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When a Former Boyfriend Gets Added to the Mix

The other day, I was catching up with an old friend.  She had recently returned from a conference led by her good friend (and former boyfriend) where she had had a really good time.  Her husband had suggested that they move (again) and she was not thrilled with the idea.  She was unhappy at her job as well.

I do a lot of divorce mediation.  I have heard variations of this story a number of times.  I already knew what happened next:  She decided that her former boyfriend was her true love and they should be together and live happily ever after.  Yes, she wanted to quit her job and move, but it was to be with her former boyfriend.  I was just waiting for her to say the words.

I was as wrong as wrong can be.

My friend and her husband are still happily married.  They are in the process of moving and looking for work in the new location.  The visit with the friend/former boyfriend was lovely, but nothing more than that.

We can make up some pretty big stories in our heads based on little concrete information.  Past experiences shape our stories, even past experiences that have nothing to do with the person currently before us.  I wasn't thinking that my friend was divorcing because of her behavior.  She is still on her first marriage.  I was thinking it because in my professional world, people divorce everyday, sometimes for reasons just like these.

We all make up stories in our heads as to how the world works.  Most of the time, we go along with our stories, not even knowing that they are there.  When we get something hugely, horribly wrong, as I did here, we have the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to make changes to our stories.

What stories do you tell yourself?

Conflict Lessons from a Segway

Did your grandfather ever beat someone up?