Barbara Rothberg, DSW, LCSW

Therapy, Coaching, Mediation and Parent Coordination

 
 
 
       

Generosity

16 November, 2017 Barbara Rothberg DIVORCE

& nbsp;Generosity is the key to a happy separation.

Most couples who are in the process of separating struggle with generosity. That is actually very understandable, as the process of separation is very difficult and often brings out the worst in people. At this time, individuals are generally quite angry with one another. Even if there isn't overt anger, there is hurt, felt by one or both of the parties. The last thing that either of them wants to do is to be nice and generous to their almost ex. But what if they tried to do that ?

Actually, when people are nice and generous to each other, it usually has a good effect. It can be catching! When someone is generous in spirit, it is harder for the other person to be nasty. If on the other hand, one is mean and hostile they will get responded to in kind. Many decisions need to be made when a couple decides to separate, particularly if children are involved. If there is a generosity the decisions can be made more easily and peacefully. But how can this be done, particularly when someone is angry ?

The answer is, it is difficult, but possible. It means making a concerted effort to control behavior and attitude. It means making a conscious decision to be nice and generous. It means having having self control and thinking before one speaks. It means having compassion for the other person (that you once loved and is the other parent of your children) and accepting that the relationship is over and it is time to move on.

For example, Ellen is in the process of divorce and is aware that her husband had an affair during their marriage. She was exrtremely hurt and furious that he chose to be with another woman, rather than her. At first, she refused to allow this woman anywhere near her children. Fast forward a year, and her almost ex is still involved with this woman (who she understandably hates) and the husband wants his girlfriend to spend time with the kids. After initially saying absolutely no, Ellen agreed to her spending some time with them. Her generosity and changing attitude made a big difference in her relationsip with her almost ex and has helped them complete the issues of their divorce in a more amiable way. Strangely, it also helped Ellen begin to move on as she decided she was ready to date herself. The best part of her new found generosity was that her anger was dissipating and she was feeling better about herself. Staying angry only makes people unhappy and stuck. Ellen learned this.

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