bad outweigh the good in your marriage

Does The Bad Outweigh The Good in Your Marriage?

bad outweigh the good in your marriage

Does the Bad Outweigh the Good in Your Marriage?

 

Does every situation, no matter how seemingly trivial, evolve into a fight?

Do you or your spouse continually refer to hurtful events in the past?

Is all the respect gone from your relationship? Do you feel it is impossible to bring that respect back?

Have your goals and directions changed but your spouse stayed the same?

Is your spouse no longer encouraging your independence and individual growth?

Have you and your spouse both changed so much that you no longer share moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?

Have you and your spouse lost the art of compromise? When you disagree, are you unable to create a path together that is acceptable to both?

Do you and your spouse have a basic sexual incompatibility?

Do you find yourself no longer attracted to your spouse?

Despite help from a professional therapist, marriage educator or coach have you stopped making love, continued to argue and seen no change in the dynamics between the two of you?

The above questions focus on the negative aspects of the marriage. You can’t say for sure that you are ready for divorce without first taking into consideration any positive aspects.

Conflict and frustration due to marital problems can skew our view of the benefits of marriage, especially when compared to some of the negative aspects of divorce.

Have you considered the following and come to terms with the changes divorce will mean in each situation?

Post Divorce Parenting and Isolation:

If you have a child have you taken into consideration the possibility of becoming the primary caregiver on a day to day basis? For the custodial parent, divorce means parenting on your on for the majority of the time. It is an intense responsibility; truly single parenting is the hardest job one can do so think carefully before voluntarily taking on that responsibility.

On the other hand, if you are to become the non-custodial parent have you considered the pain to both you and your child of no longer being part of their daily life? For non-custodial parents, divorce means a part-time, every other weekend relationship with children. This should be your most important consideration before taking any steps toward divorce.

Divorce doesn’t only end the marriage; it changes relationships that were established due to the marriage. Will you miss your in-laws, neighbors, if you have to move, and any friends who could be considered his /her friends?

The Downside of Being Newly Single

Have you given any thought to the solitude and loneliness that come along with being newly single? It takes time to rebuild a life, in the beginning, there will be more solitude and time to yourself. If you are someone who doesn’t like time alone make sure you have a good support system of friends and family in place before moving on to divorce.

If you can honestly say that you’ve taken all the above into consideration and are sure you are ready for the next step then, you are at a point of acceptance which is a significant sign that it is time to divorce.

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Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage

Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

 

The life of an entrepreneur is an exciting one. Female entrepreneurs learn to be tech-savvy, hone interpersonal skills, and manage money as they build their business. But there is one downside to the entrepreneurial life that is all too common for married businesswomen. Getting a divorce!

Building an empire (even if only from your living room) is fantastic, but your spouse may not always feel that way. Statistics show that for every 1000 US women, 16 will end up divorced each year. These are not great odds for those looking to marry their forever person.

So, what about a strong female pursuing her professional dreams? Does her professional aspiration put her marriage in jeopardy? These are the 5 most common causes of divorce in entrepreneurs and 3 steps to take to make sure your marriage stays strong and healthy as you follow your dreams.

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs

1. Not Enough Quality Time Together

Women entrepreneurs are passionate and feisty so it’s no surprise that they put their whole being into building their businesses. But sometimes this passion comes at the cost of their marriage.

Research indicates that couples need a 3:1 ratio of happiness to succeed in marriage. And when are couples most happy? Studies say it’s when they are spending quality time together. In fact, survey results revealed that couples experience a boost in happiness and a decrease in stress when they are spending alone time together.

When you are putting all of your strength and energy into your business, there’s little left at the end of the day for your spouse. Not spending quality time together can be a real relationship killer.

2. Added Stress

As wonderful and exciting as marriage is, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience at times. In-laws, maintaining a romantic connection while raising a family, buying a house, and other ins and outs of your daily routine can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Now, on top of all of these normal aspects of marriage, throw running your own business into the mix and you’re in for some stressful times ahead.

When couples don’t form a strong partnership as a unit, this stress can drag the relationship down.

3. Financial Worries

One study surveyed 748 instances of conflict between 100 different couples and found that money was the most repetitive and salient topic they argued about.

This survey highlights how tricky the topic of money can be in a marriage. Especially if you don’t have enough of it. Research shows that low-income couples are more likely to be affected by stress and mental health issues than other couples.

Starting your own business is certainly an adventure, but it’s also a big risk. Working for yourself, especially if you are just starting out, means that you won’t have a steady income for quite some time. You may not even be able to take a paycheck for several years.

Not only does this put a strain on your household finances, but it may also force your spouse to become the breadwinner of the family. They can cause resentment and anxiety to form within the marriage.

4. Not Leaving Work at the Door

One of the biggest problems for both men and women entrepreneurs is the inability to create a work-life balance.

Because you work for yourself, there is no way to “clock out” of your job. Getting back to work after a long day is as simple as picking up your smartphone and answering emails. This behavior is great for your business and bad for your marriage.

In a survey of 308 adults, 46.3% admitted to feeling ignored when their partner is on their smart device. This “phone snubbing/phubbing” practice has been shown to lower relationship satisfaction.

Furthermore, studies show that spending too much time on your smart device and social media can threaten real-life communication, even with family and close loved ones.

5. Lack of Stability

Research shows that 90% of startups will fail. This is a frightening fact for most entrepreneurs, not to mention their spouses.

When most people get married, they expect a certain standard of living. That isn’t to say they expect to sleep on a bed of hundred-dollar bills, but they want to come home to a loving spouse, perhaps buy a home or start a family together.

But when married to an entrepreneur, there is no stability. There are no set hours for work, no guarantee that they will be there to support the household or engage in family life.

What a Marriage Needs to be Successful for Female Entrepreneurs

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. All couples are bound to go through some lulls throughout their relationship, but this doesn’t mean your love is destined for divorce.

Here are 3 key tips for keeping your marriage alive as a female entrepreneur.

1. Open Communication

In a survey of 886 troubled couples, 53% admitted a lack of communication as one of the most common reasons for filing for divorce.

This statistic highlights the importance of talking openly and honestly with your spouse.

Communication is the basis of every strong relationship. Not only does communication help couples get to know one another better, but it also helps partners avoid miscommunications and grow closer.

If you are going through a stressful time trying to get your business off the ground, don’t shut your partner out. Talk to them about what you’re going through. This will help them understand your emotions and behavior. When your spouse knows what’s going on in your life both emotionally and otherwise, it also gives them an opportunity to show you their love and support.

2. Putting the Marriage First

For women entrepreneurs, their business is their baby. They would do anything to care for it and ensure its success in the world.

Many times this passion and drive to put the business first causes entrepreneurs to put their spouse on the backburner.

Not being a priority can make a spouse feel hurt, betrayed, and neglected. This can lead to serious relationship problems.

Don’t let your business come before your spouse. Or at the very least, make sure they are on equal footing.

3. Quality Time Together

Having a regular date night will strengthen your marriage for years to come. Research conducted by the National Marriage Project found that there are both emotional and physical benefits to spending quality time with your spouse on a regular basis.

The research results showed that couples who practice date night one or more times a month experience more eros in their relationship. Eros refers to the romantic love that we often feel during the beginning stages of a new relationship that creates excitement, overwhelming attraction, and passion for each other.

A regular date night also strengthens commitment and reduces stress in a marriage. The study goes on to say that couples will also experience an increase in sexual satisfaction and that “spouses who experience high levels of couple time are significantly less likely to report that they are prone to divorce.”

Women entrepreneurs put their heart and soul into building their businesses. This is great for your professional life, but don’t let it be a drain on your marriage. Make time for your spouse, learn to create a work-life balance, and communicate openly. These keys will help you avoid the curse of entrepreneurs – divorce.

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9 Red Flags That Say Your Relationship Might Be Over

relationship might be over

 

After decades of being a therapist and lover of self-help books, I’ve come to realize that red flags usually appear fairly early on in failed relationships. For instance, most couples report that their relationship problems didn’t surface suddenly but are the result of buried resentment that can fester for years.

Likewise, when a couple splits, most state that their problems were never processed or resolved in a healthy way. As a result, they felt criticized or put down by their partner and say that they argue about the same things over and over (and over) again. In many cases, couples become detached and eventually lose fondness, admiration, and love for one another over time.

Sweeping issues under the rug only works for so long. Because when couples have deep-seated resentment, it’s one of the signs your relationship is over and can be a challenge to forgive and forget.

A healthy, intimate relationship is built on trust and vulnerability which involves sharing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and wishes. It’s important to remember that all couples have perpetual problems and can develop tools to deal with them.

According to author Claire Hatch, LCSW, “If you’re bottling up feelings of sadness or anger, you end up suppressing your feelings. You’ll find yourself feeling less joy and love, as well.” In other words, if you can’t talk about the hard things, you’ll also feel less warmth and affection; and over time less fondness and admiration for your partner.

Here are 9 warning signs your relationship might be over or is starting to die out.

1. You argue about the same things.

And you do it over and over (and over) again and never seem to clear the air. You both feel like you’re the loser and that you often have to defend your position.

2. You feel criticized and put down.

This leaves you feeling less than “good enough.” According to renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottmancriticism is one of the main reasons why marriages collapse.

3. You have difficulty being vulnerable with your significant other.

And when you do, your worst fears are actualized: you’re left regretting that you revealed your feelings and desires.

4. One or both of you put your children or others first. 

Therapist and author Andrew G. Marshall writes in his book, I Love You But You Always Put Me Last, “If you put your children first, day in and day out, you will exhaust your marriage.” He posits that many parents fall into the trap of putting their children first and the outcome is resentful, alienated parents and demanding, insecure children.

5. You don’t enjoy each other’s friends or families.

So you begin socializing away from one another. This may start out as an occasional weeknight out. But if not nipped in the bud, it can spill over into weekends — ideally when couples have an opportunity to spend more time together.

6. You have ghosts from past relationships that surface because they were not dealt with.

You may overreact to fairly innocent things your partner says or does because it triggers a memory from a past relationship.

7. Your needs for sexual intimacy are vastly different and/or you rarely have sex.

Relationship expert Cathy Meyer says, “Whether it is him or you that has lost interest, a lack of regular intimacy in a marriage is a bad sign. Sex is the glue that binds; it is the way adults play and enjoy each other.”

8. You and your partner have fallen into a pursuer-distancer pattern.

This is one of the main causes of divorce. Over time, it erodes the love and trust between you because you’ll lack the emotional and sexual intimacy that comes from being in harmony with each other.

9. When you disagree, you seldom resolve your differences.

You fall into the trap of blaming each other and fail to compromise or apologize. As a result, you experience less warmth and closeness. What are the best ways to break the negative pattern of relating that can lead to the demise of your relationship? First of all, it’s important to become conscious of your expectations.

Dr. Brené Brown suggests, “The fastest way for an expectation to morph into shame or resentment is for it to go unnoticed.” Dr. Brown also recommends that we drop our prerequisites for feeling worthy based on conditions, such as having our partner’s approval or a perfect relationship.

Now that you know the signs your relationship might be over or dying, here are a few things you can try before giving up.

1. Stop criticizing your partner.

Talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, a complaint is: “I’m upset because you didn’t tell me about the phone call from your ex. We agreed to be open with each other.” Versus a criticism: “You never tell me the truth. How can I trust you?”

2. Practice resolving conflicts as they arise.

Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy your relationship. Experiencing conflict is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships. Take responsibility for your part in a dispute. Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling your eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm).

3. Boost up physical affection and sex

According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. It’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones, lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

4. Nurture fondness and admiration for your partner. 

Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities — even as you grapple with their flaws — and express your positive feelings out loud several times each day. Search for common ground rather than insisting on getting your way when you have a disagreement. Listen to their point of view and avoid the stonewalling, which is shutting yourself off from communication.

The best way to create a relationship built on love, trust, and intimacy is to take responsibility for our own actions and to practice acceptance and compassion for our partner.

The truth is that all couples have problems, even the ones who seem like a perfect match. The thing to keep in mind is that realistic expectations and damage control can keep resentment from building and causing serious relationship problems.

This article previously appeared on HuffingtonPost.com

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016. He new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around will be published by Sounds True in 2020.

More from Terry

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Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

I was surprised to learn that this grove of Aspen trees is actually one organism, sharing one root system. Each of us also is an interconnected community of 70 trillion cells.

Biologist Bruce Lipton believes that together we’re “one collaborative superorganism.” I love that Facebook allows us to connect one-to-one all over the planet. For the movie: click here.

Society is highly specialized and interdependent so that few of us would know how to survive without running water, electricity, and a supermarket. We’re also dependent upon our personal relationships. Human brains aren’t fully developed for 18 years, and psychological and financial independence from our parents takes even longer.

Moreover, as adults, we depend upon others to fill sexual, social, and emotional needs, such as friendship, communication, nurturing, appreciation, learning, love, and touch. The closer a relationship, the more we’re interconnected.

The Debate

Many claim that because we’re wired for dependency and that “codependency” is normal and shouldn’t be considered a problem to correct. They claim it’s not only natural but healthy and beneficial to be dependent upon an intimate relationship. They blame the codependency movement for breaking up marriages and people’s loneliness. I agree that we all have dependency needs and that healthy relationships can meet those needs and greatly benefit us.

However, codependency’s detractors don’t understand – probably from lack of personal experience – that codependents don’t reap those relationship benefits. Often they’re in unhealthy relationships, and they relate to others in unhealthy ways with patterns of obsession, self-sacrifice, dysfunctional communication, and control, which are both self-destructive and hurtful to others. They’re often abusive or allow themselves to be abused.

Codependent & Interdependent Relationships

Codependent Couples

Codependent couples are usually out-of-balance. Frequently, there are struggles for power and control. There may be an imbalance of power or one partner has taken on responsibilities for the other. They’re anxious, resentful, and feel guilty and responsible for their partner’s needs, feelings and moods, and even at times, behavior. Then they try to control one another to feel okay and get their own needs met. Rather than respect each other’s separateness and individuality, they can’t tolerate disagreement and appease or blame one another without taking responsibility for themselves. Often, what they dislike in their partner is the very thing they can’t accept in themselves.

Despite their pain, they can feel trapped in the relationship because they fear that they can’t function on their own. Some codependent marriages are cooperative and not abusive. Generally, one or both spouses are tip-toeing around the other. There’s no drama, but no passion either, because real intimacy is sacrificed. Their mutual codependency and insecurity make intimacy threatening, since being honest and known risks rejection or dissolution of their fragile self.

Like the Aspen trees, on the surface each may appear to be physically and even mentally and emotionally independent, yet, at an unconscious level, they’re two insecure adults dependent upon each other to express a whole. For instance, a woman who has trouble expressing anger marries an angry man who expresses it for her. Or a man who is extremely closed and shy marries a woman who’s emotionally open and gregarious.

They need each other to express their full humanity. In other cases, it’s more obvious that one partner needs the other for emotional stability, as in the case of alcoholic relationships. Financial dependence doesn’t necessarily create codependence, where the dependent partner has good self-esteem and emotional support outside the marriage.  Even spouses who appear more capable and stronger may be equally dependent on the relationship. They need someone to care for in order to feel needed, worthwhile, and not alone, while their other partner feels valued by receiving. Successful narcissists can be very dependent. They need someone to adore and look up to them.

Interdependent Couples

What makes interconnections healthy is interdependency – not codependency.  Paradoxically, interdependency requires two people capable of autonomy – the ability to function independently. When couples love each other, it’s normal to feel attached, desire closeness, be concerned for one another, and to depend upon each other. Their lives are intertwined, and they’re affected by and need each other. However, they share power equally and take responsibility for their own feelings and actions and contribution to the relationship.

Because they have self-esteem, they can manage their thoughts and feelings on their own and don’t have to control someone else to feel okay. They can allow for each others’ differences and honor one another’s separateness. Thus, they’re not afraid to be honest and can listen to their partner’s feelings and needs without feeling guilty or becoming defensive.  Since their self-esteem doesn’t depend upon their partner, they don’t fear intimacy, and independence doesn’t threaten the relationship. In fact, the relationship gives them each more freedom. There’s mutual respect and support for one another’s personal goals, but both are committed to the relationship.

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happiness in marriage if you

3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman

happiness in marriage if you're a woman

 

I don’t have studies to back up what I’m about to say but, I’m going to say it anyway. I do a lot of reading and research about divorce and why people divorce. The number one complaint I hear from women about why they chose divorce is, inevitably, “I was no longer happy.” Their marriage wasn’t making them happy, their husband wasn’t making them happy, the way they viewed that moment in time in their lives didn’t make them feel happy.

The running theme is, for some reason, women expect their happiness to come from without, not within. When they settle into marriage and the daily humdrum of raising children, making a living and holding a marriage together women become disenchanted because it turns out, marriage isn’t a fairytale and no one will live “happily” ever after.

According to Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, “Happiness is at least 50% genetic. Positive psychologists tend to acknowledge a much weaker version of the happiness set-point view and often point out that even if genetics determines about half of our happiness, the rest is caused by factors that we can control to some extent; our circumstances (about 10%) and our intentional activities, such as the way we choose to think about things (about 40%).”

Let’s break that down, genetics is 50% responsible for how happy a person feels. Circumstance is 10% responsible and how one chooses to think about their circumstance is 40% responsible. It isn’t my intent to diminish anyone’s feelings BUT unless you are married to an abuser, alcoholic or slacker it is possible that these women aren’t happy because of genetics or the way they choose to think about their circumstance and, not as a result of a bad marriage.

As my grandmother used to say, women who divorce because they are no longer happy could be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Getting rid of the thing that could bring them the most happiness by divorcing, in pursuit of some skewed idea of what it means to be happy or, what happiness actually is.

How to Find Happiness in Marriage If You’re a Woman

Happiness is a state of mind, not of circumstance. If you want a happy marriage, you have to make it a happy marriage. Happiness doesn’t magically occur when he stops working 50 hours a week and spends more time with you and the children. It won’t magically occur when the children are grown or there is enough money to cover all the bills. It won’t be found in regular date nights or, snuggling on the couch every night watching romantic comedies.

Your life, inside your marriage, is now, today, dealing with what comes your way and how you choose to think about what it takes to get you through the day. Happiness comes from determining to feel good about whatever life dishes out on any given day. It’s about attitude.

If a woman is blessed with a loving husband who works hard to provide and children who work hard at driving her crazy she is going to find happiness in those blessings because she chooses to view them as such. To be happy one has to allow that 40% positive attitude to hold more authority than the 10% negative attitude about her situation.

Get over thinking someone owes you happiness. Or, that some outside force can “make” you happy. Husbands and children can impact how happy you feel but, ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. If the drudgery of working, being a wife and mothering is sapping your energy and ability to feel happy it is your job to introduce activities into your life that balance those obligations with activities you enjoy.

Most women become unhappy in marriage because they lose their identity to the marriage and they put their needs second to the needs of their husband and children. That is a rule book written by women and it is full of rules that need to be broken. One way to do that, to stir the pot and not fall victim to the antiquated idea that your needs aren’t important is to simply, get out and do things you like to do.

Your children, marriage, husband, and home will not fall apart if you spend a few hours at an art class or, go to the gym daily to work out and keep your body and mind in shape. Women who are happily married have a life outside the marriage, husband, and children.

I have a friend who takes a yearly, weeklong vacation away from her role as wife and Mom. She also maintains a popular blog about women’s issues and writes daily. That is her life and passion, something she does for herself that in no way is related to her role as someone’s wife and mother. Do something, on a daily basis that brings you a sense of joy, is an escape from the whining children and constantly working husband. If you do, you will have a deeper appreciation for your own sense of autonomy AND the daily drudgery that is marriage and raising a family.

Be your authentic self. Did you go into marriage with a set of rules about the kind of wife and mother you want to be? Are the rules realistic? Can you eat off the floors, are the beds made daily, your children dressed and spat shined? Do you have a routine you follow from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night?

That image you have in your mind about the perfect wife and mother may play a role in unhappiness you feel. Why not give yourself a break and be yourself, not who you think you should be for your children and husband but, yourself. If that means not making the beds daily, so be it. If it means sitting your children in front of cartoons in the morning while you journal or meditate, go for it.

Let go of the need to keep up with your own false image of who a good wife and mother is and allow your own personality to drive the kind of wife and mother you are. Your husband and your children will benefit by getting to know the real you. You will benefit by being able to relax and let go of some silly preconceived notion and living your own reality.

Adjusting your attitude, taking responsibility for your own happiness and living authentically may lead to things like, a husband who comes home early from work because he enjoys the company of a wife who is upbeat and happy.

A lot of research has been done on attraction and it all points to the fact that people are attracted to others who are friendly, happy and self-confident. If you have a full life, interests of your own and don’t need anyone or any institution to “make” you happy, guess what, you will be happy. You don’t need to leave your marriage to find happiness, you only need to make a few adjustments.

And, those adjustments will promote and change in the way your husband and children react to and engage with you. It’s a simple way of taking away the need to divorce because you are, “no longer happy.”

Disclaimer: This article does not apply to women living in abusive marriages where they are in danger of physical harm or death.

The post 3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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reason your marriage fizzled out

Why Thrill Is Gone: 10 Reason Your Marriage Fizzled Out

reason your marriage fizzled out

 

Marriages fizzle and die a slow death for the most innocuous reasons. Most marriages don’t succumb to an affair or midlife crisis. Most go the way of divorce because spouses fail to pay attention to the simple things that keep a marriage humming along and both spouse’s happy.

Below are 10 Reasons Your Marriage Fizzled Out:

1. Lack of Enjoyment in The Relationship

If the marriage and relationship become dull and predictable both spouses will lose interest. When both spouses work at keeping things exciting and fun the marriage has a better chance of lasting. When it turns into Football every Sunday and shopping with the girlfriends instead of spending time with each other engaging in new experiences the marriage will slowly die.

2. A Lack of Boundaries in The Relationship

Setting boundaries is an important part of any healthy relationship. If you aren’t willing to tell your spouse what you will and will not tolerate in the marriage, how will your spouse know what lines can and can’t be crossed?

Most feel that boundaries are about settling limits on the other person’s behaviors. In reality, boundaries are YOU setting YOUR limits and then not hanging around when YOUR boundaries are crossed. For example:

“I feel belittled when you tease me in front of friends. Next time this happens I will tell you, in front of our friends that I feel belittled and I will remove myself from the conversation.” Then, next time you are belittled or, whatever behavior it is your spouse does that upsets you, live up to the boundary you set.

3. Taking The Relationship For Granted

I heard a bride say, “Now that we are married, he can never leave me.” Think again! The moment your spouse becomes your sure thing, your marriage begins to die. It is human nature to pay less attention to things we are sure of. Not paying attention to whether or not the marriage is in good shape and your spouse is happy is a great way to end up with a bad marriage and unhappy spouse.

4. A Failure to Communicate…Properly

My ex and I used to take great pride in our ability to communicate. What we were doing was talking circles around each other and not solving problems in the marriage. When having crucial conversations about the relationship, keep in mind that men and woman have different styles of communication. Women are emotional communicators, men are logical communicators. Learn how to decipher what your spouse is saying and where they are coming from.

5. Financial Difficulties or, Not Being on The Same Page, Financially

If both spouses aren’t involved in and aware of the financial realities of the marriage this is an invitation for trouble. In most marriages, one or the other spouse takes charge of paying the bills and keeping tabs on the money. That is all good and well but, both spouses should be aware of where they, as a couple, stand financially. And, there should be an understanding of who spends what and what it is spent on. If not, one spouse can spend a marriage into divorce court.

6. Engaging in Power Struggles as a Couple

Marriage is give and take. At times one spouse will give more than the other, but for the health of the marriage, the pendulum should swing back and forth. Couples get into trouble when one wants to have power over the other and there is a constant battle with that spouse trying to exert dominance. In successful marriages, spouses are willing to share the power, not fight over it.

7. Lack of Sex

Physical intimacy is what bonds a couple together. Without it, spouses become roommates instead of husband and wife. It is true that sexuality or the desire for intimacy increases and decreases based on many things. Women age and hormones are decline, men work too much and come home too tired for sex.

It is beneficial for your marriage and relationship bond to make time for sex unless you are feeling abused or neglected by your spouse. In those situations, I encourage communication in the case of neglect and, leaving the marriage in the case of abuse.

8. Losing Your Sense of Self

It is easy, especially for women who do not work outside the home to lose themselves in the marriage and family. I would venture to say that this is probably the number one reason for gray divorces. Women raise their children, support their husband and his work and hit middle age with no idea who they are and what to do with their empty nest.

Each spouse needs to take time away from the other and the children to engage in activities they find fulfilling and help them maintain a sense of who they are outside the marriage and role of spouse and parent.

9. Becoming the Nagging Wife

Sorry ladies but, you are married to an adult, not a child. Yes, you may feel it is his job to mow the lawn but if he fails to do so nagging him won’t get him behind a mower. It will cause him to resent you and resentment in a marriage is a sure-fire killer.

If your husband doesn’t fix the leaking faucet, pay a plumber. If the deck needs to be stained and he ignores your request to do so, hire someone to get the job done. When he takes a look at the finances and sees that it will cost him less to get out and get those jobs done he will get busy. And, he won’t be able to accuse you of being a “nagging wife.”

10. Smothering Your Spouse

I have a friend who would cut her husband’s meat if he would allow her. Every shirt is starched to perfection, every lunch packed with nutritious meals and she is aware of every move he makes throughout his day.

Yes, you love your spouse but, that is no reason to treat them as if they can’t care for themselves or to feel you should be joined at the hips. Give your spouse space don’t keep them on a short leash and you will both be happier. In turn, you will have a better marriage.

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marital compatability

Marital Compatibility: What Couples Get Wrong About Marriage

marital compatability

 

Emily Cowen, a musical artist I enjoy sings, “Even though we just met, these feelings are so beautiful, you and me were meant to be together.” And that is where “love” songs get love wrong. You’ve just met, the feelings are beautiful so, goodness gracious, you must be meant to be together.

Wrong!

Long-lasting marriages and relationships aren’t based on beautiful feelings. They strive because of compatibility and the unique differences both genders bring to the relationship and how well each can resolve a conflict.

A bit about marital compatibility

Let’s look at the role compatibility plays in lasting marriages.

Initial compatibility, the butterflies and raging hormonal attraction is not a good indicator of how successful a marriage will be. That immediate chemical attraction felt with someone new isn’t concerned with the other person’s value system, personality characteristics or those other beliefs and personality traits that bond a couple together for the long-term.

Attraction and butterflies are important if a marriage is going to stand the test of time, but what is more important is a couple’s common plan for what direction the marriage will take and what role each will play in the marriage.

What does marital compatibility look like?

Friendship: Are you friends with your spouse?  Is there a sincere likeness and level of comfort? Successful couples enjoy spending time with each other. It is this friendship that can be the foundation for solving problems as they arise in the marriage.

Role expectations in the marriage: This isn’t only about how household responsibilities will be handled. It’s also about how spouses treat each other. Very few conversations about role expectations come up when in the throws a brand new relationship. Roles will form naturally as time goes on or the couple will define what role they will play in the relationship. If you aren’t happy with the role you play, there isn’t much hope for the marriage.

My son’s new wife isn’t a domestic goddess. She teaches nursing at a local university and is working on her Ph.D. She is more interested in cerebral pursuits than what art is hung on the walls or, cleaning the kitchen. My son, on the other hand, loves his career but also loves to cook and keep the house tidy. I tease my new daughter-in-law and tell her she has a “fine wife.”

Before marrying they discussed who would do what and they now not only enjoy each other intimately, they are both quite comfortable with how the household is run and the role each plays in the decision making process. It’s an equation for success!

Emotional honesty: Successful spouses trust each other, they feel safe being vulnerable and when discussing their feelings. There is an emotional give and take. When one spouse is in need, the other is there for them and vice versa.

Sexual expectations: Setting these expectations is not only about how frequently a couple will be intimate. It is important, very important that they both be on the same page about sexual frequency but there are other aspects of a sexual relationship that need to be defined. Not everyone is on board with experiencing every sexual act known to man. Defining what you are and aren’t comfortable with sexually is imperative, right out of the gate. Couples who have similar sexual expectations experience more bonding with each other which sets them up for long-term success as a couple.

Shared goals: Mutually committing to and following a path you both agree on is something successful couples do. Do you want children, how will they be raised if you do? What is more important, spending money on furthering education or saving money for a down-payment on a house? Common shared goals and values are things that are the foundation for a strong marriage.

Most successful marriages come about because both partners came into the relationship with similar belief systems and values that match. This makes it easier for two people to reach agreements on issues such as sexual intimacy, gender roles and to be easily emotionally open with each other.

This isn’t to say that a solid marriage is made up of only couples with good qualities. Two people who avoid conflict, have hot-blooded temperaments and prefer to go with the flow can also make marriage work, as long as they are both on the same page.

The post Marital Compatibility: What Couples Get Wrong About Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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the key to success in second marriages

Positive Ways Of Relating: The Key To Success in Second Marriages

the key to success in second marriages

 

Most likely, when you remarry you’ll feel excited about having a second chance at happiness. However, both partners might hold unrealistic expectations that things will run on automatic and love will conquer all problems. Being aware of potential communication differences and barriers to positive ways of relating can help you stay strong and resilient as you navigate the challenges of remarried life.

For instance, we all have a unique style of communicating based on our upbringing, culture, personality, gender, and past relationships. Maybe one of you is extroverted and the other is more reserved. These differences in personalities can cause significant misunderstandings and become potent filters or lenses for how you see and interpret your partner’s behavior.

It’s also true that in a second marriage, couples bring styles of communicating based on their first (or second marriage), and their way of relating to their ex-spouse, that may become deeply ingrained and thus more difficult to alter. Over time, the challenges of living in a remarried or blended family may accentuate conversational differences – especially if one or both partners have unresolved trust issues.

The Key To Success in Second Marriages

For instance, Pam and Dave, both in their late fifties, remarried for fifteen years, and living in a stepfamily, grew up in vastly different cultures. Pam describes her family as loud and expressive, while Dave’s family is reserved and stoic. During our in-depth interview, Pam said she found these differences interesting in the early stages of their marriage, but they began to irritate her after several years of living together.

Pam explains: “Because I was raised in an Italian family that had poor boundaries, my tendency is to say what’s on my mind. Dave, on the other hand, usually weighs out what he is going to say and has a good internal filter. It’s also hard to know what he’s thinking because he shuts down a lot. The problem is that we can both be judgmental and we have misunderstandings and disagreements because we don’t trust each other.”

During our interview, Pam and Dave both acknowledged they had trust issues from their first marriages that were filters for how they interpreted each other’s comments and behavior. For instance, Pam’s ex-husband left suddenly to move in with a co-worker. After Dave’s divorce, he discovered that his ex-wife cleaned out their savings and had been hiding credit card debt that he was unaware of.

Dave: “Honestly, Pam can be a bit harsh and blunt at times. I grew up in New England and my family is private – we believe that it’s best not to disclose much about yourself. But I learned from my first marriage that communication is important so I’m trying to open up. I have some trouble with Pam’s intrusive communication style but I love her and I think loving someone is what matters in a marriage.”

Pam responds: “We have similar interests and taste in entertainment, movies, and music. We also have similar occupations and love to travel.  I’m learning to deal with unrealistic expectations and accepting Dave for who he is. When Dave shuts me out, it sounds like an echo from my first marriage (when my ex pushed me away) but Dave is not him.

Common Misunderstandings

Many remarried couples have established an unfortunate pattern of disagreeing over trivial matters because of the high level of stress in their lives. Seasoned remarried couples will tell you that even the happiest partners will have problems. In remarried families, there are many issues that first time married couples don’t face, such as adding children to the mix – yours, mine and ours. Couples also argue about finances, housework, in-laws, and disciplining children.

Take for example this conversation between Pam and Dave after a long workday. Their dialogue illustrates the inconsequential nature of most arguments between remarried couples. Couples often fight about nothing. Most of their disagreements arise out of differences of opinion about unimportant matters such as making dinner or chores. They both admit that their raw spots from their first marriage set the stage for feelings of vulnerability, defensiveness, and fear of rejection.

Dave: “What kind of pasta should I make tonight?”

Pam: “Tortellini, what else?”

Dave: “What do you mean, “What else”?”

Pam: “Well, we usually have tortellini but I guess I could make something else.”

Dave: “Does that mean you don’t like the way I make it?”

Pam: “No. I like it but go ahead and make something else.”

Dave: “Not if you want tortellini to go with the red sauce.”

Pam: “I don’t. Make ravioli tonight.”

By this dialogue, you can see how Pam and Dave’s difficulty being clear and misreading each other’s intentions set the stage for a disagreement. When Pam added the tag onto her response “What else?” the meta-message (or underlying meaning) was “You’re a jerk for asking, you should have known.” Understandably, Dave could interpret Pam’s comment as critical and demanding (she wanted him to read her mind) and lacking in directness and clarity.

In That’s Not What I Meant! author, Deborah Tannen, Ph.D. explains, “Things seem to get worse in close relationships that continue over time because we don’t realize that communication is inherently ambiguous and that conversational styles differ, so we expect to be understood if there is love. When misunderstandings inevitably arise, we attribute difficulties to failure: our own, or the others, or a failure of love.”

The story of Pam and Dave illustrates how unresolved differences can drive a wedge between remarried couples if they’re not repaired.

The following are three tips to use to improve your communication.

  • Decide together to make a face-to-face twenty to thirty-minute stress-reducing conversation happen daily. In The Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman explains that this conversation can help you feel more attuned with each other.
  • During this conversation (and at other times) acknowledge and show affection and appreciation for each other. A three-second kiss, holding hands, or cuddling on the couch will help you stay physically and emotionally connected. Be sure to show appreciation by pointing out something your partner does that you love. For example: “I love it when you make me a fresh cup of coffee every morning!”
  • Practice active listening and validation. Put your own agenda aside and suspend your worries and concerns about your own life while you focus on what your partner has to say. Giving your partner feedback will validate that you’re listening and that you understand and want to be close. For instance, you might say “It sounds like you had a tough conversation with your boss, that must have been disappointing since you worked so hard on that project.”

Keep in mind that active listening isn’t the same as advice and that it may take you a while to get used to this way of communicating. Most people rush in to offering solutions and solving problems and skip over listening and validation. You can strengthen your remarriage by improving your communication and making a commitment to learning more about each other every day!

 

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016.
More from Terry

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Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

7 Signs Your Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

 

Midlife crisis is an emotionally uncomfortable period that some men and women go through between the age of 35 and 65. For most, it is a time of question priorities and adjusting their lifestyle to fit better with their emotional needs.

For others, midlife can bring about a true “crisis,” one that causes them to stray outside the marriage for the affections and attention of a member of the opposite sex. They can question every choice they’ve made during the first half of their life. It is these folks who usually destroy their families and seem to completely change their character and belief system.

Signs Your Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

Feeling a Need for Adventure and Change

He goes out and buys a new sports car or Harley. She becomes a bar-fly who comes in at 3:00 am every morning. It’s all about having fun and re-capturing their youth. If your spouse is neglecting things that were once important to him/her in favor of skydiving…something they have never expressed an interest in, they are probably experiencing a midlife crisis.

You have choices in such a situation. Skydiving and hanging out in biker bars is better than sitting home alone wondering what your spouse is up to. Participating a bit in their new found need for adventure can bring you closer together instead of creating the distance that can cause the midlife crisis spouse to start questioning whether or not to stay in the marriage.

Feelings of Depression

Some who go through a midlife crisis will experience depression that affects their mood and to the point that activities and relationships are negatively affected. Friends, family, and work may all be neglected. If you think your spouse is suffering from depression watch for the following symptoms:

  • Sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to focus or make decisions
  • Unusual sleep patterns
  • Unusual appetite, weight loss or gain

A Loss of Interest in Things That Used to be Important

I received a letter from Jason who was concerned about changes he was seeing in his wife. After 23 years in a career as a nurse, she quit her job. According to Jason, she wanted to go back to school full-time and major in philosophy. His wife had gone for a “straight-laced   Christian” to a woman who questioned whether or not there was a God.

Jason said he no longer knew the woman he had been married to for 18 years and was concerned she might be going through a midlife crisis. One thing is sure, she is questioning her values and beliefs and no one knows where these questions will lead her.

Anger and Blame of The Spouse

You are the problem! If it weren’t for you, life would be grand for the midlife crisis spouse. If he trips on a banana peel at work, you will get blamed. The spouse who is in a midlife crisis never looks internally and examines why he/she is feeling discontent.

They look outward and blame others and since you are the main relationship in their life it makes sense that you will bare most of the blame for their bad feelings. Expect your spouse to be short tempered and angry. Do not respond when your buttons are pushed. A response is what they want and you don’t want to play into their need for conflict.

Unable to Make Decisions About Their Future

Joan’s husband found a new woman and wanted a divorce. He refused to file for divorce, though. He left Joan telling her that he had never been in love with her, that marrying her had been a mistake. Joan was devastated!

Over a period of eighteen months, Joan’s husband changed his mind about his feelings for Joan on a regular basis. He would pack his bags and leave out the door spewing verbal abuse. A month later he would call in tears wanting to come home. Before long he was out the door again and moving back in with the other woman.

Joan eventually filed for a divorce and helped him make the decision he seemed unable to make. They are both now living with the painful consequences of his indecision.

Doubt Over The Choice to Marry

You may have just celebrated your 29th anniversary. You may have lived with a spouse who, from all outward appearances, seemed to have been happy in the marriage. It isn’t uncommon for a husband or wife who has never complained about being married to suddenly tell you that they have “lived in hell” from the very beginning.

The spouse in midlife crisis will question whether the marriage was ever legitimate. They will demonize you, accuse you of forcing them into marriage all in an attempt to make the marriage illegitimate. You will be painted as the evil spouse who never met their emotional or physical needs so the midlife crisis spouse can justify their feelings of discomfort with the marriage. If this is the case in your situation you should believe nothing you are told and very little of what you see.

A Desire For a New and More Passionate Intimate Relationship

The husband/wife who is going through a midlife crisis may become tired of the “same old, same old” in the bedroom. It isn’t uncommon for someone married to a spouse who is going through a midlife crisis to suffer the negative consequences of their infidelity.

If your spouse is spending more time in chat lines on the computer, working strange hours or on his/her cell phone more than usual you are seeing signs of a cheating spouse. These are only signs but coupled with the other symptoms of midlife crisis you should consider the possibility that your spouse has found someone to fulfill the need for a more passionate, intimate relationship.

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more likely to divorce

8 Things That Make You More Likely To Divorce

more likely to divorce

 

Can we, without a doubt, say that a couple will divorce before they walk down the aisle? In most cases no, although in some cases you can see a train wreck as it’s coming. How do you know if your marriage will last?

There isn’t an easy answer to that question but there are a few signs that predict if a couple is more likely to get a divorce. If you have any of these issues in your relationship perhaps you can head off future problems before walking down the aisle.

Are you more likely to divorce?

Based on these 8 things you are.

1. Money, Money, Money:

When money troubles abound, do the two of you clash horns, or do you sit together and find solutions rather than pointing fingers? How the two of you handle money separately and together is important.

If you’re battling each other instead of working together on how to manage finances more appropriately, this could propel you two towards divorce. Also, if one of you is bringing the other further into debt or, has a history of not paying their debt perhaps it’s time to sit down with a financial advisor and therapist if your partner is financially irresponsible.

2. The Woman is More Financially Accomplished:

The University of Chicago School of Business conducted research in 2013 that said if a woman earned more money than her husband, divorce rates increased. Perhaps this is based on a socio-cultural belief that men are to be the breadwinners and so when this doesn’t happen, perhaps a man feels weaker or less important.

If you are a well-accomplished woman, your partner may become threatened by your success.

What can you do about this?

Nothing. If a man is that threatened, he’s not the right one for you. And men, if your partner is more financially successful don’t you also reap the benefit of her success? Don’t get tied down into old ideologies and cultural stereotypes.

3. Your Parents Are Divorced:

Study after study says if your parents divorced, you are more likely to divorce as well. Perhaps that is true, so if your parents did divorce and you’re looking to keep your marriage happy, why not take some lessons learned from watching your parents’ marriage end, and use those lessons to give you perspective on how to handle conflict in your marriage or how to pick a good prospective partner.

I think if you get too “married” no pun intended, to the idea that if your parents divorced you will as well, it’s too fatalistic. Learn from their mistakes. That in itself may be a gift.

4. No Sex:

If you and your partner are slowly cutting down on your sexual activities, you’re heading into the danger zone. Sex is vital to a marriage. You don’t need to be in bed with each other every night getting randy, but if the two of you start to put a kibosh on marital sexual activities and intimacy it is a very bad sign of big problems in the relationship.

5. Different Values or Backgrounds

A colleague of mine came from a liberal background and her ex came from a conservative background. Despite the fact that there were mutual opinions of one another’s that they respected, ultimately their values and belief systems were incredibly different.

It wasn’t surprising when they started to argue more as they had a child. Their belief systems were clashing over how to raise their children which is common if two people don’t share similar backgrounds and values.  If you and your partner have inherently different life views this can (but not always) make for a difficult marriage.

6. Young Love

Marrying young? You may find that your interests and lives change so much as you grow older that you may grow older apart and not as a couple. We are different people at 40 than we were at 20.

That isn’t to say becoming a couple at a young age can’t work. I have friends who married at 15 and 16-years-old. They’ve just celebrated their 40th anniversary! Being young does make marriage more difficult and it takes more of a commitment so you have to be willing to stick it out when the going gets rough.

7. Fighting Ugly, Not Fighting Smart:

If you and your partner fight to hurt, expect one of those fights to sever your marriage. When you truly love and cherish someone, you’re not out for blood even if you are angry and hurt.

Being cruel or on the attack is not the sign of healthy love. Fighting smartly is most important in a marriage. Pick your battles wisely and avoid accusatory statements. Be careful with your words. There’s no way to truly take them back—they’ve already been said once they leave your lips!

8. Holding a Grudge:

If you find either one of you is supposedly forgiving but never forgetting this is a toxic habit for your relationship and future marriage. If you truly forgive you must also let go! Holding onto old resentments will eat you up inside and tear away at your partnership until there’s nothing left but ashes.

If you see any of these behaviors in your relationship, don’t get muddled down in negativity or despair. Instead, if it’s something you can change, do it! If the relationship requires more than a few tweaks, counseling may be in the cards for you. If you’re not married yet but see these potential issues, perhaps some pre-marital counseling is inline. It’s better to not say I do than to say I do and later on say, “I should have said I don’t!”

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