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Divorce Blog

How Does Selling A Car Compare To Distancing From A Former Partner While Divorcing?

By Karen Stewart

Old CarNot to be disrespectful, but divorce is not unlike the process one goes through in deciding to buy a new car: somehow every flaw in that favourite old car needs to be noticed and exaggerated in order to feel okay about selling it. Similarly, it is quite normal to do different things to try to create distance from the former partner while divorcing. If the other person is portrayed as really awful, one can escape any responsibility for the end of the marriage. A common response to divorce is to seek vengeance. When parties put their focus on getting even, there is an equal amount of energy expended on being blameless. What’s true is that blaming and faultfinding are not necessary or really helpful.

Another normal rationalization is that the marriage was unpleasant and now the other partner must make this up in the divorce. Thinking that the marriage was wholly unpleasant is unfair to both parties and can hinder emotional healing. Much of parties’ healing will involve acceptance, focusing on the future, taking responsibility for their own actions (now and during the marriage), and acting with integrity.

To normalize parties’ experiences during this time, it may be helpful to know that typical emotional stages have been identified with ending a relationship. It may also be helpful to understand that marriages do not breakdown overnight; the breakup is not the result of one incident; nor is the breakup the entire fault of one party. The emotional breaking up process typically extends over several years and is confounded by each party being at different stages in the emotional process while in the same stage of the physical (or legal) process.

Why is mediation a compassionate and appropriate venue for helping people in divorce? On the average, it takes family members approximately four to eight years to recover from the emotional and financial expense of a bitter adversarial divorce. Negotiations proceed through lawyers and are strategic and positioned. Going to court is an expensive risk; someone who does not know you makes decisions. In an adversarial divorce, there is no possible resolution of the emotional issues, only decreased trust and increased resentment.

Mediators and Conflict Coaches may save parties thousands of dollars in immediate and future legal and counselling fees. They can focus parties on creating their best possible future and help parties resolve their emotional issues for the best interests of their children and their own psychological well being. They can help parties feel understood, accept responsibility for the failure of the marriage and, when there are children, begin to reshape their relationship from one of the partners to co-parents.

Fairway Divorce Solution’s Mediators and Conflict Coaches can empower clients by helping them be at their best (rather than their worst) during a challenging time in their lives, enable them to have an active role in their separating (creative choice vs. court imposition), create a clear and understandable road map for the future, make informed decisions, and to look back at their behaviors in the mediation of their divorce with integrity and self respect.