Ending a relationship isn't always easy - you might have feelings of guilt, concerns over your children or home or simply feel unsure whether or not you can cope alone.

Before you decide to end your relationship make sure that you are making the right decision. Divorce petitions can be sent in the heat of the moment, for example when one person has been unfaithful. If you have any doubts talk to your partner and seek help from a relationship counsellor. Most counsellors will be happy to see you alone if your partner is reluctant or you haven't discussed your concerns with them yet.

On a cautionary note you should seek legal advice before leaving your property. Once you leave, particularly if you are leaving children behind, you risk losing any entitlement to a share in your home even if you are the main mortgage payer. If you feel that you have to leave make sure that you take any personal effects with you as reclaiming them might be difficult and vengeful ex spouses have been known to damage clothing and other personal items!

How to tell your partner you want a divorce or separation

  • Consider how you are going to communicate your news in advance and anticipate possible reactions
  • Be clear and to the point, repeating yourself calmly if they have difficulty in understanding what you are saying. It will probably come as a shock and be difficult to take in at first
  • Help your partner to understand why you want to end the marriage even if they do not agree with your point of view. Be prepared to answer any questions and respect their need to understand
  • Think about any practical arrangements in advance such as where you will stay and contact with the children
  • If you are leaving home leave a copy of any arrangements in writing as this will clarify the situation once the initial shock has worn off


Is it the right decision?

Only you can decide that - however, the following questions might help.

Why do I want to end it?Questions to ConsiderIs it abusive? Signs include:
 My partner has cheated on me Is it a one off event or does it keep happening?
Have I just found out? With time might I feel differently about it?
Why did it happen? Is there an underlying reason that we need to address?
My partner keeps cheating on me, uses the threat of leaving me for someone else to torment me or tells me its my fault because I'm ugly, fat, useless etc.
 I have cheated on my partner Am I in love with the other person or is it physical lust (my thoughts are predominantly physical towards the other person)
Why did I fall in love my partner in the first place? Are those reasons still there?
Is there an underlying reason that we need to address?
The reason you cheated was to escape some form of emotional or physical abuse. If your partner has found out that you have cheated or even suspects that you are cheating and you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help immediately from a domestic violence helpline or, in the case of immediate threat, the police.
 My partner has an addition Is this a recent thing or long term?
Does he or she admit that they have a problem?
Are they willing to seek help?
Am I willing to support them through this?
When my partner drinks or takes drugs they hit me or become verbally abusive, hold me against my will or I feel scared when they are under the influence of a substance.
 I feel that something is missing How long have we been in the relationship?
If long term, is this simply missing that excitement of dating and will this pass, weighing up the excitement of a new relationship against the long term bond of a life-long relationship?
Is there something else missing? Should I be thinking about changing my career, travelling, learning something new?
Is this my partner's fault or can I do something about it?
 My partner withholds affection to get their own way or to punish me. I feel scared a lot of the time and wish that my partner would love me all the time rather than try to control me.
My partner has changed or I have changed How long have we been in the relationship?
Can I adapt to the change?
Is the change temporary, physical, emotional or mental?
Have I spoken to my partner about how I feel and are they willing to work with me on this?
 My partner has bcome aggressive or violent and I feel scared around them.
We have recently suffered a trauma e.g. bereavement and things aren't the same How long have we been in the relationship?
How recent is the trauma?
Have we tried seeking specialist help from a bereavement coach or counsellor and will these feelings pass with time?
Bereavement and trauma are uniquely isolating experiences - is my partner simply coping in a different way to me rather that not caring or sharing my pain?
 My partner has bcome aggressive or violent and I feel scared around them. There were signs of a controlling nature before the bereavement or trauma and this feels like an excuse. They are unwilling to seek help.

If you have answered yes to any of the above in our 'Is it abusive?' column above, please see our page on Domestic Violence.