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The more you give, the more you get

Wednesday, August, 7, 2013


Jennifer Safian of discusses how even small gestures of apology can go a long way in easing hurt with a divorcing spouse.

Many people going through divorce are sad, angry, fearful, anxious – - all of which are very normal reactions.

  • The highest earner (or sometimes sole earner) often feels unfairly treated because they are expected to share through “equitable distribution” the savings accumulated during the marriage, which they feel are the result of their personal hard work!

  • The lowest earner (or sometimes the unemployed party) is scared to be out in the world alone, wondering how they are going to be able to manage without the income or financial support from the other spouse.

  • The “rejected” party wants the other party to “pay” for what they are doing to him or her.

These feelings are often triggered by thoughts of revenge because one party expects more money to make up for the pain of betrayal or unfair treatment that has been inflicted on him/her. Money is one of the tools a party feels they can use to “get back” at the other party, but in reality money will not take away those deep painful hurts. It’s only a band aid solution but not a cure to the deep pain.

Antagonizing the other party with criticism, attacks and demands often does not lead anywhere except to more anger. This may result in a negative reaction from the party being attacked who may then be tempted to feel even less cooperative and generous.

But there is another way.

I have observed many times in divorce mediation, as well as in many other areas of life, that if we handle things differently, we are often surprised by the other person’s response. Giving of oneself, trying to understand the other party’s feelings, and being a little more generous than we are “supposed to be” (or even would like to be), may have a calming effect. A sincere and heartfelt apology may help the other person to understand that you are aware of how much they hurt and that you are truly sorry. In response to this gesture, the other person may in turn become more open to a dialogue and not feel as strongly about continuing the fight for revenge.

If you have hurt someone and that person cannot get over the pain, a few words, some understanding and an unexpected gesture may go a long way toward healing, and opening the door to a meaningful discussion on how to divide the marital property.

The more you give, the more you will get . . .


Jennifer Safian, Mediator

jennifer safian divorce and family mediator

phone: (212) 472-8626

email: [email protected] website:

Divorce and Family Mediation Upper East Side of Manhattan (NYC) New York, NY