Divorce: It’s About Both of You
If you’ve read my book, my blogs, or seen any of my Facebook Lives, you’ll know I always advocate personal responsibility.
It’s up to us to examine ourselves, and make choices we are happy with. Equally, it is impossible to be responsible for how adults around us behave. That’s their business.
What’s all this got to do with divorce?
Well, of course, a divorce centres on two people. Whether you’ve decided to leave, or your spouse has, it takes two of you to make it happen. That means two points of view, two sides to every debate. It can mean high emotion battling or it can mean a more collaborative, smooth road.
Unfortunately you don’t get to make that decision. You get to stack the odds by the way you behave – but you can’t control how your ex acts and feels.
What do you want?
So, the first part of the picture is up to you. What do you want from this divorce? Think about:
- What’s important to you in life
- What you need, financially and practically, to live (and to care for any children)
Divorce is an opportunity to reclaim your values and identity. So it’s critical to give some time to these questions. Perhaps your first thought it that you want to get as much out of a financial settlement as is legally possible. And that’s absolutely your prerogative. But you might also decide that you want the freedom and wider social circles that divorce brings – and so you weigh up what’s important.
What do they want?
Have you spoken to your soon-to-be-ex-husband about divorce in any depth? Do you know how he feels about it? Keeping communication open and blame-free as much as possible will help you understand each other (though this is not always possible – see the section below for why).
If you understand each other’s wants and needs, and keep the emotion out of your discussions, you are more likely to be able to negotiate a lower-cost, less-hassle divorce. Mediation can help with this, and is often a better first port of call than the divorce solicitors.
What’s your situation?
How you handle divorce and communication with your ex depends on your relationship. Are you in a high conflict situation?
It can be hard to know the difference when tempers are high and emotions run wild, but people with high conflict personalities usually have these characteristics:
- They need to be right. They won’t admit failure or weakness and will blame others when things go wrong.
- You notice they won’t let go of things. They will either cut-off people who have offended them, or repeatedly bring up past wounds.
- Their reactions are extreme: they may lie or manipulate to get what they want, be verbally or physically aggressive, or lose control over their emotions.
- They can’t empathise. They don’t see things from any perspective other than their own. And they will look to bring others round to their way of thinking with manipulation.
For more on understanding whether you’re in a high conflict divorce, check out this blog. You may also benefit from contacting Women’s Aid (remember to check the ‘cover my tracks’ button before you leave the site).
If you are in a high conflict divorce, awareness is key. You need to be careful about how you communicate, what you communicate and seek support from trusted people. It is possible to keep communication on an even keel, but you can’t use the same collaborative approach that is advisable in a low-conflict situation.
As the UK’s only divorce coach trained in the high conflict diversion programme, I can help you plan and take action to keep divorce moving without being derailed by your ex.
So, whatever your situation, plan your communication to keep things on track. If you want support to understand what’s right for you so you can achieve your divorce goals with minimal fuss, contact me to book in a call.
The Divorce Alchemist
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma is featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com