Anatomy Of A Failed Relationship – Managing Expectations

Anatomy Of A Failed Relationship – Managing Expectations

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Most people enter into a relationship believing it would work; that both sides will get more out of the relationship than the sum of its partners’ parts.

As was the case, presumably, when the United Kingdom joined its neighbours in the European Union to enjoy a system of no tariffs or legal impediments to the flow of goods, services and labour. Until the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016, a fair number of people thought that the negative aspects (some loss of sovereignty concerning immigration, intrusive directives or rulings from Brussels) were outweighed by the positives.

In short, few people considered: what if any relationship fails or breaks down? How should parties share the pool of benefits and burdens? It is our experience in resolving relationship conflicts that it often happens that there are no good options or outcomes. The clients must choose the least unpleasant among the unlikeable alternatives. Refusal to accept this situation may result in a vicious cycle where losses keep mounting.

With that, I should point out:

  1. Legal remedies do not cure hurt feelings, disappointment and loss of trust. They generally concern money, imprisonment (some infliction of caning and worse, death) or undertakings (promises) to NOT do something.
  2. Following from that, lawyers (including judges and mediators) will not readily understand why some clients will continue litigating to the point of incurring more in legal charges than what they expect to recover. From a personal perspective, recovering money from the defaulting party is either “too cheap” or “too little, too late”.
  3. Even worse, the financial penalties imposed on the losing party may not be recovered in full. For instance, the defaulting party goes bankrupts (for individuals) or becomes insolvent(for companies).

What, then, should we do or expect? To borrow from Shakespeare, do not demand the pound of flesh. Legal costs may extract some blood. Consider mediation or other methods of resolving the dispute. If all else fails, work it out with Ong Ying Ping Esq.