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Using "I" Statements in Mediation to Find Solutions and Avoid Conflict

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Divorce mediation can be a challenging process, as emotions can often run high. Using "I" statements is an effective communication technique that can help keep the conversation focused on finding solutions and avoiding conflict.

Here's how to use "I" statements in a divorce mediation:

Use "I" statements to express your feelings

"I" statements are a way of expressing how you feel without blaming or criticizing your spouse. Start by using "I feel" statements to express your emotions.

For example, "I feel hurt when you dismiss my opinions without considering them."

Be specific

When using "I" statements, be specific about the situation that's causing you to feel a certain way. For example, "I feel frustrated when you cancel plans at the last minute without giving me notice."

Avoid using "you" statements

"You" statements can be perceived as accusatory or confrontational, and can lead to defensiveness and conflict. Avoid using "you" statements and instead focus on expressing your own feelings and experiences.

Use neutral language

Neutral language can help keep the conversation focused on finding solutions and avoiding conflict. Use neutral language that doesn't imply blame or criticism. For example, instead of saying "You never listen to me," say "I feel like I'm not being heard when we have conversations."

Listen actively

Active listening is an important part of effective communication in divorce mediation. Make sure you're really listening to your spouse and trying to understand their perspective. Repeat back what you heard to make sure you're on the same page.

Below are some real life examples of how you can use “I” statements when negotiating in mediation with your ex:


"I feel sad when we argue in front of the kids. I want us to find a way to communicate respectfully when we're co-parenting."

"I feel overwhelmed when we talk about finances. I would appreciate it if we could work together to come up with a budget that works for both of us."

"I feel hurt when you speak to me disrespectfully. I want us to communicate with kindness and respect, even when we disagree."

"I feel frustrated when I'm not included in important decisions. I want to be a part of the decision-making process when it comes to our children's future."

"I feel anxious about the future and what it holds for us. I want us to work together to come up with a plan that takes both of our needs into consideration."

"I value our children's well-being and want to work with you to create a positive co-parenting dynamic."

"I recognize that we have different opinions and feelings, and I am open to finding a compromise that works for both of us."

"I am committed to moving forward in a constructive and respectful way, even though our relationship has ended."

These "I" statements focus on expressing personal feelings and experiences without placing blame or criticism on the other person. They help create a safe and respectful environment for discussing issues and finding solutions in a divorce mediation. With effective communication techniques, you can find solutions that work for both parties and make the divorce process smoother and less stressful.

Blog posts and podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

About the Author

Laura Tarcea

Laura is a family mediator dedicated to supporting families through divorce or separation. With a background in Mental Health, Research, Program Development, and a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, Laura brings valuable insight and critical knowledge to parents. She strongly believes that a healthy co-parenting relationship will protect children from short-term and long-term damage. As such, Laura is a supporter of out-of-court processes to help equip parents with appropriate tools to succeed in their next chapter.

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