By Jill Christensen for Good Men Project
It is not unreasonable to expect a certain level of emotional maturity, from both parties before, during and after divorce.
Two adults entered the marriage, two adults are divorcing.
In order to maintain as least a minimum of civility and respect, especially when children are involved, emotional maturity is crucial.
Be an adult.
Emotional maturity is comprised of many things and varies with individual perspectives. However, during the divorce process, the following are essential:
- Take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. Emotions are running high, everyone is hurting. What you do and say in this situation matters. The repercussions of hurtful, negative words and actions will continue to ripple for years. Be mindful.
- Own your part in the marriage and the divorce. This isn’t the time for outward blaming or playing the victim. Maybe things were unfair. Maybe things didn’t work out as you had hoped. It is over now. Own your part of it. It takes two to tango.
- Stop wallowing in negative emotions. Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., author of My Stroke of Insight, documented the biological time-span of an emotion as 90 seconds. What you do after those 90 seconds is up to you. Challenge your beliefs to see how they match up with reality. If you need help, get help. Don’t take your negative feelings out on others.
- Avoid using “you” statements.
- Respond, don’t react. Negotiate, don’t argue. Be wise, not defensive. Divorce isn’t about winning or losing, right or wrong. The marriage is over, pointing fingers, keeping score, tattle telling…there is no place for it.
- Try to see the bigger picture. Step back from your ego self and negative judgment.
- Release the need for comparison. Both of you are disappointed, hurting and grieving.
- Strive for acceptance and compassion. The choice is yours to grow from this experience or let it define you.
- Apologize when necessary. Not the “I’m sorry, but…” kind of apology either. Apologize and mean it. “I apologize. What I did/said was wrong and hurtful. I wish I could take it all back but know I can’t. I will try my hardest to not let this happen again. I hope you can forgive me. I am sorry.”
Your children will thank you.