For many, it conjures up emotions of frustration, anger, bewilderment and sadness. It is a place where memories have been made and it’s heart-wrenching to walk away. Some of us poured a lot of sweat equity into our homes and made them just the way we wanted. It frustrates and angers us to give that up and start all over, in more ways than one. “I paid for that house and everything in it.” What to do with your home is one of the most emotionally charged negotiation topics in divorce.
But should it be? They say money can’t buy you love, so why should it buy you sadness, heartbreak, and anger? Think about that for a minute, no for hours.
Maybe you mind is filled with all the good memories created in your house, because sometimes our minds are selectively blind. We focus on all the good (which is not really a bad thing). Or even worse, we think about all the material things: the big-screen TV, the man cave in the basement, or the renovation in which we gave our heart and countless hours.
But what about all the bad? The fights. The frustrations. The lack of intimacy. It’s not the house that causes the emotional reactions, it’s what we wanted the house to represent – love, family, togetherness.
We attached such strong emotional ties to objects and now we don’t feel that we can create those same memories with someone else. WRONG, bad choice. We can, but that topic is for another blog (and several therapy sessions — hahaha). It’s important to know these strong emotional ties can lead to hard and drawn out negotiations that may end up costing you thousands of dollars.
So before you make decisions, and hopefully I am catching a lot of men before your negotiations are final, here are four simple strategies to shorten your negotiations and move forward to happiness faster.
Four Divorce Negotiation Strategies
- Take No Stake: Once you’ve attached an emotional stake into anything, you’ve lost the negotiation. Emotions are powerful and can lead to irrationality. If you want to make good decisions, don’t have a stake in wanting the house. Be indifferent. How? By adopting strategy #2.
- Change your Perspective from Romantic to Business: Think about your divorce and your home like any other business transaction, from memories and love, to dollars and cents. Because that is truly what divorce is about — a monetary split between two people (I am ignoring custody and parenting time for now.) Thinking about your divorce as a business transaction removes the emotion.
- Four Rounds and You’re Out: Too often we spend far too much time and money on negotiations that go several rounds. Cut your negotiations down to four rounds: 1) Give a fair and reasonable offer. 2) Your spouse counter offers. 3) Give your last and very reasonable, but FINAL, offer with a two-week deadline to respond. 4) Your spouse may counter offer or accept. If your spouse’s counter offer is not even close to your offer, don’t budge. If it was truly a VERY reasonable offer, there is no more room for you to move. If it is very close, then consider a compromise. (Of course this is not legal advice, rather strategies we have found to be very effective in long, drawn out negotiations)
- You Can Create Better Memories. How? When you recover from divorce properly, you take time to learn from your last relationship. So, the next relationship should be better. After your divorce, take time to reflect on who you are as a person, who you were in your last relationship, and who you want to be in your next relationship. Find areas in which you can grow. Then when opportunity to enter a new relationship knocks, you will be more confident about yourself and ready to create new memories.
With these four strategies we have helped hundreds of men make better decisions, reduced their cost of divorce and significantly reduced the emotionally charged aspects of divorce. Are you ready to let go of your home, move forward to happiness faster and make new memories?