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Jan had moved out. She had had enough of Peter, his interfering ex-wife and his hostile grown up children. She approached us to work on her separation and divorce. Peter was at a loss. He did not want to lose Jan but felt that anything he said just made things worse so he said nothing. The two of them came to talk about divorce mediation but I wasn’t convinced that this was what they really wanted. The message I heard was that they had tried everything they knew to try and they were divorcing because nothing worked.

With more listening I discovered that they had never really worked out how to manage their finances. An older couple, both of them had previous marriages and grown up children and grandchildren. The truth was that Jan felt that she had put more wealth into the marriage than Peter and believed this was detrimental to her own children. She was worried about Peter’s children inheriting part of her wealth which was always intended for her children. She had never given voice to this because she really hadn’t ever put words to the frustration she felt.

We worked through the finances and talked about issues that neither of them had ever broached. They were able to divide things up in a way which helped Jan feel much more comfortable. She was less inclined to end the marriage. She saw things in a different light.

I asked them if they would consider learning a new language to communicate with each other. They agreed. The marriage was reconciled and they live in a way that works much better for both of them.

 

Names have been changed.

 

Reflections

Many of us will have more than one long term partner in our lives. As we get older we bring wealth into new relationships that was generated beforehand. Yet, many couples, too embarrassed to talk about money, fail to agree a financial framework for the relationship which is fair and sustainable.

The Dialogue Road Map helps couples to talk about money, finances and wealth without judgement, blame or accusations.


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