Over my career, I’ve seen many cases in which the parties act more like top-tier competitors as opposed to loving spouses and partners. This almost always causes one of them to feel badly about the relationship because they can’t help but compare their “worth” to their partner’s. They may feel like they’re always outwitted and somehow beaten by them.
Usually, dynamics like these involve two highly skilled and highly successful professionals. For example:
A couple was running a medical practice together, and it just worked out that one of them drummed up a lot more business. Projects were dominated by that spouse, and patients asked for them, specifically.
While married, the couple kept the profit distribution for the business at 50/50. It’s a great business with great clients, so they want it to continue. As part of the settlement, they agreed to change the profit model of the business to account for who brings in more dollars.
When divorcing spouses are business partners, they may end up hoarding business relationships, just as we see when parties to a divorce become territorial with their mutual friends.
Another common dynamic I see in all types of high achievers, whether they work for themselves or someone else, is that both partners work hard during the week — but one of them really prefers to do nothing on the weekends. Their spouse is someone who takes every pottery class, goes to every wine tasting, and learns every language. That, too, will plant a seed for some type of inequality of effort. To be clear, there are some situations where two people like that can coexist if there is one that doesn’t mind doing things on their own.
I’m often very inspired by my clients and my cases. I see my clients go through tremendous grief, stuck in a relationship that’s supposed to be loving, yet feeling like they’re constantly competing. You wish that — somehow in their adult life — they can manage to overcome that and reach a happier place within themselves. It’s rewarding when they start dating other people and see first-hand that there are much more peaceful individuals out there.
Cheryl Stein, Esq.
The Law and Mediation Offices of Cheryl Stein
745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
New York, NY 10151
Phone: (646) 884-2324