What Conventional Wisdom Gets WRONG about Divorce
With 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce in the US, many of us have first-hand experience with dissolving a marriage. And, fueled by tabloids and television, conventional wisdom suggests divorce is always ugly. The idea is that even if divorcing parties vow to be friends, or keep it civil or co-parent the kids, the bottom line is that divorce is ALWAYS ugly at some level.
But that’s where conventional wisdom is off.
Myth #1: Courtrooms Foster Good Decisions
Standing in front of a judge and reliving all the pain and heartache of a marriage barreling toward divorce is not always the best way to handle a marriage on its way to dissolution. Even the American Bar Association recognizes that court cases may not deliver the best results for divorcing parties precisely because courtrooms may not be optimal venues for calm decision-making, thoughtful consideration of another’s point of view, or patience and compassion.
Myth #2: Your Ex is Your Enemy
As Wendy Paris, author of Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well and expert on divorce points out, our culture has clung to an idea of the ex as adversary. That’s just not always the case. Many times, a couple, even on the brink of divorce, still cares for and respects their spouse. You may love the way they parent. You may respect their business instincts. You just don’t want to be married to them anymore. Our culture doesn’t have a narrative for this, so we’re often lumped into “ex as enemy” story.
Myth #3: Divorce is the End, or a Beginning, but Never a Middle
Divorce is often seen as the end. In fact, many people go through a mourning period during this time. Some decide the flip the script and make it a celebration. But what if the dissolution of a marriage is actually the middle? Mediation allows couples to move through a transition in their relationship. It allows them to settle old business, yes. But also create a new dynamic for themselves where they feel empowered to be generous with the other and where new solutions arise beyond “his way” or “my way”. If mediation can create a pathway to a new relationship then it’s not really the start of something altogether different, nor the end of the story. It’s a transition to a place of new possibilities.
If you’re starting the process of a divorce, remember that you’re not alone in this process. Call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.