Excel Only Shows Numbers – Not Feelings

Conversations between spouses concerning a divorce settlement are not as much about dollars as they first seem. They sound like they are about money, but they are really about unresolved feelings, which do not appear on a spreadsheet.

Feelings are a big part of divorce negotiations, and we must neutralize them before we can expect our negotiations to be productive. Unresolved feelings cause us to dwell on the problem instead of on the solution, and the longer we do this, the longer our divorce will take. 

Talking settlement without considering both of your feelings is like trying to float a boat without water. We will never be pleased with a settlement agreement unless we vent our grievances before entering into it. Any immediate sense of relief we get from settling without venting is not worth the longer-lasting regret that follows.

This is another reason to tolerate our spouse’s flak; it plays a large part in getting them to surrender. 

One way to neutralize our feelings is to talk about them objectively. Talking about the emotions that you are experiencing will lessen their negative effect. Here are some examples of neutralizing statements:

  • I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling frustrated. It seems we are just going around in circles.
  • I am having difficulty controlling my anger. I hope that this isn’t making things harder for you.
  • Look, I may be way off base, but I feel like I am giving up too much, and I don’t like feeling this way. I can’t help how I feel. Help me to better understand your thinking.
  • Just so you know, it kills me to give up the house. I’ll go along with the deal, but it is really hard for me.
  • I can see myself paying you that much, but it galls me that you do not seem to be at all appreciative. I’ll do it. However I’d feel better if I thought I’d be getting at least a “Thank you.”