Tolucan Times May 13, 2004
Serving the communities of: Toluca Lake - Magnolia Park - Burbank - Media District - Universal City - Encino - Valley Village - North Hollywood - Hollywood Hills - Larchmont District - Studio City - Sherman Oaks - Glendale
ASK THE DIVORCE COACH©, SUSAN ALLAN
For one hour free relationship coaching, firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKE ‘EM CHOOSE; YOU LOSE
The dissolution of a marriage or relationship often appears like “Connect the Don'ts”! When you consider your break-up, can you pinpoint the key errors that pushed your marriage off the cliff? One of the biggest tactical mistakes is The Ultimatum. For some, simply hearing the words “either…or” triggers rage and as one client reported, “whenever I hear ‘either…or', I'll take or!” When you discover your partner's secondary relationship; a girlfriend, boyfriend, mistress, etc. is your automatic response to force your partner to choose? Research tells us that for many spouses, if you make ‘em choose; YOU lose. How can you make your preference clear yet also handle all the emotions that appear when you suspect or discover that monogamy became monotony for your wife or husband?
The first consideration for many is asking the question “Why”? This is completely different from the “Why me?” which is caused by the fear, anger and grief of potential loss. When you ponder your situation, have you separated Cause and Effect? Are you sure? Many client's key errors are in understanding the timeline of infidelity with accuracy. Many wives believe that they feel enraged, frightened and grief-stricken because their husband is unfaithful. In every single family I have coached, I have evidence that the spouse was enraged, frightened or grief-stricken before the other's affair. The scenarios suggest that affairs are tragic or desperate strategies to meet needs for peace, love, and appreciation. Does this make sense to you?
Often, a client calls from the precipice; asking, “what should I do?” It is important to understand the thinking, listening and speaking as well as the actions that precipitated this strategy on your spouses' part. Often, an affair is a tragic solution to meeting needs for love and appreciation; sometimes, the immediate desire for intimacy, sex or financial resources are considered. The decisions that you make, and your own ability to bring yourself to peace can make all the difference in your partners' choices. Does it make sense that a peaceful and loving spouse has a better chance of reconnection? Can you see that when the bereaved husband or wife expresses terror, grief and rage that the environment is less likely to foster any marital future?
In the first few sessions of ‘Marital Mediation” when infidelity is the key issue, we focus on the emotional state that existed at home before the secondary relationship was discovered. To date, I have never heard from both sides that there was love, harmony and peace. Instead, the atmosphere includes one or the other partner complaining or explaining, often in a very loud voice.
I spoke with you at the end of February on the phone. I have my children on the weekends and was able to secure guest housing and a temporary job. The court ordered a psychiatric evaluation in the meantime to begin next week. I have hired a good attorney who is doing well for me. What else should I do?
I feel delighted to read how well you are doing. You may wish to remember one of my "secret divorce strategies"- hire a 2nd therapist to coach you and train you on how to best handle the Psychological Evaluation! I suggest you consult Renee Leff, MFT, J.D.; a licensed marriage and family therapist with a law degree. She is very supportive and does a lot of forensic work, including divorce issues and child custody evaluations based in Encino. Psychological Evaluations are not based on guesswork but on standardized expected responses and behaviors. If you have not received this training from a therapist, there is a greater chance that even if you are a "good parent" that you will not do as well as possible. If your spouse has received training, which many do, there is the additional concern that he will "look great on paper". I suggest that you call Renee for one or more sessions to understand this process before you are judged by it.
Dear Divorce Coach,
First I want to thank you for the personalized answer. I never even dreamed I would get such great help. My husband and I have basically nothing to divide. The main thing is custody and child support. I agree about the free legal services but at this point I have no choice. Thank you for teaching me how to handle it.
When employing Legal Aid or any free service, it is essential to educate yourself as to what is needed in your case. Then it is essential to follow-up yourself and to “ask, ask, ask” if you feel confused about the progress you experience. While your concern is the quality of your legal support this is also true, you must balance the requests you make of your attorney between being too much trouble and causing the attorney to disconnect or making no requests and being ignored. Depending on the response, you will see whether your communication is working.
Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum