As a Long Island divorce lawyer, I see that for most divorcing couples, compromise can be very difficult. Many of these couples believe that while “other” couples might be able to find common ground, it will be next to impossible in their case.
Communication is Key to Reducing Stress and Expense of Long Island Divorce
These divorcing Long Island couples, however, may be overlooking the possibility that changes to communication can result in exchanges that are more fact-based rather than emotion-based. Since a lack of effective communication in the marriage is one of the primary reasons for divorce, this may be difficult to cultivate during the divorce process. Nevertheless, making progress on the communication front during divorce is very worthwhile as it can make the process far more efficient, less stressful and less expensive.
Stress & Fear Inhibit Communication & Compromise During Divorce
Once the decision to divorce is made and the process begin, communication breakdowns can become even more of a problem. Communication is always more difficult when tensions are high, and divorce is no exception. Divorce often poses a threat to financial, emotional and physical wellbeing, which increases strong feelings of fear, anger, and resentment. When these emotions are running high, it’s no wonder that soon-to-be ex-spouses lose the ability to effectively communicate with one another. Because of the high stress involved in a divorce or separation, this can exacerbate any already-existing communication struggles. In most cases, this leads to arguments and unhealthy communication.
Communication is Reciprocal in Any Relationship
There is a reciprocal nature to communication in any relationship. Your communication will impact your spouse’s communication either positively or negatively, and vice versa. If you can take responsibility for how are you communicating your thoughts, feelings, and positions about the issues in your divorce, you might realize that your spouse’s response just might change. This may not happen overnight, but with practice and patience, it is possible to change unhealthy or unhelpful patterns in your communication with your spouse.
Emotions Run High on Both Sides of Divorce
Recognize that the stress and emotions are experienced on both sides of the divorce. While it may seem like the divorce is more painful or more unfair to you than it is to your spouse, communicating a sense of understanding can go a long way in the tone of the discussion, may make it more likely that your spouses will then listen to what you have to say. If you can demonstrate a willingness to listen, understand, or compromise, it makes it more likely that your spouse will do the same.
Listening & Discussion Reduces Stress During Divorce Negotiations
A willingness to listen and participate in meaningful discussion is an essential factor in reducing stress and hostility during your divorce. Especially if you have children, do your best to find a way to communicate calmly and respectfully. One way you might do this is to truly listen to your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s point of view. If you can put yourself in his or her shoes for even just a moment, you might be able to find a way that you can communicate compassion and understanding to them. Even if you still have different points of view at the end of the day, which you most likely will, truly listening and trying to understand will go a long way in building bridges for compromise.
Tip 1: Listen, Pause & Reflect Before Reacting
One tip for being able to do so is to listen to what your spouse has to say, and try not to immediately act out on your emotions. Use active listening techniques like starting your sentences with “I think” or “I feel,” which will help your language to come across as non-accusatory, and frame the conversation in terms of taking responsibility for your own personal experience.
Tip 2: Keep Statements Brief & On Point
Another strategy you can implement is to keep your statements brief and to the point, refraining from any threatening or inciting comments that are likely to cause an emotional reaction from your spouse.
Tip 3: Take Time to Think & Reflect
Finally, if you need to take a few hours or days to gather your thoughts, or to discuss the issue privately with someone you trust, this can help to prevent saying or doing things in the heat of the moment that are not really in your best interests.
Your Behavior Sets the Tone for Your Long Island Divorce
It is important to remember that your communication and behavior during your Long Island divorce process will set the tone for your relationship with your spouse after divorce, which is especially important if you have children. While some individuals have angry outbursts and others veer toward passive-aggressive remarks, the emotional undercurrents of communications certainly interfere with the ability to reach agreements or compromise. If you are going through a divorce, separation, or mediation where there is conflict or where communication is strained, it is important that you become aware of how your communication is creating barriers to moving forward.
Long Island Divorce Lawyer or Divorce Mediator Can Help Open the Lines of Communication
Many couples benefit from meeting with an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer or divorce mediator to assist them with negotiating their contentious divorce issues and guiding them through the process of divorce or separation. A Long Island Divorce Lawyer or Divorce Mediator can provide you with counsel on how best to handle communication during your unique divorce, separation, or mediation. The attorneys at the Law Office of Robert. E. Hornberger, P.C. are experienced in divorce and separation cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and have successfully helped Long Island couples in divorce mediation. Contact our office today at 631-923-1910 to speak with an attorney in a free consultation.
Download our Free New York Divorce Guide
Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better. Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.