- 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?
- Has there been an affair or other betrayal that you can’t get past?
- 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?
- Is your heart shutting down?
Need Help Talking to Each Other?
Unspoken issues between you will take on a life of their own. This is especially true if there has been an affair or other betrayal, like pornography or other hidden addiction, or a financial betrayal. Living with (more like trying to ignore) these issues becomes like trying to hold a beach ball under water. It takes tremendous strength and after a while you just can’t do it any more and up they pop, flying in your face.
Is Trust an Issue?
When you are polarized like this, especially if one of you can’t come back to trust again, you will need help, the right kind of help, to talk to each other. Only radical honesty will fix it. And you won’t be able to do it without help. It’s like trying to do your own eye surgery. It simply isn’t possible.
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 can repair what seems to be irreparable. And you get an additional benefit of putting a new foundation under your relationship.
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
You may not be to the point of divorce yet, so this may not apply to you. One of the biggest surprises in my own divorce was that we had to haul 30-years of avoided conversations out from under the rug in order to get divorced. We thought we could also divorce our issues. Not. they just waited for us.
You May Communicate Well…
You may communicate well and have no problem discussing things as you move through your divorce, 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.
Hard to discuss topics are often knotted into deeper feelings
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 looming pain points you will remain polarized and unable to find the win-win in your negotiations. You will likely run into the same blockages over and over, never reaching agreement. This is when you will 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.