marital compatibility

Marital Compatibility: It’s About More Than Being “In Love”

marital compatibility

 

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 thrive because of compatibility and the unique differences both genders bring to the relationship and how well each can resolve conflict.

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 who 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 wife isn’t a domestic goddess. She has a high pressure job and a Master’s in Nursing. 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 to 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: It’s About More Than Being “In Love” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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non-physical cheating

Is Non-Physical ‘Cheating’ a Reason to Break up Your Marriage?

non-physical cheating

 

The question “is cheating a reason for divorce” is highly personal. The answer depends on the state your marriage was in before the alleged ‘cheating’ occurred. An unstable marriage is more likely to reach a breaking point if infidelity is suspected.

Ultimately, the question can only be answered after you first take a closer look at what YOU define as ‘cheating’ and what YOU feel is acceptable or unacceptable in your marriage.

Is Non-Physical ‘Cheating’ a Reason to Break up Your Marriage?

For some women, cheating is having a physical relationship with someone outside the marriage (i.e. kissing, fondling, oral sex and/or intercourse). Other women have more liberated ideas about fidelity when they allow a third person to join them in the bedroom for a threesome.

They don’t consider this ‘cheating’. For others, having an emotional relationship with another woman counts as cheating. Some men still talk openly to ex-girlfriends and this is accepted in the marriage. In other marriages this is an absolute no-no, especially if this is happening secretly.

Then there are gray areas where no specific third person or emotional involvement is involved.

Would you consider going to a strip club as cheating?

Does watching porn in magazines or on the web qualify as cheating? In this case, it seems to be only the fantasy of another body that the husband is looking for.

What about more indirect contact like ‘friending’ an ex on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Would it make a difference if communication is open or hidden?

How you define cheating depends on your personality, your threshold, your level of self-confidence, how strict you set the rules at the beginning of your relationship and your level of trust.

Over time, relationships change. If you were comfortable with allowing other women close to your man and felt secure in your relationship at the beginning, your level of comfort and security may change as life and the relationship changes. In long term relationships, the focus gradually shifts from physical attraction to love and intimacy.

That initial spark may wear off as you get caught up in daily routines. If you have kids and your daily life gets busier and more focused on the children, the relationship needs to be nurtured to keep the connection alive. Regular date night and effective communication can be the key.

Before you make the decision to file for divorce when you feel hurt and betrayed… pause…Decisions made in a highly emotional state of mind are not always the wisest.

Consider the consequences of divorce for everyone (especially the kids) and weigh the pros and cons of your relationship. If infidelity is your reason to consider divorce, make sure your definition of what is ‘cheating’ is clear to you and your spouse.

Bottom line is that every relationship has ‘rules’ that need to be clear to both partners. If boundaries are vague, they can easily be crossed. Open communication is key. If one of the partners is hiding something, it is time to have a serious talk together. If you feel that talking doesn’t get you the results you want, couples counseling could be an option.

A therapist can help both of you clarify your needs, set healthy boundaries and help resolve trust issues you may have.

For suggestions on how to weigh the pros and cons in your marriage, improve your communication and spend quality time together, I highly recommend reading self-help workbook To Stay Or Not To Stay.

For an insight into what challenges children face when they do end up living in two houses, I suggest to read children’s book Nina Has Two Houses. The book also contains helpful tips for parents.

The post Is Non-Physical ‘Cheating’ a Reason to Break up Your Marriage? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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improve communication in a relationship

How To Resolve Conflict And Improve Communication In a Relationship

improve communication in a relationship

 

It may seem obvious to some, but not all, that the best relationships are ones born out of trust and vulnerability.  Each partner approaches one another as an equal. The relationship does not drain its participants: instead, it nourishes. Differences between partners are complementary. These differences are advantageous and desirable and do not create a hindrance to the relationship; instead, they contribute to its growth.

In a healthy relationship, partners draw out untapped possibilities in one another.  So why does it seem so hard to maintain a blissful state of love with a partner over time?

Improve Communication In a Relationship

First of all, every relationship has its ups and downs, and conflict comes with the territory. Yet if you are a daughter of divorce, you may avoid conflict because it may have signified the end of your parents’ marriage. Marriage counselor, Michele Weiner Davis, explains that avoiding conflict backfires in intimate relationships. She posits that bottling up negative thoughts and feelings doesn’t give your partner a chance to change their behavior. On the other hand, she cautions that one of the secrets of a good marriage or romantic relationship is learning to choose battles wisely and to distinguish between petty issues and important ones.

Elizabeth’s Mother’s Day story provides a good example of a hot-button issue that needed to be resolved. Newlyweds Elizabeth and Zane have three children and have been in a committed relationship for many years.  One year, Zane picked up a quick Mother’s Day gift for her at a gas station, and Elizabeth’s feelings were deeply hurt. Because she placed great value on Mother’s Day, Elizabeth decided to take a risk and show her vulnerability to Zane by expressing her disappointment.  Since then, Zane has faithfully purchased a special Mother’s Day gift every year, and Elizabeth feels valued and loved by him.

Secondly, it’s important to stop keeping score and to try not to win every argument, even when you’re in the right. Instead, author Pat Love says, “think of winning an unofficial contest I like to call Who’s the Bigger Person? Resolving conflicts is about who wants to grow the most and what’s best for your relationship.” At the beginning of a relationship, couples tend to focus more on their similarities. Yet after a while, negative projections tend to surface and your partner may remind you of someone from your past. This may explain why some couples who seemed so compatible when they first get together, have more conflicts as time goes by.

Lauren, age 32, explains how identifying her part in communication breakdowns with her husband, Paul, helped save her marriage. “In the past, I used to focus on what Paul was doing wrong until a good friend reminded me that I may want to try harder to communicate my feelings to him without blaming him.”  Lauren realized that she hadn’t learned healthy ways of resolving conflicts from her parents who divorced when she was twelve, a pivotal age for adolescent development and observing your parents’ relationship patterns.

Like all smart women, Lauren realized that all relationships go through rough patches and that it takes two people to contribute to the difficulties. Since she liked being married overall, Lauren decided to focus more on Paul’s positive qualities – such as being a great father – rather than negative ones. “That’s when I noticed that I had a problem communicating. I expected Paul to know what I wanted without me telling him what I needed. When he failed, I’d punish him with the silent treatment, or blow up. When I let go of my efforts to fix him and started working on fixing myself, things began to get better,” she says.

The following steps to resolving conflicts and improving communication may be a starting point to building a fulfilling intimate partnership:

  • Take a risk and deal with hurt feelings – especially if it’s an important issue.
  • Approach conflict with a problem-solving attitude. Avoid trying to prove a point and examine your part in a disagreement.
  • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements that tend to come across as blameful- such as “I felt hurt when you bought that gift.”
  • Don’t make threats or ultimatums. Avoid saying things you’ll regret the next day.
  • Take a short break if you feel overwhelmed or flooded. This will give you time to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Love also means risking occasionally getting your feelings hurt because it’s the price you pay for intimacy. In all intimate relationships there exist conflicting needs for closeness and space. When issues come up with either of those needs, it’s essential that you talk with your partner and find creative ways to make sure you both feel valued and listened to. Taking the time to work on resolving conflicts in a healthy way is hard work but the payoff is tremendous.

Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website.

Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020.

More from Terry

This blog originally appeared on movingpastdivorce.com

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how to tell if your spouse is lying

How To Tell If Your Spouse is Lying

how to tell if your spouse is lying

 

No one likes to think their spouse isn’t telling the truth but if you’re getting divorced or your marriage is in trouble, then the chances that your spouse isn’t being totally honest increase and you need to know how to tell your spouse is lying to you.

If you’ve always believed your spouse, how to do start to detect the lies?

On the other hand, if you’re convinced now that everything out of your spouse’s mouth is a lie, how do you know what’s true?

How to Tell If Your Spouse is Lying

What are the telltale signs the experts watch for?

Accept The Possibility Of Lies

The first step to detecting untruths is to be open to the possibility that your spouse may not be telling you the truth and that is not easy.

“Everyone wants to believe that they’re hearing the truth and when you’re so in love with the person who may be lying, it gets even harder,” said body language expert, Traci Brown.

The key is to take the emotion out of the situation and ask yourself if you’re wanting to hear a particular answer. That wanting tricks you into discounting the red flags and signs that you’re being deceived. It’s self-preservation at work because deep inside you know how crushing it will be to realize your soulmate is lying to you now and may have been lying to you for a long time.

It’s Easier To Detect Lies Face To Face

Email is hard for any communication and it’s easy to misinterpret written words because what’s missing is everything that comes with in-person communication – the intonation, the pitch, the pace, the visual clues … Phone conversations are better for this purpose than emails but when you really want to know if someone is lying, you need to do it in person.

You Are Not Crazy

Once you open up to the possibility of lies, you might start to see them in many situations. You may even start to think that this can’t be, that this doesn’t make sense and maybe you’re the one who is crazy, imagining things. The possibility here is that you are a victim of gaslighting: “a malicious and hidden form of mental and emotional abuse, designed to plant seeds of self-doubt and alter your perception of reality.” (Psychology Today)

Brown says that lies happen in every relationship and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some lies are told to make you feel better. You know those. They’re the ones about your choice of what to wear or what to have for dinner. They’re harmless and perhaps well-intentioned.

According to Brown, about 15 percent of the population is between sociopaths and psychopaths. Many of them end up in the criminal justice system but a lot of them are really high functioning and totally put together. They may not show the signs and it might be really difficult for you to tell if they’re lying.

“They have no guilt, no compunction, no remorse, no regret,” said Brown. “They’re just extremely skilled at it. They’re not trying. It’s just the way they are wired.”

The lies these people tell are not the harmless ‘white lies.’ They are the most dangerous lies. To spot these you need to pay attention and you need to start trusting your gut.

A Lie Is A Lie

Brown identifies five different types of lies: exaggeration, fabrication, minimization, omission, and denial. While it doesn’t really matter what type of lie it is, some are more common than others.

“People will conceal before they will fabricate,” said Brown. “It takes less effort to conceal than to make up something new.”

That reminded me of a client situation where my client suspected that her spouse had bank accounts overseas. When asked about that he denied the existence of an account in the specific country she had asked about. Long story short, spouse was eventually required to turn over all sorts of records and it came out that he had bought a business in that country and that the business did have a couple of accounts there.

Technically, he had answered her question correctly – they did not have any personal accounts but it was not the whole truth. Brown says in this situation, an investigator would word the question differently, perhaps, “Do you have any financial interests overseas?”

Get A Baseline

A baseline is how someone normally responds and when there’s a shift from the normal response, it’s a “hotspot.”

“Husbands and wives can often tell when each other are lying because they know each other so well,” said Brown. “What you want to do is to look for the differences in their response from their typical response to a very pointed question such as ‘Hey, what’s out address?’”

The way they respond to a straightforward question is their baseline. Just to make things a little harder, Brown says everybody is going to be little bit different and that’s why you need a baseline for the person you suspect of lying.

A single hotspot is not sufficient to be sure someone is lying so Brown looks for three hotspots and she has a number of signs she watches out for.

The Body Language Doesn’t Match The Words

A very common hotspot is when someone responds to a question with ‘no’ but is nodding their head or responds with ‘yes’ and is shaking their head. You can find video clips of celebrity cases like OJ Simpson, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Brown’s blog for plenty of examples of this.

What gets these people into trouble is that you can rehearse a script and control the words but it’s extremely difficult to control the subconscious, involuntary body actions. There is an art to detecting these inconsistencies and it’s harder at home since it’s a bit challenging to suddenly start videotaping your spouse for analysis later.

“Other things that people do is when their lips disappear, their lips fall down over their teeth or they’ll cover their mouth,” said Brown. “Maybe they’ll cover some of the throat area with a hand. The next thing out of their mouth is somewhere between a half-truth and a lie, many, many times.

Look For Shifts

You can also detect when someone is being deceptive by shifts in their behavior. Do they go from still to speedy or speedy to still? Does their eye blink rate change all of a sudden? Do they scoot away from you? Does the volume of their voice change?

“This is why you get a baseline and then look for shifts,” said Brown.

Dupa’s Delight

This is one of my favorite signs.

“Sometimes, you ask people a very incriminating question and they’ll smile really big and they’ll shake their head,” said Brown. “There’s no reason to smile on a very incriminating question and it happens because they think they’re getting away with it, having a little bit of fun. It’s deeply subconscious, not anything they would pick to do but it’s a dead giveaway.”

See Brown’s blog for her analysis of Tom Brady and Tonya Harding for great examples of this.

Getting To The Truth

Once you feel fairly certain your spouse is lying to you, your next step might be trying to get to the truth. I say “trying” because frankly, with a pathological liar you may never know the truth.

Brown suggests one strategy is to get a copy of her book, How To Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft and leave it on the kitchen counter. “A lot of times just people knowing that you have a leg up in finding the truth will cause them to admit a lot of things,” said Brown. “That’s more than half the reason that polygraph tests work.”

Police interrogations can last six to twelve hours and over time people start to break down. We’re not suggesting you should adopt that approach with your spouse but what you can do is to ask the same question several times and then notice how the answer shifts.

You can also say something like, “Seems like you’ve got more to say about that. Why don’t you let me know?”

Lies are not connected to emotion and they’re not connected to time. These details have to be fabricated. So another strategy that Brown uses is to ask the person to tell the story backwards by asking, “What happened before that?”

You’ll find that there are gaps in time and that’s where you may detect more deception because “filling in the gaps, we get into cognitive overload,” said Brown. “It’s more than the brain can handle to answer all these questions so the body language again breaks down.”

It’s also important to break your questions down in small chunks, asking one thing at a time. So rather than asking if they went to the liquor store and a friend’s house, it is better to ask two separate questions.

With the technology that is readily available, even just being friends with your spouse on an app, you may discover more than you thought possible and it may be best to not let on how much you know. “You can get them in a really deep lie and use that information when you need it, just by not telling them that you know they are lying,” said Brown.

Traci Brown is often seen on TV analyzing the likes of Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Tom Brady, and Tonya Harding. She is the author of How To Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft.

This article was originally published on SinceMyDivorce.com

The post How To Tell If Your Spouse is Lying appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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you want a divorce

Discernment Counseling: When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

you want a divorce

Have you heard of Discernment Counseling?

Do you want to divorce? Be sure you’re sure!

If you have landed here you are likely divorced. Or perhaps considering it and you are here to explore what life might look like should you take that crucial step. In the case that you are teetering, here is some information you might find useful.

Not every individual who lands in the office of a family lawyer is ready to dissolve their marital union. Of course, that notion is irrelevant if, in fact, the other spouse is. A healthy relationship or the like can only exist when both parties are committed to the dance.

The decision to divorce is one that is on the table in households daily. Numbers of unsatisfied married people make a decision to dissolve their relationship on a regular basis. According to research, however, divorce does not necessarily make unhappy adults happier. Survey data reveals that approximately 50% of both men and women expressed regret over having divorced.

Unhappily divorced men and women were no happier five years post-divorce than those who remain married; two-thirds of those who remained married reported being happy five years later. It seems then marriage may indeed be good for some, but, pausing and bettering yourself may be advisable more often than not.

When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

When you and/or your partner are actively considering what life brings on the other side yet share ambivalence, fear and/or trepidation, Discernment Counseling might be for you. It is the therapeutic equivalent of a “pause”.

Discernment, according to the dictionary, refers to the ability to judge well and to be astute about topics often ignored or overlooked by others.

In the area of marital therapy, with its widespread theoretical variations, there may be a lot of wisdom to impart on the couples who walk in our doors but they themselves often have little discernment.

Discernment Counseling was developed by psychologist William Doherty of Minnesota (see the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project) to help “mixed-agenda” couples herd some momentum and draw a conclusion with ‘clarity and confidence’.

An estimated 30% of couples enter couple’s therapy with a “mixed agenda”, that is, where one is leaning-out and one is leaning-in. Traditional couples’ therapy is unsuccessful for these couples; effective therapy is impossible unless both partners are in the game, albeit with some hesitation.

With Discernment Counseling, couples leave having made one of three decisions—

  1. Keep the status-quo
  2. Pursue divorce
  3. Commit to a six-month period of couple’s therapy

As you are aware, having heard countless narratives on how and when the decision to divorce occurred, there is no best time to make that final decision.

That decision becomes even that much more complicated when there are others in the picture who are being affected, most typically children, young or old, and sometimes aging parents.

This process is intended to move things along, for better, regardless of the choice.

Approximately 48% commit to therapy, 42% divorce and 12% render a non-decision to stay the same.

Some couples who are terminal and at death’s door rebound and with couples therapy reconcile and get back their mojo. And, with those who engage in the process of DC (vs those who do not), they navigate the divorce process in a healthier manner, should that be their end game.

Discernment Counseling is not therapy. It is not couples counseling nor is it divorce therapy. Couples will not see a change in the dynamics of the relationships, although there may be revelations and observations both they and their therapist may have that can help. Couples will be able to determine if, in fact, their problems are solvable.

Since we tend to show up again in our next relationship, it is important to know how you got here prior to making a decision, with that process more critical when it involves more than just the couple.

With Discernment Counseling couples will gain:

  1. the clarity and confidence to make a decision
  2. awareness and understanding of each person’s contributions and dynamics in the relationship and
  3. a deeper knowledge of how the marriage has progressed through its stages and how they came to the brink of divorce

There are times when neither Discernment Counseling nor couple’s therapy is the most relevant choice for a couple on the brink and other options are preferred. It is not appropriate when:

  1. There is the presence or danger of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  2. When one spouse is coercing the other to participate
  3. When at least one partner has made the decision to divorce

At the end of the day, many relationships can be saved. If we fail to pause, we invariably take ourselves into our next relationship often with a repetition of the pattern that we have in our current relationship.  Discernment Counseling is an available option for these couples that are uncertain and on the brink and they typically leave better, regardless of their decision.

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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.

The post 5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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?

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship? 1

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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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.

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