It may come out of the blue for you that your partner wants a divorce. The truth is, in circumstances like this, it is not uncommon for the partner initiating a separation to have been thinking about this for quite some time, even years.
So, when they come forward seeking a divorce, they are much further down the path of having come to terms with the idea, the process and the life change.
However, the person hearing the news for the first time may be in shock while the other partner is seemingly emotionally composed.
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Even if the one hearing the news is aware of issues between them, that awareness doesn’t mean that they contemplated or would ever want to separate. This may leave this person in anger or denial. They may try to keep the other person in the relationship, often by bargaining about changing behaviour or seeking help.
If the person initiating the separation is actually ambivalent, then a specific kind of counselling may be helpful. It is called discernment counselling. Through a planned process, the counsellor helps people think through what they really want. If it is to remain in the relationship, it may then be part of a plan to seek counselling to see if the issues of the relationship can be sorted out.
However, if there is no ambivalence, then fighting to keep it together may contribute to greater conflict and intense feelings. The strategy here may be for the one who has had the rug pulled from beneath to seek counselling to address their feelings, and what this may mean in terms of their life going forward. In other words, this person may benefit from an opportunity to think about what the other has likely been processing for some time.
If you need a lawyer to help you through the legal aspects of the divorce, it is important to have dealt with your anger so that the settlement process isn’t about extracting revenge, but about truly finding peaceful ways of moving forward. The court is not a place to sort out or act out feelings as that only leads to extended and expensive legal battles.
Addressing the emotional aspect of your situation with a counsellor can help you be more productive with your lawyer who then can help you more reasonably negotiate a settlement if unable to do so between yourselves. Your lawyer can also advise on the role of a mediator in your situation.
Sadly though, if one person is determined to leave the relationship, there is little one can do to make them stay. Hopefully, the person can be patient as you adjust to the situation.