Jayne immediately said that she and Will disagreed on absolutely everything! Will piped up with “I disagree with that!” This was obviously an indication of the difficulties I would encounter with their case.
I did an internal “eye roll” and told them not to worry, that I would help them have the conversations that needed to take place to prepare for their divorce; that I would support both of them at all times so that each had a voice in the room and the chance to express their needs and concerns.
Jayne gave me a look like “wait until you see what happens with us!” Will was silent, but his body language and facial expression indicated that he felt exactly the same way as Jayne.
During the consultation, both Jayne and Will asked questions about the process. Surprisingly, their questions were very much in synch or complemented each other. At the end of the consultation, they both agreed to pursue the mediation with me.
For a couple who disagrees on everything, that was a pretty good start!!
They started their mediation sessions with a rather defensive attitude towards one another. It seemed to me that before each of them spoke, they “knew” in advance that the other would react negatively.
As the process evolved, however, they let their defenses down and somehow were able to come to decisions together without too much apparent conflict. Did they have to compromise? Of course they did, as many people often do when they have divergent opinions but want to find a solution. In the end, they were quite surprised and admitted that they never thought they would agree on so many issues.
The mediation process sometimes does wonders for people. It helps them find common ground upon which to start building an agreement. If both parties come in with the goal of getting things resolved, they usually do.
Don’t let the perception of total disagreement become the reality. Rather, accept the fact that even if you don’t see eye-to-eye, you may actually find ways to resolve things in a way that is satisfactory to all.
Have a conflict to resolve? Call me at 212-472-8626. You, too, may be surprised by the mediation process.
* Names changed
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 firstname.lastname@example.org connect on