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Your Message & The Other Person


I had someone recently send me an email as a means of communicating to me things that one could ordinarily say in person. It wasn’t the nicest email and frankly, it left a bad taste in my mouth about the person and my relationship with them.

They said that in preparing it, they did think of me and my likely response. Beyond them thinking that they’d feel better about sending the email and knowing that I wouldn’t like what was said, I don’t think they had any insight into what I was going to take away from their email ‘message’.

The relevance of this is that on a day to day basis when I am engaged by one person to communicate to their former partner on their behalf to help reach an agreement, I ask my client—

How do you think the other person will respond or take it if we say this?
Where is your partner in the stages of processing the separation?
Is there a good time to send our letter?
What do you think your partner wants by way of a final outcome?
What do you think your partner will “hear” or take away from what we say to them?
What message do you actually want to convey?

I have personally found that considering the other person, their circumstances and their personality are extremely important factors to the couple successfully working through their separation to reach an agreement.

At the end of the day, it takes two (or more) people to have an agreement. To effectively go in blind with no consideration of the other person in your communications with them, is to leave yourself open to a disagreement, miscommunication and misinterpretation. Don’t be surprised if the relationship and communication further deteriorates.

The take home? Carefully consider what you put in writing to your partner before sending it, as well as when you send it and what you think (because you know them best) what they’re likely to take away from your message.