Recently I read an article about a woman who informed her soon to be ex-husband she wanted a divorce by placing a sign in a bar he frequented.
In it she informed him that she was taking the dog, knew about his affairs and was leaving him.
Given that the set up sounds like a great country song, to paraphrase the late, great Johnny Paycheck "you can take this marriage and shove it, I ain't livin here no more..." is probably not the best way to tell your spouse you want a divorce.
So Wrong But Feels So Good
When we've been hurt, scorned or upset tendency is to want our pound of flesh. To lash back out and hurt those who have hurt us.
But once the initial satisfaction of getting even wears off, we're left by oursleves, with our thoughts and wondering if we did the right thing.
There are those who will harbor the anger and try and use it to their advantage. These are the people who typically wind up hiring lawyers, litigating their divorce and going bankrupt emotionally and financially in the process.
Sure you may think you'll "win" something but I can promise you when it comes to divorce, there are no winners. Well, except the attorneys if you go that route.
And as an added bonus, by letting the anger consume you, once the dust has settled, you'll have a harder time recovering from the divorce and moving on with your life. Trust me on this as I've seen it with both my friends and family...
Keep Calm and Carry On
On the other side of the coin you've got the "take the higher road" people.
Is this difficult to do? Absolutely. But like any student of history can tell you, when it comes to all out war, one side may have been perceived to "win" but at what cost?
Take for example World War II. The Allies (the so called "winners") lost a total of 40 million people. Estimates of those who perished during the war range between 65 million and 78 million. So basically the winner suffered more than 50% of the casualties.
How is that winning?
The same goes for divorce. By keeping calm, you're more likely to be able to use mediation to resolve the issues surrounding your divorce.
Benefits of mediation include:
- Lower Cost - people who mediate their divorce save on average $21,000 on their divorce. According to an article posted in the Wall Street Journal on April 3, 2013,the average cost of an attorney driven divorce is $27,000. The average cost of a mediated divorce per Forbes Magazine is $6,000.
- Less Time - those who mediate typically complete the proceedings in an average of 3 months as opposed to 2 -3 years it takes for a litigated divorce.
- Better Results - couples who use mediation report being more satisfied with their settlement, leading to better adherence rates to things like child support and alimony.
Is a Moment of Bliss Worth a Lifetime of Misery?
At the end of the day, divorce is about moving on and moving forward and getting the best settlement you can.
So ask yourself this. If you go all flamethrower and torch your soon to be ex with a sign in a bar announcing your divorce, what do you think is going ot happen? Do you think they'll agree to let you keep the house? provide the requested child support or alimony? Agree to your preferred child custody arrangement?
Um... no. Quite the opposite.
So when it comes time to say goodbye, take it from someone who has seen all levels of conflict from mildly disagreeable right on up to screaming, yelling and throwing things at each other.
How you start the process will dictate how you go through it and ultimately recover from it so suppress the urge (as tempting as it might be) to give your soon to be ex the royal kiss off and take the high road.
You and your kids will be much better off in the long run, guaranteed.