Hi, I am Jens. This is Alicia. We live in two different countries. I live in Belgium, Alicia lives in Poland.
We know each other for eleven years. She came to Antwerp for Erasmus. Soon after we fell in love and got together. For a period of several years we went up and down to Poland and to Belgium. I thought in the end we could settle down in Belgium. We got married and she got pregnant. Oud daughter Hanna is three years old. I try to be as clear as I can when I write this story. It all became very complicated and we didn’t settle down. Alicia moved back to Poland eleven months ago. She said she couldn’t live here anymore because of the Belgian mentality. Besides that she felt depressed and couldn’t find a job here.
So this is where we are now. We have to decide in which country our child is going to live, be raised. We both started a court case in our own country, but the courts can’t decide which country has jurisdiction over this case! That’s the point where I checked the possibility of an international mediation, two mediators from two different countries do the mediation together to balance the two nationalities. It’s called co-mediation. In a week everything was organized,the financial conditions were agreed on, the mediator came from Belgium and stayed in an apartment in Warshau. Two intense days of six hours of talking almost non-stop followed.
The good thing is, emotions got the proper time and space. The first day we introduced ourselves and had to agree to mediate and go through the engagement in mediation. Then we explored our backgrounds and identified our issues.
What really worked was the insight in our communication patterns which we already had for a long time.
You don’t realise how much of the conflict with your ex-partner comes from your own faults and feelings like “she doesn’t respect or listen to me” to your reactions or decisions you take from there, like “I want to control or correct her”. Likewise with her. From ‘he doesn’t listen to me’ to ‘I don’t want to communicate with him anymore now’. The mediator pointed out this happened a lot of times and kept us where we were. For more information, please call the Belgian mediator of this website!
The mediators took turns in talking, going back to where we were and narrow the differences through brainstorming and clarifying the different options.
The second day the emotions ‘came on the table’ when the process of dealing with divorce was explained and we had to indicate where about we were in the dealing with emotions like anger, sadness, on a curve that looked like a valley. I had passed the lowest point, but it suddenly didn’t feel that far away. All the questions of life “Who am I, Where’s my life, am I going?” passed the revue. From which point on do we allow hope again in a new life?
That was a break-through. I mean, this point changed the whole mediation.
Decisions were taken from then on and I understood Alicia more and she me. Our child will live in Poland in general, but also four months in Belgium with me. We will talk about it again in three years time, when Hanna goes to primary school. We managed to go through every detail of her residential arrangements, where Hanna will stay almost every day of the coming year(s).
But suddenly the time was up. It felt very awkward to stop talking, since a lot of points, like finances, were not mentioned in the talks.
Beforehand the lawyers hadn’t expressed a lot of hope in finding a solution or belief in this exercise. I hope we manage to keep them on track as well. It is a very fragile agreement, but it is one. That’s what the mediator expressed more than once, to be satisfied with the result we achieved. I didn’t feel relief, but it was a way out. You wonder where those mediators find the patience and endurance.
Through intense international mediation with different mediators people can come to a satisfying result or agreement. Each party gains insight in his/her own future, that of your child and the process of divorce and of letting go.
So, please, involve professionals to solve your enduring personal conflicts. Don’t keep silent, but approach the right people to help.
Make an appointment with Katrien Sansen, Family mediator Antwerp