What it means to see things from the other person’s perspective, and how it might help.

A woman called me last week devastated.  Her 28 year old husband told her he was going to visit his family in another state for a week. By the end of the week he called her and said he changed his mind, he is not returning. He wants a divorce.  (I am not exaggerating, these are my notes from an actual telephone conversation with a prospective client.)

“Is he seeing someone else?” I asked.

“No. He says he still loves me, but that he is not happy in the marriage.”

So, I pulled out my legal pad and started going through my checklist of questions, to get a feel for how much might be involved in this divorce.

“How long have you been married?”

            “10 years.”

“Do you have any minor children?”

            “No. I am 6 years older than he is, and really want children.  We had an appointment next week to start in vitro fertilization, so we can have children. It is a very expensive procedure, and we had talked about how much it would change our lives.”

“What do you each do for work?”

            “I have not had to work since we first got married. He works days as a waiter and has a second shift job washing pots at a different restaurant for extra income.”

Do you own or rent your home?”

            “We have been renting for a few months and I did a lot of work to get us a mortgage so that we can buy the place. It is a little more than we wanted to spend, but I know we can make it work.   Our closing is scheduled for 2 weeks from now.  I am afraid we are going to lose this deal if he doesn’t come back before then.” 

At that point I put down my pen and stopped asking questions.  I read her back the picture she had just painted for me.  Her husband is a 28 year old kid who has been married since he was 18 years old. They barely make ends meet with him working 2 jobs while she does not work. Now they are trying to add a mortgage and start a family.  I do not know the woman. I have never met her or her husband, but I told her that if I were him, I would want a divorce, too.  I said that if he were my brother I might love her as a sister-in-law, but I would tell my brother to get out of that marriage as fast as possible. 

It was quiet on the other end of the phone for a moment.  And then she said, “I have made a terrible mistake. I have to hang up right now so I can call my husband and apologize.”

I sincerely hope that it is not too late, for either of them. I hope that she can see what he must be seeing, and that she can work together with her husband to make a future that they both find attainable and enjoyable.

What We Love:  Divorce is almost always comprised of two people who once deeply loved each other.  Finding the compassion that belongs with that love can go a long way.






Published by Sharon Oberst DeFala

Sharon Oberst DeFala has practiced low-impact safe divorce since 1992.

One thought on “What it means to see things from the other person’s perspective, and how it might help.

  1. To be able to listen to someone else and understand them, is an amazing talent so little people have. Especially when everyone else that wants someone to talk to, only end up talking to someone who wants to get THEIR opinions across. Am i making sense? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: