Solving the Dueling Provider Dilemma

Fear of failure makes you hide from the inevitable breakup. But it also makes you hide from a real solution.

How to Prevent DivorceIf breaking up is the last thing you want, and you have no idea what to do to turn things around, read on because waiting until you’ve said horrible things to each other and you’re seething in anger never works.

One of my clients, I’ll call Margaret, reached out to me in February. She was terrified that her relationship was failing. She had good evidence that things were grim.

Her husband, I’ll call Mark, had told her he wanted a divorce and was looking on dating sites. Mark was no longer willing to talk with her about their relationship. He pushed Margaret away at every turn.

It felt like the life, trust and family they’d been building for the last 12 years was being ripped away from her, and they have a two year old daughter.

The good news is that she reached out before Mark had moved out.

The problem was that when their daughter arrived, Margaret became Mama Bear protecting her daughter, and she’d ignored Mark’s ideas about parenting. Mama Bear mode, by the way, is extremely protective and what I’d call masculine mode.

Margaret and Mark had had very different upbringings, and have very different ideas about how to raise children. This isn’t uncommon. Add to that that often the masculine and feminine have different ideas about parenting to begin with, and trouble brews.

They hadn’t clarified how they wanted to raise their children and both of them had assumed they were on the same page. Which they weren’t.

Margaret and Mark were experiencing an all too common scenario of two people in masculine mode. Or what I call, “Dueling Providers.”

This happens when a couple doesn’t have clear DEALS about something. In this case it was raising children.

Mark couldn’t even see the qualities he loved about Margaret anymore, and neither could she. Their situation had changed with the birth of their daughter, and they hadn’t renegotiated a new DEAL, so they were battling.

They were both protecting and providing for their daughter in different ways, and they couldn’t even see it through the arguments.

As Margaret and I began to work together, she learned how to navigate Mark’s masculine energy and make room for him to contribute to parenting their daughter.

She also learned how to change her focus from the problems they were having to finding good that Mark was offering.

It took about three months and now, divorce is off the table, they are planning a family vacation, and planning their next child.

If you’re frustrated and scared and don’t know where to start, the first step is to be open to the possibility that nobody is misbehaving and recognize that men and women are different – you and your partner speak different languages.

You love each other and resolving your differences is about developing consciousness in your relationship (it’s not about compromising).

It’s about learning how to navigate your differences in ways that work to empower your sense of partnership.


Schedule a 30-minute appointment with me to discuss your unique situation and goals and what you can start doing right away to achieve them.

Click here to schedule now.

I’m here for you. I’m on your side. 🙂

To Love!

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Kimi Avary
Relationship Navigation Specialist