How Do I Keep My Husband From Filing For Divorce?
Author: Leslie Cane
I deeply understand the thought process of women who want to prevent their husbands from filing for divorce because I was one of them. You know that you must keep him from ever filing those papers because, once he does, it's the beginning of the end. It's much harder to stop a boulder from going down a hill once it's started to move. So, in our minds, we rationalize that we need to do everything in our power to keep him from taking that first step.
The problem with this though is that often this panic and the fear of the d word will cause a chain reaction in us that inspires us to do or say things that we may regret. We become so short sighted that we miss all of the subtle nuances of what is going around us and may just help us to address our problems in a more positive way. In short, we will do just about anything to stop him from obtaining and then filing those papers, and often we don't care what it takes to do this or whether it involves positive or negative tactics to get us there. Often, the negative tactics feel right to us at the time, but they end up only making our situation worse.
In my own life, I truly panicked when my husband began mentioning divorce. So I began to act completely differently around him. At first I was overly accommodating and syrupy sweet. This completely turned him off because he knew that this was an act. When this didn't work, I tried to reason with him and debate with him. I wanted to show him why his perceptions were wrong and why things could change. This resulted in him just starting to ignore and avoid me because he no longer wanted to get in these long and drawn out discussions with me. Once he started to avoid me, I began following him around, leaving notes for him, and texting him quite often. This truly annoyed him so that by the end of it, he'd run when he saw me coming and was threatening to change his cell phone number.
When he finally did file for divorce, my work to get this back on track was about three times as hard as it needed to be. I had a lot more to over come at that point than I would've had I acted more rationally and made more concessions. Ultimately, even though he did file those papers, I eventually was able to get things back on track, but I made a lot more needless work for myself. So, in the following article, I'll share with you what I wish I had known then.
Getting Him To Change His Mind About Wanting A Divorce Without Pushing Too Hard: Always remember that your best case scenario is him changing his mind without any cajoling, strong arming, threatening, or mind games from you. I know it's completely normal to think that you must do whatever is necessary to prevent him from starting the divorce, but if your methods only make him "give in" because he wants to avoid your behavior, then you really haven't gained anything. Not really. Sure, you've bought yourself a little time. Sure, you'll feel like you've scored a victory - until the next time. And there will be a next time.
How do I know this? Because if he doesn't change his mind about the divorce willingly, then his heart really isn't totally and completely in it. He will only drag his feet and go through the motions and he will resent you big time. His perceptions of you not only would not have changed for the better, they would have probably gotten worse. So, when you try to make things better and improve your relationship (because you know that this must happen) you aren't going to get his cooperation and you likely won't be successful. In short, you are delaying the inevitable.
So, you'll always want to keep in mind that you're really concerned about the long term. To that end, you only want to engage in genuine, positive behaviors. It's perfectly OK to let him know that you don't want a divorce and wish that he agreed with you that the marriage could be saved, but you only need to make this point once. You don't need to keep rehashing it and to keep reopening the wounds. Because in order for him to be receptive to you, he needs to know that your encounters are not going to end with fights, or conflict, or with both of you deeply hurt. So, you must make him believe that you want him to be happy and that you will work with him and do whatever it takes to ensure that this happens. I realize that it might feel like you are bowing down to him or giving in. Yes, it feels this way, but you're doing this so that he will be receptive to you as you show (and not tell) him that things can improve between you.
Introducing Him To The Woman Whose Going To Change His Mind About The Divorce: Here's what you probably don't know or don't realize. You have a secret weapon that you likely aren't even using. You already know what makes this guy tick and what elicits the most positive response from him. You know this because you used this tool when you were dating and falling in love. You intimately know the person who made your husband so happy and so excited that he wanted to be with her for his whole life. You know her because she's you.
When I tell women this, they'll usually sigh and say something like: "but I'm not that person anymore. I have kids now and responsibilities and it's unrealistic to think that I can be that person again." Of course you can't be that carefree person again. But, you already have all of her attributes. They are buried somewhere, maybe. But, they are likely still there. Because in all honesty, your husband likely wants a divorce because he thinks the woman with the infectious laugh and the gleam in her eye who always made the time for him is gone forever. You have to show him that she is not. And, it really doesn't matter if he goes ahead and files for divorce or not. Whether the clock is ticking or whether he's already started the process, showing him that the best version of yourself not only still exists, but that the two of you can still interact in a positive, fulfilling way is what is going to make him not want to go through with the divorce, no matter when it was initiated.
So, your goal is to both show him that she still exists and to show him that she can still bring a smile to his face, she can still listen, she can still make the time, and that she would very much like a second chance. If he's dealing with her and having positive results on a repetitive basis, then I believe that this is what will turn it around. Not arguing, debating, legal maneuvering, or contesting the divorce, but a return to the things that made your relationship special in the first place.
When I was trying to prevent my own husband from filing for divorce, I made many of the mistakes discussed in this article. I stalked, begged, threatened, tried to overcompensate, and acted very badly. These things back fired. Thankfully, I finally realized I was doing more harm than good and was able to change course and save the marriage. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com/