Free Webinar: Loving Your Life After Divorce | Join us February 27 at Noon EST |   REGISTER NOW

Ep. 59 – Picking Your Battles

In this episode we discuss picking your battles with your ex. Time has value, as does your emotional energy that could be used for other more important goals that you have for yourself and the life you want to create.


Hey, my beautiful friends, and how are you? Hope you’re having a good day. So today I wanna talk about picking your battles, especially when you’re going through a divorce and after divorce. So if you are ready, let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you. And desire as partners, both in marriage and coaching. We use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

All right, so we’re gonna talk about picking battles, and I get inspired every week by either something I’m learning or a client that I’m coaching as a life coach or something that’s going on, typically, like with my kids or with my husband, or in my practice, in my legal practice. So today I wanna talk. I had a client, obviously, I’m not gonna say who, and their divorce is over, but he wants to pick at every single issue in the marital settlement agreement.

And what I mean by that is there are dates, And things that the wife, the ex-wife is supposed to do, and the minute she misses one of those dates, he is contacting my office to take action. So the example recently is that the ex-wife was Suppo, supposed to provide a list of personal property that she wanted by a certain date out of the home.

That date came and went and the next morning, I think it was before eight 30 in the morning, I got an email that we have to file a contempt go to court. Because she didn’t give the list, and I thought that would be a good subject to talk about because what it brought up to me was how do you, after divorce or even during the dual divorce, want to spend your energy and.

And so when I talked to him, I said to him, are you sure that you wanna spend, let’s say, several thousand dollars in fees over chaka? Things that probably. You know, today, nowadays you can’t get rid of stuff, right? I mean, seriously, like furniture is not worth very much, and this is mostly furniture. I said, ma, I said to him, put the value.

My husband’s sitting here, so say hi. Hey, everybody. . No, but I started going on a rage. But I want my li, I want the our listeners to realize, just as my client, how much money do you wanna spend? And why? And I asked him, what is the value of these items? And I think he said like, maybe $500. Really it was like nothing.

Like we’re talking for old furniture and you know, like a toaster or something. And basically she was required to say, these are the items I want outta the house by this cer certain date. And then I said, okay, fine. So if the value is like 500. And it’s gonna cost you, let’s say, $2,000 for us to look at the agreement, put together an application or a motion for contempt, or to compel.

Now, I want you to put a value on your aggravation and your time because you are spending your effort thinking about this, and I want to know why. Why is this so important to you? And he couldn’t answer the. . I really like that, uh, that question of putting a value on your aggravation. Well, you have to, and so I, I suggest to the listeners that if you are dealing in the middle of a divorce or you’re at the end of a divorce and now you have certain things like timeframes of things that’s supposed to happen in exchange of whatever it is, whatever the agreement calls for, right?

If your ex is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing and you want to take action on that, either by calling them up, emailing them, calling your lawyer, think about why is it really worth it? So when I was talking to him, I said, do you really wanna go there? I mean, you just got out a divorce, you’re just trying to heal.

You’re talking about $500 worth of items. Do you really care? Why do you care so much? And when we started to do some coaching on it, what we realized it had nothing, of course, to do with the personal property items. What did it have to do with, well, probably the fact that she, uh, didn’t uh, com compe comply with what she was supposed to do?

No. No. Um, his own ego? No. Um, I don’t know. It had to do. He’s angry at her because she wanted the divorce and so he’s trying to get her at something. Gotcha. It was all about his anger. Because when we broke it down and we started to talk about why he couldn’t come up with a good reason other than, well, she was supposed to do it by this date, and I said, and she didn’t.

And so what? And I say that kind of flipping, you know, because as a lawyer I understand that an agreement has to be followed. Right. But I also understand as a life coach that you have to think about your time and energy that you’re gonna put in to pursuing something and why you are doing it. And you’ve probably have seen this many times I have.

So I see this a lot with people. I remember one case that I had, I’m talking a million years ago, literally, no, not a million, but. Probably like, like at least 20 years ago. And these people had millions of dollars. Millions of dollars, and we were at a final hearing and one of the parties we couldn’t, there was a chair.

Believe it or not, there was a chair and it was a nice chair. It was, uh, some kind of an antique chair, and let’s say it was worth like $5,000. But in the scheme of their wealth, which was many, many millions of dollars, the chair really meant nothing. Right? And we were at the hearing and we couldn’t resolve who was gonna get this one chair.

And I kid you. . And finally my partner at the time said to the judge, listen, I’ll pay for another chair to get rid of this case. Kind of like it wasn’t worth it, worth it, but the conversation before the judge was going on over this chair, and it was really kind of foolish to the parties. It was in their mind, so important.

But to everyone else in the courtroom, which was the two lawyers and the judge and the law, They were all looking at each other, almost smiling, and I don’t wanna make light of anything that is important to any of the listeners, but it just didn’t match the amount of energy that was being put out there.

Right. Well, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely, uh, their, the, their thoughts of, uh, something that might be so small, they make it seem so much bigger and blow it outta proportion because of their anger. So that’s, and you know, how do you deal with something like that? Well, first of all, you have to know why you’re doing it, right.

What is your purpose for wanting to go and file a motion to compel the ex-wife to provide the list of the $500 worth of items. Okay. Is the reason because you really want the items or you want to be finalized with that? Or is your reason bigger than that? You understand? Yeah, and it’s probably gonna be something that’s more emotional and is not a value of a $500.

And I’m not. So what I’m suggesting to the listeners is that, you know, kind of pick your battles, but give yourself a real good evaluation of your reason for wanting something. Do you want something to hurt your ex? Do you want something because you are sad? Your ex, you know, you’re trying to, um, get back at them because you have anger or sadness or whatever it might be.

Right. What is your reason for wanting it? Right, right. So many times in my practice as a lawyer, people fight about the most ridiculous issues. The issue, they’ll fight over an extra a hundred dollars in support in alimony. Okay? And it’s not about the a hundred dollars, because if you took a hundred dollars and you put it over the life’s.

Span of the duration of the support, the alimony, it would equate to a lot less than the cost and fees and time and effort to go to court and get it. So that’s what I’m talking about, really understanding the value and that when you place your energy on. Something to hurt someone else or for the wrong reasons, that in reality what you’re really doing is hurting yourself and your children.

Well, why is that? Well, obviously that if there’s fighting going on and, and opinions that are flying at each other, and, and sometimes I’m, I’m guilty of it myself, of doing things in front of, uh, Spencer that have, you know, have consequences later. . Well, I think what you’re trying to say is that, Your child wants the divorce over also, and they really do.

I mean, there’s therapists that talk about that. They know when the divorce is still going on, even when they’re young. They know that it’s not final yet. They can get that vibe from conversations that are being done, meaning not in front of hopefully the presence of the child, but. Maybe you’re having a conversation with a friend and you’re just angry.

They know because they, they happen to see documents that are laying around, right? They know because mom says she’s busy with her lawyer and she’s got to work, or she’s gotta be in court tomorrow. So they realize that the divorce is still going on. They want closure. Just as much as the parties should want closure.

That’s an interesting thought. I’ve never looked at it that way. I also wanna suggest that there are certain par certain people, and so I wanna bring this up to the listeners out there to see which category you fall into. But there are certain parties from the divorce that have this strange, almost need to stay connected.

after the divorce even. It’s to enforce like the list of the personal property. You understand what I’m saying? Like, they’re not ready to let go. So they still end up, um, being involved in litigation so they have some kind of a connection. Okay. Does that make sense? It makes sense. It’s a little strange to, uh, to think that way that that’s even possible, but I guess that’s, you’ve seen it all.

Well, it’s not a matter about saying it all. It’s a matter. How? How? You know who does that? Like why are you, the big answer is why are you still engaging on these small issues that really you can let go of? Yeah, and I’m, I’m guilty of that myself with, with the engagement and poking the bear, so to speak, and, and just feel like I, I wanted to let go, but my subconscious was still engaging with her.

Is that what you’re talking about? Well, what are you talking about? Cuz you need to give us some background first. Well cause Cause they don’t know your history like I do. Right. So what are you talking about? Well, you know, I went through a very, very, uh, angry serious, uh, you know, stressful divorce. Like, uh, like most people.

Like most people. But it was definitely, uh, A little crazier than most, I think. No, it wasn’t . Okay. Well, hate to tell you, but there’s a lot of crazy out there. That’s why I keep saying, you should write a book. I’m gay one day, but maybe not. But uh, there are times when you looked at what I wrote and said, why are you poking her?

Why are you, you know, engaging with her? And I felt. I wasn’t, but I really was. Well, let’s break it down because a listener really still probably doesn’t understand what you’re saying because you’re jumping over here, but you’re not ready to be over there. Okay. What he’s telling us is that text messaging, okay.

What happens is his ex would write him a nasty text message, and I would say to. Don’t engage. Please don’t spend your energy in that way. If you engage, what do you Anticipate’s gonna happen because the way in which you approach or communicate with anyone, especially when you don’t have a good relationship, is going to likely.

Caused them to react back to you in a certain way. Right. And what would happen is you’d say, oh no, I’m not texting her. And then I would see your text messages and, and you would be writing back just as mean spirited and accusatory towards her. And I thought, this is just this horrible dance that’s going around and around spending countless text messages when you could.

Meditating, creating something new for your business, spending time with your child, um, going for a walk, deciding what you’re gonna do with the rest of your life. But most of us don’t have the ability to stop and think we want to be on this autopilot that when someone, especially your. Says something negative to you that you feel this need, that you have to defend yourself or you feel this need, that you need to correct them.

You understand? And so what I’m suggesting is that you, you have to kind of give yourself a timeout and say, if I pursue the $500 list of property, what is that going to do for me personally, for him, for the, for the. For me, our firm would make some money, but I don’t want my client to spend money and energy and time trying to just show her that she’s wrong.

I’m trying, as we do in our coaching, to get him to get to a higher level of thinking. , because let me ask you a question. I’ll ask you a question. Okay? If, if this client was going to, if, if he knew that tomorrow, unfortunately, he was gonna get hit by a car and die, right? Mm-hmm. , if, if you knew that the next day, that today was your last day, would you spend it that way?

Would you spend it nitpicking on $500 worth of property? Definitely not. , but we don’t think that way. But in essence, it could be our last day, right? Yes. It could be. We talked a few weeks ago about time management and about the value of time. Time is something that you cannot get back, right? It’s a, it’s a phite.

Finite. Finite. Finite, yeah. It’s a finite amount. You can’t get more when today is done. Today is. You can’t go back. I use that expression. This is not a dress rehearsal, this life, right? So if you think before you react, is it worth it? To call him out on his, you know what, or to respond to a nasty text message or to call your lawyer to enforce an agreement, or to maybe ask the court to do something on your behalf because it seems important to, you know, Your reasons why.

That’s all I’m suggesting. So it was a subject that I thought was important to bring to listeners today, because I know a lot of people are struggling with that. You know, they’re still getting past the anger, right? Yes. There’s, I mean, they’re still getting past the anger and I, and I think the bottom line is, I, I need to choose, or your, the listeners need to choose what type of life they.

And what’s gonna happen, what type of, uh, thoughts they should have about their, their ex, you know, that’s gonna lead to the results that they want. In other words, I don’t want to, I didn’t really want to fight with her and I don’t want to go back and forth with her on texting, but I kind of, uh, I did it anyway.

So what would you, well, what kind, what would you suggest for the person that does. . Well, that’s what I’m saying, like how much time do you think, Jeff, that you spent, like, if you had to equate it mm-hmm. on nasty emails and text messages going back and forth, how much time? Well, I, wait, wait, let me ask a question.

Yes. Is it ours? Uh, it was probably ours, but no matter what the answer is, it’s. Too much. No, but that’s not the point. What I wanna say is that in the years that I knew you, after you got divorced until really Spencer became of age mm-hmm. and moved out, you guys were going at it on a weekly basis. So let’s say it was one hour a week.

Okay, let’s just equate it. So one hour a week, you’re the, you’re great at math. Okay. One hour a week. There’s 52 hours in an 52 weeks. In a year, that’s how much? 52 hours. Okay. 52 hours. That’s more, that’s a week and a half, more or less, right? That’s a week and a half. How much could you do with your time?

I’m asking you mm-hmm. in a week and a half. Oh, I, I probably missed out on a lot of. Right. Well, what could you create in your life, right? If you took that week and a half back, right? Did it get you anything? ? No, it didn’t. Okay. Did it help to make you a happier person? No, it didn’t. It, in fact, it probably had the opposite effect.

Right, right. Okay. Yes. So that was it. I just wanted to talk to the listeners today about choosing your battles, about using your. Wisely and when you’re going to go back to court or you’re going to enforce an agreement, think about your reasons why. Now, I’m gonna give another example. I have another client who.

She is going to call her ex out on the little nitpicking details of the agreement. Why? Because he has the opposite problem. He is the one that. Purposely doesn’t comply in order to get a reaction from her and pushes the envelope on the agreement. So if we don’t do certain things up front, because it’s a very fresh, um, situation, if we don’t do things up, Front cuz they have a very young child to let him know that she means business.

It’s going to continue for the next, you know, 16 years or so. Right. Okay. Yes. So, so we made a decision that even though it’s a smaller issue, that in the bigger scheme of their future together and co-parenting and getting him. in lying and understanding that she just is not somebody that you can just walk all over.

We made a decision that the value, even though it’s a smaller issue in her case, was worth it. Does that make sense? Sure. It’s a different value of the aggravation. Well, is it? No. No. It’s a different value. In showing him and setting the, the groundwork for what he can anticipate will happen if he doesn’t follow the terms.

Because we were dealing with someone who doesn’t play within the, the, the doesn’t play well in the sandbox, doesn’t play with the rules, right? Doesn’t play, doesn’t like to follow the rules. So just know your purpose for doing. and understand the amount of time, energy, and money that you’re gonna put into it.

So what else? Well, I’m looking forward to this, uh, this weekend. Yep. It’s gonna be a great weekend. We’re gonna go see the kids, see the kids, and we’re gonna have a nice birthday celebration, and we’re gonna spend our time focused on good things. Good things, okay. All right, my friend. So listen, um, pick your battles carefully.

Look at the cost benefit, do a real analysis on it, and please put some real value into the time that you are giving. to do certain things relating to your ex and the divorce. Make smart choices and you know, talk to your lawyer and see what they have to say. And hopefully you have a lawyer that can advise you and cares about, um, the value of time as much as.

As much as we do, because not all, you know, I’m just saying not all lawyers think that way. Some lawyers are just looking at, I’m making a dollar. And uh, some lawyers should be telling their clients, this is not worth your time and aggravation. Right. And then you also have to remember that the court system in most states, Doesn’t run fast, is somewhat broken, is certainly overwhelmed and underpaid.

I mean, these are government workers and they’re struggling, so your chances of getting before the judge are is gonna take a long time, are my friends. Listen, have an amazing week. Um, love yourself. Be kind to yourself and remember you too, can. An amazing, amazing life after, after divorce or divorce. All right guys, we’ll see you next week.


You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching visit, At L A, that’s l a d as in life after Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day.

And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

Start creating your best life after divorce and book your complimentary Discovery Call