Handling Irreconcilable Differences

Statistics indicate that approximately 60 percent of divorces filed are due to “irreconcilable differences.” These inharmonious disputes are defined as pretty much as any type of conflict the couple cannot resolve in order to save their marriage. Some of these clashes may include:

  • Financial problems
  • Broken trust or infidelity
  • Personality conflicts
  • Anger and resentment
  • Unmet emotional needs
  • Long distance separation
  • Lack of communication
  • Alcohol and/or substance abuse
  • Excessive bickering
  • Aggressive behavior

Problems in a marriage are inevitable, and sometimes they are insurmountable depending on the situation. Marriage counseling can help you look at the relationship from several different angles to see what can be repaired.

For example, if one spouse’s emotional needs are not being met then it’s a safe bet the other spouse’s needs are not either. Counseling can help both parties bridge the gap and communicate better.

If anger and resentment have built up due to lack of trust, financial problems, or other concerns, it’s important to determine what the underlying issues are (i.e. control, disrespect, irresponsibility) before moving forward with a plan of action.

Constant squabbling and bickering is a childish and immature way for grownups to behave. Whether you plan to stay together or not, learning how to communicate respectfully will be paramount – especially if children are involved. In the event of divorce, good communication is still essential if you want to work out a healthy co-parenting plan.

A real deal breaker can be consistent alcohol and/or substance abuse, or aggressive behavior by a spouse. If the spouse is unwilling to undergo rehabilitation or the aggressor has become violent, then divorce will mostly likely be imminent. There are also non-violent forms of abuse (emotional and/or verbal) that can be just as damaging to a marriage.

These are just a few symptoms of a destructive relationship. Unfortunately, many couples don’t know how to handle conflict and avoid communication meltdowns in marriage. However, skills to handle disagreements and work out compromises can be learned from a qualified mental health professional or therapist. These skills can be useful at any stage of your marriage whether you’re newlyweds or have been together for decades. And they are definitely helpful for couples who are in serious distress and/or considering divorce.

Often, couples can learn how to make their differences work in their favor instead of against them. And when that doesn’t work there is a dispute resolution called “collaborative divorce” that can make the process less adversarial.

Feel free to contact Dr. Susan K. Daniel, who is a member of the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida. She can help families civilly resolve disputes outside of the courtroom and focus on the welfare of the children. In addition, she is a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, as well as a Certified Parenting Coordinator. These qualifications enable her to provide specialized conflict resolution skills for families, including couples going through divorce.