Real Reason Your Spouse Wants a Divorce

How can it be that your spouse wants a divorce after years of marriage and all you have had together? Understanding the fundamental reason is your key to reconciling.

reason for wanting divorce
The real reason your spouse wants a divorce has more to do with the future than the past

People are often shocked when their spouse wants a divorce.  Yet, when I ask them how long their relationship had been bad before that, they often tell me it has been years.  They didn’t spend regular time together, they stopped having sex years ago, and they stopped dating their spouses many years earlier.  With such disconnection in their relationship, the only surprise to me is that they stayed together as long as they did. Yet, they are surprised and shocked that their spouse wants a divorce.  If they had understood the relationship between emotional disconnection and divorce, not only would the looming divorce not be a surprise, but it could have been prevented years earlier.  It still can if those whose spouses want a divorce will understand that what a divorcing person wants are not promises and presents, but emotional connection. 

People simply don’t divorce when they are still emotionally connected

That would be as difficult as disconnecting from an arm or a leg.  Before the separation, the person who is contemplating divorce gradually (usually) or quickly (sometimes) emotionally disconnects from their partner. For this reason, intentional arguing is a common separation or divorce warning sign.  Sometimes, an unhappy spouse may continue to be intimate, but only act the part as they emotionally disconnect in preparation for leaving. With emotional distance created, at the time of separation they are emotionally prepared to leave.

You can’t persuade your spouse to feel connected to you

Many people try to persuade their spouses to change their mind about divorcing.  This strategy doesn’t actually work because you can’t persuade someone to feel something they don’t. Trying to persuade your spouse in this situation will only create resistance. Instead, you must put your fears about divorcing aside for the moment and focus on emotionally connecting with your spouse.  If you use good connection skills, your spouse may later give up the idea of divorcing you.  But, this will not happen until emotional connection is reestablished.  Why would your spouse want to commit to someone he or she doesn’t feel connected to and hasn’t for a long time?

Moving too quickly to connect can pressure your spouse

If you treat your spouse wanting to divorce as an emergency situation, you will tend to overreact and go for a quick solution.  I have been helping people to save their marriages and relationships for more than 20 years and I can tell you that there is no quick fix.  Getting anxious will only make you appear needy and desperate.  This will actually repel your spouse and create more distance. You must attract your spouse rather than push him or her with relationship talk.  Work immediately to end your neediness.  If you slip up, use a good method to apologize to your spouse.

Why your spouse wants a divorce

There are many ways that divorce can happen, but the basic elements are the same.  Your spouse will either tell you he or she is ending the relationship because things aren’t working, or because he or she has found someone else.  While these seem different on the surface, actually they are pretty much the same message.  People don’t divorce simply because things aren’t working.  If they did, then most spouses would leave much sooner.  They only divorce when they have the hope of having something better.

While you are feeling hopeless, your spouse is feeling hopeful

A person with no hope of having anything better will not seek to divorce.  After all, why go through the hassle of divorce if things are going to be just as bad afterward? So, whether your spouse has found someone else or not, your partner’s hope is that their life will be better after divorce.  And, your spouse has come to the conclusion that the relationship he or she has with you is never going to be as good as the life he or she could have.

The grass isn’t always greener after divorce

The competition from other men or women for your spouse seems like a threat, but it is also an opportunity. Competition is always good when you can show yourself to be better than the competition. In my life, I have never let the competition scare me.  I have let it improve me. If you still have enough contact with your spouse, and work on both your attractiveness and connection skills, you will be better than the competition. Once trained, my clients have little to worry about compared to most of the men and women out there.  You need to become that way, too.  It is hard for a spouse to give up someone who is truly good for someone who is truly not.

Be brutally honest with yourself

If you have exceptionally bad problems like being needy or controlling, that will have to change permanently before you can hope to win your partner back.  Would you want to return to a spouse like you?  What changes would need to be made?  How long would it take to believe those changes were permanent?  Your spouse is not interested in your intentions or promises.  He or she sees how you are now and how you have been. If you are unwilling or unable to become better than the competition, then back out of the race.

What do you need to do?

Do you need to continue to try to persuade your spouse to change his or her mind about divorcing you?  Is that likely to get you the results you want?  If not, what is?  What do you need to do so that your spouse will again become attracted to you, enjoy talking with you, and start to emotionally reconnect again?  If you want to save your relationship, that is what you need to focus on.

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