6 Things I’d Like My Ex To Know About Love

6 Things I’d Like My Ex To Know About Love

Broken Heart Couple.jpg

 

Growing up, I always pictured my adult life as finding my Prince Charming and being “in love” with bluebirds singing, rainbows, and happily ever after. Yeah right! What my adult life looked like in my marriage, was more of a nightmare instead of that happily ever after.

I knew what love was, I had felt it all my life growing up in a stable home with parents that showed love in their own marriage and showed love towards me. I knew what it was like to love someone. Unfortunately, I married someone that didn’t have a clue what love was or how to truly give it.

There are 6 things that I’d like my Ex to know about love that he didn’t seem to get while we were married:

1. Love is not a solo venture. To have a loving marriage requires TWO people, not just one that provides love to the other without anything in return. It seemed the more I gave, the less he gave in return. This wasn’t just in love but in everything.

2. Love does not inflict constant pain. When you love someone, you don’t constantly put them down, degrade them, make them feel less of a person than you. You support them, you help them when they need it, you encourage.

3. Love isn’t always 50/50: As in most things in life, relationships can be off balance where love flows stronger from one person to the other and as time goes, that shift occurs more naturally and provides for each other’s needs. The scales tip and at times they are even but sometimes they are off. That is OK. It isn’t always 50/50 and life isn’t always fair.

4. Love means doing everything you can to nurture it, protect it, and keep it from dying. Whether that be a date night, a surprise gesture of kindness, communication, compromise, or seeking professional help. It also means forgiveness. When you are in a loving relationship with someone, forgiveness is crucial. Holding grudges, feeling cheated, reminding the other how they ruined your life, are not things that foster love but destroy it.

5. The love of a child is priceless! This one I can’t stress enough. The love of a child is a gift that should be cherished. To not acknowledge that love and treat it as a nuisance, is just horrible in my opinion. My Narcissistic Ex didn’t want children and even now spends very little time with his children. What he fails to realize is that the attention he craves would come from his children if he just gave a damn.

6. Love and Sex aren’t the same! They are in a completely different league. Ideally, love leads to sex and makes it that much more meaningful. I’m not negating the importance of a healthy sexual relationship, but when sex is used as the only display of love and when it’s not provided, the relationship gets more abusive, then that is not love.

Love to me meant that I would try my hardest to help my partner, support him, encourage him, even when it was a nightmare. I would have been there for him through the process of getting help and working on himself, our marriage, and being a Father. I can’t say for sure that I would have stayed, as it would have taken a lot of rebuilding of trust in our relationship and a lot of healing, but I would have tried.

Most of all, I would like my Ex to really comprehend to the following quote and take it to heart if there is a heart in there at all. If he had followed this instead of using manipulation, violence, neglect, and all the other things he tended to display in our marriage, then who knows what type of life we would have had and our children might have had.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13

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Co-Parenting With a Narcissist Turned Me Into My Daughter’s Hero

co-parenting with a narcissist

 

Last Sunday I was in the kitchen working on meal prep for the week. I was slicing melons, plucking grapes from vines, and baking chicken breasts when an unexpected thing happened.

It was just my daughters and I home for the afternoon and they had both gravitated to the kitchen (probably the scent of chili-lime flavored chicken wafting through the house had something to do with it.) Before long we had found ourselves deep in conversation; about what, I couldn’t say now, but somehow we came to this:

My sixteen year old looked at me and said, “Mom, you are the strongest person I know. I look at everything you have gone through, picking yourself up after the divorce, being a single mom to two daughters, having to work hard to support us…  You showed us not to settle for less than what we deserve. I don’t think you realize how much we look up to you.”

Naturally, I teared up and if my soul could sigh, it would have done so at that exact moment.

We’ve been through a lot in these seven years post-divorce. There have been countless arguments, tears, hugs, and laughter. The girls are now twenty and sixteen, and while there was no DIY manual on how to cope when the man in your life walks out, somehow we have gotten here: blubbering in the kitchen over how proud we are to have survived together.

It’s been such a rough road for us three. The road started out pretty normal, freshly tarred to make for smooth sailing. Eventually, that perfect road experienced some pretty major frost heaves, frost heaves that popped us right out of the minivan of life and dragged us behind it for a spell; resulting in three pretty severe cases of road rash. Road rash hurts, both real and metaphorical. It hurts real bad.

One day I got tired of the frost heaves causing so much pain, so I put the brakes on, dusted everyone off, slapped some bag balm on the road rash and turned that minivan down a new road. This road had potholes, too, no road is perfect, but we were wiser this time, and we had the scars from the road rash to remind us to slow down and avoid the bad road if we could. So eventually we learned to see the signs of a road in need of repair and we began to detour whenever possible.

It seems like for the past year the road has been a bit more travel-friendly, and for that I am thankful.

There was a time when I didn’t know if my relationship with my girls would ever return to what it was before. Were the scars from the road rash just too much to fully recover from? It felt like it at times. Times when I couldn’t say or do anything right. Times when they judged me and resented me for choices I made and for things that were out of my control. I’m not talking about normal everyday adolescent squabbles with my children, it was something far beyond that.

I’ve read a lot of books, articles, and blogs about life after divorce, but I’m not sure any of us dare to truly delve into the ugly truth of single parenting. Even now, I only dance around the subject matter of co-parenting with a narcissist. The truth was knowing that anything that was said and done at my house could and would be used against me by the other side. For years I felt like I was being held captive in my own life and that my world could come crashing down at any moment due to crafty manipulation techniques.

Even when the efforts failed I felt the effects from my children. They would treat me differently until finally things would settle down and we could get back to our normal. It wasn’t their fault, they were children, and it certainly wasn’t fair for them to be caught in the middle of someone else’s sick games.

I struggled during those years. I struggled with my reality vs. the reality I longed for. I wanted simplicity and an honest life with my children. I resisted and pushed back when drama and lies crept in from the other side.

It wasn’t easy having a foot in two separate worlds; the world I had lived in with my children and the world I wanted to live in with them.

I kept on. I stayed true to my course. There were days when I wanted to scream and yell, and there were days when I did exactly that.

They said it will get better. They said, “Keep doing what you are doing because you are doing it right.”

And after looking into the eyes of my sixteen-year-old when she said, “Mom, you are my hero. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for everything we went through.”

I finally believe they were right.

For all the struggling mamas out there acting as mom and dad while trying not to lose yourself in the process, it does get better. There is hope for a happier, more peaceful existence with your kids, just don’t give up. Even more importantly, don’t give in to the dark side. Listen to your heart, trust your gut, and love those little cherubs of yours with everything you have.

I have no false pretenses on perfectly paved roads of the future, in fact, I am well aware that at any moment I could get bucked right out of the minivan again and suffer a fresh case of the rash. The knowledge that at any moment we are one incident away from turmoil, and I could be cast back into the role of the villain always resides in the back of my mind. But the older they get, the wiser they are becoming and I keep praying that they always see truth above everything else.

At the end of the day, at least now I know with certainty that underneath all of the muck and mire resides a strong foundation of truth and integrity that we built together. And as for that road rash… it gave us some pretty beautiful scars that only the three of us can see. It taught us more than I can even begin to quantify with words.

As we stood around the kitchen that afternoon we shared memories of one horrible summer that we all now agree has become one of our favorite summers together. I never would have guessed all those years ago that some of the worst days of our lives could have bonded my girls and I so closely that we could turn it into such a positive and sacred memory.

Never underestimate the power of the road rash and the beauty of its scars.

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6 Warning Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

6 Warning Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

Narcissist Man.jpg

Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it?

After starting to date again after divorce, I often found myself drawn toward highly successful professional men who are competitive in business and strongly determined to continue to build their own financial empire.  Their determined, confident attitudes and visible business successes appealed to my strong desires for security and stability.

A recent first date I went on was with this type of guy. My date with a dentist turned into a three-hour marathon of misery for me when he insisted that we sit in a back booth that he had reserved in advance with the hostess by visiting the restaurant the night before and then he told our server that he would leave an extra-generous tip if she served our meals at a very leisurely pace.

Right away he launched into a one-sided brag fest about how he got elected president of his college fraternity and why he easily scored highest in his graduating class on the dental board exam. He then dropped names of all the famous people he knows who live in our city and then went on to reveal the names of all the famous people his dad knows too.  By the time the pasta finally arrived, I wanted to collapse into my plate from sheer boredom and exhaustion.

After that mind-numbing experience, I ran to my car and swore off dating for several months.

Unfortunately, this was just one more very disillusioning date with a narcissistic man. I had already experienced many others.

Several times I dated a man exclusively for three to six months, expecting things to become more serious overtime, only to have them abruptly break things off with very little explanation or distance themselves with vague excuses about why they couldn’t continue to spend time with me.

After spending many frustrating weeks trying to figure out how to get each of these men I had dated exclusively to connect with me on an emotional level so that our relationship could continue to grow, I finally discovered that there was a big disconnect between the type of relationship I was expecting to unfold and what these narcissistic men were able to contribute in terms of intimacy, emotional connection, and respectful two-way communications.

I discovered that I was living on crumbs and pretending it was a whole nutritious meal.

Are you Dating a Narcissist? Here are 6 Warning Signs:

1. He is pre-occupied with how things around him appear and how he is perceived by others. He aggressively pursues financial success and is not content with what he already has acquired or achieved. He has a strong craving for admiration, praise and his home, car, clothes and high status are a direct measurement of how successful he appears to others.

2. He exploits or takes advantage of others to get what he wants. Narcissists are highly skilled at using others’ talents; taking advantage of their desire to avoid conflicts and their good-natured helpfulness as a means to an end to achieve their own goals.

3. He does not appreciate or even see your unique abilities and natural gifts. Highly self-absorbed, narcissists are so driven by how they can use others to benefit themselves that your own individual strengths, abilities and achievements are often ignored or dismissed as inconsequential.

4. He resents authority and despises correction or being told what to do. He is reluctant to accept any blame or criticism and strongly prefers to be in control of things and those around him at all times. Having his faults pointed out to him or even having to admit that he made a mistake can set him off into a fit of rage.

5. Petty arguments often erupt into power struggles. The narcissistic man thrives on being right so disputes are rarely resolved. Mediation and counseling rarely helps to improve communications with a narcissist because this type of person sees themselves as under attack and can’t stand for their actions to be subject to the opinions of others and held up to the light.

6. He disregards your healthy needs for attention and affection. Since narcissistic men often lack empathy and the self-examination necessary to create an intimate relationship, you’ll often find yourself running on empty. Attempts to get more affection from him often leads to him creating a secret life to run to and evading your questions about what is really happening or not happening in your relationship.

If you recognize these signs in a man that you are dating, it is helpful to remember that narcissists have very rigid expectations (especially for themselves) and so this type of man rarely changes his ways.

Understanding or experiencing intimacy and love within the context of a balanced and healthy relationship is not on the agenda of a narcissist.

Unfortunately, many times we keep trying to change a narcissistic man into who we’d like them to become or the reverse- trying to twist ourselves like pretzels into a perfect version of what he wants instead of cutting our losses. Recognizing the traits of a narcissistic man and realizing how deeply rooted they are is critical so that we can begin taking back control of our own life and start to move forward in a healthier direction.

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9 Reasons Your Wife Fell Out Of Love With You

wife fell out of love with you

 

Your wife fell out of love and left, pulled the rug out from under your world and, in your stunned disbelief you can’t, for the life of you, figure what went wrong.

Many men are blinded sided by divorce, slapped in the emotions by a wife who says, “I’m not in love with you anymore.” Most, I’m afraid, fail to look inward and own the role they played in the lack of love now being shown them.

Happy marriages are difficult to maintain and, it is possible for a woman to fall out of love with her husband. It’s difficult for a couple to maintain the level of excitement felt when they first met once they are sharing their lives day in and day out.

Add to the monotony of daily life, marriage stressors and a lack of skills for dealing with the stress and it is possible for a wife to lose those “loving feelings” toward her husband.

Wondering why it happened to you?

Below are 9 Reasons Your Wife Fell Out Of Love With You

1. You Missed the Mark When It Came to Communication

Not only is communication important in maintaining a bond with each other, how you communicate will determine how strong of a bond. The way a couple communicates is as important as the ability to communicate.

Below are four negative communication traits that may have killed her love for you.

Giving her the silent treatment 

When you refuse to talk and discuss problems you slowly destroy the love that is the foundation of a marriage.

Refusing to communicate is a disrespectful manner of communicating how you are feeling. Did you give her the silent treatment when she pissed you off? If so, all you managed to do was push her away and build a wall that restricted intimacy.

Being on the defensive 

If you viewed statements made by your wife as accusations, you probably responded in a defensive manner. Being defensive is not communication, it’s a game of who is right and who is wrong. When you start keeping score, love eventually pays the price.

Being overly critical 

Constantly expressing how you feel about your wife’s negative traits isn’t communication, it is tearing down. Nothing kills feelings of love for a husband quicker than feeling like you can do no right. If your communication style causes your wife to feel worthless and depletes their self-esteem, don’t be surprised when you find the love has died.

Name calling 

This is a no-brainer! If you tell someone who loves you they are an idiot, stupid, can’t do anything right, that person will eventually fall out of love with you. Name calling is a form of emotional abuse!

2. You Were a Clingy Husband

My 8th grade home economics teacher taught us that once couples marry they “became one.” She was wrong! Couples do not become one and believing so is a death sentence to autonomy and love.

For love to thrive a wife and husband should remain autonomous, fully individualized outside the relationship and marriage.

Wanting your wife to spend all her time with you because you believe it is an expression of how much she loves you is a sign of immaturity in you, not proof that she loves you.

If love is to grow, a husband and wife must continue to bring your own individuality to the relationship.

If you were clingy, insecure, jealous and possessive you weren’t feeding love, you were smothering it. Want to choke the love out of someone quickly, man or woman, keep a tight noose around their neck!

3. Your Marriage had a Bad Beginning

In order for a couple to weather the storms…the ups and downs of marital life, they need a strong, healthy beginning. Below are a few examples of poor relationship foundations. Beginnings that could cause either spouse to eventually lose loving feelings for the other.

A rush to marriage 

You fell in love and had her standing at the alter two months later. True love takes time to grow, two months, isn’t enough time. If you rushed her toward the alter before she was ready to go there, your marriage was doomed from the beginning.

Long-term relationships riddled with problems 

We all know that couple. They dated for six years, broke up and got back together on a regular basis and were always in the middle of conflict. If you can’t hold a relationship together before you marry, you aren’t going to be able to after you marry.

4. You Didn’t Meet Her Needs

Forgive me for going all “Venus and Mars” on you but, as individuals, we have needs in romantic relationships. If those needs aren’t met, love dies.

If you were consumed by work, came home late, ate dinner and watched television that means you had very little leftover for her. Was golf or football your weekend go toes? How often did you help her with the laundry, clean the house or do a sink full of dishes? Rarely? I’m sure she felt drained AND unappreciated!

If, as her husband you weren’t tuned into her emotional and physical needs and putting effort into meeting them, she may have gotten to the point of finding someone who would.

And let’s talk about sex! If you expected sex after weekends of football or golf and no effort to help with the kid or around the house, you EXPECTED WAY TOO MUCH from a wife who, more than likely, felt belittled, dismissed and cringed at your touch.

5. You Didn’t Put Enough Effort into Resolving Marital Conflict

Problems are common in all marriages. Both spouses need to have the ability to constructively work through those problems. When a husband avoids finding solutions to marital problems, leaving his wife holding the bag, love eventually dies.

Putting the onus on her to solve problems by refusing counseling or communicating about the problems causes resentment to grow toward you and the relationship.

Unresolved marital conflict, especially when a husband tries to sweep them under the rug, negatively impacts feelings of love her husband has for her.

6. You Stopped Caring About Your Appearance

You let yourself go. You gained 50 pounds and never lost it, you started wearing nothing but sweatpants and just generally became someone no one would find attractive.

Physical attraction between spouses is important. If your wife looks at you and her motor doesn’t start humming love is doomed. Part of being in love with someone is feeling passionate and drawn to their physical appearance.

Just because a woman has said, “I do” doesn’t mean her love will always be there regardless of how you look and how well you take care of yourself.

7. You Rejected Her Sexually

Sex in marriage is important because it brings a couple closer together. If a couple has a great sexual bond they can weather almost any storm. In a sexless marriage, there is no bond, storms are not weathered!

Sex is also an expression of love between two people. Few men understand that women bond with their partner via the act of sex. It’s true! Marital sex, for women, is a way to feel closer to their spouse.

It isn’t just sex for the sake of sex.

For love to continue and grow it’s important that a husband understands and respects his wife’s normal sexual needs. And, at times, give a spouse what they need (within reason) because you care about her needs being met.

Let me add a qualifier here, she isn’t going to be the least bit interested in sex with you if you’re an abusive, lazy, slob, who never lifts a hand around the house. Don’t take what I’ve written here and used it against a wife who has every reason in the world to not desire sex with you.

8. You Were Impossible to Please

It didn’t matter what she did, you were never grateful. She gave you that extra baby and you bitched because it was another girl. She bought you a riding lawnmower for your birthday and you whined because it didn’t have enough horsepower.

Whatever she did, you took her efforts for granted and failed to show appreciation.

9. You Changed After Marrying Her

Before marriage, you were up for anything. You enjoyed going out with her, doing things she was interested in. You were invested in your career, had a full and rewarding life. You were the total package!

After marriage, you turned into a boring, grumpy, uninteresting person who was in bed asleep by 8 in the evening and spent your weekends on Facebook or binge-watching football on the couch. That interesting man she fell in love with became a snooze fest she had no respect for and very little feelings of love toward.

From a Reader

Here’s a list from the perspective of a reader who fell out of love with her husband.  I’m sure there are many women who can identify with what she has to say. And, I suggest you take it to heart if you’ve still got the opportunity to save your marriage.

  1. He couldn’t keep his thing in his pants.
  2. He was lazy and uninvolved when it came to helping around the house.
  3. He was lazy and uninvolved when it came to helping with our daughters.
  4. He was obsessed with money and how he was perceived by others.
  5. He was a bad lover and expected that while he did nothing to help with the kids/house I should want to have sex with him….which became a chore and left me often times feeling sick.
  6. He is a narc….and blames women for all his failures–something friends warned me about at the start but I was too blind to see.
  7. He resented any friends I made and after while I stopped making them.
  8. He resented any time I spent with my family even though I had just spent almost 20 years overseas away from them.
  9. He snored; I never got a full night’s sleep in 15 years.
  10. He never wanted to do anything and when asked he would act like he was doing us a great favor.

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Should You Remain Friends With Your Ex After Divorce?

friends with your ex

 

A very common question for newly separated and divorced women is ‘Can I still be friends with my ex?’

This may be because when we’re in the midst of pain and heartbreak, the thought of NEVER seeing our beloved again can be simply too much to bear – particularly if the decision to divorce was not our own. We feel like utter crap and the idea that we can still have a piece – even a small piece – of our beloved is a comforting one.

But here is the thing: this person is no longer our beloved. And harsh as it may sound, the sooner we give our psyche permission to accept this fact, the sooner we will move forward and heal. Holding on to somebody we were once but are no longer intimate with can seriously delay our healing.

Of course, in our grief, our brains will be telling us the opposite of this. We fight to hold on because we don’t want to feel the bitter pain that will ultimately come once we concede that it is really over. Who wants to feel pain? Not most of us.

In order to escape at least some of the pain, our psyche urges us to hold on to something, anything. So we tell ourselves that we should ‘remain friends’ with him. This is where we have it wrong. Yes, we will feel pain when we let go. Yes, pain sucks.

But on the other side of pain and heartache is FREEDOM – freedom from wanting and needing something that is no longer good for us; freedom from craving something that is simply no longer there.

The unfortunate catch is that we must go through it in order to get through it. For true healing and recovery, there really is no better way. By being brave enough to let go of your extruly let go – you will pave the way for an even better and brighter future for yourself; a future in which you become the independent and beautiful creature you know you are capable of being.

Here are 3 points to consider if you want to remain friends with your ex:

1. You need to work at EMOTIONALLY separating from him

When we have spent a good portion of our time with another person in an intimate relationship, emotional bonds and ties will have formed – this is a normal and natural process. During a break-up, those bonds and ties must be severed, and this naturally hurts.

It especially hurts in the early days of a breakup or divorce. And it is during these early days that we need to be especially mindful of allowing the process of emotional separation to occur. The simplest way to allow it to occur is to have physical distance from your ex. Put simply:

To heal and move forward, you must emotionally separate from your ex.

To emotionally separate, you need distance.

It is completely normal and natural to pine for your ex in the early days of divorce. What is important is that you do your best to remain mindful of what’s going on – and what needs to happen – during this period. So, rather than give in to temptation and text, call or turn up on his doorstep, use this time wisely.

Learn how to be alone. Learn how to not hate it. Learn to self-soothe. Learn to go deep inside and discover who you are – who you REALLY are – without the labels of ‘wife’ or ‘girlfriend’. Reconnect with old friends. Find your passion! Remember, you were someone before your relationship. And that girl is still in there somewhere. Make it your mission to find her.

2. You need to decide what level of contact is best for YOU

This step works a whole lot better once you’ve begun the process of emotional detachment or separation. This is because you will be making the decision from a place of clarity – not a place of grief, sadness, and confusion.

Only you can decide what level of contact (if any) with your ex is best for you moving forward. Everybody’s circumstances are different. If you are going through a divorce, have children or other family or financial ties with your ex, there will obviously need to be some contact and it would be in everybody’s best interests if that contact was civil.

Be mindful here that civil (or friendly) contact does not mean that you need to have a friendship. It does mean that you are able to participate in a conversation with your ex without being reduced to a grieving, crying and/or angry mess.

In the early days of my divorce (before I’d emotionally separated and ceased pining night and day for him) I found it helpful to limit contact to text message and email. Face-to-face and telephone conversations usually saw me reduced to the aforementioned grieving, crying and angry mess.

3. You need to take it one day at a time

Finally, if you’re having a tough time in the heartbreak department, there is no need to torture yourself by declaring that you will NEVER see your ex again. It is OK to simply take it one day or week at a time. Understand that things will likely look a whole lot different in six or twelve months’ time.

When my husband first left me, I honestly could not imagine that there would come a day that I would be able to look at him and not feel heartbreak, or love, or anger, or grief, or excruciating pain. I was in an agonizing state of flux – wanting to see him to ease my misery; wishing he would die because seeing him was torture.

Now, five years on, I feel none of these things when I see him. I sometimes feel an odd affection for what we once had together. We are friends, but not best friends. We do what’s best for our kids. The great thing? All of this happened organically – with time, space and healing.  And now I truly can’t imagine life any other way.

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Emotional & Sexual Infidelity: What Drives Men To Cheat

what drives men to cheat

 

Webster’s defines infidelity as unfaithfulness to the marriage vow or contract; a violation of the marriage contract by adultery. If you have ever been the victim of a cheating husband, you know it is much more.

Infidelity is the breaking of trust that has negative consequences in every area of your life. The first step in surviving a husband’s infidelity is being able to rationalize and understand the actions that have caused so much harm.

There are two types of infidelity, sexual infidelity, and emotional infidelity:

Sexual Infidelity:

Sexual infidelity, as its name suggests, refers to sexual activities that are engaged in with someone other than one’s spouse. Activities that constitute sexual infidelity include all forms of physical intimacy, from kissing to sexual intercourse.

Emotional Infidelity:

Emotional infidelity refers to becoming emotionally involved with someone other than one’s spouse. Dr. Seth Meyers, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, describes emotional infidelity as “behavior that one partner engages in that fosters emotional intimacy in the here-and-now and sometimes promotes the possibility of sexual intimacy in the future.”

It all sounds fairly simple, huh? Either your husband did the hanky panky with someone else or he has put someone else’s emotional needs before your emotional needs. If you’ve been on the receiving end of either, the need to understand runs a bit deeper, doesn’t it?

It has been my experience, after coaching many women who were victims of infidelity, that the roots of the infidelity can generally be traced back to one of three underlying causes.

What Drives Men To Cheat

Fear:

Men who suffer emotional injuries during childhood are more likely to cheat on a spouse. Emotional childhood injuries may cause a fear of intimacy, a fear of commitment, and a fear of being unworthy of love.

If your husband has had problems with attaching himself to you intimately, was commitment-phobic, and suffers from low self-esteem, these traits probably played a role in his infidelity.

Loneliness:

Some men cheat because of the sense of loneliness they feel in the marriage. Usually, this type of man is not able to fully engage with his wife. He doesn’t fully participate in the relationship and is a sitting duck for any woman who can give him the companionship he feels is missing in his marriage.

Anger:

Are you married to a conflict avoider — a man who thinks that any show of disappointment by you is an affront to the relationship?

According to Emily M. Brown, author of Affairs: A Guide to Working Through the Repercussions of Infidelity, the conflict avoider is “terrified to be anything but nice for fear that conflict will lead to abandonment.” They don’t have a way to stand up to their spouse where there are marital problems, so the problems go unresolved and the marriage erodes.

This guy acts as if he is happy, everything is coming up roses and all the while, he is seething with anger inside. He is angry because you poked fun at his bald spot. We all know that a woman who truly loves her husband would never poke fun or so he believes.

He is angry because you failed to pick up his dry cleaning. You will be the last to know how angry he is, though, because of his skewed belief that his marriage is perfect and perfection means putting a lid on anger.

He doesn’t even realize how angry he is until he meets a woman who would never poke fun at his bald spot and never forget to pick up his dry cleaning. Not until she got comfortable in the relationship, anyway. Once she becomes comfortable and turns into a normal human being, he can go back to repressing anger again.

Whatever drives a man to cheat, be it fear, loneliness, or anger, it is important to know that the decision to cheat was his. Infidelity has nothing to do with a shortcoming on the part of his wife.

There are many things a wife can do to improve the quality of her marriage.

There is absolutely nothing she can do that will guarantee with 100 percent certainty that her husband will never cheat.

She can know though with 100 percent certainty that if he does cheat it is about him and whatever issues he is dealing with.

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Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

How Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

 

Many women who are married to narcissistic husbands become fed up with the situation and decide to get a divorce. While separating and filing for divorce might bring an immediate sense of relief from the challenges of living with a narcissist, the challenges might very well continue throughout the divorce process.

Divorce is difficult enough without the complications that a spouse with a narcissistic personality disorder can bring to the table. You might face unexpected and unnecessary conflict throughout the legal process, as your spouse might repeatedly attempt to make the divorce as trying as possible for you. Even if you have been dealing with their behavior for years, it can be challenging to stand your ground and ensure that you fight for your rights in the divorce.

How Narcissistic Traits Can Create Complications

In many divorces, both spouses will recognize that – despite their differences – compromise and cooperation will save them money, time, and stress.

However, narcissistic personality traits can make it nearly impossible for your spouse to agree to compromise. Some common personality traits of narcissistic people can include:

  • Unjustified sense of entitlement
  • Inflated superiority and self-importance
  • Putting down those they believe to be inferior to them
  • Expecting constant admiration or recognition
  • Expecting others to comply with their wishes without question
  • Being unable to realize the needs or feelings of others
  • Inability to calmly handle stressful situations
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Constantly changing their wants and desires
  • Reacting with angry outbursts or even vengeance if they believe they are not getting what they want at the moment

Because they believe they are superior and in the right, narcissists tend to think that everyone else is in the wrong. Even if your spouse caused most of your marital problems and conflict, expect to be blamed and for them to present themselves as the victim in the situation.

To make matters worse, once your spouse starts blaming you, they will likely be unwavering in this position. They will likely start to believe this narrative themselves.

Expecting Too Much

Because your spouse might believe they are the victim of the divorce, and they might already have an inflated sense of entitlement, they likely will feel entitled to much more than their share in the outcome of your case. They might refuse to agree to a reasonable division of property, custody arrangement, or financial support order.

This might also be the case if your spouse is feeling vengeful and trying to “get back” at you by trying to take everything away from you. This fight to “get everything” can cause serious complications in your legal case.

First, divorce is always simpler and faster when spouses can reach their own agreement. Whether you can agree on the major issues on your own or through mediation, presenting the court with an agreement upfront can save the time and expense of litigation. You should not have to give up more than necessary, however, just because your spouse demands it.

If your spouse is making unreasonable demands that deprive you of property or custody rights under the law, you should stand your ground, no matter how difficult that might seem.

How the Right Divorce Lawyer Can Help in this Situation

Narcissists know how to manipulate a situation to get what they want, so it is important that you have the right divorce attorney on your side from the start of the process. An attorney can look at the situation objectively and keep reminding you of your rights and what you deserve in the divorce outcome.

An experienced lawyer will not take your spouse’s actions and words personally and can help you stay the course until your divorce is final with a fair outcome for you.

In many cases, having an attorney act as an intermediary between your soon-to-be-ex and you can give you the time and space you need to see your situation clearly. In addition, not communicating with your husband directly can prevent you from falling into the unhealthy patterns of communication that likely played a role in the demise of your marriage.

This can often facilitate reaching an out-of-court agreement, which will almost certainly save you a significant amount of time and money.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to ask your spouse to agree to a psychiatric evaluation in order to establish evidence regarding his personality disorder. This is particularly true in cases where you believe your children may be put in danger of emotional or physical harm due to his issues. An official recent diagnosis could be used as evidence in your favor when it comes to the determination of child custody.

Just because your spouse has narcissistic personality traits does not mean you should give up your rights in your divorce case. When you meet with your lawyer initially, be honest about your spouse’s personality, so your lawyer knows what they will be dealing with right from the start. They can then plan a strategy to help you obtain a successful outcome as efficiently as possible.

The post How Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorced dad

Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do?

divorced dad

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why not?

Why Divorced Dads Don’t Turn to Each Other for Support

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.

Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”

Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!

It’s not OK for a man to cry.

Be a man, suck it up.

You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.

We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.

So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.

Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.

A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See reaching out for support as a:

  • Chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • Chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • Chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

I had never considered my husband a control freak. But as we were ending our marriage, I saw his need to control blossom into something ugly.

At that point, I reflected back over our marriage (for the millionth time?) and realized it had been there all along. I think I had largely overlooked it because I just wanted to get along.

Plus there were other hurtful behaviors that actually trumped this one.

Our divorce kicked off with some controlling behavior. What I had hoped would be a dissolution upgraded to a divorce when my husband sent the Sheriff to our home to serve me with divorce papers.

In those papers were restraining orders. He was trying to prevent me from accepting a job in my hometown. It was the best job opportunity that I could’ve received at that time. Many years ago, we had jointly decided that he would financially support our family while I basically stayed home with our four children.

But when the divorce started, he shut down all of my access to our finances. Then he tried to block my ability to provide for myself and the children. I was in an impossible spot, and needed solutions. Eventually, I came up with six strategies to handle divorcing a control freak.

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

1. Limit his opportunities to control. I created an email account just for him and refused to communicate with him in any other way. I informed him that I would no longer speak with him in person, nor would I answer his texts. If he needed to give me information quickly (maybe running late to pick up the kids), he could text someone in my support system and they would immediately let me know. The email account was actually my attorney’s idea. It limited my ex’s ability to control me and made a permanent record out of everything he said.

Along that same vein…

2. Create witnesses. After I made an email account just for him, I realized I could improve upon the idea even further. I made sure he knew that I would not be reading his emails. The people who supported me took turns reading emails from my ex. They only passed along the information that I actually needed to know, usually details about the kids.

I was never made aware of the drama, threats or speeches. My ex was intensely upset about this, but I stuck with it. I cannot even express how much stress this lifted from me. And yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system!

3. Move, if you can. This was a tricky situation because my attorney and I decided that I would drop all of the kids off at their father’s new place, and then I’d move to my hometown. Their father had never wanted to be involved in parenting, and I knew that among other issues, the children would get really upset by his parenting and personality.

Within two weeks, all four of the children had found a way to move out of their dad’s home. Thankfully, the courts later interviewed all of them and allowed the children to move so they could live with me. The kids had been so understanding, but this calculated risk frightened me and filled me with guilt. The move was for a job opportunity and creating a better life for the kids and me. But it also ended up playing a significant role in my healing and creating boundaries. I believe it saved me.

4. Document. It felt like I would be stooping so low to record or videotape my ex, even though he was consistently doing that to me. But one day he called the police on me because our son rode the school bus to where his Pappaw was instead of where his father lived.

Once the officer understood how upset the children were, he explained that it could really help the kids and me if I were to record them being forced to visit their dad. Once my ex understood that I would be openly recording, he backed off on forcing visits. (Disclaimer: If children can be/feel healthy in their relationships with BOTH parents, I believe this is best. I don’t want to sound anti-dad. I’ve met some men that are amazing dads!)

5. Neutral territory. Two of our children visit with their father, and whenever we exchanged the children I insisted that we do so in a very public location. I had noticed that my ex’s controlling behavior was always bolder when we were at our homes or another private place. I’m very lucky because my father usually offers to do pick-ups/drop-offs. Pappaw has clocked in some major hours driving the 90-minute trek to my ex’s house with some very precious cargo.

6. My life is no longer his business. I stopped posting on social media for a few years. When I returned, I thinned down my friend count to remove anyone who was also a friend of my ex’s. As far as I know, the children feel pretty protective of me and never mention me or details of my life to their dad. He has tried to come into my home to use the bathroom, but I’m not comfortable with this (there is a nice Subway and gas station just two blocks away). In the past, he has gone through my belongings, and he’s been known to take pictures. I believe the less he knows about me, the less opportunity he has to control me.

There are almost always better ways to handle relationship issues than with control and force. Where’s the finesse, patience, compromise, and understanding? We have the right to be treated with respect. Plus, when we do stand up for ourselves, the other person has an opportunity to self-correct – if they are able. If they are allowed to treat us unfairly, they aren’t going to have an impetus to change. But if this best-case scenario doesn’t work out, and they still remain control-freaks, at least you’ve established some healthy boundaries for yourself.

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Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome: Could This Be You?

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

 

Narcissists are masters of disguise and narcissistic abuse is a form of thought control, it’s emotional manipulation of another person into handing over their mind and will, and thus their thoughts, desires for the narcissist’s personal gain.

A woman suffering from narcissistic abuse syndrome is often disconnected from her own emotional pain. She tends to obsess over her own failures after years of buying into the flaws her narcissistic partner identified in her.

Her mind is often spinning, preoccupied with trying to sort the confusion — the effects of the use of tactics such as gaslighting and word salad on her mind, with intent to distort her reality and impose his own — seeking an explanation for why the narcissist is so miserable, why he treats her the way he does, why he’s so insecure, why they cannot communicate, why he still doesn’t “get” what she’s trying to tell him, and so on.

In other words, what the victim of narcissistic abuse syndrome feels and thinks about herself, life and the narcissist, in most areas, mirrors to some or greater extent what the narcissist wants her to think, believe, feel.

Not every woman involved with a narcissist will suffer from narcissistic abuse syndrome. Those who are in long-term marriages or relationships are more apt to suffer the repercussions of the narcissist’s attempts at controlling, gaslighting and manipulation.

The result of being on the end of narcissistic abuse is the development of PTSD like symptoms. Some of the symptoms of narcissistic abuse syndrome are as follows.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Cognitive

  • confusion
  • nightmares
  • uncertainty
  • hypervigilance
  • suspiciousness
  • intrusive images
  • poor problem solving
  • poor abstract thinking
  • poor attention/ decisions
  • poor concentration memory
  • disorientation of time, place or person
  • heightened or lowered alertness
  • increased or decreased awareness of surroundings

Behavioral

  • withdrawal
  • antisocial acts
  • inability to rest
  • intensified pacing
  • change in social interactions
  • loss or increase of appetite
  • hyperalert to environment
  • increased alcohol consumption
  • change in usual communications

Emotional

  • fear
  • guilt
  • grief
  • panic
  • denial
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • irritability
  • depression
  • intense anger
  • apprehension
  • emotional shock
  • emotional outbursts
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • loss of emotional control
  • inappropriate emotional response

The end result of a relationship with a narcissist is a slow, insidious, breaking down of the self-esteem of his victims until there’s next to nothing left, at which point, the narcissist will frequently throw his partner out in order to look for someone new and full of life to make his next target. Leaving his victim an emotional wreck wondering what she did to destroy their once “perfect” relationship.

Victims are not only spouses. They can be coworkers, employees, children, or friends of narcissists. When the narcissist is the victim’s mother or father, it’s a difficult spot to be in, as most children (even grown children) find it almost impossible to leave the relationship. And the abuse continues for years.

If you think that you or someone that you love is struggling with narcissistic abuse syndrome, it’s important that you seek help. Not only should you make a conscious effort to put the narcissist out of the picture, but you should seek some treatment from a certified professional trained in treating PTSD.

4 Ways to Deal with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome

Educate Yourself

Learn all you can about narcissistic abuse. Don’t learn all you can about the narcissist. Knowing what makes him tick, won’t undo the damage he has done. Focus on the symptoms you’re experiencing and the tools you need to utilize to help you heal.

Respect Your Boundaries

The key to setting boundaries with a narcissist is to stick to them. You will want to communicate clearly and directly each time. If you make a mistake and find that you “lose it” or say something wrong, just keep practicing and be accountable for your behavior.

Assert Yourself

Know what you want and fight for what you want. Don’t engage in power struggles with your narcissist. In fact, don’t engage with your narcissist at all. The best way to be assertive with a narcissist is to go completely no contact.

Get Help

Get support, seek therapy, and figure out how to move forward with your life without the narcissist partner involved. You don’t need to stick it out with him; it’s your life, and they don’t own it.

Prioritize your own happiness and sanity. In many cases, you might not have a choice, so when you do – get out, now.

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