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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stay too long with wrong guy

Stayed Too Long with the Wrong Guy? 4 Steps To Self-Forgiveness

stay too long with wrong guy

 

Women with the biggest hearts are often drawn to emotionally unavailable men. We mistakenly think that if we love him hard enough, he will heal in our hands. If you have experienced the ending of such a relationship disaster, consider yourself lucky. Congratulations!

I know that forgiving ourselves for staying so long, loving, and loyal can be a major kick in the pants, especially when we most likely overlooked some major red flags in the beginning.

Emotional unavailability is defined as the inability to be emotionally present and receptive. These men put up walls against emotional intimacy, which is often characterized by several different types; the workaholic, the perfection chaser, the aggressor, the sob story victim, the disappearing act, the crumb giver.

These types use anger and aggression, stonewalling, denial, and avoidance to refrain from difficult conversations and problem-solving. Essentially, they chronically evade dealing with their own crap, fail to meet any of our emotional needs, and leave us wondering what the hell we did wrong. Newsflash! The only thing that we did “wrong” was choose THEM to partner with.

Stayed Too Long with the Wrong Guy?

Let’s get through this together! Moving on…

Show some self-compassion.

So often, we kindly talk to others with tenderness and sweet words of encouragement. From our children to our lovers, we are always right there to wipe their tears and hold their hands, listening with both ears to erase the pain. Enough! After a heartbreak, all of this energy and effort must now be turned inward. Time for self-compassion! Look in the mirror and admire those laugh lines that formed while giggling with your beautiful babies on the floor, tickling their toes.

Pull out that notepad and write down your best qualities, celebrating each one. Talk to yourself as if you are a young child or an elder. Use words of love and kindness. Your feelings are valid, you matter, and you deserve the love that you give.

Self-care is not selfish.

Did anyone say salt bath? Home pedicure and wine? Whatever makes you sigh aloud with relief, Do. It. Now. Shave those legs and then lotion up for a few extra minutes finishing with a foot massage. Stop in at the local salon, wash that man right ‘outta your hair, and trim those dead ends, literally and figuratively.  Call a counselor and clear the air for yourself. Pick up a new book and may I suggest “Mr. Unavailable & The Fallback Girl” by Natalie Lue? Light a candle and read for your own benefit and clarity, which brings us to number three…

Learn the lesson.

Hindsight is 20/20, my love. What red flags did we ignore? His criticism and yelling, his enduring need to work overtime and disappear, his perfectionist nature, or his perpetual “silent treatments” whenever there was a disagreement? Write down every strange gut feeling in that belly that went overlooked and every tear that soundlessly stung those eyes.

Self-reflect. What kept us still with an emotionally incompetent man for so long: fear, uncertainty, guilt, low self-esteem? Name the reason and accept it. We accept the love that we think we deserve. What do you deserve? Nothing changes if nothing changes, and change begins NOW.

Forward movement.

I started my own forward motion by creating a list of things in life and love that I want and desire. I included all of the qualities that the future love of my life should possess, the feelings that I hope to experience (like peace, liberation, openness, ease, giddiness) and the relationship goals that I plan to achieve with a partner.

I also construed a list of the places that I wish to visit and the activities I am eager to experience this fall, from wineries to autumn-leave trails to writing additional articles. By directing all of your energy and attention unto yourself, you will heal and recreate a new beautiful version of you, ready to love again with an emotionally available man next time.

As the author Natalie Lue writes in her book, “[Self] Forgiveness creeps up on you. Focus on treating yourself well, grieving any losses and addressing any habits that have held you back and that is forgiveness in itself because you give you another shot.”

The post Stayed Too Long with the Wrong Guy? 4 Steps To Self-Forgiveness 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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Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement? I Don’t Think So!

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement

 

I’m not dating. I’ve been divorced for seven years now, and I’m not in a relationship. I’m not looking to be in one, either. There have been a few boyfriends, a couple more serious than the others, some purely physical. But right now, and for the past year, I’ve been absolutely, completely, 100% unattached.

And I’m totally fine with this. Am I the only one?

Everything I read about divorce seems to have a message: if you are divorced, you need to date.

Pronto!

Fresh divorcees fret about it, as though there is a deadline for finding new love, a relationship version of the old biological clock that is ticking ominously in the background. That their lives will not be complete until they have someone on the other side of the bed every single night. To this day, people still ask me, “Why aren’t you dating?” or “You should find a man” or my favorite, “You know what you need? You need to date.”

There are plenty of things I need to do: I need to work. I need to parent my children. I need to do laundry and get groceries and walk my dog. Do I need to be in a relationship?

I don’t think so.

Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement?

There is something very liberating in being single. I have learned how to be alone, but not lonely.  I feel as though this is one of the weird little parting gifts of divorce, one that took me a long time to discover and even longer to appreciate.

The gift of learning how to be by yourself.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t spend all of my free time alone. I have four kids, a neurotic dog and a gaggle of amazing friends. I could be out every night of the week if I wanted.  But every once in awhile, I find myself alone. And I kind of like it.

Before my divorce, I hadn’t lived alone other than a month when I was a flight attendant back in 1989. I’d lived with my parents, and then with roommates, and then with a boyfriend who became a husband. And technically speaking I am not living alone right now, what with my four roommates- five if you count the sweet shedding boy who shares my bed. But for the first time in my adult life, I’m single and not looking.

Part of it may be me guarding myself, my heart. My ex husband did a major number on me when he left. I’m not naive enough to think that there wasn’t some damage done, but I am smart enough to know that it wasn’t permanent. Me not actively seeking love right now isn’t a matter of not wanting to be vulnerable again, nor is it a matter of not trusting men (or my choices in men).

Part of it may be good old fashioned insecurity. If you find yourself failing at marriage once, it’s hard to think of trying it again. Who’s to say I won’t invest another 15 years of my life into another person only to be left again?

It might be those things, yes. But I’d like to think that my steadfast-singleness is an education of sorts. I’m learning, you see. Learning to enjoy my own company, which, when you think about it, is laying some pretty good groundwork for any future relationship I may find myself in.  Personally, I think it takes some courage, and some cajones, to face life solo. Some days I feel brave.  I’m learning how to weather life’s storms on my own, which is something I think all women should know how to do.

Now, don’t think I’m dissing those of you who have jumped right back into the thick of things. I have friends who found new and improved loves before the ink on their divorce decrees dried. And that is WONDERFUL. We all have our very own ways of doing things, of growing and recovering and living. Truth be told, there are some moments when I feel some envy.

I see them with their boyfriends or husbands and it reminds me of all the good things that come with couplehood. The companionship, the comfort, the warm strong arm draped over your shoulders on a cold walk to the car. The security one feels when there’s a trustworthy man snoring next to you in bed.

But then I see friends who have gone through a virtual parade of boyfriends, watched them fall in and out of love, or something that kinda/sorta feels like it. They’ve introduced their kids to some of them, brought them to parties and gatherings and then one day, they show up alone. Or with a new guy. I’ve comforted them when things go bad, when they realize that this wasn’t Mr. Right, it was Mr. That’ll Do For Now.

There’s something to be said for their sheer determination to find someone, and I commend them for that. I have to wonder, though, is that the best way to find your happily ever after, or is it simply a way to keep your dating muscles toned and in shape, to avoid atrophy?

I was talking to another single friend the other night, she joined this club by way of widowhood. I told her that I was writing an article about “embracing your singleness” and she plopped down next to me and told me her side of it: “People were asking me about dating within a week of my husband dying” she started. “I mean, look-“ she held up her left hand, her beautiful wedding band shining brightly on her ring finger. “I took this off for about a week…I had been lifting weights and it was bothering me,” she continued. “And right away, I noticed raised eyebrows and the ‘you go, girl’ comments started.” My friend motioned towards the kitchen, where her kids were laughing and messing around with their friends. “Those people in there? That’s my focus right now. That’s my job. I’ll figure out the dating thing later on.”

My widowed friend and I may have found ourselves in this spot via very different paths, but we both landed on the same page. Love is something we both want, both look forward to…but front and center in our lives are our lives. Being moms, taking care of households, nurturing friendships. Taking care of ourselves. Finding our sea legs in order to ride out the rest of this crazy voyage.

Who knows..I’ve heard that love will find you whether or not you’re looking. And if that happens? Great. I haven’t sworn off men and dating and sex and all of that good stuff…I’ve just decided that right here and right now, it’s not my number one priority. I may meet my Prince Charming while grocery shopping or out on the trails while walking my dog. I might meet him at one of my son’s hockey games or while out on the town with my friends. Or, I might not.

Either way, it’s fine with me.

The post Is Dating After Divorce A Requirement? I Don’t Think So! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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why you were ghosted

Why You Were Ghosted And What To Do

why you were ghosted

 

Rejection and breakups are hard enough but being ghosted can be traumatic. It can leave you with unanswered questions that make it hard to move on. Although ghosting also occurs in friendships, it’s usually associated with dating. More devastating, but less common, is when a spouse disappears after years of marriage.

It’s like a sudden death of the person and the marriage. But even the unexplained, unexpected end to a brief romantic relationship can feel like a betrayal and shatter your trust in yourself, in love, and in other people.

It’s a shock to the heart whenever you care about someone who suddenly cuts you off without any explanation.

If you insist on knowing and get a response like, “I just don’t feel it anymore,” it isn’t satisfying. You still want to know “WHY?” We are information-seeking animals. Our brain is wired to wonder and search for solutions. Once we pose a question, it looks for answers.

This is compounded by the fact that we’re also wired to attach and to experience rejection as painful. We try to reconnect―why babies cry fiercely when they need their mother. Rejection can cause obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior, like stalking your ex’s social media, which fuels more pain and more questions.

Why You Were Ghosted and What to Do

Ghosted in a Romance

In a romantic relationship, breakups are always harder during the early stage. It’s devastating to be ghosted during the romantic phase, but that’s usually when it occurs. You don’t know your partner that well and are still in a blissful haze of idealization. Your hopes for the future may be abruptly and inexplicably dashed.

Normally, a relationship progresses from the romantic “ideal” stage into the “ordeal” period when couples struggle with ambivalence and conflicts. If that ends the relationship, at least you have an understanding of why it didn’t work and perhaps agree.

If couples can communicate and accommodate each other’s’ needs and personalities, they get to the “real deal”―a real relationship based on mutual understanding and acceptance. This takes two people compatible and committed to making the relationship work. They must also have enough self-esteem and autonomy to give without feeling unappreciated or robbed and receive without feeling unworthy or smothered.

Ghosted While Dating

In dating, often there is less accountability, depending upon various factors: The way you met (a chat room or hookup app), the individual’s maturity and values, length of the relationship, and frequency of face-to-face contact. Technology promotes less emotional involvement. If instead, you met through mutual friends, there’s more incentive to be on good behavior or other friends will hear about.

Ghosting might start with an unanswered text or call, or long silences between replies until there are none.

Here are 8 Reasons a Person Might Ghost You:

1. They’re chicken: People who don’t handle conflict well fear confrontation. They expect drama and criticism and want to avoid a breakup conversation. They may rationalize to themselves that they’re sparing your feelings by not admitting that they no longer want to continue the relationship. However, leaving without a word, let alone closure, is more cruel and painful.

2. They’re avoidant: Ghosts are more likely to have intimacy problems, which explain why they leave a relationship that’s getting close. They’re emotionally unavailable and may have an avoidant attachment style.

3. They’re ashamed: People with low self-esteem want to avoid criticism and the shame they anticipate if you get to know them better―one reason for avoiding intimacy. They also expect to feel shame for hurting you. Their lack of boundaries makes them feel responsible for your feelings, though the reverse is true.

They’re responsible for how they communicate, but not for your reaction. If they want to end a relationship, you’re entitled to an honest explanation. Thus, in trying to avoid false responsibility, they err by not taking responsibility for their own behavior, causing you the unnecessary pain they were trying to avoid.

4. They’re busy: When you’re not exclusive and acknowledge that dating someone else is okay, your partner may assume the relationship is casual. While dating other people, you and/or your messages might have been overlooked or forgotten. Your date may have already moved on or just not made time to respond. When later realizing this, he or she is too embarrassed to reply and rationalizes that your “thing” wasn’t serious in the first place.

5. They’re game-players: To some daters, particularly narcissists, relationships are solely a means to satisfy their egos and sexual needs. They’re not interested in a commitment or concerned with your feelings, though they may feign that when they’re seducing you. They’re players, and to them relationships are a game. They’re not emotionally involved and can act callously once they’re no longer interested, especially if you express needs or expectations.

6. They’re depressed or overwhelmed: Some people can hide depression for a while. The ghost might be too depressed to continue and not want to reveal what’s really going on in his or her life. There may be other life events you don’t know about that take precedence, like a job loss or personal or family illness or emergency.

7. They’re seeking safety: If you’ve raged in the past or are violent or verbally abusive, you may be ghosted in self-protection.

8. They’re setting a boundary: If you’ve annoyed and smothered your friend with frequent texts or calls, especially if they’ve asked you not to, then their silence is sending a message, because you’ve ignored their boundaries. You likely have an anxious attachment style and are attracted to people with avoidant styles.

What to Do if You’ve Been Ghosted

If you’ve been ghosted, the main thing to realize is that in the vast majority of cases, ghosting behavior reflects on the other person not you. It’s time to let go. Here are some do’s and don’t’s to follow.

Face reality

The other person has decided to move on for whatever reason. Accepting that is more important than knowing why. The ghost is also demonstrating that he or she doesn’t respect your feelings and lacks essential communication and conflict resolution skills that make relationships work. Your feelings aside, consider whether you really want a relationship with them.

Allow your feelings

Realize that you can’t figure out the ghost’s motives in your head. Let go of obsessive thoughts, and allow yourself to feel both sadness and anger, without falling into shame. Give yourself time to grieve. Open your heart to yourself with extra doses of self-loveall you wanted from the other person.

Avoid self-blame

Deal with ghosting in a healthy way. Rejection can be painful, but you don’t have to pile on unnecessary suffering. Don’t blame yourself or allow someone else’s bad behavior to diminish your self-esteem. Even if the ghost believes you weren’t what he or she was looking for, that doesn’t mean you’re undesirable to someone else. You cannot make anyone love you. You simply might not have been a good match. He or she is not your last hope for a partner!

No contact

If you’re tempted to write or call, think about how the conversation will go, how you will feel, and whether you would even get a truthful answer from the person. Often times, the person ending a relationship won’t be honest about the reasons or may not even be able to articulate them, because they’re just going with their gut feelings. Men tend to do this more than women, who analyze and ruminate more. In addition, the odds are you’ll be rejected a second time. Would that hurt more? To heal faster experts advise no contact after a breakup, including all social media.

If you find it hard to let go of your ghost and pursue a conversation, resist any temptation to lure him or her back. You may later regret it. Instead, communicate that his or her behavior was hurtful and unacceptable. In other words, be resolved that you’re now rejecting them. Then, move on. Beware that if you’re still hurting and vulnerable, contact may prolong your grief. If you don’t feel strong, such a conversation may not help you let go, Also, remember that anger isn’t always a strength. It may be a temporary stage of grief, followed by more missing the person.

Don’t isolate

Get back into life, and plan activities with friends. You may need a break from dating for a while, but socialize and do other things that you enjoy. Don’t allow yourself to fall into depression, which is distinct from mourning.

Get Breakup Recovery and free “14 Tips for Letting Go” at www.whatiscodependency.com

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relationship with a narcissist

15 Rights You’ll Give Up In a Relationship With a Narcissist

relationship with a narcissist

 

The following is a list of basic rights that should always be present in any relationship, but are missing in a relationship with a narcissist.

What you will get in a relationship with a narcissist, however, is emotional abuse. That’s what narcissists do; they emotionally abuse others to get their needs met.

Victims of emotional abuse are unsure if their experience can be justifiably defined as emotional abuse. Simply put, emotional abuse can be defined as any kind of behavior that is meant to subjugate or control another person by using humiliation, fear, and verbal assaults.

It can be as obvious as constant criticism and verbal abuse or as subtle as manipulation, intimidations, and consistently being impossible to please. It works as a form of brainwashing, tearing away at a person’s levels of self-confidence, self-worth, their trust in their perceptions, and their general sense of self. It can be done through belittling, constant berating, or intimidation. Sometimes, it can be hidden and disguised as advice, teaching, or guidance.

If you have experienced emotional abuse from a narcissist, it is okay for you to feel like you deserve better. It’s also okay to not know what better is, or what you deserve.

The following list is not only rights you give up in a relationship with a narcissist, but they are also rights you’ll have when in a healthy relationship.

15 Rights You’ll Give Up in a Relationship With a Narcissist

1. The right to receive emotional support.

2. The right to make your own choices without fear of judgment or criticism.

3. The right to feel as though your partner has nothing but good intentions towards you.

4. The right to receive encouragement from your partner.

5. The right to not fear rage or any other form of angry outburst from your partner.

6. The right to not fear your partner blaming you or accusing you of things.

7. The right to be called only names that you approve of.

8. The right to have your own views and opinions, even if they differ from your partner’s.

9. The right to be asked to do things instead of ordered by your partner.

10. The right to not fear physical threats or emotional harm from your partner.

11. The right to receive concise answers that deliver clear information on any matter that is of any legitimate concern of yours.

12. The right to feel as though your personal experiences and the things that you feel are real and valid.

13. The right to feel heard by your partner and communicated with on a polite and equal level.

14. The right to resolve any conflicts and receive a genuine apology for jokes that hurt or offend you.

15. The right to feel as though your hobbies, interests, and work are respected.

It is common for those who’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist to have a warped view of what they deserve from a relationship. If you believe you deserve negative treatment, you’re more likely to find yourself in a position where you’ll end up in another emotionally abusive relationship.

The list above should cement, in your mind and heart what you are deserving of in a relationship. Your road to recovery from narcissistic abuse begins with how you feel about yourself.

Do you believe you are worthy of better treatment?

Do you believe you are worthy of value and respect?

Do you treat yourself kindly and desire the same from others?

If you answered yes to those questions, with the list above and the knowledge that you deserve better, you’re well on your road to recovery.

If those questions tripped you up, if you aren’t in a healthy place as far as self-esteem, I’ve gifted you a list of what you deserve, not only from yourself but a relationship partner. Now, take that list and go get to work on healing your damaged self-esteem.

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dating new guy

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission!

dating new guy

 

For a single mother, maneuvering through the world of dating can be a hazardous minefield.

When a woman is clear-minded about her wants and needs regarding a romantic partner, the mining process ensues. If you are seeking a long-term commitment, the following signs will help save you time and heartache.

As a single mother, an experienced dater, and an educated woman in the field of human science, I have identified the top red flags that require an immediate “Abort mission!”

Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs He Isn’t The Guy For You

1. A man who is unsure or not clear about his life preferences.  

As a woman seeking a long-term commitment and marriage, I have so much respect for the dude who openly admits to just wanting a casual hook up, this way I can immediately SWERVE!  The guy who “isn’t quite sure” what he is looking for in terms of a relationship or “still doesn’t know about the kid thing” is now completely and utterly unappealing to me. Here is sign #1.

When you know what you do want, you know what you don’t want. Say it with me, “Any man who does not know exactly what he wants in terms of his future romantic life is NO longer attractive to me and it is NOT my job to try and change his mind!”

Listen, mama, if you aren’t sure regarding your desires, by all means, jump in and have fun. The best of us were once there, too. No judgment! However, if you have precisely identified what you desire from life, love, and family and this potential suitor remains clueless, just respect his journey and wish him well. You deserve a man who knows. Keep it movin’, mama!

2. You cannot even briefly imagine the man as a future parent or role model for your children.

Hit. The. Brakes. You have reached sign #2. There is something to be said for a mama’s intuition. When your stomach gets tight over the idea of a man interacting with your children and you cannot even imagine said man stepping up to parent your kiddos, take a bow and bounce. The right connection should feel peaceful and secure. A man’s poor habits such as drinking and driving, ignoring his own physical health, or the absence of work-life balance are sufficient indications that send me running for the hills. Girl, grab my hand and come with, knees up!

3. He is critical and puts you down.

Can you say “Hello, ego?” Here’s the skinny; we are on our BEST behavior at the beginning of our dating endeavors. For the first few meetups, we generally worry about possible food stuck in between our chompers and we are cognizant about how we outwardly appear as we gradually reveal parts of our personalities and preferences. The man who demonstrates judgment, criticism, or disapproval of you or any part of your life this early on will only worsen this poor, controlling behavior over time.

If he name calls jokingly and you don’t like it, speak up. If this behavior continues, let me present sign #3. If he happens to see a photo of your family and begins commenting on someone’s current weight status, request that Uber ASAP. Call it quits and then give him the best view yet …that booty walking away! No comments necessary.

4. Your closest family and friends have not said one good thing about him.

We all have a selection of close family and friends whose opinions we value greatly. These people know our hearts, our desires, and preferences, therefore, they are also knowledgeable about what type of man would best fit into our life puzzle. When we first fall for someone, those pesky love hormones are raging in our bloodstream.

Even for the most intelligent women like us, it can be easy to miss those bright, red flags initially. Our tribe, however, is on point and clear-minded. They love us and only want the best for us and our children. After meeting your man, if the crowd falls completely silent, please acknowledge that as sign #4!

When you are big-time interested in a guy, do the faithful friend test. Plan a meetup and remain open to any and all feedback. My people always speak out on the positive traits of others when they see ‘em. When your crew has nada to say, step away and evaluate for yourself. If your folks haven’t outwardly identified one darn-good quality about this hot dog, graciously contemplate, “What could I be missing here? then remove your buns from his access and make him miss you!

5. He is not completely accepting of you, your past, flaws and all. 

If he begins making sly, sarcastic comments about the number of children you “should have had” or how you ought to have a more prestigious career and a bigger house with more bathrooms, this is sign number five! Our past stories, heartbreaks, and losses have beautifully created us to be exactly the women we are here and now. The right man for you will adore those battle wounds and war medals with appreciation and mother-lovin’ AWE for the way you love so hard today.

Any man who cannot accept and appreciate A) what you currently have (or don’t have) in the bank, B) what you are able to bring to table, and C) those cute, little humans that you are singlehandedly raising… well, he should not even be rewarded with a second glance. Just ask for the check and proceed to the EXIT sign.

Remember that every ending is a redirection or a light shining upon a new path, which will ultimately lead you closer towards your heart’s desire. One ultimate and final message: embrace your unfathomable worth, prioritize your own personal desires, have as much fun as you possibly can, and my absolute favorite phrase of advice from my heart to yours, “Keep Not Settling.”

The post Dating a New Guy? 5 Signs It May Be Time To Abort Mission! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

codependent.jpg

I remember having a phone conversation with my ex; it was during our separation a few months before the divorce was final. He had left, filed for a divorce and failed to share with me his reasons. Getting information out of him about the failure of MY marriage was like sucking peanut butter through a straw. It was a hell of a lot of work with little return on my investment.

That was the story of our relationship though. I worked and worked and worked and emotionally he gave very little. During that conversation, he shared with me that I was “codependent.” I can remember being so excited…I finally had an answer. And, having an answer meant I could fix it and he would come home. I could work some more!

I did my research, found out what codependency was and BAM, I had to agree with him. I also realized that for my own sanity it was time to take a step back and, if he wanted the marriage, let him begin to do some work. He didn’t and here I am a recovered codependent with no regrets.

I can sum my marriage up in one short paragraph…I became a self-imposed victim suffering frequent emotional abuse, blaming myself for not being everything he needed me to be. He, on the other hand, skated through the marriage waiting for his needs to be met with no regard for the health of the marriage or me.

As a wife, my job was to…

Rescue him from his pain, problems, and suffering and at the same time do virtually anything I could to maintain the marriage. That was my belief when I entered the marriage and it suited what he needed from the marriage. I needed to rescue him from his childhood traumas; he needed me to be the mama he had never had.

Is it any wonder it all fell apart?!?!?!

The Codependents Role in a Marriage:

It’s simple; the codependent feels it is her place to…

  • Sacrifice her own well-being and sense of self in favor of the well-being of her spouse and the marriage.
  • Take on more than her share of the emotional work in the marriage.
  • Engage in self-sacrifice for the sake of the marriage, to the point of resentment and self-hatred.
  • Blame herself and her inability to solve problems when problems arise in the marriage.
  • Continue attempting to have a relationship with him even when he is emotionally distant, beating the hell out of her, cheating on her, emotionally detached from her, needy as hell and downright irresponsible with her feelings.
  • Become the mother he never had, the bank, the security blanket and the clean-up crew all wrapped up into one tightly wound, self-loathing woman who keeps on ticking in spite of feeling like a wretched failure.

What Does the Codependent Get in Return?

  • Her own suffering prolonged.
  • A husband who, due to her enabling reactions is able to avoid dealing with his own childhood traumas and the role he plays in the marital problems.
  • An unhappy marriage, one in which the only person with anything to gain is the one she continuously sacrifices herself for.

How Does the Codependent Break The Cycle?

She sets boundaries in relationships and let’s go of her need to control others and the outcome of situations she finds herself in. She learns that the health of a relationship is not dependent on her losing herself for the sake of the relationship. It is her job, not anyone else’s to make sure she is getting what she needs from relationships she engages in. Whether that is love relationships, familial relationships or friendships.

She starts by setting clear physical and emotional boundaries which allow her to take care of herself physically and emotionally. She defines what is and isn’t allowed to happen to her in her relationships.

Physical boundaries help her define who can and can’t touch her, how she can and can’t be touched and how physically close she wants to get to others. If she has firm physical boundaries she will walk away the first time he hits her. She will not shy away from telling him he is “in her space.” She will be able to respectful say, “you aren’t allowed to touch me in that way.”

Emotional boundaries help her define where her feelings end and his feelings begin. They keep the lines from becoming blurred. If she has firm emotional boundaries she takes responsibility for her feelings and needs and allows him to take responsibility for his. She is be able to…

  • Say “no” without feeling guilty,
  • identify and ask that her needs be met,
  • let go of her need to please others,
  • share her feelings regardless of how they may be received,
  • not take responsibility for the bad behavior of others,
  • let others solve their own problems,
  • gain control over her life and say, bye-bye to all the chaos!

Like me, her days of sucking peanut butter through a straw will be over!!

The post Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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relationship might be over

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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