One of the most important things to do following divorce is to identify as a single person rather than a spouse.   We begin to let go of mutual expectations and opinions in order to develop our independence as a single person. 

This part of moving forward is usually far more important than many divorcees initially realize.  Often, we are so consumed with the process of the legal dissolution we don't fully acknowledge much of our pain stems from the simple fact that our identity as a married person is dying and usually a slow, painful death.  

Stop caring what your soon-to-be ex thinks

It's time to let go of caring about your spouse's opinions of you and it's time to stop judging him/her for doing the same.  You're both going to change and hopefully for the better as single individuals rather than as a married couple.  

Care about me as a spouse or you're my enemy

Not a good mindset for either side

Failing to recognize your new "independence" by caring what your ex thinks or does is a common barrier in reaching amicable settlements.  In many cases, both spouses have expectations of mutual consideration while being consumed by their own wants and needs.

However, each spouse focusing on his/her side of the divorce isn't really a problem. The main problem is that each may be expecting the other to respond, care or react as a spouse rather than the petitioner or respondent in the divorce lawsuit. 

  • Think for yourself, protect your interests, but don't make your soon-to-be ex an enemy because he/she does the same.

This means don't care that your spouse is solely focused on protecting himself and his share of the assets from your marriage.  

  • Your soon-to-be ex doesn't need to be your enemy because he/she no longer protects your interests before his/her own.

This means don't feel dejected if your soon-to-be ex no longer cares or considers your wants and needs, perhaps more than his/her own, like a spouse.

When love leads to hate...or at least a costly disliking

The more each spouse feels his/her expectations and opinions are disregarded and continues to maintain an interest in the other's life, opinions and decisions, the more adversarial the divorce develops.  This leads to an emotionally charged and expensive legal battle that can take years to resolve.  

Normal, but not helpful

Such an identity crisis can lead to contentious negotiations in that one or more spouses negotiates like a single person while thinking like a spouse, someone who expects consideration and respect from their counterpart while trying to assert his/her needs and personal rights as a single individual.  

It reaches beyond just negotiating rifts and makes the entire process of divorce more complicated, emotional and dramatic.  The longer one or both individuals look through the lens of a spouse, the more emotions get in the way of an amicable, timely dissolution.   

While it's common for many spouses to take some time to fully let go of their soon-to-be ex as both a lover and an adversary, the sooner each can narrow the gap in his/her self-image and think with less marital influence and the sooner each spouse will recognize improvements in overall decision making and expectations. 

Until then, either may have feelings of dissatisfaction with most everything and everyone because he/she is struggling to satisfy two opposing objectives. 

It's time to move forward

You're not going to lose your sense of being a wife or husband overnight.  But it's clear that you're going to each have separate lives, responsibilities and goals with a legal document that details each and every division of your former life together. 

Make every effort to establish your separate goals and plans for your future, as a single person, as soon as possible.  It's best to do so before a settlement is negotiated or litigated for both emotional and financial reasons.

Divorce can be an awkward, painful and willful experience.  It's not easy to think objectively when your spouse is the other party in the lawsuit.  You don't want to give up what you're owed, but you shouldn't fight over things for the sake of fighting, especially at $200 per hour in legal fees. 

Where did we go wrong?

Somewhere between "Will you marry me?" and "I want a divorce"

It isn't a bad thing to have high expectations for your spouse's consideration when you're with someone so long, in love with someone so much, that you both share the same ideology and common interests.  In doing so, each of your viewpoints on how you should be treated and treat others, namely your spouse, is similar.  As a happy married couple, you share so much of what you each want that your perspective of what each other gives and takes is pretty much the same.  You share mutual philosophies of love, companionship and desire.  

When a marriage starts to deteriorate one or both spouses begin to lose that.  They lose the power of love.  In some cases, both spouses have the power to understand and reconcile each other's actions through their love, but one or both choose to ignore what he/she knows is right by their marriage, only to lead it to problems or demise.

In a divorce, usually something pretty awful either instantly jolts the couple out of this powerful bliss or the disconnect between what each spouse thinks or expects, the ability to negotiate a settlement or even who keeps the old worthless chifforobe, is pretty much impossible.

We put together a few ways to get the old thinking out of your way and get your mind on you, your settlement and future.

Out with the old, in with the new you


Look, it's okay to be self-centered right now.  Just don't let it go to your head and your pocketbook.  Don't put your soon-to-be's needs before your own, but don't fight just to fight because you feel unheard. 

Trust us.  You aren't being heard over his/her needs and, truthfully, nor should you.  So, ya it will totally feel like you have to fight for your own best interests and that your fight is with a complete nincompoop. 

But rest assured, we're all a little nincompoopy during a divorce, so do what it takes to get in, get out and get what you deserve.  Just know, that when it's over you'll still probably feel like you got less than you deserve even if you got more than you expected.  The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can stop throwing good emotional money after bad.  The divorce is a loss, in most cases it will never feel like a win.  Ever. 

Rest assured your spouse also feels that way, even if he/she did "better" in the divorce than you.

So, get out of the big "D" mindset.  Once you're out, stay out and don't let it or your ex pull you back in.  Keep your independence and continue to pursue a new forward-thinking lifestyle.


"Every man for himself...or woman for herself" 

Ya, divorce is like that.  It doesn't really matter how amicable or decent the negotiations go; you both need to think about your individual future and more than the next couple of years. 

Stay focused on your needs and negotiate with a sound mind and less emotions (for or against your soon-to be) in order to take care of yourself and your family now and tomorrow. 

Clearly when your life is being ripped apart asset by asset, hour by hour with your kids, it takes everything you have just to get through each and every day.  But truly, tomorrow only gets harder if you don't consider your future when negotiating your settlement today. 

Take those two ways.  One, don't be the nice one who let's your spouse and his/her attorney call the shots.  Second, don't be an idiot who runs up the bill for emotional baggage that's not worth it.

When it comes to the past, just know, following a divorce (and in most of your natural lifetime) much of what we hold onto of our past will do more harm than good.  It will definitely always be a part of the settlement and your life, but don't let it damage it any more than it possibly has.  Your past should be part of what supports you through experience and wisdom. 

Your problems from the past shouldn't be in front of you and everything you think and do.  If it is, your focused away from the future and not moving in the right direction. 


Today is important.  It's like your arms and legs when you're swimming.  But the future is your destination.  Without planning for a place for which you are destined, your arms and legs will get very tired and eventually you'll tire and drown. 

Worse yet is when you're pulling all that emotional baggage from the past that only weighs you down, tires you out and prevents you from reaching dry land.   

It's easy to think that in the beginning of your life, marriage or divorce, that you can swim forever and today's hum drum, paycheck to paycheck or hectic lifestyle is manageable and/or enough, but it's not.  

So, while you can never just stop living for today, moving your arms and legs to keep afloat and moving forward, make sure when you're about to jump off the deep end into the icy divorce waters that you have a plan, a destination.  That plan should include the person you aspire to be and future you want for yourself and your family. 

Don't be afraid to give up a little to reach an expeditious resolve to your divorce.   Focus on the least amount of time in the rough, cold waters in hopes to reach a more serene, easy-to-keep-afloat life until your reach land to rebuild life the way you really want and deserve!


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