Divorce and the “Let It Go” T-Shirt

Someone once gave me a T-Shirt with the logo “Let it Go”; I wasn’t sure how to take it. I had a “Who me?” moment or two. But even without my T-shirt experience, I am reluctant to talk to people who are going through the crisis of separation about “letting go” of anything, so I share these thoughts with reservations, and with definite humility.

The further away from separation, the easier it is for most people to think more about the future than about the past. There is certainly no formula for how long it will take any one person to experience the shift from past to future, and it’s not a great idea to plunge into negotiations for a Parenting Plan or division of assets if “future” isn’t a word that makes sense yet. But at some point, that is what has to be done, and deciding to do some letting go can help.

I value the wisdom of my clients, and admire the way so many of them cope as they go through separation and negotiations with some they once loved, and who can now drive them into a rage, prompted by fear, jealousy, betrayal, broken trust or some or all of those.

What I have observed is that people who resolve to “get through this”, “refuse to let this define my life”, think “I can be the warning or the example”, have a way of “letting go” some of what would otherwise keep them stuck or hold them back.

Thinking about how you got to the point of separation, who was most right or most wrong, what it would have taken to avoid ending your marriage, and when and how that was, are thoughts that can drive you crazy. Feelings of revenge and wanting your ex to be shown up to the world as the cause of all this can also drive you crazy. “Letting go” doesn’t mean you can’t think about those things ever again, and maybe that is unrealistic in any case.

Deciding to “let go for now”, or seeking advice for strategies to make your troubling thoughts a smaller point on your daily horizon could give you the space to reach a settlement that you won’t regret. A settlement that is about making your best future, not about making your ex pay for the past. Delaying, being unreasonable or other payback tactics can be awfully tempting, but is usually very stressful, costly, and doesn’t deliver. And worse than that, if that’s what your ex expects of you, nobody wins.

“Letting go” isn’t giving in, its making space for something better, and its one of things you can control in the chaos of separation.

Marguerite Picard
Collaborative Lawyer, Mediator, Peacemaker

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