Often in mediation one party will be keen on a more structured agreement and the other party might prefer a more flexible arrangement Generally speaking (but not always!), it is women that often prefer structure and men that prefer flexibility.

A matter of perception…

In my experience, for women flexible can feel like “unreliable” and for men, structured can feel like “controlling”. If either you or your ex-partner relate to this feeling, you are with a large proportion of the population. If only parents could see that this is a common problem not always unique to their situation!

“He doesn’t care about the kids being disappointed when he is unreliable” and “She is trying to control me even though we’re not together anymore” would be two of the most common phrases I’ve heard in mediation. And sadly they’re based on a mis-perception about the other person’s intentions. These kind of ideas cause so much conflict.

If these comments sound anything like you – you might find it helpful if you can keep in mind that your ex-partner’s “unreliability” or “control issues” are really not intended to hurt you or the children – they are well meaning ideas on how a plan feels workable from their unique perspective.