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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.

The post If You Divorce You’ll Lose These 4 Benefits Of Marriage 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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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.

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Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

5 Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage And Your Sanity

Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

 

Everybody is talking about the movie “Marriage Story.”

The media has been weighing in on the quality of the film, the performances, the awards, what is realistic and what is not. Is it a story about marriage or about divorce? Forums and social media exploded with discussions taking sides about who is right and who is wrong.

The most valuable lesson of this film, however, has remained unexplored: “Marriage Story” is a cautionary tale about a marriage that could have been saved and the unnecessary ugliness of divorce.

If you are contemplating divorce, take some cues from “Marriage Story” as a starting point to explore the state of your union and deepen the communication with your partner before heading to court.

While the brilliance of the film is getting most of the attention, perhaps the greatest value of “Marriage Story” is that it provides a framework for couples in trouble to witness the traps that lead to a toxic divorce, so they can avoid them.

Even though Charlie and Nicole’s marriage didn’t have a happy ending, you can learn from their mistakes.

Here are five takeaways from “Marriage Story” that can spare you from a painful divorce:

Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

Before calling it quits, evaluate whether your marriage can be saved

Charlie and Nicole’s marriage could have been saved.  Maybe yours can be saved, too.

While the movie begins with the couple already in divorce mediation, as we glimpse into their relationship, we realize that Charlie and Nicole had enough going for them to make their marriage worth fighting for. They deeply loved each other, enjoyed parenting together and shared a passion for the performing arts.

If you still love your spouse, do not rush to a lawyer’s office. Do emotional inventory first and determine if you and your partner should give your marriage one last chance.

Tackle marital problems early on

Once you get to the point of no return, there is no way back! Do not let your marital problems fester until you can’t take it anymore. Nicole’s grievances could have been resolved if she had spoken up sooner and made clear to her husband that these problems endangered their marriage. Talk to your partner about the issues that trouble you and give him or her a chance to do the same.

Support your partner but not at the expense of your identity

Supporting your spouse is key to any marriage, but it should never be done at the expense of your fondest dreams. A promising actress, Nicole sacrificed her aspirations to become the supportive wife of an up-and-coming theater director. Over time, this “lesser” role led to resentment until she felt too stifled to go on.

We all deserve self-fulfillment. Strive for balance in your relationship and rebalance when things are becoming one-sided. Continue to pursue your passions and make it clear to your partner that they are necessary for your happiness.

Control your divorce process: do not let the divorce process control you

Even if your marriage can’t be saved, you still have control over the divorce process. Do not allow reactivity and clinging to unreasonable positions to blind you from reaching a fair result. In “Marriage Story,” Charlie’s insistence on being a “New York family” unleashed a series of events that fueled reactivity from both partners until what begun as an amicable divorce turned toxic.

Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster and there will be times when you lose your cool. In volatile situations, step back instead of firing back. Do not be afraid to walk away when things are getting out of control to avoid saying and doing things you will regret later. When negotiating a settlement, seek solutions that make sense and lead to the highest good instead of stubbornly insisting on having your way.

Choose your lawyers with care

Contrary to popular belief, there are no winners in a divorce. Charlie and Nicole may have saved themselves money and grief if they had worked with different lawyers. Before you file for divorce, investigate the reputation of your local lawyers and select one whose values align with yours and your priorities.

Even with the best of intentions, not all marriages can be repaired. But practicing the above tips will increase the odds of living happily ever after—with your current spouse, in a new relationship or alone.

 

This article was originally published on www.soniafrontera.com and reprinted with permission from the author.

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9 Marital Problems Only Women Face

9 Marital Problems Only Women Face

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There is one thing every married couple will tell you…marriage is hard. Whether it’s the first few months or year twenty-five, men and woman who are invested in their marriage all know the big and small things that push their buttons and make marriage downright tough at times.

While researching marital problems I was caught off guard by all the articles I found that pointed out the things women could/should do to make their marriage better. Hmmm, I thought, what about men, do they not have a responsibility to work on the marriage also?

Then my mind wondered to how often problems in a marriage are caused by men alone. Out of curiosity I emailed ten married women friends and asked, “What does your husband do that drives you crazy?” And, the responses I received were all things I’ve heard in the past when counseling married couples.

Based on that, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, there are things that are common to men that negatively impact a wife and, as a result, damage the marriage. Maybe men should put some thought into changing these behaviors? What do you think?

Below are 9 Marital Problems That Only Women Face

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

1. He never attends the kid’s school activities.

Four out of the ten woman I emailed listed this as one of the things their husband never does. My friend Julie said, “On top of that, he couldn’t tell you the names of the children’s teachers and would probably have a hard time telling you the names of their schools.”

This made me wonder if some fathers out there aren’t understanding the value of fatherhood. Especially in this day and age when fathers are more hands on with their children. Are men who don’t make their children’s school activities a priority devaluing their role in their children’s lives or, are they devaluing the importance of those activities?

Whatever the reason, some of these men need a talking to. They need to get their ass in gear and become involved in their child’s school activities. Why? Because they are fathers and that is what fathers should be doing.

2. He is still attached to his mother’s apron strings.

Two friends had this on their list. Amanda said, “I swear, we’ve never taken a family vacation without his mother. If we go out antiquing on a Saturday afternoon we swing by and pick up his mother!”

Jennie shared this story, “We decided to buy our first home. He HAD to have his mother’s input on our buying budget, what neighborhood would be best to buy in and how many bedrooms we should look for. I finally stood back and let him and his mother go house hunting together.”

These guys aren’t still attached to their mother by their apron strings. They’re still attached by the umbilical cord! Can you say, “Mama’s boy?”

These guys are either driven by guilt or had domineering mothers and are afraid of the backlash if they don’t include their mother.

There are men who love their mother and, out of guilt will include their mother where she shouldn’t be included. A good mother will recognize this tendency in her son and not allow it to carry on for a prolonged period of time. Then there are the domineering mothers who feel they should be number one in their son’s lives.

If you are dealing with a domineering mother-in-law and a fearful husband, get thee to a marital therapist!

3. He expects too much of her.

My friend Rose wrote, “He expects me to take time out of my job to take the kids to the doctor, to their school activities, to take care of EVERYTHING concerning the home, the automobile and whatever else may come up in our daily lives. His excuse is, “I make more money than you so you should be the one to lose time from work.”

Ouch! I know how important Rose’s career is to her. She may make less money but that is no reason for her husband to dismiss what is important to her. And, it is certainly no reason to dump more responsibility on Rose!

Rose needs to set boundaries, have an intensive discussion with her husband about who is responsible for what and stop doing it all just because he makes more money.

4. He reneged on how many children they would have.

This one is sad in many ways. Emily and her husband had discussed how many children they would have before marrying. When the time came to talk about child number three her husband shut down the conversation and informed her he was done fathering children.

You can’t force someone to have another child if they don’t want more. Not if you love them anyway. And, it is possible, after becoming a parent to change one’s mind about how many children they want.

Life can look vastly different after marriage and parenthood than it did during the planning stages. This is a situation where Emily is probably going to need to validate his feelings about another child and sacrifice her desire for one more.

I suggest Emily wait and see what happens as time goes by. As the two children, they have now grow, her husband may begin to long for another child also. If not, this is a situation in which Emily is going to have to respect her husband’s desire to have no more children.

5. She wants more sex, he doesn’t.

Connie wrote, “We have sex, on average, twelve times a year. I long for sex at least once a week. Any discussion with him about the difference in our levels of desire turns into him shutting down and telling me “it’s not about me, it’s about him.”

I wouldn’t classify Connie’s marriage as sexless but, it is definitely sex starved…for Connie anyway. I don’t think Connie asking for sex once a week is asking for too much. I also don’t think that Connie’s husband is investing enough concern over the fact that his wife is feeling rejected sexually.

These two need to be in therapy and, Connie’s husband needs to see a Urologist to find out if there is a physical reason for his lack of desire for sex. This is a husband who either has a physical problem or a psychological problem that is interfering with his ability to engage in a normal sex life with his wife. The underlying issue needs to be addressed!

6. He is a slob.

I have very little to say about this. If he is a slob, it’s because he has been allowed to get away with being a slob. If you’re picking up after him, he has no reason to pick up after himself.

I know for many of you neat-freak types, this is a hard one. But how is he supposed to become self-sufficient if you keep doing everything for him? Don’t worry; I have a solution for you! When your husband drops his dirty clothes next to the hamper instead of in the hamper, or at the side of the bed, or on the living room floor, wad them up, stuff them on his side of the closet, and close the closet door. There!

Now you don’t have to look at them anymore! Of course, he won’t notice the giant pile of clothes on the closet floor, but he will notice when he finally runs out of clean stuff to wear. When he asks you where his clothes are, say: “Oh, I only wash clothes that make it into the hamper. Anything that wasn’t in the hamper I figured wasn’t dirty, so I put it back in the closet. On the floor.” This works. I know from experience.

7. He thinks housework is women’s work.

According to my friend, Andre, her husband watches games on the weekend while she cleans house. He plays golf while she uses her Saturdays off work to take the kids for haircuts or to buy new shoes. Refer to #6 for a cure for this problem.

Although it won’t be easy, if the house becomes dirty enough and the kid’s hair becomes too long, when he mentions you slacking on your “women’s work,” tell him, in no uncertain terms, that you’re on strike until he moves his ass and beliefs into the 21st century and starts pulling his weight.

8. He doesn’t share his feelings and thoughts.

I suggested my friend Bromliegh get herself and her husband into therapy. There are many reasons men clam up and refuse to share their feelings and thoughts. Some of which are marriage and relationship killers. That problem is an entirely other article. So, if you’re having this problem, therapy is where you need to be.

9. He is obsessed with sports.

My friend Leah is a true, football, baseball and basketball widow. It’s so bad at her house the only time they take a family vacation is to travel to a sporting event.

Leah’s husband’s involvement in sports is excessive by any measure, and his indifference to her emotional needs is selfish. He needs to understand that his sports fixation makes Leah question his loyalty, and that to rebuild their relationship he needs to limit his involvement. He entitled to watch and play sports, but he can’t let them dominate his life to the extent that his wife feels neglected.

They need to come together and honestly express to each other how sports became more important than the relationship and work out a schedule where they are both getting what they need. Leah is going to need to give him time with his sports and television, he is going to have to push back from the television and spend quality time with his wife and children.

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My Bad Marriage: Why I’m Not Leaving…Yet

my bad marriage

 

Why I’ll “wait and see” about my marriage (even though we don’t have sex!).

Marriage is not going so well for my husband Tod and me. Our fifth anniversary approaches, and we haven’t had sex in more than a year. We’ve buried our feelings about that deep. We also avoid talking about finances and children, and anything else you could file under the category “future hopes.”

Outside of an hour of couple’s therapy every week, we go about our lives as if nothing were amiss—running our household, dining out with friends, and catching new movie releases on Friday nights. We’re good pals. (Yawn!)

When marriage promises so much more—stability, growth, intimacy—why am I content to stay put? In short, there’s work to do, and I’m not talking about forever anyway. For the near future—six months, a year, maybe two—here are the ties that bind.

My Bad Marriage: Why I’m Staying, For Now


1. I’m giving myself a break. 

I wasn’t always content to wait and see. In fact, I was nearly out the door earlier this year. Frustrated with our deteriorating rapport and needing space where I could think straight about the future I wanted for myself, I set out looking for an apartment of my own, crunching and re-crunching numbers to see what I could afford and worrying about breaking the news of separation to family and friends.

The worst two months of my life ensued. Stress, broken-record thinking, and fear of loneliness—and about what others might think—had me crying every night. I couldn’t get out of bed to face each new day. Figuring out how to rip apart a union, even an imperfect one, is agony. Needing a rest, I decided to focus instead on the silver lining of our relationship and to gather my reserves for another go at serious contemplation later.

2. He makes life easier and even sometimes more fun. 

Tod may not be my ideal life partner, but he’s a sweet guy who would give you the shirt off his back… or clean the bathroom even if he thinks it’s clean enough but you’re hell-bent on sparkling tiles in time for your visitors yet have no energy left to scrub them yourself. He’s also enthusiastic about checking out new restaurants with me, or just catching the ball game on TV from the couch, cold beer in hand.

While for better or worse we ignore our deep-seated issues around sex and money, we enjoy laughs together and keep each other amused. Life without him would require me to find new fun. If that sounds lazy, and you wonder just how much the bigger issues matter to me, remember, I’m giving myself a break at the moment. (See #1.)

3. It would be arrogant to think there’s no hope. 

The work Tod has done to improve himself in the last year is amazing. He went from avoiding any sort of therapeutic situation to undertaking both individual and couples therapy. And while I say I’m sitting back and relaxing at the moment, that’s relative. I always strive to make each day happier for us than the last. And in couples therapy we’re learning to communicate better. There’s potential, and to refuse it some time to reveal itself fully would not be fair.

4. I need to save some money of my own. 

Due to my admittedly insane and overblown need to “pay my own way” and not depend on a man, we’ve always kept our money separate. The thing is, Tod, earns three times as much as I do, and so after paying our bills, his disposable income is considerably higher. He is a generous guy, and he supports me in ways that remain well enough below the radar to avoid offending my independent sensibilities—he unassumingly picks up the check at dinner and forgets to ask for my share of the grocery bill.

If I leave, however, that’s the end of his help, and with no family to count on, it’s also the end of my safety net. It will be some months before I can save up for an apartment of my own. I’m not in any danger at home with Tod, so I have the luxury of being practical about this and can wait until I have more funds available.

5. Life is hard. 

Let’s face it: Life isn’t easy. Separating would be hard, but so would staying together forever. To think we can make it through life and without effort is naïve. So which challenge is the right one for me—rework this partnership into something more fulfilling, or separate and start anew?

If I’m at all uncertain (which I am), a bold move would be foolish indeed. With all the challenges life throws at us—for me, an alcoholic brother and father with rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s Disease come to mind—perhaps a supportive friend is more important than an intimate partner. Not sure I’d take that in the long term, but it’s something to think about.

So I’m biding my time, and meanwhile being kind to myself and gentle with Tod. After I’ve put in a good-faith effort in couples therapy and saved a bit more of my own money, I’ll reassess. If there’s a chance at all that in the next year or so I’ll be starting the long, painful process of extricating myself from a life lived together with Tod, I’d like to enjoy the calm before the storm.

The post My Bad Marriage: Why I’m Not Leaving…Yet appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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build emotional intimacy

8 Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

build emotional intimacy

 

Part of being human means having emotional needs.

We want to be loved and to give love.

We want to feel we belong and have a sense of purpose. We want to feel self-esteem and respect from others.

These are some of the most common needs, but individuals have emotional needs unique to them. In a healthy relationship, both of you understand the other’s primary emotional needs, and you both work to respond to them because you love and respect your partner.

In order to get your emotional needs met in a relationship, you should discuss those needs with your relationship partner. It’s imperative that you each know the other’s emotional needs in order to meet those needs.

Below are questions that you and your partner can use to open up a line of communication about emotional needs. What they are, whether they are being met and, if not, what needs to change.

Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

1. Am I responsive enough to your emotional needs?

We can’t expect anyone person to meet all our emotional needs, even our love partners. Sometimes we have needs that are beyond the scope of any one person to handle.

But we can ask our partners to be responsive to our needs and to honor them. There are some emotional needs your partner might be happy and willing to meet, but he or she is simply not aware of them. It’s your job to enlighten your partner.

There might be needs that they aren’t able to meet. Discuss the emotional needs you have where you’d like more from your partner. Speak honestly and specifically about what you are each willing to offer the other, and discuss alternatives for getting your needs met without your partner if necessary.

2. What should I say to you when I need more from you emotionally?

It’s hard to hear the words, “I need more from you. I need more love, more affection, more respect, and more intimacy.” We all want to feel like we’re enough, that we are appreciated and accepted for all that we do and give to our partners.

But you can’t intuit all your partner’s needs, and you might not be able to understand or relate to some of them. Even so, your partner should feel comfortable expressing those needs and asking you to respond to them. How can you make that request safe and easy for your partner?

3. Do I give you enough emotional space?

One of your emotional needs might be autonomy and freedom. Perhaps you need less emotionally than your spouse does. Needing emotional space doesn’t mean you don’t want to be intimate or close with your partner.

You can balance the need for closeness with the desire for space. Ask each other if you have enough emotional space. If not, exactly what kind of space do you need, and how can your partner support you in this need?

4. What could I do to make you feel more understood?

Even if we can’t meet all of our partner’s emotional needs, we can strive to empathize with him or her. We can listen and show we care. We can acknowledge the efforts at meeting his or her own needs (for self-esteem or independence, for example) or in reaching out to another support person to help.

We can let our partners know they aren’t in this alone, and that we acknowledge and understand their feelings and desires.

5. Do you feel free to express your emotions with me?

Some of us are more expressive with our feelings than others. We laugh and cry easily and have little difficulty saying what we feel. Others don’t feel so free to express emotion, especially painful emotions.

Or we might express our feelings in unhealthy ways, such as anger or withdrawal. In a love relationship, we need to feel safe expressing our deepest emotions, especially those that are painful or shameful.

We need to know that our loved one will treat our feelings tenderly, without judgment or criticism. Find out from your partner whether or not he or she is completely at ease with you in expressing emotions. If not, what is holding him or her back?

6. Do you have any negative emotions about our relationship you need to express?

We might hold back when expressing our emotions because we fear the reaction of our partners. Maybe they will be hurt or angry. Maybe they won’t understand. Maybe they’ll diminish how we feel.

If either of you are harboring negative emotions about the relationship, you need to discuss these and get to the root cause. When communicating negative emotions, speak kindly and constructively. When listening, set aside defensiveness. If negativity exists for one of you, it is an issue you both need to resolve.

7. What from your past has shaped your emotional needs and reactions?

So many of our emotional reactions and triggers are shaped by our childhood experiences. How you were parented and the environment in which you grew up can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being as an adult.

Your significant other can’t fully understand you and your needs until he or she knows something about how the past has shaped your outlook and behaviors. Share with each other the positive and negative events that have contributed to your particular emotional needs.

Would you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, and if so, how can I support you?

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is one who feels things more keenly than the average person. You notice more subtleties in the environment, feel overwhelmed by too much sensory input, and are easily affected by other people’s moods.

You have a rich inner life and enjoy creative pursuits. You also need time alone to recharge and get relief from too much stimulation. Highly sensitive people are extremely conscientious and try hard to please others.

If one or both of you are highly sensitive, you will need to have a special understanding of the traits of HSPs and what they need in order to feel comfortable and thrive. This is particularly true for the non-sensitive, as many of the HSP traits might seem overly sensitive or needy. However, this trait is perfectly normal and has many positive qualities. Find out how your highly sensitive partner needs your understanding and support.

8. What other ways do you have for dealing with your emotions if I feel overwhelmed by them?

When emotions run high during conflict or during times of difficulty or pain, both partners might be flooded with emotion and have little reserve to offer each other. If you are accustomed to turning to your spouse or partner for emotional support, then you need an alternative plan when you are both feeling overwhelmed.

If one of you loses a job, there’s a death in the family, or you have financial difficulties, you both might need outside support to see you through. What is your emotional back-up plan if your partner can’t handle your emotions in a particular situation?

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settling for less than you deserve

5 Signs You’re Settling For Less Than You Deserve in Your Relationship

settling for less than you deserve

 

Are you in a romantic relationship or marriage that’s just not right but you’re not willing to risk ending it? Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that things will change or you’ve done something wrong to deserve less than optional treatment. Or your fear of being alone and feeling unlovable is unbearable.

Maybe he or she is gorgeous and treats you well but something is missing. Perhaps your family or friends have convinced you to hang in there or try harder.

You may even know intellectually that nobody should have to settle for less than they deserve but your emotions are conflicted.  This may leave you unwilling to take the chance of breaking things off because you fear you won’t meet someone else and will be alone for a long time.

Perhaps some of your friends have been single for a while and they complain about how hard it is to meet a nice man or woman. Underneath all of these rationalizations is a deep-seated fear of being alone.

Fear of Being Single:

New research conducted by Stephanie S. Spielman demonstrates that fear of being single is a meaningful predictor of settling for less in relationships.  In her groundbreaking study, Spielman discovered that the fear of being single predicts settling for less in romantic relationships. She found that fear of being single is a strong predictor of staying with a partner who is wrong for you.

Further, Spielman’s results showed that individuals who report being fearful of being alone will stay with unresponsive, less attractive partners rather than face that dreaded fate. Being fearful of being alone was also associated with being less selective of a potential partner at speed-dating events in her landmark study.

Let’s face it, nobody should have to settle for less than they deserve just for the sake of being part of a couple. But what is the source of your fear of being single? Although the answer varies from person to person, one factor that causes someone to settle is past experiences of romantic rejection and another is fear of prolonged singlehood.

Of all the difficult experiences that individuals face in life, being alone can be among the hardest. Growing up, you probably weren’t given good examples of how to be alone. It seems like everything you see in movies and TV and on the internet is about how to find the right partner, and make it work.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking love because it’s beautiful and can bring about some of the most treasured moments in our lives. But very few people know how to be alone and do it well. They aren’t happy to be alone. They fear it and seek love wherever they go. Too often the pleasure they find with falling in love is the sweet release of no longer being by themselves in the world.

Single women may be reluctant to acknowledge the challenges of being alone for fear of being seen as desperate or needy. According to author Sara Eckel, many of the stereotypes we have about single women are misleading. She writes, “The single life isn’t a prison sentence nor is it a cocktail party. It is simply a life – a life with responsibilities and rewards, good days and bad ones, successes, and failures.

In her article “Stop Telling Women They Are Fabulous,” she reminds us that we don’t really know how to discuss single women in our culture because in times past they were seen as lonely spinsters, quietly languishing in their studio apartments.

Too often I hear women (and some men) who are coupled up rationalize why they are still in a relationship when maybe they shouldn’t be. They say things like, “I know my relationship isn’t perfect, but at least . . . he doesn’t yell at me.” Or “he really is a good dad.” Or “he will always be faithful to me.” When I hear things like that I am reminded that breaking up with someone is an act of courage. To be honest with someone about why the relationship isn’t working is an act of love.

When you can accept that your relationship doesn’t make you the best person you can be, and you correct course by breaking up, you become immeasurably stronger.

Whatever the reason, if you assess that you are staying in a relationship that’s all wrong for you, it’s important to take a few steps to determine if you need to end it. This can take time and a commitment to loving and respecting yourself. However simplistic this may seem, self-love and self-respect are the basis of loving another person.

Here are 5 signs that you are settling for less than you deserve in your relationship:

  • The relationship brings you down and your significant other doesn’t inspire you to do your best. Perhaps he/she is overly critical or too focused on his/her needs to be supportive of you.
  • You feel you have to change yourself – your values, goals, or dreams for your partner to accept you.
  • You are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. You may have hidden this from family or friends due to shame or codependency issues – putting your partner’s needs before your own.
  • You’ve been cheated on repeatedly and keep giving him or her more chances in spite of the fact that he or she has proven to be untrustworthy.
  • You sacrifice too much. Since your partner is unable to compromise – you morph into someone else to accommodate his or her expectations, needs, or desires.

In closing, you may not be able to determine what’s wrong or missing in your intimate relationship at this moment. It could take time and perhaps the help of a skilled therapist or relationship coach to figure things out. In the meantime, remind yourself that you are worth the effort and deserve to be loved.

Often, the courage needed to end a relationship that is no longer meeting one or both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength. However, if you decide to stay in your relationship because you feel it’s worth trying to save, consider couples counseling if your partner is willing and motivated – before you walk away.

Let’s end with this quote from Sara Eckel: “Mostly, you gain strength when you learn to listen to your own voice and live life on your own terms.”

More from Terry:

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

The post 5 Signs You’re Settling For Less Than You Deserve in Your Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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marital compatibility

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

marital compatibility

 

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

Wrong!

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

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

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

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

What does marital compatibility look like?

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

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

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

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

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

Sexual expectations: Setting these expectations is not only about how frequently a couple will be intimate. It is important, very important that they both be on the same page about sexual frequency but there are other aspects of a sexual relationship that need to be defined. Not everyone is on board with experiencing every sexual act known to man.

Defining what you are and aren’t comfortable with sexually is imperative, right out of the gate. Couples who have similar sexual expectations experience more bonding with each other which sets them up for long-term success as a couple.

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

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

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

The post Marital Compatibility: It’s About More Than Being “In Love” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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non-physical cheating

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

non-physical cheating

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you consider going to a strip club as cheating?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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