By DadsDivorce.com reader Big D
Surviving divorce can be tricky. We offer real-life examples and divorce advice for men and fathers on how to handle your situation.
Reacting to Requests of Urgency
Every situation will require you to take a step back, evaluate the scenario, evaluate the words used, evaluate the validity of the claim, and then take action. Notice that in my list of things you must do, evaluation is key. Remember the corny but effective saying,“be quick to listen.” Well, here, make sure you hear what is being said. It will give you insight into what is really occurring.
In my opinion, the slower you are to react, the better the situation will be for you. It might not be better for your ex, but in most instances where “urgency” is forced upon you, there is really no urgency at all. Rather, your ex is trying to gain power over you. Here is a recipe for how to react to an “urgent” request, which you know is not an urgent situation unless there is an immediate health risk.
First, address the e-mail, text, or voicemail immediately. In your response, follow this model for communication:
- Acknowledge your ex’s point of view. Something like: “I can see how this is an important situation.”
- Be thankful that you are being informed about the situation. Something like: “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I was not aware of the situation before.”
- Give information about your position or direction. Something like: “Now that I am being made aware of this situation, I am going to take immediate action. Give me some time to gather some information and I will get back to you shortly.”
(Note: I am being very generic in my examples above. Each situation requires a unique response and approach. The goal is to follow the model… it works!)
Taking Action on the Urgent Situation
Now that you have put the urgent matter at bay, it is no time to stop your actions. You must immediately put together your approach to the situation. This might include you doing some research on the situation, asking questions to someone that can give you more insight to the situation at hand, or what you plan on doing from your end when you take your action. Don’t hesitate to act or put it on the back burner. Waiting will only cause you to forget the details and now you just look like you are not giving an urgent situation attention. That is not good!
You should have an idea of when you will respond based on the situation. For example, if the situation is that you need to provide money for your child but your ex should be responsible for it, you have up until the time the money is really due. You need to find out when the money is really due. If the urgent situation is due to some situation at school and your child is going to be moving schools due to it, you have a ton of details to find out but have even more time to respond.
Regardless, start putting your response together. Be that investigative reporter that you have always wanted to be. This will require you to gather information over the next few days.
If you receive an immediate or “in-between” nudge from your ex on your answer, just respond with the same model:
“Thanks for being persistent with this situation. It is extremely important to me, too. I am still gathering information so I am informed. I will get back to you shortly.”
When the time is right, then you take your action. No matter what, even if you find out that the urgent matter has no urgency at all and maybe not even related to the urgent matter that was brought up, take the high road! Just respond with an answer that is matter of fact, true to who you are, and gives a solution to the situation.
The final part does not mean you “cave in.” Rather, you provide a solution from your point of view.
For example, I was told that I needed to make an immediate decision on braces for my pre-teen. I did my research and found out that she is too young for braces and she really does not need them based on her teeth alignment. So, my response was that I was not going to address braces for another year and at that time, if my ex still felt they were essential, she could come back to me with the request. At that time, I will do my research again.
You can see by my example that I addressed the situation, but did not give my reasoning in depth. It is like poker! Show what you need to, but keep your aces and kings hidden. Also, I put it all back on her! She must get back to me in a year. I did not agree to come to her in a year.
Most “urgent” situations that your ex throws you are not urgent at all. They are ways for your ex to keep communication with you, gain power and control over you, or make your life miserable. You are in control, not your ex. So act like it. Respond like it. Take the correct action like you are in control!
When all is said and done, you will know you did the right thing, your ex will not have power over you, you don’t have power over your ex, and the situation is handled in a way that you feel comfortable.
If you only take one thing from this entire article, it should be “Be fast to listen and slow to react!”