We all would like to believe that we live our lives in a mentally healthy way, right? I mean, if you knew no other way to behave than what was modeled for you by your parents and your surroundings, you would not have any reason to believe that different people behave differently, right?
So, right after 9/11, I was invited by my cousin and his family to change my life and to get out of Miami. I was visiting them in Potomac, Maryland when the towers were hit … when it was a constant news cycle, the screens filled with news tickers, no commercials… no planes flying. We all stayed up most of the night watching, huddled around in disbelief. That part of the story is, I am sure, the same for almost everyone. As soon as I could, I went to Miami, put a hitch on my Mustang, sold what I could, packed what I needed and got my dog, Tatiana, and headed north. When I got settled in and my cousin and his family got down to business, I was the constant observer. I was the fly on the wall… and it opened my eyes – wide. My cousin helping his daughter do her homework… and her constant resistance to it. He was so patient and wonderful… he didn’t lose his temper; he didn’t punish her for acting out. He just let her have her temper tantrum and then refocused her energy to math. Or Science. Or Spanish. She really hated homework. My cousin’s wife engaging me in highly political and militaristic conversations… around the dinner table – and everyone chimed in. School, piano lessons, business meetings, dinner parties… it was very much the same way I was brought up, but it was all so different at the same time. It was eye-opening and it was really, really nice.
Instead of just doing things the way they were modeled for me, I now had another frame of reference. Which lead to other frames of reference and more education. And more experience and more frames of reference. And, so on…
And, well… now I feel mentally healthy.
And, that is what collaborative divorce is like.
It is a different way to approach the subject matter of breaking up. Affairs of the heart can be very nasty… and you can lean into that nastiness and go to court and get your pound of flesh. Or you can actively decide to break up and conduct your divorce in a mentally healthy manner…
The choice is always up to you. No lawyer should ever make your personal decisions for you. But, you should know that there IS a different way to divorce; if it is the right choice for you and your family, ask for it by name: collaborative divorce.
I’ll be right here when you need me.