All Of A Sudden, He Filed For Divorce. What Now?

in Divorce

I recently received an email from a wife was still in shock that she had received divorce papers at her office without any warning. She knew that for the last few months, things had not been all that great between her and her husband. But she assumed that they had just been going through a rough patch that would pass as it always did. In fact, her husband had never even mentioned divorce and she was stunned that she was now staring at divorce papers, unsure of how she should react.

She was sure about one thing. She did not want a divorce. She took her marriage vows very seriously and she certainly did not want to break up her family. She was prepared to fight for the marriage, but she was completely unsure of what her husband was thinking since he clearly did not involve her in his decision to file for divorce. She wanted to know how she should react and proceed. I will tell you what I told her in the following article.

I Know That His Filing For Divorce Was Sudden And Unexpected, But Don't Let That Derail You: I get emails like this quite a bit. And, quite understandably, the wife is usually fixated on the fact that she never saw it coming. She's usually devastated that the husband did not give her the courtesy or the respect to discuss this with her (or at least to warn her) before she received divorce papers.

This of course usually makes her take pause as to how to respond. She feels incredibly betrayed and isn't sure how to approach someone who clearly did not want to discuss this beforehand. I completely understand this. But, coming up with a resolution to this problem is going to require that, at some point, you're able to effectively communicate with your spouse.

So, even though the temptation to focus on this coming from out of the blue is going to be very high, resist the urge to respond so negatively that you derail or delay your ability to begin to lay some foundation for communication and cooperation.

When You Respond To His Sudden Request For A Divorce, Always Consider The Perception That You Are Giving Off: I sometimes have husbands who have requested a divorce visit my blog. Sometimes, they leave comments or contact me. And, most of them indicate that in the end they decided to go ahead and press for the divorce because they just could not see a healthy resolution. They finally decided that things just could not or would not change enough to make the marriage satisfying or fulfilling for them.

There are many reasons that they might give for this, but often they feel that they and their spouse are no longer connected enough to give it a serious try. So, they have come to the conclusion that since no real and lasting change is on the horizon, it's better to just cut their losses now. Always try to remember this when you respond to them.

Because if you come in and respond with anger, accusations, or things that induce negative responses from him, you're only digging a deeper hole for this situation. You're only reinforcing those negative perceptions. So, in his mind, he's thinking "see I knew that I was right. We are just never going to be able to communicate in a positive way again."

As hard as it may be, and as much as you may be acting, you're better off just focusing on right is in front of you rather than the fact that you were blindsided. It's best to wait to come face to face with him until you can respond with some sense of control. What you are wanting to get across is that you're sorry that he's so unhappy. You want for him to know that your real goal in your marriage was for both of you to be fulfilled and happy together.

To that end, you aren't going to react badly and just make the situation worse. Instead, you're going to take the high road and try to work with him to get the two of you to a place where you can interact on a positive level because, whatever happens, he's one of the most important people in your life and you don't want to lose the relationship – no matter if the nature of it ultimately changes. Now, you and I both know you have an ulterior motive, but he doesn't need to know that.

If you give off the impression that you are going to be working with him rather than against him, then he is going to give you easier access to him, which you will need in the days and weeks to come.

Accepting Small Victories When You Are Hoping For Bigger Ones: Ultimately, you want to play your part so well that he begins to consider that his perceptions about you and the marriage may well have been wrong. This might take some time. You may have to appreciate small victories where you have interactions that are cordial and light hearted. This will hopefully lead to both of your wanting more. I will leave your legal strategies to the attorneys, but strategies meant to get him to change his mind about the divorce will almost always work better if you don't push too hard, give off the impression that you are trying to help him improve things so that you are both happier, and insinuate that you are working with him rather than against him.

And it's almost always not in your best interest to dwell on the fact that the divorce was so sudden and how unfair this was. That's not to say that you aren't right about it being unfair, but what's done is done. You have to focus on moving forward and getting what you want rather than on looking back.

I had grave doubts about going forward with the divorce, but I didn't speak up in the right way. I used negative tactics rather than positive ones. This did a lot of damage and I had a lot of catching up to do, but luckily, over time (and by taking calculated baby steps), I was able to reestablish intimacy and bring back his love so that we were BOTH happy. You can read a very personal story on my blog at

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Leslie Cane has 1 articles online

Leslie Cane's blog is at  She enjoys sharing the story of how she saved her own marriage to help others.

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All Of A Sudden, He Filed For Divorce. What Now?

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This article was published on 2010/11/11
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