In a previous article, we discussed the problem of letting envy cloud your judgment of whether or not to divorce. Today, we will examine the vice that plagues divorcing spouses once they have made the decision to truly end their marriage. Pride, like envy, isn't always a bad thing. It fine to be proud of your accomplishments, your healthy children, your new home, and other things that you've worked for throughout your life. The problem with pride is that you can apply it to things and situations that simply don't matter, given the context.
For example, does your spouse's comment at the mediation concerning your workaholic tendencies upset you? If it does, is it because it makes you sound like a bad parent who puts his work above his family? This is where pride rears it's ugly head. Although such a comment is hurtful, what matters is your children, and coming up with a custody plan that's fair to everyone. Some spouses, however, will spend the next hour arguing over an alleged accusation that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. All that's likely to happen here is a failed mediation, followed by costly and time-consuming litigation.
Even worse is the proud spouse who gets what they want, perhaps even more, but is still furious over how they appeared in court. Sure, she got the house and primary custody of the kids, and 50% of her spouse's pension plan, plus a very reasonable alimony and child support award, but “Did you hear what he said about me being a drunk?” It doesn't matter that there was so evidence to substantiate this claim, and that even the judge pointed out that over-drinking from time to time is not a full blown addiction. The insulted wife still can't get over being publicly accused of something that makes her look less than the perfect woman, wife and mother.
There's great temptation to be judgmental of such people, but those who have gone through a divorce understand the raw feelings that are involved. It's bad enough having to declare to the world that you have a failed marriage, that your kids are now going to be be put through something they didn't ask for. You may also be seen as the “bad person” by family and friends, based on the actions that led up to the divorce. Chances are, your nerves are already on edge, so any mention of how you failed to measure up is going to hurt exponentially more than it should. The important thing is to reflect on what really matters: your kids, finalizing the divorce, moving on with your life. Remember, whatever anyone else feels about you is their right, but only you define who you are and how you live your life. Focusing on the opinion of others, especially someone from whom you are about to be divorced, is unproductive, and possibly destructive in your ability to obtain a fair divorce settlement.