When You’re Getting Divorced, Feelings Matter!

{2:30 minutes to read} Of course, feelings matter! Despite this reality, the way divorce discussions are framed by the law are not about feelings. 

“Oh, you’re devastated by the betrayal of your husband who had an affair? That’s really too bad, I’m sorry for your pain, but it makes no difference.”  

The law in New York, except in very extreme—and I mean VERY extreme—circumstances, does not recognize fault in financial determinations. In most states, fault is not something that is recompensed by money. The natural conclusion is that it seems feelings don’t matter in divorce discussions, but the way we feel about it certainly impacts the negotiation…and the result.  

Lawyers are uncomfortable dealing with what we’re feeling. People are encouraged or asked to somehow squelch their feelings in order to do a business deal. Of course, as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, brain research indicates that’s not the way it works. Much of the decision making that we do is done in the emotional part of the brain.  

This false premise that feelings should be relegated to the periphery—managed, controlled, worked around and avoided as much as possible in the divorce negotiation—is upside down.  

I think what should really happen, from the holistic perspective, is that feelings should be gone into, explored, worked through, and come out on the other side. People should be encouraged (as I encourage my clients) to really think about what they need and why: 

  • Why are you taking the position you’re taking?
  • What is really important to you about that position?  

Rather than try to get away from feelings, explore them further. Lean into the discomfort. Lean into what the expectation was. Lean into your role, your life, your wishes, hopes and dreams for the future. What happened? What went wrong and what went right? Through that place, reach resolution based on what IS really important, not despite it.