Truth can often be dependant on a person’s point of view. The story of the three blind men and the elephant are a perfect example of this. As the three blind men visited the zoo, they were introduced to the elephant while standing at different locations. The first blind man touched the elephant’s leg and said, "An elephant is like a large and deeply-rooted tree; you cannot budge it no matter how hard you push." The second blind man touched the elephant’s trunk and said, "No, no, you are wrong. An elephant is like a fat snake hanging from a tree. It is in constant motion and it wants to nibble on my ear." The third blind man held the elephant’s tail and said, "No, no, no. You are all wrong – an elephant is but a stiff rope with a bit of brush on the end."
This story illustrates how perspective can determine an individual’s view of truth. Experience and situation affect our observations as much as the cold hard facts do. Every experience is valid and no view is wrong – just different. In our society, men and women experience things differently, and divorce is no exception. The other sex’s point of view during the divorce process can often be difficult to understand. However, putting in the effort to understand your spouse’s thoughts and feelings can help you both gather a better understanding of each other’s needs. As this understanding grows, it will become easier and easier for you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to create a dissolution that is fairer, less costly, and much less painful for all parties involved.
How does your spouse perceive this divorce? Sometimes, there’s no greater learning tool than experience. My observations of the thoughts, needs, and behaviors that arise during divorce proceedings for the other sex may help you better understand the best way to create your dissolution.
The most difficult issues to understand are commonly those that stem from what people feel most deeply – that is, emotional issues. Though not always true for every divorcing couple, those undergoing the divorce process tend to feel a sense of disconnect when they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue. Each person wants some things, and the other person often does not want or know how to provide those. This can lead to misunderstanding, which can spiral quickly into frustration and hurt if not handled carefully.
Open lines of communication are the best way to avoid this. Minimizing any misunderstanding can directly translate into minimizing the amount of hurt involved, making it easier to create the dissolution agreements that work for both parties.
Obviously, these differences are a generalization based on experience and observation and do not hold true for every man or every women. Instead, think of them as guidelines to possible differences that you may encounter during the divorce process.