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Debbi Dickinson

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Do You Want To Be Right Or Do You Want To Be Happy?

Posted: 06/18/2012 3:00 pm

Are you stuck in a bitter divorce fight?

Couples often get caught up with their perceived injustices in the divorce settlement negotiations. The disdain that they personally have for each other usually just adds fuel to the fire when negotiating.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we believe to be right that we don't back up and take a look at what is really the best option for us. It may be helpful to talk to a person who is note emotionally invested in either party.

The question is, will you be willing to consider advice given? Or are you so wrapped up in yourself and resentments you don't want to listen; you just want to vent.

When I was going through my divorce, my husband was unemployed at the time and he was also looking to move out of state to attend a University to obtain an additional degree. He wanted me to pay him maintenance for two years even though I would have full custody of our daughter. I made a decent living but was not wealthy by any measure.

My lawyer and I were gearing up to fight because I felt it wasn't fair since he was employable. I was telling a friend about this injustice and the audacity of him to even think I would consider it. My friend simply asked me, "How much money a month are you talking about?" I shared the dollar amount and he said, "Can't you afford that?" "Barely, but that's not the point. It's not fair."

He simply said, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

That statement hit me like a two-by-four. The reality is that I was an emotional wreck, and although I was certain that if I fought him I would win, I wasn't sure about the emotional and financial costs of a legal battle. After careful consideration, I contacted my lawyer and told her that I wanted to negotiate on the maintenance, which we did (against her advice I might add!)

What I had decided is that moving on with my life and my 4-year old daughter was more important than the money and additional emotional strain. It was one of the best decisions I made. For the short term, I was able to move on with my life without additional emotional upheaval. For me that was worth every penny.

What has surprised me most has been the unexpected long-term benefit of my settlement. That decision laid down the foundation for the amicable relationship today I have with my ex. As life went on, he became employable and his financial obligation of child support was a non-event to put in place for both of us.

Today the two of us can sit side by side watching our daughter's dance recital with our significant others. Each time I see the joy in my daughter's face of seeing her parents together as friends puts me in a place of gratitude of the decision I made many years ago. Now that is priceless!

 
 
 

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