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What Happens When the Rejected Becomes the Rejector?

What Happens When the Rejected Becomes the Rejector? by Ada Hasloecher{4:06 minutes to read} No matter which spouse wants out of the marriage, there invariably comes a time when there may be some second guessing. This is not to say that there is going to be a reconciliation, but the fact of the matter is that, as with all big decisions, the actual reality may not be as clean and clear as it was when we originally conceived it.

Case in point: I worked with a couple where the wife was definitely the initiator of the separation. I’m pretty sure that she already had a significant other in her life when they came to see me. The husband looked like someone had shot him out of a cannon. He was despondent and morose and seemed lost to the point of despair.

To make matters worse for him, they were in dire (and I mean dire) financial straits to the point that he had to cash out all of his retirement plans in order to make ends meet, and this was BEFORE they came to see me. The wife worked part time in order to be available for their three children, so most of the financial burden to support the family was on him.

We had our work cut out for us, and we worked methodically and carefully each step of the way. I gave them as much homework to do outside of the mediation sessions as possible to help them keep the costs down.

The wife wasn’t particularly vociferous to begin with, but as time went by and we worked through the issues to be discussed and resolved, she became quieter and quieter. No matter what questions were asked or what proposals were put on the table for consideration, she either shrugged her shoulders, rejected each and every one out of hand with no suggestions or proposals of her own, or baited the husband.

I tried all the tricks in my goody bag, including the most effective one in a case like this: sitting quietly and letting the silence fill the room. That was the one thing that seemed to work, but she still remained somewhat recalcitrant. The husband became frustrated saying to her: “You’re the one who wanted this!“ At that point, they took a break for several months.

When I saw them next, the husband arrived first. When I opened the door to the waiting room, the first thought that entered my mind was – he has a girlfriend. He was relaxed; he was smiling and seemed to have found himself again. The fact was that he had met someone. And that changed the tenor of the mediation in different ways for each of them:

  • For him: He was ready to finish up and move on.
  • For her: Not so much.

I don’t think she ever expected this. It surprised and unnerved her. Up until now, she’d had him on an emotional hook. If there was ever a chance for a reconciliation (which is what he had initially wanted), it was obviously too late now. The “rejected” became the “rejector.”

That old adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” definitely came to mind.

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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