Your Spouse’s Real Reasons for Wanting a Divorce
Although most spouses say they want a divorce because of problems in the marriage, rarely is that the actual reason. Understanding the real reason your spouse wants a divorce will help you know how to work on reconciling.
People are often shocked when their spouse wants a divorce. Yet, when I ask them how their relationship was prior, they tell me it had been bad for years. Despite a lack of dating and spending time together. or even having a lot of conflict, they thought their marriage would never end.
With such problems 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. Relationships can’t be maintained without emotional connection.
People can live together without emotional connection, but they can’t maintain a relationship without it. Of course people often stay married due to children or financial issues, but these typically delay rather than prevent divorce.
If your spouse is not yet wanting to divorce, the most important thing you can do is to gradually strengthen your emotional connection with your spouse. Emotional connection, like plants, can’t be grown overnight. You must plant the seeds, water just enough, provide plenty of sunshine and have a good deal of patience. Trying to build emotional connection overnight, like dumping too much fertilizer on your plants can result in failure to grow.
Expressing too much love, too soon, is as detrimental in marriage as it is in single relationships. You must restrain your emotions and give the other person a chance to catch up.
Emotional connection prevents disconnection and divorce
People don’t quit a job that they love. They don’t give up precious kids for adoption. They don’t lose contact with friends they are attached to, and they don’t stop dating someone they are connected with either. Ending a relationship with someone we are emotionally connected to would be as difficult as disconnecting from an arm or a leg.
People will quit a job they don’t like, even if it pays a lot of money. People will stop spending time with kids they can’t stand. People will stop contacting friends they don’t like, even if they receive presents from them. And people will refuse to continue dating someone they don’t feel an emotional connection with.
This means that no matter how much you do things for your spouse, like providing money, taking care of the house or kids, or how many things you buy for your spouse, you will not rescue your relationship that way. Single people who use these methods to try to get people to love them have short term relationships at best.
Divorcing spouses don’t want to fix their marriages
Before separating, people who are planning to divorce will intentionally weaken emotional connection if some still exists. This is why petty arguments or intentional distancing are divorce warning signs. Sometimes, a divorcing spouse (especially wives) will continue to try to connect just enough to maintain a friendship while still divorcing. That’s a special situation requiring special actions.
If your spouse already wants to divorce, no amount of apologies and promises will create a connection. Apologies and promises will just make you seem even less attractive at a time when you need to work on becoming more attractive and secure. If your spouse wants to divorce you, it is about their future and not about your problems.
Although spouses say they are divorcing because of problems, they don’t change their mind if you fix those problems. That shows more than anything that divorce is not about the problems.
Why people actually divorce
People do not divorce because of problems or bad marriages. Instead, they stay in their bad marriage until they have the hope for something better or until they have found something better. Then, they pursue that hope. Many hope to feel free to make their own decisions and pursue their own interests. That is true particularly if they have felt restricted in their marriage.
Many want to feel love and excitement with a new partner or by being single again. This is particularly true if their marriage relationship has been dull and disconnected. In either case, it’s the new hope that motivates them. They are not running from the marriage. They are running toward something they think will be better.
Although some spouses will honestly say they just want to be single, free, or date others, most will name a bad marriage as their reason for leaving. If that is your case, you will spend a lot of effort trying to fix your marriage when your spouse has no interest in it. Any roadblock to your spouse’s hopes will be met with resistance, distance, and rejection, even if it fixed all the problems in your marriage!
Why persuasion won’t work
Even if they don’t make apologies and promises, many people try to persuade their spouses to change their mind about divorcing and wanting a more exciting or free future. This strategy doesn’t actually work because you can’t persuade someone to feel something they don’t. Imagine trying to talk a child into liking broccoli. Or trying to persuade a child to desire broccoli more than ice cream.
Most people fail to reconcile because they focus on preventing divorce and talking their spouses out of their desires rather than working to re-attract and reconnect with their spouse.
Become the person your spouse will naturally desire
Getting married and reconciling require the same methods. In either case, you need to attract and connect with the other person and make them feel that you are the person they have been waiting for. You don’t talk them into thinking that way. You don’t try to get a counselor to talk them into liking you. You behave that way. Whether single and married or wanting to reconcile, your goal should be to become the kind of person that if they reject, it will be a bigger loss for them than for you.
If you don’t become such a person, you need to admit to yourself that your spouse is making a pretty reasonable decision. It’s the same as when you are single and people choose to date others rather than date you. If you are not being attractive, then they will not be attracted to you, regardless of how much you think they should.
Pick out any person in the world. Whether it is a movie star or your next door neighbor, the question is the same as far as relationships go–how do I need to be in order for him or her to want to be with me?
If you can be that person, you can have a relationship. The same principle applies to jobs–how do I need to be in order for them to want to hire me? The same principle applies to friendships–how do I need to be in order for that person to want to be friends with me? In fact, the same principle applies to all relationships.
As a coach, mostly what I do is help people to be that person their spouse would not want to lose. It comes down to three factors:
- Good connection skills
If you want to reconcile, you need to do better at these three than the next man or woman. You need to be ice cream rather than broccoli.
Moving too quickly to connect can pressure your spouse
There is a coaching maxim I recommend you memorize: The best rate of change is one the other person likes, but doesn’t notice.
Overnight changes are not credible. So, they come off as insincere, needy, and manipulative. When you meet a new person, it doesn’t matter if you changed overnight, since they didn’t know you the day before. In marriage, that won’t work. Never tell your spouse you are changing, don’t point out your changes, and don’t talk about plans to change.
Trying to get someone to notice your changes is the same as trying to convince them. It will just create resistance, distance, and rejection.
Just let your spouse become more attracted to you without being able to put a finger on why. Just let your spouse enjoy interacting with you more, but not be able to explain it. If you can do that, then your spouse’s feelings towards you will change, too–regardless of how you were before.
That being said, you do need to work daily on those three important factors. Do not wait for your spouse to change his or her feelings toward you if you are not making changes to create those feelings.
What did you do today to work on being more attractive? What did you do today to help your spouse to connect with you? What did you do today to become more secure?
If it takes three months for your spouse to divorce and six months for you to change, then you will divorce, but you can still keep working to re-attract your spouse. Getting desperate to reconcile, like getting desperate to marry, will make reconciling unlikely.
Sometimes people can make enough change for a divorce to be delayed after a few months of work, even if reconciling hasn’t happened yet. In any event, your best hope for reconciling is to start working on yourself today.
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 without you.
If your spouse wants to divorce and wants to go to marriage counseling, you can be sure it isn’t to work on rebuilding your marriage. Your spouse’s goal will be co-parenting and amicable divorce.
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 can work on attractiveness, connection skills, and being secure, 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.