I recently heard from a wife who was devastated and not sure that she could cope.  Her husband had just dropped a huge bombshell when he announced that he no longer loved her and wanted a divorce.  She was highly emotional, understandably, and she didn't know how to begin to process this (much less how to cope with it.)  I understand this first hand.  It feels as if the rug has been pulled out from under you.  It feels like things will never be normal, or even acceptable, again.  It seems as if everything that you love and hold dear is being taken away from you. And, you feel rejected, undesirable, and unsteady.

It's completely normal, and even healthy, to take a few days to just allow yourself to feel whatever comes up.  But after that, you must pick yourself up and dust yourself off.  Because if you allow yourself to continue to dwell in the darkness, then this will have negative implications both in the way that your husband perceives you and in the way that you perceive yourself.  Many women in this situation want to save their marriages.  You can't typically do that if you're an emotional mess or aren't conducting yourself with your best foot forward.  So, in the following article, I'll discuss positive and productive ways to handle being told by a husband that he wants a divorce.

Keep The Negativity And Fear To Yourself:  Again, it's perfectly normal to feel a slew of negative and scary emotions right now.  There's nothing that you can really do about that.  The feelings will typically come at you hard and fast.  But, you must keep them in check, at least during the times when you interact with your husband.  Because, if he's saying that he no longer loves you and wants a divorce, then there is a serious problem with his perception of you and the marriage.  You don't want to make that any worse by throwing some more negative perceptions onto the huge pile that already exists.

I know first hand that this can all feel very immediate.  You want to do something to remedy this situation right now.  You don't want to deal with this for one more day. But this sense of panic will often encourage you to act in such a way that your problem becomes worse and not better.  Resist the urge to argue, belittle, beg, debate, stalk, or bombard your husband with questions or communications.  Always ask yourself how you are appearing right now.  Because you want to appear in such a way that is going to play to his positive emotions, not his negative ones.

Many people understand this intellectually, but they very much resent it.  They want to confront this person who has turned their world upset down and, let's face it, we all want a quick fix. But the fast road is often not the road that will give you what you really want.  And sure, it may feel better to really tear into him or to tell him that he's selfish, immature, and just plain wrong, but this relief is going to be very short-lived.  Because he's going to be thinking: "thank goodness I'm escaping that.  This divorce can not happen soon enough for me."

Showing Him Who You Want Him To See:  It's so important that you really consider who is interacting with your husband.  Because with every encounter with him, you want to present the person who will both appeal to him and who will make you proud.  He's likely expecting you to fall apart, or to argue, or to throw yourself at his feet and proclaim that you can't live without him.  And trust me, he's quite ready for all of these reactions and likely already has a counter or response for each and every one.  But, this isn't what you should do.  Instead, you should give him the response that he isn't anticipating.

You should tell him that you're not all that surprised by this because you haven't been happy either and you agree that serious change needs to happen.  Tell him that you're hurt and sorry that things have come to this because you were once very happy and in sync.  But, the most important thing to you right now is coming to a place where you are both much happier.  This can't happen if the two of you are always fighting.  So, you're going to conduct yourself in a way that you can be proud of because you would like to retain the positive relationship between you.

This has completed a few tasks that had to be done.  You've validated your husband and you've hinted that you aren't going to fight with or debate with him any longer.  Eventually, he will come to realize that he doesn't have to avoid or block you, which is exactly what you need.

Next, you'll need to portray yourself in the most positive way that you can manage.  You want to be the wife who values her own happiness as well as his.  Cope in positive ways.  Get out and spend time with those who support you and have your back.  Do things that bring you joy and relief.  Make sure that he knows that you aren't just sitting around and moping or watching the grass grow. (My separation changed when I did this. You can read that entire story here.)

This achieves a few things.  It says to your subconscious mind that you are quite capable and that you value yourself and it says the same things to your husband.  Many men are going to respond so much better to someone who is coping quite well than to someone who is a scary, emotional mess.  Many men become intrigued with this new person and wonder what contributed to this huge turnaround.  And many men will move closer simply out of curiosity.

When this happens, you must continue on with the positive portrayals.  You must possess and show the same qualities that first attracted your husband to you.  Because you are still the woman who first caught his eye at heart.  You are still fun-loving, light-hearted, and pleasant to be around.  This is what you show him, not the woman who is so stressed and beaten by life that she doesn't know how to cope.  Instead, you must be the one who is going to make the best of whatever situation she's in because she respects herself and she wants you both to be happy.  Your goal is to show him that the two of you can still connect and have fun together so that eventually he will come to realize that life is better with you than without you.

When my husband wanted a divorce (but I desperately want to save my marriage), I made many mistakes born out of frustration, and fear. I begged, argued, stalked and engaged, but none of these things worked. Thankfully, I decided to approach things from another angle, which eventually worked. You can read that story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/

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