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Episode 257: In Threatening Conversations, Listen and Ask “Why?”

Episode 257: In Threatening Conversations, Listen and Ask “Why?”

In the world of divorce, communication – what you say and how you say it – either helps or hinders how you and your spouse get through the process.

Communication can go from bad to worse when a divorce is requested because the element of trust has changed in that relationship. And I don’t mean infidelity. There is an unspoken bond of trust that holds a relationship together during the marriage. When the marriage has run its course, no one has done anything to break up the marriage, that unspoken, unseen, indefinable bond of trust that holds the marriage together is gone if the marriage is ending.

And maybe it’s not trust. Maybe it’s just the emotional connection is gone and therefore both spouses are no longer connected, and in that space of disconnectedness exists a new form of communication fraught with Discomfort, Unease, and Fear.

Communication can be fearful, threatening, and foreign when speaking with a spouse whose about to have the advective “Former” in front of that word.Therefore, words have to be carefully chosen, along with using a softer tone of voice that is calming.

The more we can control our tone of voice, and learn how to use words that don’t exacerbate the fear, anger, hurt and control the other spouse may be feeling, we can learn communication that mitigates conflict.

Most divorces do not end up in court, meaning that most couples have the potential of communicating effectively enough to enable them to discuss their settlement terms either with or without the help of a mediator.

Hiring attorneys for full representation indicates the lack of communication ability.

Going to court for a Judge to make decisions for you means that even the attorneys couldn’t affect settlement decisions for you and your spouse.

In Mediation, you have the opportunity to ask “Why?” It doesn’t matter what your spouse says, but instead of going into defense mode and yelling or threatening back, ask “Why?” “Why do you feel this way?” Why don’t you want to discuss Spousal Support? Why do you want 100% custody? Why don’t you want me to have an equity share in the house?

I guarantee you that the reason for your spouse taking a stand on any of these issues is Hurt, Fear, being in that Disconnected Zone we mentioned earlier, or Anger over the fact that you want a divorce. “Why?”, this one simple word will redirect the conversation, mediation and negotiation in a much more positive and amicable way. Rarely does a person in the middle of a divorce have the opportunity to speak freely without being interrupted. When this phenomenon happens, the whole conversation changes because the listener will learn more about their spouse than they ever realized. And this new level of realization will provide a fresh path forward to a much more beneficial outcome based on understanding.

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