Throughout my journey and career of supporting, guiding and teaching people through their Separation and Divorce. I’ve often wondered why some people react the way they do and why some recover quicker than others.

If I can work out the formula maybe there will be less hurt in the world and people can move on with their lives. In my book ‘The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through divorce, I refer to the three divorce dilemmas, which are really my break up categories.

These categories allow me to better understand, what a client is going through and who they need as part of their team to help and support. If you find yourself struggling and don’t understand why it is taking you longer than someone else, to accept your situation or grieving and sorrow seem to be how you would describe your feelings. Remember, no two divorces are the same  and in this podcast, you will understand why

So let’s get into it:

Category A –The instigator of finishing the relationship. Removed from the relationship and a little void of emotion. Have most likely done research into leaving the relationship and contemplating their future, apart. This person has been thinking of leaving for months if not years. They carry a lot of guilt about breaking up the family unit.

Category B –  Did not see the end of the relationship coming. Are completely shocked and hurt about separating and need the most care out of all categories. This person grieves the longest about their separation because they saw a future and are heartbroken.

Category C –   i)Two people who agree that their relationship is not working and decide to split up. In some case, this can be a toxic relationship and the fighting can get out of hand. They blame each other for the demise and are very angry. ii) Two people who agree that their relationship is not working and decide to split. They are amicable and work together on splitting up the assets and work fairly to put the children first above all else.


My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce

Link to Divorce Roadmap

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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The Divorce Angel podcast. This is episode 8 and this episode has been brought to you by our new course, the divorce roadmap course. Now this divorce roadmap is the same price as an hour with a lawyer, but it teaches you how to put together a strategy, the history of your relationship, and how to actually have a much better outcome before you even go and see a lawyer. So if you’d like to know more, go to my website, that’s And if you’ve got any questions, I’d love to answer them. So let’s get into today’s episode.

Welcome to Divorce Angell podcast and thank you for joining us. Get ready to uncover the strategies everyone can Implement for successful separation and divorce. This will save you valuable time, money, and emotions while learning the secrets to your happily ever after. Now, you host, my [00:01:00] wife, Tanya Somerton.

Hello, welcome back to The Divorce Angel Podcast. I’m Tanya Somerton. I’m really excited to bring this podcast to you because it’s about something that is near and dear to my heart. Throughout my journey is this career helping people get through divorce, I’ve always wondered why some people get over the actual process a lot quicker than others and other people really can’t move on and they struggle with it. That psychology of how people react has been something that I’ve always been interested in wanted to study because it also has a bearing on how I can help people better get over divorce and help them to move on with their life, so it’s something that has really been paramount in not only how I teach my clients, but also, in the courses and those things that we put together as resources to help people. [00:02:00]

In my book, The Jellybean Jar, I actually talk about what some people call dilemmas and I call them the three sorts of divorce dilemmas and to be honest, over the probably last two years, I actually, think that there’s probably four, but we could also be calling them categories and it doesn’t discriminate. It does not matter whether you’re male or female, rich or poor, educated, not educated, children, no children, whether you’re from the country, whether you’re from the city, none of those factors matter and what does matter though is how your divorce came about.

In other words, if you have been the person that has decided to leave the marriage, then you’re the person that pretty much has or holds all of the power. The person that didn’t even see it coming is the person that [00:03:00] feels a little bit behind. What I mean by that is that they’re just not in the same position emotionally, so they feel like they’ve just had no say in this conversation. They’re trying everything they possibly can to make the other person understand that there’s still hope and it becomes very frustrating for them. Those people can be very very emotional.

In my business, when I categorize a client into which dilemma that they fall into, depending on where they fit will depend on the level of support that we give them because the person in the second category certainly needs a lot more support than the person in the first category.

I thought I would explain these categories to you and then as you’re traveling through your own separation and divorce, you might be able to understand why your husband or your wife or your partner reacts the [00:04:00] way they do certain things. Talking to child psychologists and counselors, lawyers, financial advisors, I’ve sort of done quite a bit of research into this and found that there is a pattern and once you can get to the bottom of the pattern, you can actually understand why people react the way they do. Let’s get into it.

For one, let’s start with A. Category A is the person who has decided to leave the relationship. That person, researchers say, have waited anywhere be or have been thinking about leaving the marriage for anywhere between two to four years. That person has been tossing it around in their mind thinking about all the ways that they could leave, what processes they needed to put into place, where they were going to leave, how they were going to have the conversation, and they’ve done quite a bit of pre-work. To be honest, that person is [00:05:00] quite a few months if not years in front of their partner. What I mean by that is, emotionally, they’ve actually either moved on mentally in their mind and they’re already removed from the relationship. So if you find yourself at the moment and you haven’t separated, but you’re finding that your partner is feeling a little bit void of emotion, it could simply be that you know that they struggle, but that person has already started to work through in their mind what it is that they need to do to leave. In a lot of cases, you’ll find that they are void of emotion in the relationship.

This category is where I found myself in when I was leaving my relationship with my ex-husband. I had probably- we’ve been together for 22 years and I had fallen out of love with him sort of some years earlier, but unfortunately, because of [00:06:00] everyone else around, I didn’t put myself first. I put everyone else first. So I worried about my children. I worried about what other people would say. I certainly– I loved and adored my in-laws, so I didn’t want to let them down. Even my family with my own brothers and my parents, I didn’t want them to think that I had failed and I continued to try as much as I possibly could to make it better and to fall back in love with my ex-husband just wasn’t going to happen. After I realized that it wasn’t going to happen and little things became big issues and things that when we first got married didn’t seem to bother me as much were becoming massive problems and our arguments, not that we yelled, but what we did do is we didn’t talk. So we could go for days and days without talking and it’s just simply not a nice environment for the children [00:07:00] or for us because there’s such a tension in the room when anyone would walking.

But the interesting thing is our friends and family thought that we were the Hallmark family. We had the two golden retrievers, the three children, the two fancy cars in the driveway and everyone from the outside looking in thought that we were perfect, but behind closed doors, we were far from that. I was very, very unhappy and. I always till today always remember how he would have one couch and I would have the other. Like I didn’t even want to sort of sit close to him. That’s not how any marriage should be. Throughout that period, I had done quite a bit of research and wondering how it was that I was going to leave him and finances, obviously, is a big issue. Is he going to leave or will I leave? What am I going to do with the children? How are we going to afford to [00:08:00] survive? All those things go through your mind and you contemplate what’s going to happen next.

Then you’ve got to get the courage up to have the conversation and tell your partner that you want to leave. You want a divorce. When it comes to that, and if you’ve never ever had that conversation before, you sometimes have to allow a period of time for that person to understand exactly what you’ve spoken about and then go, “Can we just try again? I’m going to try hard at what can we do to rectify this.” Some people might go and have counseling and other people might not, but you probably, in most cases, and what I’ve witnessed with couples that I’ve worked with, in most cases, when you first initially have that conversation about leaving the relationship, it does not happen straight away. In most cases, you have to give that person whatever it is that they need to be able to then understand that it is over because [00:09:00] you’re not going to just go, “That’s it.

I’m out of here. It’s finished,” because you’re going to be compassionate about everything and you want to say we went and addressed our issues. We tried this we did that but unfortunately, none of it worked and now we find ourselves in this position.

Then there’s category B and category B is the person that did not see it coming. They had no idea that their partner was unhappy and the last thing that they thought of would be a divorce or splitting up. They just did not even- that was not even on their horizon. They thought that everything was okay. So for that person, they are so shocked that in a lot of cases. they are just dumbfounded and they feel very- they feel hurt, they are upset. They think of, “Why me? Wasn’t I good enough?” All of these sorts of things go through their mind and category B need a lot of help [00:10:00] and support because they have just not- they just did not see it coming.

One of my clients that comes to mind when I’m talking about category B clients is a beautiful female client I have and let’s call her Michelle. Michelle has been married for 20 odd years to the same man, and they have three beautiful children. They’ve got a lovely house that they live in that they newly owned and they’ve got to investment properties. One of them in a self-managed superfund. So they’ve been doing pretty well overall, but Michelle’s husband has struggled with depression over the period of their marriage, but she’s really supported him. When things have got tough, she’s continued work to help pay the bills. She’s been really good at budgeting to make sure that they could afford everything and try and limit as much stress as possible, but he struggled with what life has put [00:11:00] in front of him and because of that, he now thinks that by separating that he will be able to address the concerns and that he’s gone.

So he’s-he’s-he’s moved out a home and Michelle is now in their house with the three children. They’ve decided to sell the property, but she’s simply heartbroken because she sees that she’s trying so hard throughout the duration of their marriage to try and help him address all of his concerns and be there as a support to help him continue to go to work and she’s really trying to be a very, very good wife. She’s simply hot broken. She feels a little bit betrayed like she’s spent such a lot of time looking after him that she’s forgotten about our own needs and wants and she’s put him above everyone else and now all of a sudden he’s put his hands up and said, “This is [00:12:00] enough. I can’t deal with this anymore. I don’t think I love you and I’m out of here.”

For someone like Michelle, it is very hard. She’s certainly going through a lot. Obviously, go there and seeing a counsel trying to address the feelings that she has because she feels like, “Haven’t I tried enough? Haven’t I done enough?” Then she moves from that into, “I put my life on hold. I’ve tried to look after him,” and then she gets angry. But in the meantime, in their negotiations, he’s being quite forthright and he knows what he wants and he’s gone from being, let’s say, amicable into being a bit of a bully and she’s just struggled with his so much and it’s all understandable.

Michelle needs a certain level of care that category A does not need and that’s because she did not see this coming, her husband has probably been thinking about this for a period of time. He [00:13:00] sees this to an answer of some of his depression and other issues that he’s got going on in his life that none of us are aware of that he needs to address. In the meantime, she sort of feels like she’s collateral damage of this, her and her children. So Michelle certainly needs a lot more care than category A.

Then we have category C. Now category C, this is now broken into what I would say is two different sides of the coin. When I first came up with these different categories and how I would help my clients through the process of divorce and their needs to help them get better and move on, category C was something that I looked at and the feedback that I was getting from a lot of lawyers was that category C are people that just do not get along. Neither of them really want to be in the marriage, but not one person [00:14:00] in particular said, “I’m out of here.” They’ve both said together, “This just isn’t working. What do we need to do to end this and move on?”

One of the lawyers that I have that works for me has actually told me of a story where a couple she working with, so she was defending the husband, that the husband and wife actually went to court over nuts and bolts of a cabinet. Now the most alarming thing was that neither of them had the cabinet. They were just prepared to spend as much money and bite as long as they possibly could to keep their toxic relationship going and, in the meantime, they brought the lawyers, the court involved, everything else and it’s just not okay. Those sorts of people, we just don’t work with because the issue here is that unless you’re prepared to take some responsibility of what went wrong in the relationship, [00:15:00] you’ll never ever going to be able to move forward in your life.

In this category C compartment, let’s call it, not only do we get these toxic couples, but I’ve now come to see and work with a few couples that are actually quite amicable and you would think that they would be really easy to work with. Let’s imagine that we’ve got a husband and a wife and they’ve both decided that they no longer love each other. They’ve fallen out of love and that they both want to move on. Now the problem with this couple, even though I have been working with some of them and they’re great to work with because they both just put each other first and their children, so out of every category, it probably is where you really want to be, but there’s also issues arise here too and sometimes that is that neither party wants to upset the other party. They don’t want to actually say, “No, [00:16:00] I really want this” or “I’m entitled to that.”

That’s part of the frustration that I’ve recently found with a couple that we’ve been working with. Neither of them actually want to stand up and say, “This is what I want.” They’re just prepared to always put the other person first. As I said, what a lovely world if everyone was like that and every relationship broke up that way. Wow, things would be a lot better, but there’s still frustrations, I suppose. It’s the point that I’m trying to get across in any relationship breakup. There’s none that goes swimmingly and have very very little problems because it’s always an issue here or there when you’re dealing with separating in a divorce.

They are the three categories that I currently, work with and what I do is when I’m working with a client, I figure out which one of those categories they fall into and then I’m able to put their support team together around[00:17:00] where they’ve come from because even category A where you’ve made the decision, in some cases and I know especially with me, the guilt, I was ridden with guilt to think that I’d made the decision to break up my family, but at some particular time, I felt, “It’s been 22 years. I’ve gotta start to understand what it is that I want out of my life and how I can make my dreams and aspirations come true.” As my children got older, there’s no point being in a relationship where you just can’t see a future. That just does not make sense.

You may have never thought of your separation like this, but if you currently find yourself either making the decision or already separated from your partner, consider what I’ve said about the three different categories and then you can understand why you feel the way you do.

If you are category A, you obviously are feeling probably a little bit guilty because you’re making the [00:18:00] decision. If your category B, you feel lost and alone and you just can’t understand where you are right now and you are really worried about your future and then category C, whichever side of the coin you’re on, whether you’re the amicable or the toxic couple, you also are going through some really difficult time.

So it does not matter how your relationship has ended. You are grieving the loss of that relationship, so don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself time, put the right people in the right places to help you get through the next steps and what you need to be able to move on and just remember that life can be good again, and I’m a big believer that there’s lessons in every life experience. So right now, it might feel really hard and you are just struggling with what the next steps are and how you’re going to get through it, but I promise you, you [00:19:00] will. I promise you that things will get better and you just have to have an outlook for the future and I’m sure that that will be amazing. So until next week, I look forward to talking to you again, and thanks for listening.


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