How to Leave Your Wife

Four Methods:Make the DecisionPlan AheadTell Your Wife (And Kids)Leave

Separation and divorce are never easy, and leaving your wife after you've decided to call it quits can be one of the toughest things you'll ever do. The process is never pretty, but if you protect yourself and stay calm, you can make it through in one piece.

Part 1
Make the Decision

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    Figure out if you have a hard or soft problem. A “hard” problem is a fixed issue that causes unsolvable damage, and if you are facing a hard problem, you should leave the relationship as soon as possible. A “soft” problem is less defined and may or may not have a solution, so you should take your time to really evaluate your marriage before ending it over a soft problem.
    • Hard problems include the three A's: abuse, addiction, and adultery.
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    • Soft problems include things like growing apart or no longer feeling the sensation of being "in love." These problems usually mask unrecognized problems, like feeling isolated, ignored, or criticized. You need to pinpoint your underlying problems and address them before you can conclude that leaving your wife is the best way to remedy them.[1]
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    Be honest and realistic. Leaving your wife will be a brutal process, even if you manage to separate on fairly amiable terms. If you catch yourself dreaming of an idealistic future and want to leave your wife simply to pursue it, stop right there and reconsider.
    • For example, if you're thinking of leaving your wife for an old high school sweetheart or a new, exciting lover, there's a high probability that you are treating your new relationship with too much idealism and not looking at the benefits of your current marriage or considering the repercussions that may result from leaving under these conditions.[2]
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    Get help, if help is an option. If you have a soft problem, try working things out with your wife. Seek out a marriage counselor and see if there is anything you can do to make your marriage work again before you call it quits.
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    Make a break for it. Once you are certain that leaving your wife is the best possible option, start the process and don't look back. One of the most important things you need is certainty, so if your decision is sound right now, stick with it and try not to doubt yourself in the future.

Part 2
Plan Ahead

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    Tell someone.[3] As you start the process, find someone whom you can talk to as a confidant throughout the ordeal. This person should not be your wife or someone whose allegiance lies with your wife over you. Pick a reliable friend or relative, or hire a professional therapist.
    • A confidant can lend you emotional support throughout the process and guide you objectively when your emotions are clouding your perspective.
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    • Letting someone know also adds a level of safety to the entire process.
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    Figure out where you'll go. You will need a place to stay after you leave home. If you cannot iron out any long-term plans, at least figure out where you can go on a temporary basis immediately after the separation occurs. The place you pick should be available to you for a few months, at least.
    • If you plan on staying at a friend's or relative's house, find out in advance how long you can stay there.
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    • If you plan on moving into your own place, begin shopping around for an apartment before you declare your intentions to your wife. If possible, sign the lease on your new place before you officially leave your wife.
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    Clarify your expectations. For most situations, “leave” ultimately means “divorce.” Ask yourself if this is what you expect and want to happen, or if a legal separation is a better alternative for the time being.
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    List your shared assets. Make a list of everything you share with your wife—money, valuables, properties, and so on. Plan out how you think these assets should be split between you after you leave.
    • If your financial assets are all kept in one place, you have a legal right to half of those finances.
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    • Valuables that are owned by both you and your spouse must be divided equally. Those that are specifically yours, including family heirlooms, can be counted among your goods. For the items you own jointly, make a list of those that you would be fine losing and those that you intend to fight for.
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    • You also need to find out which services are linked and which are separate. Services include things like phone and Internet plans. A service you will no longer use, like the Internet at your house, will become your wife's responsibility. Joined mobile plans will need to be split apart once the divorce or separation begins.
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    Find all your previous paperwork. This includes your marriage certificate and all deeds and titles. Locate the paperwork and make copies. You should store these copies in a secure location outside of your home, especially if you suspect problems during the split.
    • Look for vital statistics, military records related to benefits, bank statements, insurance policies, social security statements, information regarding retirement accounts, vehicle titles, mortgage statements, loan documents, kids' school records and contact lists, credit card statements, checkbook statements, and stock certificates.[4]
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    Open your own bank account. If you only have a shared account or if your wife has access to your personal account, open your own private account without her knowledge. Redirect your paychecks so that they are directly deposited into this new account.
    • Keep an eye on any joint accounts during this time, as well. If your wife is manipulative or emotionally abusive, she may start withdrawing money from those accounts in an attempt to prevent you from leaving.
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    • You can usually withdraw up to half of the money in your joint accounts, but doing so suddenly could alert your wife to the fact that something is amiss.
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    Move your keepsakes to a secure location. If you trust your wife well enough, you may not need to move your personal keepsakes and heirlooms anywhere. If you are anticipating a problem, though, it's a good idea to stealthily remove anything that could be damaged or somehow used against you.
    • Make sure that any item you remove from the house can legally be defined as belonging to you, as a separate person, rather than to you and your wife. Usually, gifts and inherited valuables belong to an individual instead of a married couple.
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    Hide any weapons or possible weapons. Again, if you expect an amiable enough split, you probably don't need to worry about firearms in the home. If you have any reason to fear for your physical safety or for the safety of your wife, though, you should remove those weapons from the home and place them in a secure spot without your wife's knowledge.
    • You may not worry about your wife pulling a gun on you, but also keep in mind what she might do to herself after you leave. If there is any chance that your wife might harm herself, you should still remove all of the firearms from the house.
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    Make spare keys. This is advisable regardless of whether or not your wife is usually an even-tempered woman. Make a spare key for your car, your home, and anything else important. Give these spare keys to a trusted friend or relative.
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    Know whether or not to alert law enforcement. This usually won't be necessary, but if your wife has threatened to file a false report of domestic abuse in the past, she just might follow through with that threat once she finds out that you intend to leave her. Let your local law enforcement officials know about any threats made in the past.
    • Tell the police about her previous threats and about your upcoming talk, and ask them about ways to protect yourself against false reports.
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    • The police may still need to check on a situation when a claim of domestic abuse has been made, but if they have advance warning, they might take that into account when deciding what action to take in regards to that claim.
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Part 3
Tell Your Wife (And Kids)

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    Write a script. Plan out everything you plan to tell your wife before you actually break the news to her. Have a script and memorize it to the best of your ability. You do not need to know every word, but you do need to remember every point.
    • Keep the focus on your reasons for leaving and on your experience. Avoid accusatory language that pushes the blame on your wife, even if you feel that your wife is largely to blame.
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    • Describe your expectations (separation, divorce), and make sure that you leave room in the conversation for your wife to reply to those expectations with her own thoughts.
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    • Check yourself as you prepare the script. Ask if anything you wrote has been written out of anger or a desire to hurt your wife. If so, remove or revise that portion.
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    Have your confidant on standby. You will likely need support after you talk things through with your wife. Let your chosen confidant know when you plan on breaking the news and ask him or her to be available to talk afterward.
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    Make a deliberate plan. Do not spring the news on your wife at random. You need to plan out the day, time, and location. Arrange things with your wife so that she knows to leave the time slot open, but do not tell her before the predetermined time.
    • Do not surprise your wife with the news before she leaves for work or when you're out at a party or restaurant. Set aside a time when you can talk without restrictions on time or speaking volume.
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    • If you are worried about your physical safety, choose a public place that still offers some degree of privacy, like a park.
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    • Stick with your plan and resist the temptation to blurt everything out ahead of time in a moment of anger or pain.
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    Stay calm and go through your script. Sit down with your wife and calmly go through the script you created earlier. Expect her to be emotional, but try to avoid getting into any screaming matches during the talk. Remain as calm, detached, and objective as possible.
    • Keep in mind that you should talk with your wife, not at her. Pause during your script to check in with her, making sure that everything is sinking in.
    • Be focused and consistent. Remember that your talk has a specific purpose. Do not say or do anything that could confuse that purpose during the duration of your talk. You might want to soothe your wife's feelings or get distracted by the good memories you've shared, but doing so will only delay the inevitable and draw things out even longer for both of you.
    • Avoid arguing over the meaning of words and state things simply, yet as kindly as possible, to improve your odds of being understood.
    • Try to be understanding if your wife is surprised or hurt by your declaration, but do not back down or feel the need to justify your decision.[5]
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    Tell your kids (if applicable). If you and your wife have kids, figure out how to tell them. Ideally, you and your wife should tell your children together. If you suspect that your wife will attempt to manipulate them, however, you need to sit down with your kids and have a separate talk with them.
    • Make a script for your kids in the same way you made a script for your wife. Be honest, and make sure that they are not to blame for the separation.
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    • Even if your kids are already adults, you should wait until after you leave before telling them about it.
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Part 4

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    Separate immediately. After you tell your wife that you're leaving, you need to actually leave. Pack your bags and leave the house that same night, if at all possible.
    • Staying in the same living space as your wife is asking for trouble. The atmosphere will be more volatile and the two of you will be more likely to snap at each other or do something regrettable.
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    Hire a lawyer and start the process. Do not drag your feet. You might be tempted to think that you can take your time on the legal proceedings once you are physically separated from your wife, but the longer you procrastinate, the harder it will actually be to make the next move.
    • Many jurisdictions enact orders that can protect your assets during the divorce process, but these court orders can only come into effect once you file.
    • There is also some chance that your wife will not take you seriously until she actually has those divorce papers in hand.
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    Cut off all ties. While some exes can eventually become friends again, for right now, you need to cut off all contact that is unrelated to the divorce or separation.
    • You'll still need to keep in touch with each other to sort out details of the separation, and if you have kids, you will have to deal with each other even more frequently. You need to cut out social calls, though, especially those made on lonely nights when you're craving intimacy.
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    Stay strong. The process is difficult, but you can make it through. Turn to loved ones and therapists for emotional support as needed, and consult with a lawyer or law expert for legal support.

Article Info

Categories: Divorce | Family Life