I was talking with this cat the other day. He was telling me about his old lady.
“She’s heartless, man,” this cat told me. “She wouldn’t care if I lived or died.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Out of the blue, she’ll yell at me for no apparent reason. ‘Get out of here,’ she’ll holler some times. Sometimes she comes home late and I have to wait for my dinner and sometimes, she won’t let me ins, even when I ask.”
Is she ever nice to you?”
“Sure, sometimes. She’ll fix me a special meal or she’ll talk real nice to me or she’ll stroke me.”
“How often is she not nice versus how often is she nice?”
“Hard to say,” he said. “She probably acts nice a little more often than she’s mean to me.”
“But you think overall she’s mean?”
“Oh yeah, she’s mean.”
A little later I was talking to this dog. He was telling me about his old lady, too.
“She’s a lovely woman,” this dog told me. “She lights up my world.”
“How so?” I asked.
“She’ll sometimes fix me a special meal or she’ll talk real nice to me or she’ll scratch my belly.”
“Is she ever mean to you?”
“Sure, sometimes. Out of the blue, she’ll yell at me for no apparent reason. ‘Get out of here,’ she’ll holler some times. Sometimes she comes home late and I have to wait for dinner and sometimes, she won’t let me in, even when I ask.”
“How often is she nice versus how often is she not nice?”
“She’s probably nice more often than she acts mean to me.”
“But you think overall she’s nice?”
“Oh yeah, sweet as molasses.”
Here’s the deal. I know this cat. I know this dog. They’re talking about the same woman. They’re talking about the same conduct. But man, don’t they see things differently.
So often at The Firm, when we’re talking to someone about their divorce, we’ll listen to their conclusions and inquire about their facts. Usually, the facts are a mixed bag, some positive, some negative. The conclusions are essential, though, because they explain as much about perception, intention and direction as they do about the facts which do or don’t support the conclusions.
That’s how people can see the same set of facts, how people can hear the exact same things, share the same senses of events but come away from that experience with an entirely different feeling, arriving at quite different conclusions. We wind up getting where we want to go, but not necessarily where the facts lead us.
So what do we want? Do we want to confirm our already set conclusions or do we want to follow our facts? Are we trying to conform to the world or do we want the world to conform to us? That makes a world of difference.
This cat believes his old lady is a walking beast. The dog thinks she hung the moon. Both have facts but both are lead by their conclusions. Of course, in divorce, the heart ultimately leads and often by conclusion. But we would like to think that the facts had something to do with that conclusion along the way.
For sanity’s sake, may the facts support your conclusions. If you need some help sussing all that out, give us a call.