made. If your husband wasn’t treating you right, or the marriage simply wasn’t working, then a divorce is the right option to get the happiness you deserve. However, going about it the wrong way can deteriorate your happiness, even after the divorce. 

Ye, you want a divorce, but the thing is, the way you handle it determines how smooth or messy things will get. You definitely need to know how to handle the situation in a prudent way. Simply talking to your divorce attorney, or giving the divorce documents to your reluctant spouse to sign, could definitely spur up conflict. 

Below are 11 insightful ways to handle your divorce, without feeling unhappy in the long run. 

11 Ways To Go About A Divorce With A Reluctant Partner

1. Talk to a professional

Talk to a professional

Getting a divorce comes with many overwhelming feelings. This is why it’s important to talk to someone about it, (especially a professional), to help you sort through the emotions you’re feeling. Talking to a therapist, or going for marriage counseling (if your husband is willing), is important because it gives you the advantage of making better decisions, and protecting your happiness.

The major work of a divorce coach is to ensure you end everything on a healthy note, especially if you have children. More so, your coach will help you identify some unresolved emotions, like possibly still being in love with your husband. On the advent of this, you will be referred to a discernment counselor, who will help you identify what’s best for the marriage at that point in time. 

There’s a high chance that if you and your partner start counseling together, a peaceful resolution can be achieved, which is way better than trying to make him sign the papers at all costs. The amazing thing about having a coach is the certainty that you’ll have healthy communication with your partner after the divorce, and all the bottled up emotions would be effectively channeled to the right source.   

2. Be empathetic 

You’re going through hurt and pain, and that’s probably why you made the decision to get a divorce. Putting that aside, it’s also crucial to focus on how everything will be after the divorce. Having peace and stability is important, and will further validate your decision to have the divorce. Therefore, instead of telling your spouse about the divorce by handing him documents, you have to be empathetic about his feelings towards ending the marriage

It’s essential to start up a healthy conversation with your spouse first, and possibly talk about your marriage. Make your husband see the reality of things, before bringing up the subject of divorce. Make sure you’re not outright blaming him for anything; on the other hand, make him see the damage that has already been caused. 

If this is done in a healthy manner, it should open the floor for a peaceful divorce, which is what both of you want. 

Remember that your husband is also going through his own personal matters, and could also oppose the divorce. However, starting everything with a healthy conversation will make him know that you’re doing what’s best for the two of you, and not just yourself. This will also reduce the likelihood of him being the reluctant spouse for too long.

3. Give him time

Truth is, you’ve unknowingly spent time having peace with the idea that you want a divorce. You probably didn’t wake up one morning and feel like ending things immediately, it was something you thought through... hopefully. That means that accepting a divorce needs time and mental peace, to be able to go along with it. 

There’s a high chance that the reason you have a reluctant spouse is because he hasn’t gotten enough time to embrace the idea of a divorce. His ability to process things may also be quite different from yours. This is why it’s crucial to give your husband time, allow him to express his emotions in the best way possible, knowing it will bring him closer to the reality that you want a divorce. 

Also, be cautious enough to observe when he’s making a rash decision without adequately processing everything. If you still feel he has a ton of bottled up emotions for too long, know that it will be unhealthy even after the divorce. In such a scenario, you might need to give him extra time, or possibly bring up the subject of marriage counseling. 

This will ensure the both of you have peace and stability throughout the divorce process and even after.

4. Find out if he’s reluctant because of the kids

When a husband is reluctant to go along with a divorce, it could be for a couple of reasons. However, one common reason is being concerned about the damage it will possibly have on the kids. It’s essential to find out if this is his reason, to be able to healthily object to it, and present a better option to him. 

Truth is, it’s not the divorce that damages the children, but the hostility and conflict present in the marriage. If there’s no love between the couple, sooner or later, the children will notice. This might cause a psychological imbalance, especially when they grow up not seeing the love between their parents. 

Making your husband understand this fact will help him to make a better decision, and accept the divorce. It’s best to focus on how your children can adjust to the reality of everything, as a way to handle the divorce, because divorces only cause short-term damages to children, as opposed to living in an unhealthy household for a longer term.

Learning to peacefully co-parent with adequate child support, will do more good for them in the long-run. Explain to your husband that being reluctant will only make everything worse.  

5. Find out if he’s reluctant because of money

The cost of running two separate households may seem exorbitant to anyone, but sometimes, this isn’t always the case. It’s common knowledge that after a divorce, the cost of running two households remains either the same, or it slightly reduces. This is mostly because people are more conscious of their expenses when living alone. 

Your husband is certain to think of the expenses involved in a divorce. More so, he’s likely to choose the cheaper option, which is staying together. It’s important to find out if this is the reason he doesn’t want a divorce, then explain to your husband the fact that expenses might not necessarily change. 

Nonetheless, if he remains reluctant, then inform him of the risks involved if the divorce becomes an adversarial one. An adversarial divorce occurs when the couple can’t come to an agreement, and a judge steps in to determine how things will go. 

Adversarial divorces are always more expensive than non-adversarial ones, which is why your husband needs to make a profitable decision now. Explain to your spouse that the more he tries to refrain from losing money, the higher the chances of actually doing so.

6. Find out if he’s reluctant because he feels things can get better

Find out if he’s reluctant because he feels things can get better

You’ve been thinking about the divorce for a long time now, and chances are, you even gave your spouse enough time to correct his mistakes. If you didn’t spontaneously decide that you want a divorce, there’s probably a strong reason for your decision. 

It’s important to perfectly communicate this to your spouse, and make him realize that the divorce process is occurring based on well thought-out decisions. The truth is, you will know when your marriage has gone beyond saving, and extra time isn’t going to help save the marriage

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Your spouse may also know this, but may not have come to terms with the reality of the situation yet. Though it will take some time before your spouse finally acknowledges this, it’s important to affirm your decisions to him. Do this in the most understanding manner, also considering the fact that the divorce is coming as a shock to him. 

However, still maintain your firmness so your spouse doesn’t have high hopes that everything will get better. Emphasize the need to do what’s best for the kids, and begin working on a healthy system for them as soon as possible, rather than holding on to something that might be toxic. 

Make sure he understands that everything will get better for the kids after the divorce, but not for the marriage. This should make him change his mind about the divorce. 

7. Ask your spouse what he wants

Most times, when a woman decides, “I want a divorce!” her conversations may get subjective, especially because she’s trying to avoid being convinced out of the decision. As the lady in the situation, you need to evaluate if you’ve been the only one talking about how the outcome of everything will go, rather than hearing what your spouse has to say. 

He may want to give his own reasons why things should be done a certain way. If you keep ignoring him, this will only make your spouse bottle up most of his emotions, and in most cases, become stubborn about the marriage ending. 

If you really want the divorce proceedings to pass by quickly, you’re going to need to hear what your spouse has to say. It may be difficult, but for a short period of time, refrain from being the only person talking. Ask him intuitive questions like if he ever got the idea that the marriage was over, and if so, when. 

Ask him if he has ever thought of divorcing you, and if so, why he didn’t. More so, ask him if he’s hurt that you want a divorce. You need to get him to talk about the root of most issues, in a calm and healthy manner. This will ensure the both of you heal appropriately, doing this will also get the both of you on the same page, and possibly closer to having a healthy divorce.

Remember not to be defensive, or even try to spur a fight, even if he’s instigating one. Let your sole focus be on building a healthy relationship for you, your partner, and your kids, especially after the divorce. 

8. Let him know the benefits of divorce mediation for both of you

Mediating a divorce comes with multiple benefits, especially for the couples involved. It is particularly healthy and stable as opposed to hiring a divorce attorney because it ensures the two parties are active in the decision making processes. More so, they get a say in what will happen during the divorce and possibly after it. 

This gives the couple a sense of comfort as opposed to allowing lawyers to decide everything. Let your husband understand the fact that mediating the divorce presents him with the opportunity of being involved, which is contrary to you hiring a lawyer and litigating (which demands you mediate first). 

Let him understand that if you mediate first, he will certainly get uncomfortable and possibly stubborn, creating an unhealthy environment for the kids. When the both of you mediate the divorce, inevitably, co-parenting becomes a healthy task, because both of you physically and mentally came to terms with the decisions made, rather than it being imposed by one person. 

This is why this divorce method is recommended for most couples, which your husband needs to understand. More so, there are no stipulated laws in most countries governing alimony (otherwise referred to as agreements concerning support and maintenance of the kids and partners). This makes the decisions more comfortable to make and abide by.

9. Let him know how the children will benefit from joint mediation

Apart from having a fair say in how everything goes, mediating a divorce is also quite important for the children involved. The most important aspect of mediating a divorce is letting your kids watch how you and your spouse amicably settle your differences. This is much better than making them go through court cases, especially at a very young age. 

They may want both of you to stay together, but when that’s not possible, they’d rather you split amicably than have you fight. Another aspect of mediating a divorce that’s highly beneficial to the children involved is the decision being made about the kids. 

Contrary to when a judge and lawyers are involved, who may not expressly know what will be the best for the kids since they are operating from an official's view. Settling down to discuss matters poses a higher chance of finding what will be best for them.

Therefore, it’s important to explain how mediating the divorce will benefit your kids. This could possibly convince your spouse, and make him more willing to cooperate. 

10. Let him know the cost-friendly benefits of mediating a divorce

Another crucial benefit in mediating a divorce is its reduced cost, which is contrary to hiring a lawyer to handle the situation. You really don’t want to spend so much when the certainty of reaching a healthy agreement isn’t guaranteed. It’s essential for your spouse to be provided with an option that will guarantee all-round benefits, not only for you but also for him too. 

Sitting down to discuss the divorce will significantly highlight the areas that need fair settlements, rather than allowing the agreements to be imposed on him. Though many would prefer to remain oblivious of the costs involved in hiring a lawyer for a divorce, you can encourage your partner to talk to other people in similar situations to find out their experiences.

It’s also important to encourage your husband to research the financial and emotional damages of using a lawyer to handle a divorce, as opposed to healthily mediating it. The process not only affects the couples involved, but also the children. Therefore, taking a cost-effective approach should be enough motivation to make your partner more willing to cooperate on the issue. 

11. Allow him to find out the benefits of mediating a divorce by himself

This also correlates with asking your husband what he wants. You don’t necessarily need to ask him at this point, provided you’ve already done that and heard his side of his story. On the contrary, opening the floor for him to find out the benefits of mediating a divorce himself, would make him more willing to cooperate in the long run. 

You can simply make a suggestion, and hope that he responds to it. However, make your husband see that you’re taking the best approach to end things amicably, but don’t let him feel like you’re the only one deciding the divorce method, since no one likes to be controlled. 

Suggesting or allowing him to find out the benefits on his own, gives him more room to be part of the divorce process, rather than following suit with whatever you suggest. This will make him less reluctant, bringing you closer to your desired results. 


How do you tell your husband you want a divorce when he doesn’t?

The most prudent method to break the ice to your partner if he doesn’t want a divorce is by sitting down to have a healthy conversation with him about your marriage. Start by asking him about his opinions on the current state of the marriage, and then proceed from there.

How do I get a divorce if my husband doesn’t want one?

If you want to divorce your husband in a healthy manner, despite him not wanting to, ensure you make him see light in your decisions, and focus on the aftermath of the divorce, especially for your children.

What happens if my husband doesn’t respond to divorce papers?

Your husband is bound to be taken aback by your decisions to divorce him. This is why giving him time, and possibly talking to a professional about it, can make everything turn out better.

What if only one person wants a divorce?

It’s common for only one person in a marriage to want a divorce, and the other to be reluctant. However, if you want the divorce to be healthy, focus on having an intuitive conversation with your partner, in order to bring the two of you on the same page.

What are the signs of a toxic marriage?

A common sign of a toxic marriage is when conflict, disagreement, and discord becomes the norm. More essentially, when both of you have reached the breaking point in the marriage, and can’t seem to surpass a specific problem.

All In All

Was this article on wanting a divorce insightful? Remember to focus on how the situation of ending your marriage will be beneficial to all parties involved, especially your children. Kindly leave a comment below, and share this article if you liked it.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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