Step 7 in Preparing for Divorce: Change Your Definition of Winning

By: Adrienne Rothstein Grace
Last Update: October 26, 2016

In the final step from our series on preparing for divorce, consider what you really desire as an outcome. Changing your definition of “winning” can go a long way toward a healthy resolution.

Step #7: Change Your Definition of “Winning”

When faced with the transition of divorce, it is easy to get caught up in the quest for “winning.” Winning can take many forms, from winning an argument to getting the best of someone in financial negotiations. Or then again, is that really winning?

There is no doubt that your impending divorce is causing you angst and gives you reasons to doubt, distrust, and in general want to stop feeling like you are “being taken” either emotionally or financially.

In reality, you are probably both feeling that way. What was once a partnership is now becoming two individuals, each with the burden of navigating their new future plans on their own. Discussions move from “Where should we go on vacation next year?” to “I don’t want to give up the house.”

It’s time to redefine “winning.” The truest way to win in a divorce is when both spouses leave the relationship financially stable and able to move on to their own secure future. When children are involved, that new definition of winning expands to include the assurance that their everyday as well as educational needs are met, and that the family can be redefined, not destroyed, in the process.

If you are in the midst of a divorce, consider taking this new definition of winning to the table the next time you talk about your settlement. Being able to see both you and your spouse leave this relationship with a positive financial future truly is healthy – for everyone involved.

But how can you do that? Here are three easy ways to change your definition of winning.

1. Select What Is Most Important

You won’t get everything you want – not financially, not with the children’s schedule, and certainly not emotionally. Select those things that are truly most important to you, and be willing to “give” on the others. Consider carefully what you really need out of an agreement with your spouse vs. what you think you want. What can you, with relative ease, live without?

2. See Things from Both Views

Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes just for a moment – seeing things their way can help you understand what is truly important to them. While your anger may make this difficult, seeing the challenge from your spouse’s point of view can give you a perspective that can help you understand their motivations – and how to work around what is vitally important to them. 

3. Think of Your Future

Don't think about just today or the moment. Is what you are fighting over really important to your future well-being? Or is it something that will be over and done before you know? Understanding the elements that really affect your future can help you to prioritize what you should fight for, and what you can “give” on without a long-term negative consequence.

There are many benefits to this approach to winning – not only in insuring that both of you leave the marriage able to create a good future for yourself, but also in helping both of you heal. Losing the anger, working through your settlement, children’s schedules, changes in home ownership, etc. in a more harmonious manner is healthier for everyone involved. That healthier approach allows for a faster healing process and a more holistic healing process.

Changing your definition of “winning” will truly propel you to a more robust and “winning” future.


Securities offered through Cadaret, Grant & Co. Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Davis Financial and Cadaret, Grant are separate entities


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