When it comes to divorce, it is hard to tell your spouse, it's even harder to tell your friends and family. If you have been thinking about divorce and you have taken it heavy to heart, then you will want to tell your spouse and then your family. The timing needs to be right. You shouldn't announce at Thanksgiving dinner that you would like a divorce and hope that your entire family is listening so you don't have to repeat it. You should arrange a time like luncheon to tell your closest family. Take your mother out to dinner and tell her what you think and how you feel. It's okay to vent.
Your family will most likely be completely understanding, and if you don't think that someone will be, let them hear through the grapevine. You should speak to them with calmness in your voice. You can imagine how some of your family will react, they too will be shocked, and especially if they didn't know that the marriage has problems. You should never tell your family on the phone, in a letter, or on the answer machine. If you don't think you can face someone and tell them, then don't tell them at all. Wait until you have had time to accept it and when you are in a good state of mind. Let the shock happen.
Once you have told your family and friends they will begin to ask you questions. You have the right to answer and the right to decline. You don't have to justify anything to them. As for showing your face up to family events, you may want to pull away for a couple months because they are going to be a lot of ignorant people who tell you that they are sorry or comment, and if you aren't ready for that it's okay to pull away from certain events, but you can not isolate yourself. It will help you to face your friends and family once you have someone on your side. You may want to tell your sister, your brother, a close friend. This way you will find strength in numbers. The more people to understand your situation, the better you will feel about it.
When it comes to telling the children, you should do it together. You both should remain calm and just tell the children that you would like to try it apart, but make sure that the children understand that they aren't losing a parent or both.
Counseling has helped a lot of people deal with their failing marriage by lending some support. You should discuss some of the arrangements that you need to figure out and how you feel going through the process. Therapy would also be a help when it comes to announcing it to someone who may not understand. You will find courage and strength in the therapy.
You may feel uncomfortable announcing your split, but you need to remember that this is the time that you need to lean on someone. You need to find comfort from your friends and family. How else will you find comfort if you do not tell them; as soon as you are ready you can make a phone call and invite some friends or family over and tell them everything. Don't leave anything out. Your friends will validate your feelings and will support you so do not fear their response.
Divorce is hard on everyone, but telling the friends and family should not be because they love you. They want you to be happy and will be there for you regardless of anything. They are your support system and should be allowed to give you the support that you need.