The Ten Agendas of Divorcing Couples
by Bruce Derman, Ph.D.
When a couple goes through a divorce process, many times there is the assumption by various divorce professionals involved with them that they are seeking a divorce. While on some level that may be true, it is frequently far from being their main goal. Quite often the true agenda is hidden, disguised, or not clearly stated. Unless we know what their primary motivation is, we are clueless as to what we are dealing with, and we end up getting frustrated and lost.
Below is a list of the primary motivations that control and dictate the divorce process. These can either be shared with your clients or for you to be aware of in working with different couples. The bottom line is that either the following 10 agendas are taken into account and addressed before dealing with any divorce task or these agendas will run the show.
1. Avoid conflict because they can’t handle the tension.
2. Want to prove that they have the biggest hurt and want the other to pay for what they have done
3. Primarily interested in protecting themselves from their fears.
4. Only interested in moving on and getting away from the marriage.
5. Proving that they are the one who is right and competent.
6. Want to prove that they are independent and need no one.
7. Refuse to let go of the marriage and the breakup of the family, so they will use and delay any aspect of the divorce process.
8. Want the stimulation of the familiar emotional charge, since they are addicted to the negative energy.
9. Seek to validate some idealized image like “nice guy.”
10. Show everyone that no one will take advantage of them.