Believe it or not, when it comes to the most important issues, we humans are naturally of two minds and often find ourselves both wanting and not wanting the exact same thing, to some degree. In other words, we are naturally ambivalent about most things—we see the potential positives and the potential negatives of situations. Even with regard to the things we think we want with all of our being, with all of the force of our most powerful desires, we usually have some reservations deep down inside—it’s only natural. For instance, I would bet that even the blushing bride who talks of feeling 100% certain that marrying her handsome prince at this time in this way is the very best thing to do, has a reservation or two about some aspect of getting married to this particular prince in this particular way at this particular time. Often we don’t want to know about our ‘other’ feelings, as acknowledging our natural ambivalence might complicate things and make it harder to move forward. But, as I have written in previous blogs, denying or not letting yourself know about certain thoughts or feelings does not make them go away… they are always still there!
When it comes to divorce, it can be baffling to see this ‘decision ambivalence’ at play. Recently, a couple walked into my office and both spouses agreed that they’d like a mediated divorce and they’d like it as soon as possible. They told me that they had already told their children about their divorce, that one spouse had moved out and established a second household, and that each of them had even found new partners. They expected that their divorce mediation would be “straightforward”, “simple” and “quick” and promptly signed my mediation agreement, paid their retainer and promised to forward to me several potential dates for a first mediation session. Then, I waited to hear from them. I waited, and waited, and waited.