Pixel Tracker

Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 6:04 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Brian Burke: About Your Divorce (Letter 121) — Better: The Necessary and Sufficient Property

Oblique Strategy #17 — Better: the necessary and sufficient property of the good divorce.

I’ve written well over 100,000 words for this column. The following sentence is more significant and more useful than any other I’ve written: The single necessary property of a good divorce is that you are a better person at its conclusion than you were at the outset.

Divorce is essentially the psychological process of grief. It is so powerful that it changes the person who experiences it.

It can be represented as follows:

[BEFORE] You1 → You2 [AFTER] 

Change isn’t optional. It’s like having a baby, going to war or suffering a loss of equivalent magnitude. What’s optional is whether you get better or worse — whether you grow or shrink:

You1  → You2   or  You1You2 

Once explained, the proposition will be obvious to some people.

Others, including lawyers, will fairly ask, “What’s that even mean, ‘better person’?”

Better is to be defined by the person going through the process. If you engage with the process, it will be an opportunity to reconsider old ideas and values and to discover new or different ideas and values.

This may involve a change or changes to how you define or think of yourself as a better person.

If you end up being a better person at the conclusion of your divorce, everything else is secondary; however, if at the end of your case you are smaller, meaner, crueler, more resentful or envious and/or bitter than you were at the outset, then you’ve lost no matter how well you do materially.

This is the most important thing I’ve learned about divorce and the best information and advice I’ve got to offer.

Just before writing my second draft of this column, I started a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) produced by Yale University called “The Moralities of Everyday Life,” a course taught by psychologist Paul Bloom.

In his introductory lecture Bloom gives three reasons for taking the course: 

1. The subject matter is fascinating. There will be inquiry into such topics as, what insights can the social and biological sciences answer with regard to ancient questions concerning kindness and evil or determinism and free will? 

2. The presentation of each class will be engaging with multimedia presentations and live contributions from some of the most influential scientists and philosophers of our time, and

3. Twenty minutes into the first lecture (on YouTube) Professor Bloom says: “The third reason to take the course, and I’m phrasing this tentatively, is that it might make us better people.”

It might make us better people?! What are we waiting for? Use this Noozhawk link, and you’ll get a full ride to Yale!

Next column: Oblique Strategy #18 — See the reason for your excessive emotions.

— Brian H. Burke is a certified family law specialist practicing family law and mediation in Santa Barbara. A researcher and educator in the field of divorce and family conflicts, he is also the creator of the Legal Road Map™. Click here for more information, call 805.965.2888 or e-mail [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Patricia Griffin
Patricia Griffin
"I am very hands on and feel that each transaction is special and different. My clients goals are foremost in what I do to bring about a successful transaction and I maintain relationships for many years."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >