How often have you heard the phrase “my head says this but my heart says that”. Or people talking about whether they make decisions with their head or their heart. They usually mean that they are either an emotion or instinct led decision maker, or more about the facts and the analysis. Sometimes people are a bit of both, or sometimes they make decisions differently depending on what the decision is about e.g making decisions about work on the basis of a factual analysis, whilst they make decisions about relationships on a more emotional or instinctive basis. There is usually no right or wrong way to make decisions.
There can of course be decisions that panned out well, and decisions that turn out to not have served us well. If a person finds themselves continually making poor decisions then they may need to revisit what led them to make those decisions.
In mediation you can find that one party makes decisions based on their instincts, whilst another prefers an analysis of all the facts. The fact that decisions were made in different ways can be a source of tension with each person taking the view that the other’s decision making process was flawed. This is where reality testing in mediation can be useful.
There is usually a preferred outcome for each party in mediation and the first options to consider are usually each person’s best options. We then use the flip chart to work through the financial reality of each option. For example, if one option is for party A to remain in the house then we look at what outgoings there will be and what income they receive. Is their income sufficient to pay all the bills? If not does party B have more income than they need and could they help out? Alternatively, an option may be to sell the house and to buy a cheaper house. Again they need to work through both parties’ outgoings and income to see if they can make ends meet. They also need to factor in the costs of the move to see how those costs will be met. All this can be done on the flip chart for both parties to see.
Sometimes one option may offer a clear financial advantage. Sometimes both may be possible, in which case other factors may come into play such as which option would see the least upheaval for the children? Or which option will enable both parties to take advantage of the most support from family and friends. In some cases neither option will be possible – despite the decisions each party had made. In that case the couple will need to look at more options to find one that will offer a solution.
It is this exploring of options, coupled with the reality checking, that enables couples to find their own tailor made resolution – regardless of the basis upon which they each make decisions.
If you think we can help you find your own tailor made resolution then please get in touch.