In a relationship, we have certain expectations of our spouse, our partner and perhaps the other parent to our children. Often, the other party will try to do what you’d like. But what happens when the relationship is no longer? Is it realistic to have the same expectations?
When your relationship is on positive ground, the other spouse is more than willing, typically, to meet those expectations. Even where s/he may not want to do something, or handle something in a particular fashion, s/he may do so because it is important to you, to make you happy or to meet your expectations.
When your relationship is not on a positive ground – that is during difficulty, separation or divorce – your spouse or partner may not be so willing to handle things the way that you prefer. Making you happy may not be on the forefront of his/her mind. If s/he has a different perspective, s/he may simply handle a matter the way that s/he prefers rather than “do it your way.”
How do you handle this? Are they being unreasonable? What should you expect after divorce/separation from your spouse or partner? Here are a few tips:
- Expect Change: Don’t expect that everything will be the same. It simply isn’t. You aren’t a happy, or even together, couple. You likely aren’t going to work together and compromise. Your husband may no longer forego his opinion about a parenting decision. Your wife may not care about your getting to play softball after work. Expecting that everything is going to be the same after a separation is unrealistic. Expect change.
- Have patience, listen and communicate: Since you know that things will be different, when having a conflict, try to figure out where the other person is coming from.
- Stop trying to make him/her do what “he should”: You no longer control what the other person does. What he “should do for his kids” or what she “should know better than to do with the kids around” doesn’t apply. Unless the other person’s behavior is unsafe or highly inappropriate, you don’t have a say.
- Consider family therapy: It sounds silly to get family therapy if you are separating, but sometimes it is the best thing that you can do. Learning how to deal with the changes that come with divorce can be helpful in the long run.
When you are stuck in the midst of divorce, emotions can rule your decisions. Take a step back and try to evaluate the situation from a third party perspective.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me to discuss this type, or any type, of issue. You can contact me here online.