With the spring equinox upon us, I think about how Divorce Mediation can help people spring forward with the rest of their lives. However, before we spring forward, it is good to take care of ourselves and look into and learn from our past.
Divorce Mediation vs. Couples Therapy
Divorce Mediation is a future-focused process that helps couples pave a way forward to establish a new way of life. Couples Therapy helps couples investigate their past and helps couples heal from shared experiences and past trauma that sometimes results in triggers, conflict, and regrettable incidents.
When couples look into the past, they may see patterns in their lives that contributed to the way they chose their partner. When a person didn’t receive what they needed from one or both parents as a child, they looked for similar, familiar characteristics in a new romantic partner. Suppose a person doesn’t get enough love from a parent. In that case, it is common for a person to think they don’t deserve love as an adult and end up in unhealthy relationships because they don’t think they deserve love and happiness or may not be familiar with a model of a healthy relationship.
Some studies show that modeling an unhealthy relationship to your children directly affects their adult relationships. Many couples stay in unhealthy relationships thinking it will benefit their children in some way when it may have the reverse effect. However, a study from Iowa State University showed that it’s not the parents’ marriage or divorce that affects children’s later relationships; it’s the parent-child bond that is key to children’s success in finding a healthy adult relationship. The study concluded that direct exposure to the parents’ discord and arguments causes problems for children’s adult relationships. During and after a divorce, if the parents used the children as a messenger because they couldn’t stand one another and refused to communicate, or if they continued to put down their co-parent in the presence of the children had a direct effect on the children’s ability in the future of finding a healthy relationship.
Spring Self Care
Recently reading through a mindfulness book made me think of spring self-care:
We all want to be safe, healthy, and happy. So even if it feels a bit self-indulgent, reminding ourselves of this throughout the day is a lovely way to stay in touch with this basic desire. An easy way to do this is to repeat the phrases “May I be well” and “May I be happy” to yourself. These words will cultivate a sense of self-care and can bring a feeling of warmth and kindness to even the hardest of times. Try incorporating the phrases into your daily routine by repeating them to yourself each morning when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
I like to use visuals with my clients, so I often tell them mediation is like standing at the end of the diving board at a swimming pool, with their past behind them, springing upward and onward with the rest of their lives. Through the mediation process, parties work together to craft a customized agreement on their terms that allows the fighting to come to an end, building momentum to move forward with their individual lives. This customized agreement clarifies how moving forward looks to each of them and helps the parties settle into a new “normal.” Think of it as a new beginning with nothing but the potential to grow while paving the path forward for their new life.
Divorce Matters: A Child’s View