Divorce, as you know, is no laughing matter, although being in a highly conflicted relationship does remind you of why you want a divorce in the first place. Seriously, divorce has such an air of finality that spouses often fight out of fear of an unfair settlement.
Every part of this most difficult human transition will go smoother if you can settle the emotions of those involved enough to allow calm discussion.
Open communication is not surrender
To make progress determining the terms of a divorce, someone must take the first step to calm matters. Remember, promoting peaceful interaction is not the same as giving up your principles. Here are three ideas for maintaining tranquility while you prepare for divorce:
- Speak in “I statements.” Rather than stating a fact—“You never follow through on what you promise”—make it a personal observation—“I feel like you do not follow through.”
- Resort to “cold media”—emails, letters, notes, text messages—to broach contentious topics. These do not require an instantaneous response and do not convey emotions like phone calls and face-to-face interactions.
- Remember that any negotiations are going to be more successful when those involved are not enraged. “I’m upset about this right now. Let me think it over and I’ll text you tomorrow.”
Peace of mind for you and your spouse is possible
Divorce can be such a painful, intractable bottleneck that those involved sometimes forget the purpose is not just to escape an unworkable relationship but also to start anew. If you and your spouse can successfully deal with the challenges leading to dissolution, each of you can begin unhindered with a fresh start.