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Dealing With a Reluctant Spouse

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

learn how to deal with a reluctant spouse when it comes to initiating your divorce.
Dealing with a reluctant spouse

Most of my clients have had to deal with a spouse who seems oblivious to the fact that they would both be happier if they ended their marriage. The signs are all there...

  • You've been in separate bedrooms for months (or years)

  • It has been FOREVER since you did anything as a “couple” other than tag-team driving your kids around

  • You've both given up on trying to communicate or fix things

  • You try to avoid situations where you are alone together

But every time these couples try to talk, it feels like the reluctant spouse is kicking the can down the road, and the months continue to slip by.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. The vast majority of the clients who hire me have a spouse who is suffering from what I affectionately call, “the reluctant spouse syndrome.”

This is the spouse who is adamant that you need to stay married ”for the kids.” Or who is certain that you could never afford a divorce. Or who keeps convincing you that “now is not a good time.” (Believe me, there will never be a good time…) Or, my personal favorite, they don’t believe in divorce because it’s against their religion. 😩

The excuses the reluctant spouse uses to avoid even discussing divorce are endless. But these excuses all boil down to the one universal reason NO ONE wants to be facing divorce–


And there is no judgment here! The traditional divorce process is terrifying and is one of the most emotionally traumatic events a person can face other than the death of a loved one.

So the reluctant spouse would rather stay in an unhealthy status quo and model dysfunctional relationship patterns for their children than face a divorce process that society tells them is traumatic and financially destructive. (It’s literally being frozen in fear, and it’s an instinctive response).

The problem is, that until recently, it was hard to tell your “reluctant spouse,” that they were wrong. Struggling families had nowhere to turn except to the traditional process where they knew they would be sacrificing years of their lives to an expensive process that simply increases anger and resentment between parents, making healthy co-parenting after divorce even more daunting.

This is why I created the 21st Century Family Transition™.

This revolutionary divorce process is really the “anti-divorce process.” It is designed to keep you feeling calm and in control. It is meant to honor what you’ve built by creating a healthy foundation for the future, rather than destroying what is left of the life you thought you were creating.

The only path forward when you KNOW that divorce is necessary is to do everything you can to keep your spouse calm and to keep your family OUT of the “family law system”. The traditional family law system has nothing to do with families and just wreaks further destruction on your life.

How do I guide my clients through dealing with a reluctant spouse?

  • First, I give them the script on how to gently break the news to their “reluctant spouse,” that things are going to change

  • Next, I call the spouse. And I tell him that:

    • 🦋I’m here to guide them calmly and efficiently to a two-household family

    • 🦋My process keeps them out of court saving them thousands of dollars

    • 🦋Family ties are preserved (and likely even strengthened through my process)

    • 🦋No one is forced out of the house, and that we walk through each step so that everyone feels confident with whatever changes are coming (including the timing of every decision)

    • 🦋My process PRESERVES assets so that the divorce doesn’t inflict financial trauma on the family

    • 🦋Regardless of how old their kids are, they will be giving their kids AND grandkids, the gift of a loving family, even if it’s two-households.

I know it’s not easy because I’ve been there myself. But if you want help deciding if it’s time to move forward calmly and efficiently to finally start your healthy new future, schedule a free call to learn more.

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