After nearly a decade in family law, one would think a divorce attorney has seen enough broken hearts to be forever cynical of love.
And maybe most are.
I for one, am not.
Perhaps financially disentangling lost love has given me more of an understanding and appreciation for the capacity and great intensity of the power two beings can share in heart and soul.
I don’t profess to know a whole lot about it. After all I am not called upon to determine the reason for heartbreak or how it can be repaired. But I do have the unique privilege to see it daily – raw and unfiltered. Sure, I see dysfunction, despair, anger and much uglier emotion — in fact it’s my job to spot them and vet those feelings out to focus the parties on the factors our state deems important — but I also recognize that none of those feelings would be so strong, if these two people, didn’t at one time feel deeply for each other. If you read into my rant, it may look like I thrive on dysfunction or misconstrue passion for love. I’d like to think that I’ve done a bit more self work than that.
So for what it’s worth, this is what one divorce lawyer has learned about love and relationship:
- Talk about finances before you spend it — or be prepared for resentment and disappointment. Be transparent with your finances or expect distrust. I’ve seen clients reconcile when they knew how the other party was spending money, but just didn’t approve of it. I’ve never seen a reconciliation – let alone an amicable divorce – when one party controlled all of the finances or there was lots of secrecy around money.
- Take care of you first. Self-care is not selfish. When you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off — you cannot possibly be present for your partner or kids. Learn to say no instead of yes. Get enough sleep. Don’t try and fix every problem at once. Take a walk, breathe, and gain some perspective. You’ll find it much easier to nurture your relationship! If you’re not happy, little things build up and you end up blowing up over the smallest things.
- Don’t punish your spouse by withholding sex. When one spouse uses sex as a fight tactic, it’s like giving the silent treatment (in the bedroom). At one point it was good right? Find that healthy way to feel close again.
- Quit raving about a co-worker. I’ve had several clients tell me that their partner would constantly compare them to another person of the same sex. They always felt like they were being compared and couldn’t keep up with that person’s ‘perfect’ facebook life. Be your spouse’s number one fan!