The worst case scenario is that you have caused your divorce. Besides dealing with your spouse’s anger and hurt, you also have the added guilt knowing your actions, intentional or not, have caused your family pain. It is still possible for you to work through an amicable divorce with a mediator if you are willing to follow a few simple steps.
Before you have your first meeting with the mediator, you need to do some serious soul-searching. Have you apologized to your spouse? Can you understand why he/she is hurt? Can you admit your mistakes without blaming your spouse for your actions? Even if you feel they caused you to make mistakes, you cannot keep telling him/her that.
When you meet with the mediator, plan to apologize again to your spouse. Unless you can explain your actions without blaming your spouse, it is better to say a simple and heartfelt “I’m sorry” than go into any details. Understand that you may not be forgiven right away or even any time in the near future, but at least you can move on knowing that you are sincerely sorry for your mistakes.
You need to realize your spouse’s pain may well come out as anger. The best thing you can do is just sit and let them vent. Responding to anger with your own anger will only escalate the issue and cause you more problems. It will not be easy to sit and let your spouse yell or cry, but if you truly want an amicable divorce and for the mediator to help you, you will have to do it.
Never try to put the blame on your spouse. You may think he/she ignored you too long and forced you to have an affair, but your spouse will not see it that way. You alone are responsible for your actions and will have to acknowledge that, if only to yourself. Even if your spouse did play a small part in your actions, during mediation is not the time to discuss this. At this time, all you want to do is get a settlement worked out and your divorce finalized. Afterwards, you can talk to your ex about your feelings, if you still want.
No matter what the circumstances, an amicable divorce is possible as long as both spouses are willing to try to work out their differences in a mature way. On the days that you don’t feel gracious to your spouse, remember that a friendly divorce is much better for you and your children. That thought will help you during those extremely hard days.