I ask my divorcing clients at the beginning of mediation if they are interested in staying married. Sometimes one will say, “yes” and the other, “no.” When this happens the spouse who wants to remain married is in a challenging position. Spouses have to be willing to stay married. I have seen spouse who want a divorce change their mind during mediation and decide to stay married. There seems to be a pattern to when this happens. It has to do with the conduct of the spouse who wants to stay married.
But before I tell you about it, there are some things you should know. First of all it takes a great deal of energy and commitment to seek a divorce. Therefore it is unlikely the spouse wanting the divorce will change direction. A mistake that many spouses who want to stay married make in an attempt to convince the other spouse not to get a divorce is to offer more in the divorce negotiation than they would be willing to live with if they had to. Then when their generosity is not rewarded with their spouse deciding to stay married, they regret having given so much.
Even though in my 30+ years of mediation experience it is rare for spouses who end up in my office to change their minds, when it does happen, what seems to work is behavior that looks like unconditional love. The spouse who wants to stay married says things like, “I love you. I want to be married to you. But, because you want a divorce, I will help.” They do not act like a martyr. They do not try to talk their spouse out of it. They try to give their spouse what they want and to address their spouses concerns. But they also take care of themselves. One spouse who wanted to stay married helped the other spouse find an apartment and helped move them in.
If you would like to discuss your current situation, give us a call for a free consultation at 303-225-1806.