But I’m So Reasonable. . .

You ask your former partner or spouse to do something that you think is completely reasonable (e.g., answer your calls, respond to your emails or texts, check your availability before leaving the kids with you on his/her time). S/he refuses. You feel exasperated.

You know the drill, right?!

So here’s the deal . . . just because what you’re asking for may be completely reasonable (in fact, even 4 out of 5 dentists, doctors, lawyers, therapists, etc. agree it is reasonable) does NOT mean it is REALISTIC.

Expecting your former partner or spouse to agree to something when it is not realistic, can be maddening.

When you expect someone to agree with a request and you get upset when they don’t, two things are occurring.

One, you actually are holding your request as a demand (even if it is a simple and completely reasonable request and thus “should” be or easily could be agreed to).

And two, you have an unknown or unspoken expectation.

The problem with both of these is that when you are told no, you get upset, disappointed, angry, outraged, confused, etc. In fact, you may even feel righteous indignation – how dare he/she say no!

This type of thinking gets you nowhere and is a complete waste of your time and energy.

To help you discern if you have an unspoken expectation that is likely to get you in “trouble” (i.e., make you upset), I suggest that you ask yourself the following three questions before you make a request of your former spouse or partner.

  1. Is what I’m asking reasonable?
  2. Do I have an expectation that she or he will agree?
  3. Is it realistic to hold that expectation?

If you answer NO to any of the questions, then you may want to change your expectation so that you do not waste your life energy getting upset.

Notice, I do not say don’t ask. Go ahead and ask for what you want. Just don’t count on or expect to get the answer you want.

When you ask for what you want and speak your truth without any expectations, you are honoring yourself. Honoring oneself is a GREAT way to spend your life energy!

In Service and Support ~



Cat Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Divorced and Divorcing Parents. As a divorced mother of 2, she deeply understands the challenges, trauma and opportunities divorce provides. She has been practicing Nonviolent Communication, Mediation and Collaborative Law for 7 years. She has conducted workshops and trainings in Nonviolent Communication for hundreds of parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. She has taught at universities in Western Washington on diverse topics such as Women and the Law, Constitutional Law, and Communication. Her combination of personal experience and professional expertise give Cat a unique perspective and ability to help clients learn to communicate effectively and powerfully to transform their relationships and interactions with their former partner or spouse so they and their children can thrive.

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