I have had clients come in who are so filled with the pain inherent in being rejected they cannot focus on anything else. Meetings are characterized by tears, questions, and fear. Often they want to know how they can stop the process or deny the divorce because they don’t want to be left. Sometimes the agony can be prolonged but unless both parties are willing it can’t be stopped.
I’ve been uniquely qualified in this arena because I have been rejected more times than I want to admit. Putting yourself out into the world lends itself to all experiences. My own dealings with being left or feeling unwanted have given me patience and understanding as I advise and counsel parties going through a domestic matter.
What’s clear to me and sometimes not to the person I am representing is that you have to leave the person space to be where they are in the relationship. This is good advice on several levels in a divorce. First of all, not leaving them alone can lead to such things such as a Restraining Order. I recall one particularly desperate man who wanted to inundate his wife with pleas to reconcile. I knew he didn’t want anything other than to talk to her, to tell her he loved her, to reassure her that he was there for her no matter how cold she was to him. She was cold enough to call the police and claim he was harassing her. I had to represent him in a criminal action. Getting him to see that his behavior was unwanted wasn’t easy even after he was briefly locked up. His motivation was only from a place of love and wanting.
Leaving them to be where they are can be the hardest of all for someone who is going through a divorce. This means not sending endless calls, texts, emails, and requests for meetings. It means not driving by the house, following them around the house, or impromptu visits. Not having the children question the leaving parent or spy on the leaving parent. It can mean not getting the family involved to berate the person who wants out (by way of their parents, or when a divorce involves older parents and the children.) This can ruin the relationships of the parties involved and rarely does it end up going the way you want.
The parents may align themselves initially with the person who wants the marriage to work. Yet this doesn’t always stay that way. Bonds of family are usually stronger and what was an ally sometimes becomes the enemy in an adversarial relationship. Adult children are often forced to take sides and it can become a heart wrenching event for everyone as they see their family parted. I was involved in a trial recently where everyone in the family chose to take their father’s side as their mom decided to leave the marriage. I had many meetings filled with acrimony about what she had done and how both they and their dad couldn’t get past it. This did nothing to facilitate their case and merely caused an easy case to cost them thousands of dollars.
Many years ago I began reading Marianne Williamson and her writings on love resonated deeply with me. She describes being able to love from a place of allowing. Letting the person you love be where they want to be, with who they want to be with, doing what they want to be doing. When I was younger this mantra got me through many a dark night. Sending love and peace through my own pain ultimately healed my hurting heart much faster than focusing on all the loss.
As it comes to divorcing parties, I tell them to leave the other alone. Send them an email, have a conversation, don’t avoid your own truth. Then let it be. From then on, you have to let them proceed at their own pace and with their own agenda. Sometimes by the time we get to a trial the leaving party has lost all respect for the person who has begged and groveled. It’s a terrible position for a parent to be in when you aren’t respected by the other parent. It can have serious repercussions for the children involved.
One man I represented would send his children messages to give his wife during the divorce. She didn’t react well to this and told the children she merely wanted him to leave her alone. The case was horrible. The children began to refuse to visit due to their Father’s constant badgering of them about the Mother. She began to hate him for his incessant demands for her to come back to him and she wouldn’t enforce the visitation.
As hard as it is you have to find a way to accept the person and the situation as something you can’t control. Instead of being focused on them, try focusing on your own needs.