Archive for January, 2016

Trust and Commitment: A Core to Successful Divorce

“I just want to get … out of my life!” “Can’t I just be done with this?”

Those are familiar words when divorce is on the table. So how is trust and commitment involved with any of this? Aren’t you trying to get away from someone that is not trusted and that broke a commitment?

When a couple decides that divorce is their option, whatever the reason, they move through a negotiation – either cooperatively or by force of a court mandate. If it is by force of a court order then agreements become binding handcuffs. You are each compelled to follow a set of guidelines that are imposed on your life. When someone fails to hold up their end of that agreement, whether real or perceived, the other person has the power to pull them in front of a judge for “corrective measures.”

But what happens when this is cooperative? When you cooperate, the agreement becomes a guideline from which a new life will be formed as well as a new family relationship. Fulfilling the outline of the agreement becomes a matter of choice rather than compulsion. That is why so many mediated and collaborative divorces are successful – they are design by the couple rather than imposed by a court.

The reason for the divorce may be a result of betrayal and someone turning away. Caryl Rusbult termed that as the “CL-ALT” or “comparison level for alternatives.” What that means is one person not only turn away from their partner, but they start to think,”“I can do better. Who needs this crap? I’m always dealing with negativity.”

Yet, even with this attitude, there is still the ability to create a living structure that allows both to resolve their sadness with the loss of one aspect of life while moving on with a new set of options and opportunities. How you approach this makes all the difference.

Candice Curry wrote a good article about what happens with a couple in divorce when they reach the ultimate in relationship separation – they threw out their parenting agreement. The result, for them, was liberating and it was based on a level of trust and commitment around the family – not about their intimate or marital relationship with each other.

We look to help couples as they start down this road. Agreements are useful when they are treated as tools, not as weapons. If divorce is your chosen solution, with the support of good family therapists and a place where you can bring a disagreement for a respectful conversation, it can be a journey toward healing rather than a place of continual hurt and contempt.


By: Armand & Robbin D’Alo