upset woman sitting on the foot of the bed

Should I Get a Divorce? 10 Key Questions to Ask Yourself

upset woman sitting on the foot of the bed

 

Is your marriage just so-so, or is it toxic? Are you unsure about whether you ever really loved your partner or are you just going through a difficult time? Maybe you worry about whether you should stay together for the sake of your children even though your marriage has been a disaster for a long time.

Should I Get a Divorce?

Before you make a final decision about something as important as divorce, it is important examine your situation carefully. While there is not foolproof way to guarantee that divorce is the best solution to an unhappy marriage (or even one where infidelity is present), many people consider it to be a viable option to chronic unhappiness, high conflict, or even falling out of love with their partner.

The following list of questions will help you to examine your thoughts, feelings, and options prior to making a decision about whether or not to proceed with a divorce.

  1. Do I feel constantly criticized and put down by my partner and this leaves me feeling less than “good enough?” According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, criticism is one of the main reasons why marriages collapse. It can be lethal to a marriage because it can lead to contempt.
  2. Do I feel disrespected by my spouse? Does my partner honor my boundaries? When you lose respect for your partner or vice versa, you may feel they are damaged goods. If left unchecked, this dynamic will destroy your marriage.
  3. Does my partner engage in a pattern of chronic, overt, destructive behavior? This would include activities such as internet gambling, alcoholism, drug abuse, porn, or illegal activities.
  4. Is my marriage characterized by persistent high conflict without many periods of harmony or happiness in the relationship?
  5. Do I experience emotional, physical, or financial abuse in my marriage that causes me to feel unsafe and/or disrespected? For the most part, experts agree that any type of abuse erodes feelings of security, trust, or sense of belonging in a relationship and these issues can’t be resolved in the context of a marriage.
  6. When I argue with my partner, do we seldom repair our relationship and get back on track? Have we fallen into the trap of blaming each other and fail to compromise or apologize? As a result, we experience less warmth and closeness.  One of the most important solutions to this problem is to get really good at repair skills. Couples need to get back on track after a fight if they don’t want issues to fester.
  7. Do we rarely have sex or spend time together and have no desire to change this pattern? After all, intimate relationships require nurturing and couples who spend time together and have sex regularly report that they are more emotionally connected.
  8. Is one of you involved in an ongoing affair? The crucial aspect of an affair is betrayal. If a spouse fails to end an affair, take responsibility for their actions, and make a commitment to stop the betrayal, there is little chance that a marriage can be saved.
  9. Does your partner refuse to talk at all when you have a dispute? If so, she or he may be “stonewalling.” Unfortunately, stonewalling or shutting down is one of the predictors of divorce.
  10. Does my partner refuse to work on our relationship? If your spouse doesn’t care enough to spend time on improving your relationship, that’s a big sign that they’re done with it. It takes two to tango, and one person can’t save a marriage. This includes refusing to spend time together and/or attending couples counseling sessions.

Many people ask me, “Should I get a divorce?” By far, this is one of the most commonly asked questions clients and bloggers ask me. And even though I’ve lectured on this topic many times, I still find myself pausing and choosing my words carefully. The reason why this question is so difficult for me to answer is that every couple and family is different, and one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to divorce.

Other reasons include whether or not you have children: conflict plays a large role in children’s divorce adjustment, and there is quite a lot of controversy about research findings.

Should Parents Stay Together for the Sake of the Kids?

Whether parents should stay together for the sake of their children depends to a large degree on the level of stress and disruption in family relationships associated with an unhappy or conflictual marriage. An important question is: would the well-being of the children be enhanced by a move to a divorced, single-parent family? If the answer is yes, then a divorce can be advantageous. However, if a divorce will expose children to diminished resources, such as more conflict and more difficulty parenting, the answer may be stay together.

In her landmark book For Better or For Worse, eminent psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington highlights the results of her study of 1,400 families and the importance of examining the type of conflict children experience. She notes that high-conflict that involves the child being physically violent, threatening, or abusive, and conflict in which the child feels caught in the middle has the most adverse consequences for children.

In another review of this topic, Paul Amato states, “When parents engage in a pattern of chronic, overt, destructive conflict, children may be no worse off (and perhaps better off) if the marriage ends in divorce.” The main finding highlighted by Amato and Hetherington is this: while parental divorce may expose children to more risk factors for subsequent social and psychological problems, that association is moderate, and the majority of youth (75%) reach adulthood as well-functioning individuals.

Even the late divorce expert Judith Wallerstein who tended to emphasize the detrimental impact of parental divorce, writes, “Children raised in extremely unhappy homes or violent homes face misery in childhood and tragic consequences in adulthood.” She goes on to say, “I don’t know of any research, mine included, that says divorce is universally detrimental to children.”

Truth be told, many factors are involved in determining whether or not a couple should divorce. One size doesn’t fit all, and every relationship and family has unique dynamics and characteristics. Deciding whether to divorce is a tough, complex, and controversial subject. There are no right or wrong answers, nor are there any simplistic solutions. However, if a couple has the maturity and fortitude to reconnect and work on their marriage, it may give them the chance to heal and improve over time.

Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

More from Terry

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gray haired happy woman

When You’re Drunk in Love, But You Finally Came to Your Senses…After 30 Years

gray haired happy woman

 

“In sickness and in health…for richer or poorer…Until death do us part.”

People get married to grow old with each other. During their nuptials, partners exchange marriage vows and speak of a love that lasts forever. You say words full of promises to be there for each other no matter the circumstance. However, it’s not always the case. Couples can decide to part ways even after 30 years into their marriage.

Drunk in Love

Take the case of Bill and Melinda Gates. The couple, married for 27 years, shocked the world when they announced their split. But their separation isn’t special. Divorce after years of marriage is pretty common.

Why does this happen? Is it a trend or a pressing problem with ramifications for both parties? This article will discuss why the overall divorce rate for the older demographic is increasing over time.

What is Gray Divorce?

Gray divorce is also known as a “silver splitter.” It’s a legal separation between two older adults aged 50 and above. These couples have shared long-lasting relationships between 20 to 30 years together. Most involved in these divorce proceedings belong to the baby boomer generation and mostly have gray hairs. Hence, the name gray divorce.

The gray divorce rate going up is not news. It’s been going on for years. A 2012 study documented that marriage dissolution in people aged 50 and older doubled within 10 years. In 2010 alone, 25 percent of divorces belonged to the older age group.

Today, not much has changed. The latest report by the US Census Department highlighted that 34.9 percent of Americans filing for divorce in 2020 were 55 years old and older.

Interestingly, these older adults not only have to deal with financial constraints but also health concerns. Divorcing after years of marriage also means saying goodbye to a longer life. Studies have shown that married individuals have longer life expectancy than unmarried ones.

Three Reasons Why Even Long-Term Marriages End up in Divorce

Long-term marriages go through different stages of learning and relearning about each other. Couples discover new things about each other over the years of being together. In the course of their relationship, they may realize that they have different views on things.

There may also be some instances when problems can get out of hand. In such cases, the best course of action is to go their separate ways. While they grow together, it’s also possible for them to grow apart. Here are three common reasons why gray divorce happens:

Empty Nest Syndrome

As adult children seek an independent life by moving out, most couples find themselves spending more time with only each other. This constant exposure to each other’s presence can highlight the dynamics the couples share.

Married couples tend to focus more on their differences now that they no longer have children to look after. During all the years of marriage, most couples rarely spend time alone.

Going on dates and doing activities without the kids are a rarity. As their children are no longer there to mask marital neglect, the cracks of the marriage become more visible.

When they are in their midlife, couples may realize that both of them have changed. They no longer share the same passions and goals.

Financial Issues

Married couples will have to face several challenges as they work through their marriage. A significant one is financial issues. These monetary problems are more tolerable when both spouses have their sources of income.

However, there may be instances when these financial issues become a significant concern in the marriage. Many couples must rely on their retirement funds when they reach retirement age. Living on a fixed income means they must be more careful about their spending habits.

Financial conflicts can also arise from the so-called spender vs. saver dichotomy. This difference in mindset can cause a rift in the marriage.

For example, a partner stays at home with no income while the other continues to work. The other can feel guilty about not contributing financially. The other may feel more power in the relationship because they’re “providing” familial support.

Financial problems can also stem from addictions, often dragging on in the long-term. In such cases, most couples decide to start the divorce process by consulting a certified divorce financial analyst. This helps determine the appropriate spousal support.

Infidelity

Marital neglect is common in long-term marriages. Some couples become so used to seeing and being with their partners that they take each other for granted. It can result in a lack of romance, making them easily succumb to temptation. While there’s no excuse for cheating on a spouse, some partners may seek what their marriage lacks in other people.

According to psychologists, people cheat because they have emotional issues. They use cheating as a way to deal with aging. Starting an affair makes them believe they are still attractive to someone other than their partners.

Many divorcing couples go through bouts of infidelity several times throughout their marriage until they reach a breaking point. However, using infidelity as grounds for divorce can be tricky. While adultery is illegal in some states, it doesn’t hold weight in divorce proceedings. Talking to a family law attorney may be necessary in order to understand your state’s divorce laws.

Divorce After 30 Years: What to Expect

Starting a new life after a long marriage can be challenging but liberating. There are things you must know. Here are some of them.

Retirement and Divorce

Since gray divorce occurs when you’re in your retirement age, it’s essential to secure your finances, healthcare, and retirement accounts to shield yourself from physical and mental injuries.

Keep in mind that your divorce can impact your retirement plans. Ask your divorce attorney about the division of assets and alimony.

Think about your financial security. If you’re relying on monthly pensions, consider if it will be enough to support your needs. You must also look into your healthcare insurance.

If you’re looking to keep lawyers out of the divorce, it is possible to get divorced without hiring an attorney in some states like Texas. Before deciding whether to proceed with a DIY divorce, make sure to look into your state’s laws and consider the pros and cons.

Changes in Family Dynamics

Divorce means a change in the current family dynamics. Post-divorce, the family traditions that you’ve followed for years will change.

Children will end up choosing sides over trivial and important things. Though not always guaranteed, divorce can split the entire family. For example, children must choose which parent they will spend the holidays with. Ultimately, they may decide not to visit anyone at all. This may cause them to grow apart from you.

Older people divorcing doesn’t mean they won’t remarry. Remarried couples often have to deal with introducing their new relationships to their children.

Gray Divorce Is Not the End of Your Story

Divorcing later in life doesn’t mean that you’ve made a mistake. You got married because it felt right at that time. Several things can happen while you’re together that forces you to make the brave decision of accepting your reality.

Remember, divorce doesn’t mean your story is ending. It is the start of another chapter in your life.

The post When You’re Drunk in Love, But You Finally Came to Your Senses…After 30 Years appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 Myths Cheaters Tell Themselves To Justify Their Affair

 Affair Couple.jpg

 

No one commits adultery without first being able to justify their reasons for doing so. The problem with such justifications is they are falsehoods, a way of engaging in bad behavior without having to think about the consequences of the adultery to others.

The adulterer lives in a mythical, storybook world. The realities of their actions are far different than the “reality” they create to justify the adultery.

Adultery Causes Emotional Pain

Myth 1.

If my spouse finds out about the affair, she will get over it. My spouse ignores my needs, shows me no affection, and acts as if she no longer cares. If she no longer cares, the affair won’t mean anything to her. This is mystical thinking because, unless questioned, the adulterer has no idea how their wife will react to them cheating.

Reality:

When a spouse is cheated on, there are feelings of betrayal, depression, and anger. A spouse will feel second-rate and undesirable. She will question her worth and value as a wife. A wife is emotionally harmed by adultery whether the cheater believes she is still invested in the marriage or not.

A victim of cheating will get over the betrayal of adultery but only after much suffering. Adultery hurts and can cause severe psychological damage. There is also a loss of trust and faith in the adulterer. So much so that it makes surviving adultery close to impossible.

Not only will a wife be injured by the adultery, but anyone close to you to the cheater will be affected negatively. Children, family, and friends, all those who care about the cheater, will suffer if they make the choice to engage in an adulterous relationship.

An adulterer may feel that the benefit of adultery to them is worth the suffering of others. That is wrong! Adultery hurts and it is never OK to hurt another person.

Adultery Means Breaking a Promise to Your Spouse

Myth 2.

I’m no longer in love with my spouse; the marriage has been over for years. If there is no longer love, there is no longer a “promise.” The adulterer has divorced himself emotionally from the marriage. In the adulterer’s mind, this frees him up from any vows of faithfulness.

Reality:

Granted, feelings of love are an extenuating circumstance for vowing to be faithful to a spouse. Love is not the only circumstance, though and a lack of love for a wife is not justification for committing adultery and broken marriage vows.

There is more to consider than the adulterer’s feelings alone. If the wife still has feelings of love, the adulterer owes her consideration before engaging in adulterous behavior.

Until there is a divorce, you are still living inside the marital contract, and that means upholding the vow to be faithful. There is more to consider than whether or not the cheater still feels love for their wife.

Committing Adultery Makes You a Bad Person

Myth 3.

I’m not a bad person if I have a relationship with someone other than my wife. I’ve worked very hard to save my marriage. I deserve to be happy and have earned the right to be happy even if I find that happiness with someone other than my spouse.

Reality:

Adultery is unethical behavior. It is that simple. Sure, as individuals, we are free to define ethical behavior on our own terms. Most of us choose to live according to society’s rules as far as what is and isn’t ethical behavior.

Kindness, consideration, honesty, and respectfulness are all ethical behaviors. I think it is safe to say that society views a person who is faithful to his spouse as ethical and virtuous.

In other words, if you commit adultery, you are not a good man. If you remain faithful, you are a good man. In the throes of passion and emotional need, you may not put much value on how society judges you, though.

When the bloom is off the rose, and the affair has gone south, you can bet an adulterer will begin to once again concern himself with how his spouse, family, friends, and co-workers view him. It is best to consider the reality of adulterous behavior before an affair than get caught up in the mythical, storybook idea you’ll create to justify adultery.

 

 

FAQs About Cheating:

Can adultery be justified?

Adultery cannot be justified under any circumstances. Adulterers, however, will always try to justify why they commit adultery by giving false reasons. It’s a way for them to justify their bad behavior without considering its destructive consequences.

Do adulterers believe their wives will forgive them for their affairs?

Adulterers believe that their wives will either never find out about their affairs or forgive them if they do. In essence, an adulterer has no clue about how his wife would react when she finds out about his adultery.

Do adulterers blame their wives for their actions?

The adulterers blame their wives for their actions, stating that their wives have been ignoring their needs. They create these justifications in their heads so they could commit adultery without feeling any guilt.

What happens to a spouse when cheated on?

A spouse when cheated on will first feel shell-shocked, confused and angry. She will struggle to find out why her husband cheated on her and think that she is not desirable or enough. An adulterer will emotionally harm his wife, and damage his relationship, at times, beyond repair.

Does adultery cause psychological damage?

Adultery is one of the most common reasons for women to file for divorce because it causes physical and psychological damage to the spouse, who has been cheated on. In most cases, surviving adultery becomes an impossible task.

Do adulterers end up damaging their family?

Yes, adulterers not only hurt their wives but also their children, family and friends as he robs them of their trust. 

Can adultery be justified because of a bad marriage?

Most adulterers justify their behaviors by creating this false impression in their minds that their marriage has been over for years because it’s devoid of love. They think they can commit adultery because they are no longer bound by the vows of faithfulness.

Is an adulterer a bad person?

Whatever be your reasons, you are not a good person if you commit adultery. Adultery is an immoral and unethical behavior, which causes pain and hurt to people around the adulterer. 


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If You Divorce You’ll Lose These 4 Benefits Of Marriage

Solve Marital Problems.jpg

Marriage benefits both men and women when it comes to emotional health. In other words, married people are happier than single people. Especially divorced, single people who are dealing with the fallout that accompanies the divorce process. 

 

When marital problems rear their ugly head, most think first about divorce, not saving their marriage. Let’s face it, we live in a day and age of taking the easy way out. And, for some, divorce seems easier than putting effort into solving marital problems.

Those who seek divorce as the easy way out have never experienced divorce and are unaware of the fact that divorce is anything but the easy way out. Divorce, in most cases, doesn’t lessen marital conflict, it increases conflict!

There are benefits of marriage for you and your children that you lose if you choose to divorce. Taking the path of, what you believe, is the least resistant will rob you of those marital benefits.

I urge you if you are thinking about divorce, to reconsider. Especially if your marriage is absent of addiction, abuse and infidelity. There are many reasons to try and save your marriage instead of making a mad dash toward divorce court.

Below are 4 Benefits of Marriage That You’ll Lose Should You Divorce

1. Emotional Benefits of Marriage

Contrary to popular belief, marriage gives men and women an equal mental health boost.

In 1972, sociologist Jessie Bernard looked at symptoms of anxiety, depression, neurosis and passivity in married and unmarried people. She found that men were better off married than single and concluded that they got those benefits at the expense of women.

That became a central tenet of the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s and is still often cited. But psychologist David de Vaus from La Trobe University in Melbourne points out that Bernard’s research only looked at a narrow definition of stress. “It is well known that women are much more likely to score highly on those disorders,” he says. Most research has ignored the fact that a mental disorder can manifest itself in men in the form of drug and alcohol abuse, de Vaus claims.

So, in conclusion, marriage benefits both men and women when it comes to emotional health. In other words, married people are happier than single people. Especially divorced, single people who are dealing with the fallout that accompanies the divorce process.

2. Marriage can make you look younger

Copenhagen, Denmark, Jan 30, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) — Danish researchers say a happy marriage and plenty of money can take years off of a person’s appearance.

The study, conducted by the University of Southern Demark, found that a married woman who has not spent much of the time in the sun could look at least seven years younger than a single woman. Also, marriage can make a woman look almost two years younger by the time she reaches middle age.

3. Financial reasons to stay married

Divorce often comes with a financial penalty: 47 percent of divorced people say divorce made their financial situation worse. In fact, respondents to the survey also reported that because of their divorce:

Children are affected financially as well. One poll found that 44 percent of people said it was extremely difficult to save for post-secondary education after divorce.

  • 35 percent had to go into debt.
  • 22 percent had to seek financial support from friends and family.
  • 28 percent had to sell household items or personal assets; and.
  • 27 percent had to sell or redeem financial investments.

4. Children of divorce are more likely to divorce

Children of divorced parents often vow not to repeat the same mistakes their parents did. They want to avoid putting themselves and their own children through the pain and stress that comes from divorce. But, according to University of Utah researcher Nicholas H. Wolfinger, these children’s aspirations face unfavorable odds.

“Growing up in a divorced family greatly increases the chances of ending one’s own marriage, a phenomenon called the divorce cycle or the intergenerational transmission of divorce,” says Wolfinger, assistant professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Consumer Studies.

Wolfinger has spent a decade studying the marriages of children from divorced homes in America. These children are more likely to marry as teens, cohabitate and marry someone who is also a child of divorced parents. And they are also one-third less likely to marry if they are over age 20.

There are health, emotional and familial reasons to work on your marital problems instead of divorce. And, if you don’t believe me, talk to several divorced women. You will find that most are stressed out due to the financial burdens they carry. Haven’t found a new man who is better than the man they had and are overwhelmed with raising children on their own.

You don’t want to exchange one set of problems for another set of problems if there is a chance your marriage can be saved.

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4 Myths About Cheating That Women Cling To

4 myths about cheating

Women believe myths about cheating because they must believe their partner wouldn’t have cheated without a good reason. 

 

When a spouse, friend or relative cheats its human nature to assign a reason for the cheating. At dinner last night I heard several friends go round and round about why a colleague of ours is engaged in an extra-marital affair. The conversation was made even more interesting because it was a group of women and me. It would seem women NEED a reason for someone betraying them. Why do they cling to societal myths about cheating?

The conversation was rampant will all sorts of reasons/myths for this particular man’s cheating. “It must be a midlife crisis.” Or, “maybe there isn’t enough sex at home.” Then there was, “I bet she is young and sexy and looks good on his arm, men just LOVE a younger, prettier woman.” The best reason, though, “what can you expect, he is a man, men cheat, and it’s in their DNA.”

Let’s take each one of these myths about cheating that women cling to and clear a few things up:

1. “Men Cheat, It’s In Their DNA.”

I will venture to say that if the numbers were known, there would be as many women having affairs as men. The ability to betray a spouse by cheating is not gender-specific. According to the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, the percentage of wives having affairs rose to 14.7 percent in 2010, while the number of men admitting to extramarital affairs held constant at 21 percent.

Married women are slightly more faithful than men but just slightly. We don’t hear about women cheating as often as we do men because women are more discreet. They are more cautious than men and therefore get away with infidelity at a higher rate than men.

2. “There Isn’t Enough Sex at Home.”

Most men who cheat do so because the opportunity came up. Yes, that is right; some men cheat because they can, not because they aren’t getting sex at home. Some men cheat to prove to themselves they are still attractive to the other sex. There are many reasons men cheat, they grew up watching their fathers cheat, it is a covert way of punishing their wives or they accidentally suffer a moment of weakness during a business trip.

The reasons are many, but very few men cheat because they aren’t getting sex at home. Just ask some of the highly sexual wives who have been victims of infidelity.

3. “It Must be a Midlife Crisis.”

This one is a bit tricky. Affairs are common during a midlife crisis but cheating is only one of the characteristics of a midlife crisis. It plays a role in the “crisis” part of midlife. Like I said in this article, “The husband who is going through a midlife crisis may become tired of the “same old, same old” in the bedroom. It isn’t uncommon for someone married to a spouse who is going through a midlife crisis to suffer the negative consequences of their infidelity.”

Infidelity, however, is not a litmus test for Midlife Crisis. Just because someone is cheating doesn’t mean they are in the throes of a midlife crisis. Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck doesn’t mean it is a duck in the case of infidelity and midlife crisis.

4. “She is Young and Sexy and Looks Good on His Arm.”

Nine times out of ten, when a man cheats, it is for sex. And, he isn’t particular about the package it comes in. He isn’t focused on finding flashy and beautiful; he is focused on getting laid and easy and available is what appeals to him.

More than likely, if your husband is cheating, the other woman isn’t younger, prettier, smarter or thinner than you. What she is, is ready, willing, and able. Young and sexy can do better than married and unavailable, and normally that is what they go for, someone single without the baggage of a family to deal with.

The takeaway, it doesn’t matter why a man cheats. The thing to focus on is the reality…they cheated. Reasons and justifications aren’t important. What is important? How you respond, and what you choose to do with the knowledge that your marriage has been touched by an affair.

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An Affair Doesn’t Have To Mean Divorce: 6 Tips For Rebuilding

build trust after affair

If you wish to build a loving and intimate marriage after an affair, you and your spouse must be sincere with each other about how you are feeling and what you desire for the future of the marriage.

 

Whether it is physical or emotional, affairs rip the fabric of a marriage. An affair can feel as if there is no alternative other than divorce. The pain a victim spouse feels is both emotional and physical. And, whether you had an affair or suffered from your spouse’s affair, the painful reality is that your marriage vows have been broken. But, an affair doesn’t have to mean divorce.

It is possible to restore your marriage after an affair. I’ve witnessed it happen on many occasions. I’ve heard many say, “Infidelity is something I’d never forgive,” but there are options other than divorce. And, if there is even a spark of love left, the choice about whether to try and save your marriage is up to you. I’m all for at least trying to restore love and trust after an affair, so I suggest you lean into the work of restoration and healing before calling it quits.

Finding out your spouse had an affair is a kick in the gut. If you’re reading this article, you already know that to be true. To find a new balance in your marriage and rebuild the lost love and trust, it’s important to work at forming an emotional attachment with your spouse again.

Below are 6 tips to help rebuild an emotional attachment with your spouse after an affair.

1. Acknowledge the damage done.

Attachment is about building a bond with a spouse you love. For bonding to happen, it’s important that you both acknowledge that damage has been done to the relationship and admit to any personal flaws. When there is a decent connection still established between a couple, I’m a firm believer that any obstacle can be overcome and a new bond built if both spouses can own their flaws and take responsibility.

2. Stay open to being touched by your spouse.

I’m not suggesting you participate in intimate behaviors you are not ready to engage in. But, being close physically is an important step toward rebuilding a strong connection. Holding hands, sitting close while watching television, or a kiss before leaving the house each morning goes a long way toward reestablishing that lost attachment. If you still need time to work up to being touched, that’s OK. It is important, though, to get to a place where their touch doesn’t make your skin crawl.

3. Show your spouse kindness and consideration.

Yeah, this will be hard to do if you’re the one who was cheated on. Here is my take on the situation, you’ve been married for years, maybe decades, and the affair is only one incident in all that time together. There are years and years of loving, bonding interactions between you and your spouse. If you must draw from those memories to show kindness and consideration toward the person who cheated on you, it will be worth the effort in the long run.

If you’re the spouse who cheated, this step is especially important for you. Knowing that it is your behavior that has caused such tremendous pain for your spouse should make it easy for you to show them kindness and consideration. And, for you, I’ll throw in patience. It will take your spouse time to come to terms with and overcome the pain of your cheating. Be willing to be as kind and as considerate as they need.

4. Hold onto hope.

Hoping for a better marriage is the best medicine for mending relationships after an affair. If both spouses can commit to rebuilding the marriage and contributing something towards saving your relationship, hope will spring eternal.

For you, hope is the belief that in the future, your marriage will get better. How does someone in your situation remain hopeful? Trust yourself to be able to do what is necessary to “manifest” whatever it is you’re hoping for. Trust that what you hope for and want can and will most likely, in fact, come to be.

5. Demonstrate, through action, that you will be there for each other.

Emotional accessibility and support are the foundations of a successful marital relationship. Your partner needs to realize that you will be there for them. That’s correct; at the most conflict riddle time in your marriage, if there is going to be reconciliation, you must be sure the person who cheated on you knows you are there for them.

You’ll both suffer your own brand of emotional upheaval after the affair and while attempting to restore your marriage. Although the one cheated on will need more emotional support, the one who did the cheating will also have those needs. For you to rebuild an emotional attachment, you’ll need to put yourself out there and be there for the cheater while they work through their stuff also.

6. Show that you are sincere in your desire to save your marriage.

Sincerity is a great asset to relationships since it is correlated with higher degrees of trust and respect. If you wish to build a loving and intimate marriage, you and your spouse must be sincere with each other about how you are feeling and what you desire for the future of the marriage. Trust and respect can’t be rebuilt if you aren’t 100 percent certain your spouse is being sincere with you. And, when it comes to building trust, sincerity is the most difficult element of your relationship to obtain. This would explain why cheating has a greater emotional impact on a spouse than a spouse who forgets a birthday or anniversary.

You want to rebuild trust and respect. To do that, you must start being nakedly sincere with your spouse.

The post An Affair Doesn’t Have To Mean Divorce: 6 Tips For Rebuilding appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Time To Divorce: Do You Know What To Expect During The Divorce Process?

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By its very nature, divorce is not a pleasant experience. Involve divorce attorneys and Family Court Judges and the unprepared person, the situation becomes much more stressful. In most cases, a person is so emotionally worn down by the time they decide it’s time to divorce they’ve not had the wherewithal to consider what the legal process of divorce entails.

Once the legal wheels start spinning, there may be no turning back. The moment those papers are filed, everything you’ve worked for sweated for, and planned for during your marriage is at risk. The wheels spin fast at first, then slow down to an agonizing pace. Days can seem like weeks, even months!

You find yourself smack in the middle of the divorce process with the sinking feeling that things might not go as planned. That great idea that you had…to divorce and move on with your life might not have been so great after all. In fact, it has turned into an absolute disaster.

Welcome to the wonderful world of divorce and its cast of supporting characters…lawyers, judges, interrogatories, continuances, custody disputes and high expectations. Most parties to a divorce have never been involved in legal litigation, used an attorney, or been inside a courtroom. For them, divorce is their first sobering involvement with the world of legal litigation. Divorce is both an end to a marriage and the beginning of an education in family law.

If you aren’t emotionally prepared to maneuver the choppy waters of the legal divorce process, you are not ready to divorce.

Can you answer the following questions?

  • How is custody of children decided in your state?
  • How does the court divide marital property?
  • Can I move to a new location after divorce?
  • What do I need to know before hiring a divorce attorney?
  • Who has to move out of the marital home?
  • What is divorce mediation?

If you are confused by the above questions, you are not ready to enter the legal process of divorce. You’ve got some learning to do! And until you’ve done your homework, believe me, you don’t want to find yourself tangled up in the legal process of divorce.

There are 3 things you should do when it is time to divorce.

Once you’ve come to terms with the emotional ending of your marriage and gotten yourself financially prepared, you will need to do the following:

1. Understand Divorce Law:

Most will tell you that your legal education begins with a divorce attorney. I strongly disagree! No one is prepared to hire a divorce attorney until they have an understanding of their state’s divorce laws which will give them a better understanding of what they should and should not expect from a divorce attorney.

Divorce in the United States is governed by laws that are particular to each state. State divorce laws deal with all aspects of the divorce process, from residency requirements to child custody to the division of marital property.

2. Be Prepared:

There are documents a divorce attorney will need to get your divorce underway. Gathering these documents and having them ready before you hire an attorney can help keep those “wheels” spinning and allow you to feel more prepared.

This is not fun, but you will be glad you took the time to compile these documents at the beginning. You will need copies of tax returns for the last three years. If you filed separately, you will need copies of your tax returns and your spouse’s tax returns. Make copies of all bank accounts, joint accounts, and individual accounts for the last year.

Credit card statements for accounts held jointly and separately should be copied and provided to an attorney. You will also need at least three paystubs or proof of monthly income for yourself and your spouse, a list of all monthly expenses, a list of all marital assets and debts, and a brief description of how parenting duties are handled between the two of you. Once you’ve put together these documents, you are ready to hire a divorce attorney.

3. Hire a Divorce Attorney:

This is the person who will promote your best interest during the divorce process. You won’t find a divorce attorney who has as much invested in your divorce as you do BUT with a little research, you can find one who is invested enough in his/her legal reputation to make sure that you are legally protected.

A look at the divorce process

Below is a loose outline of 8 things that happens during the divorce process. I say loosely because each state and local district handles divorce differently. Regardless of your state’s laws and your district’s legal procedures, you will experience each step in some form or another.

1. File for Divorce:

A divorce or dissolution usually begins with the filing of a form, typically referred to as the original petition for divorce. This must be filed with the court that deals with marriages in the county where you live, which may be called the Family Law Court. After the petition has been filed, a copy must be served on (or delivered to) your spouse.

2. Divide Marital Property:

You will need to either work out an agreement on how your marital property is to be divided or argue about it in divorce court. Courts prefer that the parties work things out for themselves, and some states or counties require mandatory mediation, which means meeting with a neutral third party who will help you resolve conflicts over who gets what. If the parties can’t agree on a way to divide their property, the court will decide.

3. Distribute Marital Debt:

Debts incurred during the marriage need to be divided between the spouses along with the property. Joint debts may be deducted from the amount of property the spouses own together, or some debts may be considered the responsibility of only one spouse. This depends on the system your state uses for dividing marital debt.

4. Negotiate Spousal Support: 

Support paid by one ex-spouse for the support of the other used to be called alimony but is now often called spousal support or maintenance. The laws for spousal support vary a great deal from state to state, and you should be sure you know what your state requires. Spousal support can be awarded to both husbands and wives.

5. Decide Child Custody/Visitation:

The single most important thing parents need to work out in a divorce or dissolution is the way they will continue to raise their children and what kind of custody they will use, and it’s always best if they can work out this plan cooperatively. Some states call this a parenting plan and no longer use terms like custody and visitation.

There are many questions that must be resolved, such as where the children will live, how much time they will spend with either parent, where they will spend holidays, or which parent will make decisions about the children. One or both parents might make legal decisions, such as where the children will go to school and what medical care or medication they will receive. Parents also have to resolve issues about the religious training and activities of the children.

If the parents can’t agree on these issues, the court will consider the best interests of the children in resolving the conflicts. The court will look at the gender of the parents and children, their physical and mental health, emotional bonds, the effect on children of changing their living situation, and—if a child is around 12 years or older—the child’s preference.

The court also considers practical matters such as the ability of the parents to provide the necessities of life, such as shelter, food, and clothing. Court orders involving children are never final. They can always be changed if the best interests of the children require it.

6. Calculate Child Support: 

After a divorce or dissolution, both parents remain responsible for supporting the children. Divorcing parents need to negotiate child support or the courts will use state guidelines to do so. There are several factors to consider in working this out, such as the income and assets of the parents and whether one parent has primary childcare responsibilities. If the parents can’t work this out agreeably, the court will make the decision and order the parents to comply.

7. Mediation:

Divorce mediation is a process where the divorcing parties sit down with a mediator (a neutral third party) to work out and resolve conflicts over property division, finances, debts, and support and/or child custody/visitation. If the state is paying for the mediation, the mediator often reports back to the court with information about the mediation session(s).

The parties can also arrange their own privately paid mediation sessions, which will be completely confidential. Decisions reached in mediation aren’t legally binding but can be included in the court’s final order or decree. Attorneys usually don’t attend mediation sessions, though they may be available to advise the parties on legal issues.

8. Final Judgment of Divorce: 

The final judgment of divorce is the final order of the court that legally ends the marriage. The final judgment can also contain legally binding orders about other issues, such as child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, property division, and how property division is to be carried out. It can also restore the pre-marriage name to one or both spouses.

Filing for divorce means stepping into the world of the Family Court System.

It is a world of legal rules and, at times, extreme emotional stress. It can change the way you live, the way you think, and the way you do things. Ignorance of what takes place in the system and how to take care of yourself can be the mistake that kills your chances of a successful post-divorce life.

I’m sharing with you information about the divorce process and the negative aspects of the legal process not to dissuade you from leaving your marriage. My concern is that you fully understand the process before putting yourself in the middle of the process.

Knowing when or if it is time to divorce means having a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it means to divorce. Unless you are in a situation where divorce can be handled in a civil manner between you and your spouse having full knowledge of what to expect in a conflicted divorce scenario is the only way you will be able to protect your legal rights.

The steps that I’ve shared above may seem simple, cut and dry but if you are divorcing a spouse who is angry, hurt over your decision to divorce or is unable to accept the idea of divorce you will become involved with a system in which no one wins but the system.

Understanding the emotional, financial and legal aspects of divorce before deciding to divorce means you will be making an informed decision about how and with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

After Thoughts

I’m not someone with “standard” views on marriage and relationships. I do however have traditional views when it comes to choosing to divorce once you’ve committed to a marriage. It is my opinion that if you get married you should put in the appropriate time and attention to the marriage and do everything possible to save the marriage before making the choice to divorce.

When you take the vow, make the promise to stay with someone for the rest of your life, “for better or, for worse,” it is no small thing. I’m keen on folks keeping promises but for every promise made there is a price to pay and when the price you pay in your marriage becomes too high it is better to break your word than do harm to yourself by keeping it.

Here is the problem as I see it…people get married for a lot of foolish reasons. Some marry because they think society expects it of them. Some marry because they think it will solve some problem they are grappling with. Some believe marriage is the natural end to any relationship, that something is wrong if a relationship doesn’t culminate in marriage vows. Some marry because marriage confirms them as a person.

None of us marry without the expectation that the marriage will last “until death do us part.” But, that doesn’t always happen; our expectations about marriage are not always met. Nothing is more evident of that than the 40% divorce rate we experience in this country. In my business as a marriage educator and divorce consultant I often wonder why people don’t take more seriously the high rate of divorce. Could it be they don’t because there are some very, very good reasons to divorce?

The decision to divorce should only be made if something is radically wrong in the marriage. What do I mean by radically wrong? Well, there is abuse, infidelity, broken trust, disrespect to name a few examples of marital problems that might not be overcome with hard work.

We don’t take lightly the decision to marry; we should not take lightly the decision to divorce!

The post Time To Divorce: Do You Know What To Expect During The Divorce Process? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How To Keep Financial Issues From Leading To Divorce

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So, it didn’t work out the way you thought it would… you skipped the prenup, and now you have a painful mess.

But take heart, the re-marriage rate is about 50%, so here are some great tips to prevent money from being the AXE next time.

Why less money doesn’t have to mean more problems

We have been living in a financially inflated economy for over seven years. Though in some areas, there has been a significant uptick, some of that stress has seeped into our relationships, and that has led to a rise in divorces.

70% of married couples fight about money, which is more than they fight about household chores, kids, and who left the seat up.

Ironically, for some couples, these fights are actually a great chance to address some larger issues that they are facing.

Here are 8 actions that will keep financial issues from leading to divorce:

Accept that you have an issue.

Acknowledge with your partner that there is financial tension in your marriage and make a date to sit down together to discuss it. Make sure you have total privacy; don’t involve your kids, turn your cell phones off, and don’t have any other distractions.

Get organized.

Each of you should list your concerns, pet peeves, and things you’ve always wanted to say but were afraid to bring up. If you think your partner makes poor money decisions (or has unreasonable expectations of how you should spend money), this is the time to discuss it.

Be vulnerable

Nothing builds emotional intimacy better than you and your partner admitting your fears, where you ache, and what conflicts you struggle with.

Know what you want

At the end of the sharing, make a list of goals. They can be things like building a savings account together, agreeing to discuss all purchases over $300, or even taking a temporary position until you find a great full-time job.

Have fun

You married each other because you liked each other. Make a list of things to do together without the kids that are more fun than expensive. Focusing on each other is the best investment in your relationship.

Keep three accounts: “mine,” “yours,” and “ours”

Decide together how much should be contributed to each account. How much each of you brings home is fairly predictable, so you can create a budget and keep your commitments to each other. This will help build respect and trust between you.

Stay on top of the problem

If you struggle to pay off a debt, have a weekly update to stay accountable. This chat will keep you on track with your payments and ensure that important expenses, like your life insurance premium, don’t get ignored.

Build an emergency fund

This fund will keep the panic away when unexpected expenses happen — the dishwasher goes on the fritz, the transmission in your car needs to be replaced, your dog needs surgery, etc.

Make space for this in your budget, even if it’s a small contribution; the consistency of doing so builds self-trust and not panic when the bill arrives.

At the end of the day, you can manage the money issues in your relationship; you just need to be frank (without pointing fingers), committed, and mature. You chose to marry your partner for a whole range of reasons, but sometimes the road gets challenging.

But never fear; sharing the difficulty will make your relationship stronger.

The post How To Keep Financial Issues From Leading To Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Whether You Divorce Or Not, Here’s How To Heal After a Spouse Cheats

heal after a spouse cheats

 

Will your spouse’s affair mean the end of your marriage? Will it be something that changes you in a negative way or will you learn from the experience and move on to become a stronger more resilient person? How does someone heal after a spouse cheats?

Whether you successfully navigate the adversity caused by infidelity depends on you and the way you normally deal with periods of adversity. People who are able to move on and repair their marriage or, divorce and rebuild their lives are of a particular breed.

Those who heal after adversity focus on finding a solution to the problem instead of focusing on the problem. In other words, if you are someone who can’t let go of the idea that your spouse was unfaithful you will have a harder time healing.

If you are someone who focuses on rebuilding the lost trust and staying open-minded about finding solutions you are more likely to save your marriage and heal. The good news is, we can all be solutions-oriented folks. We can all develop the insight needed to work through marital infidelity and either save a marriage or move on to rebuild and be productive in life.

The first place to start is with empathy for yourself and your spouse. I truly believe that the first step to healing from any kind of betrayal is an understanding of not only our own feelings but the feelings of the one who betrayed us.

People who are empathetic are sensitive to their experiences and the experiences of others. You’ve heard the old saying, “walk a mile in my shoes?” This can’t be truer than when attempting to find solutions to marital problems that damage the trust we have in a partner.

So, I urge you to not only be gentle with yourself but to put effort toward empathizing with the spouse who has hurt you. Doing so leaves little room for anger to take hold, anger that can keep you focused on the problem instead of solutions to the problem.

Below are a few suggestions that will help heal after a spouse cheats:

  • Surviving doesn’t always mean saving your marriage. Surviving can mean building a more honest marriage after the infidelity. Or, divorcing and leaving the marriage more aware and prepared for your next relationship.
  • Your thinking during times of emotional stress is distorted. Be sure your reaction to your spouse’s infidelity is measured and sensible and not out of anger and pain.
  • Infidelity is not the end of your world. It is the end of your world as you know it but there is life after infidelity and accepting that can play a major role in how well and how quickly you heal.
  • If you engage in doomsday thinking, the idea that infidelity is the worst thing that could have happened you will continually live with the belief that he/she will do it again, that another marital disaster is right around the corner. The trick is to remember that as a result of the infidelity you have the opportunity to strengthen your marriage or move on to a new life as a stronger person.

There are different paths to healing after infidelity. You may choose to work together as a couple and rebuild your marriage. You may decide, after much thought that it is in your best interest to leave the marriage. Whether you stay in the marriage or leave, your attitude toward what happened is the single most important predictor of how well you heal from the adversity.

Bottom line, if you are negative, hostile and angry you will be in pain for a long time. If you are emotionally resilient, are able to accept that the infidelity is nothing more than a blip on your life path you will heal more quickly.

The post Whether You Divorce Or Not, Here’s How To Heal After a Spouse Cheats appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal

A Major Cable Network is seeking couples and therapists for the new documentary series Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal which explores the deep internal issues involved with marriage and infidelity. If you’re interested in participating, you can find out more by clicking this link.

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