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Why Your Ex Isn’t Lying

Categorized as Firm News
family lawyer

Divorce, a rollercoaster of emotions and disagreements, can often feel like a battle of “truth” vs. “lies.” Accusations fly, trust crumbles, and communication becomes a minefield. But what if the truth isn’t a singular, objective entity, but a multifaceted tapestry woven from individual perspectives?

On Friday, February 16, 2024, the St. Louis area was hit with a snow storm that was considerably worse than predicted. A woman became stuck at work and her husband had to come get her in his SUV. When they got home, their neighbors, who were outside playing with their children, asked if the roads were in bad shape due to the snow. The woman, who is from Texas and has little snow-driving experience, stated they were dangerous and completely snow-covered. Her husband, who is from St. Louis, and has years of experience driving in snow, stated they are not too bad. Who was lying? Well, neither the wife nor her husband lied. It came down to a matter of perspective. The snow-driving novice, who grew up not seeing snow every winter was not misstating that to her perspective, they were very snowy. And neither was her husband, who drives an SUV and grew up driving in snow every winter. 

According to a family lawyer this analogy perfectly captures the heart of why communication in divorce can feel so frustrating. Each partner carries their own history, experiences, and emotional baggage, shaping how they interpret information and events. What one sees as a harmless gesture, the other might perceive as a passive-aggressive jab. What one believes is fair compensation, the other might consider grossly inadequate.

Why We See Things Differently:

Emotional Filters: Divorce is rarely a calm walk in the park. Anger, hurt, and resentment can cloud judgment, leading individuals to focus on negatives and interpret actions through a biased lens of hurt, disappointment and anger. 

Unique Experiences: Your past shapes your present. Upbringing, family dynamics, and individual journeys influence how you view conflict, communication, and compromise.

Differing Needs and Priorities: What matters most to one person might be insignificant to another. Financial security, emotional validation, or maintaining a relationship with children can create conflicting priorities and differing goals.

Beyond Accusations, Recognizing Different Perspectives:

Instead of getting lost in a blame game, the key lies in understanding, not judgment. Here are some tools to help navigate the complexities of differing perspectives from our friend at Flat Fee Divorce Solutions:

Active Listening: Truly listen to your ex, without interrupting or dismissing their feelings. Try to see the world through their eyes and understand their underlying needs. Ask clarifying questions like “What are your concerns about this?” or “What would make this feel fair to you?” When you ask those types of questions, you often short-circuit your partner from lashing out. Instead, you hear why they want something and in listening, how you can meet your goals and theirs. A productive conversation centers around both persons getting something of value. 

Validate Feelings: Even if you disagree, acknowledge their emotions. Saying, “I understand why you feel frustrated” can build trust and create a safe space for communication. This will not be easy because of the emotional baggage that goes with divorce. Try to detach and pretend that you are talking with a friend or relative. 

Shift Your Perspective: While you can’t control your ex’s viewpoint, you can manage your own. Try to detach from emotionally charged responses and view situations objectively. Again, this is where pretending you are talking with anyone else comes in handy.

Seek Professional Help: A therapist specializing in divorce can provide valuable tools for communication and conflict resolution, helping you navigate challenging conversations and understand different perspectives.


  • Understanding Doesn’t Mean Agreement: Recognizing and respecting your ex’s perspective doesn’t mean agreeing with it. It simply opens the door to more constructive communication and collaboration.
  • Focus on Common Ground: Despite the differences, you likely share some common goals, like minimizing stress for your children or achieving a swift and fair resolution. Focus on these shared objectives to find common ground and move forward constructively.
  • The Power of Perspective: Just like your hand has different details from different angles, divorce issues often have multiple sides. By recognizing and appreciating these diverse perspectives, you can unlock new possibilities for understanding, empathy, and ultimately, a more peaceful resolution.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a battle of “right” and “wrong.” By shifting your focus from “lying” to “understanding,” you can cultivate empathy, foster constructive communication, and ultimately reach a resolution that works for everyone involved. Remember, the journey towards a better future starts with seeing things through different eyes, not just your own. If you are considering a divorce, reach out to an attorney near you that can help you with the process.