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Why you cannot count on divorce to 'change' your spouse

One of the sage pieces of advice that loved ones often give to engaged couples is that you cannot hope that marriage will change your partner for the better. By the time that most individuals marry, the core aspects of their personalities have been set. Certainly, life events, diligence and other factors can contribute to personality changes for the better and for the worse late into adulthood. But generally, one cannot count on marriage to change a partner for the better.

Similarly, one cannot count on the divorce process to change one’s spouse for the better either. For example, if your spouse is sensitive about certain issues, that sensitivity is likely to be magnified during the divorce process, not deadened. As a result, it is important to take your spouse’s personality into consideration when determining how you want to negotiate, mediate or litigate your divorce.

Although the divorce process can inspire positive personality changes in many individuals, it is important not to expect that these changes will occur. When determining your approach to the divorce process and enlightening your attorney on your spouse’s likely approach, it is generally best to assume that your spouse will be more set in her or her ways than usual, not less.

Expecting your spouse to behave exactly as he or she is prone to behave will help to prepare you for the ways in which your divorce process is likely to proceed. In addition, taking this approach will allow you the potential for happy surprises if your spouse unexpectedly behaves in better ways than you expect and will not allow you to be disappointed if he or she does not.

Source: The Huffington Post, “9 Things You Can't Change About Your Partner (So Don't Even Try),” Brittany Wong, May 20, 2015

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