Considering Divorce?

If you are, take your time. It’s a huge step. Marriage is something that should take time and very careful consideration. However long you have been partnered or married, you owe your partner/spouse and children, if you have them, to give it all you’ve got.

Have you thought about your significant other’s critiques of you and if you could make some changes to improve the relationship? If you have already tried everything – talking with your partner/spouse, marital counseling – here are some questions to ask yourself before you take your first divorce step.

Do you choose to divorce respectfully so neither you nor your spouse/partner and certainly not, your children, feel destroyed by the process? Do you want decisions to be made by the two of you and not by lawyers or a judge? Do you want it not to drag on? Is keeping the fees down important?

If the above are your goals, can you:

* Give up blaming, the negative past, ‘ego’ and anger?

* Bring your best self to the table?

* Focus on the big picture?

* Find room in your heart for empathy ?

* Learn to control your emotions?

Are you ready, able and willing for some hard, but worthwhile work?

Do you think your partner/spouse could do the same?

If you want to divorce respectfully and make your own decisions on your schedule, consensual dispute resolution, more specifically, collaborative divorce, is an opportunity to be considered.  Collaborative professionals: attorneys, divorce coaches and child specialists, as well as financial experts, are trained in mediation and the collaborative method to help you through this difficult experience in a manner that can leave parents and children feeling whole as they transition through the divorce experience. The collaborative divorce professionals can also be available to assist you with post divorce issues that may arise..

You can make coming apart less painful….your choice.

Forgive……..Can You?

Has anyone hurt your feelings or insulted you recently? On purpose? Repeatedly? Are you repeating it over and over in your head and stewing? Thinking of a way to ‘get back’? Feeling more tired, stressed, distracted? OK, that’s a lot of questions. Now for some understanding and solutions.

We are all human and have likely hurt others and have been hurt too. Not forgiving is an option but it costs you. The price is high. Holding a grudge impacts us physically and mentally.   Feeling angry, defensive and wanting to hurt back emanates from part of our primitive, brain. We are attacked and want to reciprocate, a matter of life and death in the animal world. However, a larger brain enables us to consider threats and explore other options when our life is not in danger. Physically, wallowing in hurt and rage can affect our stress level, blood pressure and heart rate, leading to physical ills and perhaps even a somewhat shorter life expectancy. Prolonged resentment is a mental burden.

Forgiveness is a state of mind and enhances our self-esteem and mental health.   To forgive someone is not releasing them from their negative words or behavior.   It is simply  letting go of whatever had a negative impact on us. We can only control our words and behavior and, therefore, free ourselves from the burden of trying to change someone else. We can speak up and let the other person know about the impact on us, ie, not being passive and a victim. If that other person persists, it can be useful to share what occurred to a trusted family member, friend, spiritual guide or therapist. But, then, we need to stop licking our wounds and choose to see the beauty in life and other relationships. Forgiveness allows us the power not to get stuck in the negative. It can free us and bring back peace of mind.

How to?

  • Understand that it is a process and can take time. It gets better with practice.
  • Note how your anger and resentment hurts you.
  • Decide who/what needs forgiveness.
  • Review and try to understand their position.
  • Don’t give them control over your feelings
  • Don’t be a victim.
  • See the value of forgiving and know that it greatly improves your life.

Buddha said that holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else, But you are the one who gets burned.  I say “Toss the coal on the fireplace and enjoy the glow in your life.

Divorce: The Leaver and the Left

For the majority of couples who come apart or divorce, to say it is a ‘trying time’ is to put it mildly. There is a loss of hopes and dreams that most of us have when we embark on such unions, compounded by the reality that has evolved.

When one partner/spouse is convinced that the relationship is no longer viable, the other partner/spouse doesn’t have a choice. What’s important, for both, is to realize that they are not in sync with their thoughts and feelings. Each person needs to understand the other in order to be able to part in a respectful manner, particularly when there are children involved.

The ‘leaver’ has made the decision to come apart, most often after experiencing sadness, anger, hopelessness, etc. about their situation. Most people don’t elect to take such steps lightly or quickly. They mentally slog through  disagreements, disappointments, and considerable differences between them. Both adults navigate  the five stages….akin to having a terminal illness:

The 5 stages

  1. denial…feeling this can’t be happening to us, it’s unreal.
  2. depression… changes in eating, sleeping, energy level.
  3. anger…impatience and resentment of their partner and why can’t they change?
  4. negotiation…acknowledging a need for change and how to achieve it.
  5. acceptance…we will be coming apart.

The leaver needs to realize that their partner, who may not feel the same way about their relationship (or may, but not conclude that coming apart is the best or only solution) has time to adjust and will also need to go through the five stages. They are generally experienced in the order listed above although people often shift back and forward, particularly in the beginning phases. It helps when the leaver understands his/her partner/’s/spouse’s need for going through that process and presents his/her wishes gently.  It helps to clearly state the reasons for their decision and then be patient for his/her partner to catch up.  Doing this can facilitate a  less emotional and more civil dissolution of the relationship or marriage, which is important to the couple and  essential when they have a family.

The person who doesn’t want to end the relationship, for a multitude of possible reasons, is thrust into the first phase listed above. “This can’t be happening! ” “I knew we had problems but…not this!” “How can you do this to me [and the children] ? ”  That partner/spouse usually experiences deep sadness and often anger once the reality settles in. Everyone’s coping mechanisms vary in how this, and all, of the phases present. When anger  boils up in the ‘left’ partner/spouse s/he frequently resents that  leaver seems to be doing so well.  The  left person doesn’t realize that the leaver has already had  similar feelings and is just ahead of him/her.  If their reasoning can be sincerely explained, it can ameliorate a more negative reaction. When there isn’t counter blaming or accusations, there is a  less traumatic coming to terms with the situation and negotiating. Then acceptance can progress.