Once spouses reach a point in their marriage when divorce becomes the only option, there are two ways they can handle the situation. Spouses can choose to behave in a mature adult way, or they can act like spiteful immature children. Bottom line is there are dos and don’ts in every divorce situation.
Regardless of how one spouse decides to behave, the other spouse still has the ability to act differently. Using the excuse, “well he did this” in order to justify equally bad behavior is a cop out. Each person is responsible for their own actions.
Here’s a few ways spouses shouldn’t behave.
Name calling: No matter how much you may dislike your spouse, name calling is never appropriate. The point of divorce is to cut ties and go your separate ways. There is no point in continuing the nastiness, by doing so you are revealing a major flaw in your personality.
Don’t allow family to get involved. The divorce is between you and your spouse. The only thing family members are accomplishing by adding their two cents is exacerbating the situation.
If there are children involved do not use them as a weapon against your spouse. This is the biggest don’t of them all. The two parents need to remember that the children love BOTH of you. You may think you’re getting even with your spouse by using the kids against them, however the only one you’re really hurting is the children. Mature parents who love their children don’t do this.
Be realistic and avoid making false accusations. If one spouse was a great parent prior to the divorce, regardless of how much you hate them now, they are still a great parent after the divorce. You can’t change the reality of the situation just because you’re getting divorced and angry at your spouse. Again, doing this is only hurting your children.
Keep your attorney in check. Attorneys are out to make as much money as they can from representing you. If they can convince you to fight for custody of the kids, or possessions, it will lengthen the divorce process. Longer proceedings = more money to a lawyer. So while it may seems like a good idea at the time, if realistically for example fighting for custody, you aren’t going to be able to take custody from the mother because she actually is a great mom, then don’t fight it. You’re only taking money from your pocket and putting it in your attorneys. By finding an amicable solution, you and your spouse can work together. Bringing in the hate and anger will just encourage your spouse to not work with you.
Keep it simple. Divorce doesn’t have to be a long drawn out complicated process. Again by leaving the nastiness out of the divorce, you and your spouse can find ways to dissolve the marriage and split the assets.
Don’t force friends to chose sides. The friends you both had will naturally gravitate towards the spouse they were closest too. That is just a fact of life. By making it uncomfortable for them to maintain friendships with the spouses, you’re all losing.
Getting divorced is a heartbreakingly painful situation for both spouses. However, the divorce should be used to end the marital drama. Severing ties is the mechanism of choice for ending a bad relationship. These situations are hard enough; there isn’t anything to gain by using spiteful vindictiveness. The spouse who plays dirty fails to realize that acting that way only makes them look bad.
Continuing to behave in an immature manner only prolongs the hurt and anger. In order to move on the spouses need to amicably work out the details of the divorce. The sooner they can do that, the better off they’ll both be. Divorces are emotionally draining and difficult to cope with. Don’t make it worse by fighting about every little thing.
If your marriage is struggling and marriage counseling is something you feel would help you and your spouse, try the Austin Family Institute. “Austin Family Institute, a marriage and family training program, provides all counseling on a sliding scale fee, making it affordable for everyone.” Visit their website or contact them at 512-329-6611. Kelly Cozzone is not a licensed therapist. The opinions and observations expressed are not intended to replace the advice of a trained professional.
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