Well, by snooping, you kinda asked for it, didn’t you? Deep down, you had a feeling something was going on. Your spouse assured you repeatedly that there was no one else, but he/she has been acting so weird lately, that you just couldn’t shake the suspicion. So, when you had the chance, you went onto his/her phone or account just to double check. Then you see the confirmation.
You feel like an idiot. Somehow you thought you were special and would avoid infidelity in your marriage. You are forced to acknowledge that your spouse has been lying to you about where they’ve been going, and with whom they’ve been hanging out. It’s like a kick in the gut. It takes your breath away.
Denial is often the first thought: “No. This can’t be true.” But then you suddenly find yourself going deeper into the trail of lies.
Now you start to put the pieces together and a rage starts to build within you. How dare he/she? Who the hell does he/she think he/she is? Who the hell am I to sit around taking this? This is a tough moment in time. How are you going to handle it? You have options. You always have options. Do you call the meanest, shark divorce lawyer you can find and start the process of a public shaming?
When you find your spouse in bed with someone else or you confirm their unfaithfulness, your first call should not be to the most aggressive adversarial divorce lawyer you can find. You are too hot, emotionally. You aren’t thinking clearly and that move is likely to make a difficult situation worse. Who should you call? Call your therapist and get an emergency appointment ASAP. You say you don’t have a therapist on-call? Then start calling around for one until you can find a professional in whom you can confidentially confide and get a handle on yourself and your emotions.
From the divorce lawyer’s perspective, it doesn’t really matter why you are breaking up, we are just going to get you divorced. We are not trained nor paid to handle your intense emotions. We have a job to do. If you call asking for help in your currently distressed state of mind, most of us are going to do what we are trained to do: start an adversarial divorce process. This may or may not be what you actually need in this moment.
You need time to process your feelings of betrayal and distress. You need time to express your anger in a safe way. You need time to assess whether or not this is a deal breaker for your marriage. It may not be. Perhaps it is just a symptom of some deeper issues in the marriage or with your spouse. Maybe it has nothing to do with you, or maybe it does. Either way, take some time to figure out as much of that as you can before you retain a lawyer trained in the dark art of adversarial warfare.
Consider calling a lawyer trained in Collaborative Divorce so that you can get some information about what to expect, but you won’t be rushed off to the courthouse. In a private, non-adversarial divorce process, the team can offer some support and guidance. This is helpful in the early phase of a divorce, which is often confusing and filled with anxiety about the unknown. The collaborative divorce team of professionals are trained and committed to resolving your divorce with as much dignity and mutual respect as possible, while acknowledging that there are strong emotions swirling around this decision. We understand that it is going to take time to build some trust and accountability before you can negotiate a resolution that meets the needs of your entire family.
Divorce is a process. You have a choice about which process to choose. Litigation. Mediation. Collaborative Divorce. This is going to take some time and you want to get it right. Pause. Get your legal questions answered and your legal needs met. Start a process where you can be assured that your voice will be heard, the process will be fair, and the eventual substantive agreement will be reasonable and something you can both live with into the future.
Can you remember a time when you were mad as hell, but you took a little time before you reacted? How did you feel about yourself when you exercised restraint of tongue? Now compare that to a time when you were just as mad, and you reacted, only to regret how you handled that one.
You have options. Use them.
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