- Are there topics that you and your partner have never been able to discuss and that you’ve built your relationship around avoiding?
- Have you asked for something you need over and over but it never happens?
- Have you heard promise after promise that things will change but they don’t?
- Do the two of you need to make important decisions but can’t find common ground?
- Have you triggered each other in the same ways so many times you’ve lost hope for resolution?
- Do you concede over and over to keep the peace but secretly feel resentful?
Need Help Talking to Each Other?
Unspoken issues between you takes on a life of its own. You become polarized in your attempts to make life work around them. If you happen to touch into one of the forbidden topics hurt and anger spew out. More hurts pile up. One of my biggest surprises was that my former spouse and I had to pull 30 years of avoided conversations out from under the rug in order to get divorced. The issues didn’t go away. They just waited. Sometimes we need help, the right kind of help, to talk to each other. A clarifying conversation, where you both speak all that needs to be said until you’re empty of all the hurt and feel deeply heard, can change the trajectory of an unhappy, on the edge of breakdown, relationship. It may be the best thing you can do to save your relationship with the added bonus of putting a new foundation under it for future relating.
Through this coaching we were able to … clean out old wounds from when we’d significantly hurt each other early in our relationship. ~ Debbie
Unresolved emotional issues will bleed into divorce discussions
There are a lot of things to discuss when separating lives. You may communicate well and have no problem having those conversations, but chances are, if you’re divorcing, there are some things you can’t talk about. Maybe you’ve agreed on 90% of your division but there’s that “one” topic you avoid because it’s just too hot. Finances (alimony/maintenance, retirement accounts, who gets the house) and parenting (schedules, styles, extracurricular kid expenses) are two hard to discuss topics.
Items that are too hot to discuss are often knotted into deeper feelings like feeling disrespected, unloved, unsupported, or taken advantage of throughout the marriage. The hold out for money or getting the house or getting more parenting time is really holding onto a need for an apology or other retribution. Without help to clean up these pain points you will remain polarized. You will likely run into the same blockages over and over, never reaching agreement. This is when people have to hire mean lawyers and get before a judge to make decisions for you. You really, really don’t have to go that route. Let me help you talk.
A divorced couple with a young child needed help deciding which parent the child should live with for school. They lived 75 miles apart. It became clear that their standoff wasn’t about school, but something deeper. It turned out to be infidelity. Although they didn’t recognize it, this was their stance: “You had the affair, so he gets to come to school by me.” “Well you didn’t show me love and forced me to the affair, so he gets to come to school where I live.” Neither parent felt the other understood how much they were hurt over the initial transgression. Instead it was being lived out with regard to the child’s schooling. After we took the time for each of them to really hear the emotional experience of the other progress was made. These conversations are vital for an ongoing parenting relationship.
Your Next Step
I’ve facilitated some very difficult conversations concerning multiple affairs, respect issues, pornography issues, financial withholding and more. These clients are brave. It takes courage to go to these hard places but it will change your present and your future.
I am very skilled at facilitating these conversations. I use the skills in both the Collaborative Divorce process and with couples. They will work for you, too.