11 Marriage Truths From Divorce Attorneys

The best source for marriage advice? Divorce attorneys. Before you protest, just think about it: Every day at work they see the types of marital problems that lead otherwise happy couples to split up.

With that in mind, we recently asked 11 family law attorneys to volunteer their best love and relationship advice. See what they had to say below.

1. A sustainable marriage is not about love, it’s about tolerance.

“Can you tolerate all your partner’s quirks? Even the ones that you don’t like, are they tolerable? Don’t marry your partner thinking that any of his or her quirks are going to change, improve or wane. As we get older, your partner’s quirks will only magnify. So if you can’t tolerate it now, you for sure are not going to be able to tolerate it in the future. Tolerance may not be romantic, but it is the key to a long lasting marriage.” — Melissa B. Buchman, an attorney in Beverly Hills, California 

2. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. 

“Unfortunately, many couples I see going through a divorce ascribe bad — or sometimes terrible — motives to everything their spouses do. What is the harm in assuming or presuming the best? Even if you’re wrong, it hurts no one. And it may be the start of a better relationship.”  — Randall M. Kessler, an attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia

3. Don’t be afraid to feed your spouse’s ego now and then.

“Silly as it may sound, your spouse wants to feel strong, sexy and attractive. I have seen spouses cheat because someone else showed them attention and made them feel good.” — Christian Denmon, an attorney in Florida 

4. Put your spouse before your kids. 

“This may not be the most popular piece of advice, especially for parents, but after watching countless people get divorced because they allowed themselves to slowly drift apart over the years, I honestly believe it’s true. We are all busy these days. It’s far too easy to put your job, your house, your activities and your kids before your spouse. Don’t do it! While many people believe that their kids have to come first, if they don’t put their spouse first and their marriage eventually sours, it’s not going to be doing the kids any favors. If you value your marriage, choose to put it first.” — Karen Covy, an attorney and divorce coach based in Chicago, Illinois 

5. Don’t wait until it’s too late to work on your marriage.

“Work on your marriage while it’s still a good marriage, don’t wait until there’s a problem. ‘Work’ does not have to mean counseling, it can simply be having a set date night once a month.” — Carla Schiff Donnelly, an attorney based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

6. When you need to discuss something important, timing is everything.

“When making a request, decision, criticism or apology, it’s crucial to do it when and where your spouse is at their best: after working out, perhaps, or on Friday night, or after a glass of wine or early in the morning before the kids are up. Ask yourself: Is this really the most constructive setting for my partner to hear what I need to bring up? I marvel at stories from clients about how they tried accomplishing something regardless of their spouse’s readiness to receive it and how shocked and dismayed they were when they got rebuffed or ignored. Bringing stuff up on a Sunday night, for instance, when you know he or she gets the back-to-work blues — or right after work, when you’re both exhausted? Bad idea.”  — James Sexton, an attorney based in New York City

7. Know that you can’t change your partner.

“My piece of advice mirrors a quote from Maya Angelou: ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.’ In other words, many of us have this deep-seated desire to change our partners, especially women. This can manifest itself in actions like trying to get them to wear neutral colors instead of bold plaid shirts or attempting to change them from boring in bed to hot in the sheets. The bottom line is, we are who we are and either we accept it or go back on Match.com.” — Lisa Helfend Meyer, an attorney in Los Angeles, California

8. Love is about the little things.

“Marriage is work but worth the effort. Go on dates, speak one another’s love language and cherish the little things. Remember that love looks and feels very different as your relationship changes and evolves.” — Natalie Gregg, an attorney in Allen, Texas  

 

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The Most Common Reasons for Divorce, According to Marriage Counselors

And nope, it’s not the pandemic.

Falling in love is a thing of elation, and then there’s the wedding day. Two partners star in their own rom-com, vows are spoken, the audience claps, and the newlyweds ride off into the sunset together, with decades of marital bliss on the horizon. Their love will surely stand the test of time…or will it? In fact, what if there comes a day when the marriage simply becomes loveless?

In the honeymoon phase, the prospect of divorce may feel light years away. But the reality of making a marriage work is not as simple as a stroll down the aisle. While all relationships experience trials, and even the healthiest couples fluctuate in terms of mutual happiness, unfortunately, some differences prove to be irreconcilable—even toxic.

We linked up with some experts who enlightened us to the most common reasons couples seek divorce, as well as topics that show up in marital counseling sessions and in the courtroom. So if thoughts of divorce are blinking on your radar, ahead is a wealth of information to help you validate whether or not your “happily ever after” has become “better off apart.”

So what are the most common reasons marriages fall apart?

Divorce attorney, Kelly Frawley, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, claims to have heard it all—from, “I can’t stand his family” to protests over a partner’s changing body. The two most common reasons echoing throughout her practice, however? Money battles and relational boredom. “Couples may disagree about spending habits as well as the bigger financial picture in terms of savings and retirement goals,” she says.

And then there is the boredom piece—when the sense of adventure and passion has lost its pulse. Frawley says this often happens when couples lose their ability to relate day to day. “People may find they do not share the same interests as they once did, or they’re not excited about being intimate with their spouse.”

Frawley’s observations are well-aligned with a recent divorce study, where roughly 40 percent of its participants cited financial issues and “getting married too young” as having been major players in their marriage’s demise. Infidelity and conflict were mentioned even more–with almost 60 percent of the participating divorcees admitting that extramarital affairs and excessive arguing were among their final straws. But the most shouted complaint of all? A lack of commitment—coming in at a whopping 75 percent.

There’s no one year of marriage that you’re most vulnerable to divorce.

Dr. Lori Whatley, clinical psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Connected & Engaged says that there does seem to a popular time to get divorced, regardless of whether you’ve been together for two years or twenty: intense periods of adjustment.

“The first year is extremely hard and often comes with surprises, because it’s a merging of beliefs, separate family traditions and financial habits, in order to create a new family unit,” she says.

And for couples who decide to toss a child into the mix, the surprises don’t end there. “When children are introduced, it can be an absolute shock for a lot of couples,” says Dr. Whatley. Say, for example, when partners trade in their sexy, wine-drenched date nights and spontaneous weekend getaways for a sleep-deprived blur of feeding, burping and changing diapers. Or, there could be issues with an interfering in-law whose heightened presence as a grandparent negatively bleeds over into the way one views their spouse.

Regardless, Dr. Whatley has observed that if a couple is already struggling to harmonize their personalities and goals, the newfound responsibility of a child may put further strain on the marriage.

Finally, empty nesters are often struck with yet another challenging stretch. After years spent hauling kids to music lessons and sporting practices, many couples suddenly find themselves seated alone at a quiet dinner table—sometimes unable to organically lock eyes. “Some partners aren’t sure they can connect with each other privately anymore,” she says. “They may have neglected their intimacy for years, and then there is nothing left to salvage.”

Emily Pollock, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, says that, while her firm represents individuals in all stages of marriage—she has noticed that the majority of cases “are closer to the middle of the spectrum—between 7 and 14 years.”

Unmet expectations is another top cause of divorce.

Sometimes spouses discover that they clash. From personality conflicts to glaring political differences, perhaps there has been no single eruptive event and there is no one person to blame. They just want to be shown the exit door.

Dr. Whatley explains that the first year or two of a romance is fueled by a cocktail of chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin—creating an intoxicating haze of blind distraction. But then the intoxication runs out, and any red flags that were once ignored have taken center stage. “When the body physiologically calms down, and you’re no longer crazy in love, you’re doing real life together. And you may realize that you and your spouse are fundamentally different people,” she says.

Dr. Whatley adds that, based upon her observation, the most common reason for irreconcilable differences is unmet expectations. “People often create all of these expectations that their spouse will eventually adjust certain behaviors or habits to better suit their own. But you can never change another person; you can only change yourself.”

Of course, infidelity is another leading reason.

However, Dr. Whatley says it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. “Infidelity is almost always a symptom of another problem. While some marriages never heal from it, I have seen many couples create even better marriages after working through the issues surrounding it,” she says.

Denna Babul, relationship expert and author of the upcoming book Love Strong: Change Your Narrative, Change Your Life and Take Your Power Back agrees. “If a marriage has a solid foundation that, over time, becomes compromised in some way, infidelity can happen in marriages that are ultimately worth saving–so long as the person who cheated is genuinely remorseful and committed to rebuilding the relationship’s trust,” she says.

But there’s a catch. In order to come back from infidelity, the person who was betrayed must still be able to see their spouse in a recognizably loving light. “If the person is so hurt that they are no longer able to see their spouse as the one they fell in love with, that may ultimately destroy the marriage,” says Babul.

In a 2019 survey, “lack of intimacy” was cited as one of the most prevalent factors.

In a 2019 study published by Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the most common reason for divorce was found to be a lack of love and intimacy. Dr. Shannon Chavez, Los Angeles-based psychologist and sex therapist, says that sexless marriages are shockingly common, and that the majority of her divorced clients report having experienced its pain. “In sexless marriages, a person can go a long time without feeling desired and loved, and their self-esteem can take serious hits because of it,” she says.

So, in such a case, it’s understandable why a person might wish to leave a marriage that’s left them untouched for months or years. But Dr. Chavez urges her clients to consider that, while eroticism fades over time, a seemingly flat-lined sex life doesn’t necessarily mean that divorce papers should be filed. “If there is still a connection there, couples can work to check in with each other’s desires and find new ways to excite and indulge in each other. Unless there are other serious issues within the marriage, in the majority of cases, it’s definitely possible to revive the intimacy and sexual connection,” she says.

What if your spouse is emotionally or physically abusive?

In a recent study, nearly a quarter of divorcees cited domestic violence as a major contributor to the expiration of their marriage. Katie Hood, TED Speaker and CEO of One Love Foundation says that the evolution of an abusive marriage is quite sneaky—often disguised in the early days as healthy love. “It usually starts with the abusive spouse dominating all of your time and energy, then slowly isolating you from friends and family. Before long, you may have little to no support system outside of the marriage,” she says.

Other classic signs of abuse are control (i.e. your spouse micromanages your social media presence or freaks when you attempt to forge an identity outside of the marriage), a cycle of blaming, gaslighting and punishment, and high volatility. “The abused may feel like they are walking on eggshells—constantly framing their decisions in an effort to avoid a negative reaction from their spouse,” she says. Worst of all? The cycle of abusive behavior is so psychologically complex that it conditions the abused to lose faith in themselves. “The whole process of abuse breaks down a person’s conviction. If the abuser is constantly saying, ‘This isn’t my fault; it’s your fault,’ the abused loses confidence in their own judgment,” says Hood.

So if one has reached their capacity for tolerating abuse, and is mulling over plans to divorce, Hood emphasizes the necessity of putting safety protocols in place. “Abusive relationships are all about control. Filing for divorce is the ultimate break in that control, so this is why gathering a support system with safety planning is essential before leaving an abusive marriage,” she says.

But not all divorces are a result of “serious” issues.

Perhaps it’s not that there is anything horribly wrong in the marriage; there just isn’t enough left that feels right.

For example, let’s say your spouse married a junk food addict, and the two of you bonded over a mutual fondness for nachos and cookie dough ice cream, but, over time, your curiosity about fitness and clean eating accelerated into a passion, and you evolved into a wellness enthusiast. Or, perhaps you were agnostic when you married, but have since become aligned with a spiritual belief system that your spouse deems as woo-woo. Over time, you may feel like the two of you exist in separate universes.

Dr. Whatley says it’s not typically the changes that create the problems, but a spouse’s resistance to those changes that cause the breakdown of a marriage. “Is your spouse willing to let you grow and live in a way that is meaningful to you? Are they willing to learn about and support the activities you deeply love? If that doesn’t happen, it can cause a person to feel like they’ve outgrown a marriage, sometimes leading to divorce,” she says.

And the same goes for ones that happen in couples that have been together for decades.

While it’s often puzzling when couples, after many successful years together—perhaps spent building a life filled with gorgeous family photographs–decide to start over separately, Dr. Whatley says it’s not so mysterious. She explains it can be attributed to the small, daily ripples of change that eventually lead to monumental differences over time. “The period after 30 or 35 years of marriage can be strikingly tough. “People evolve and change slowly and steadily over the years, and sometimes they wake up and realize that they didn’t evolve and change as a couple,” she says.

Dr. Whatley adds that when women start to cross out of middle-age and approach their golden years, it’s not uncommon for them to reconsider a myriad of things about their life. “In recent years, there has been strong evidence of women in their late 50s and early 60s seeking divorce more and more. I’ve seen it in a few studies as well as in my practice,” she says. “I think it’s a time when one evaluates their worth, as well as how they want to make the most of the rest of their days.”

For a marriage to thrive, there has to be mutual respect, but not necessarily constant happiness.

Dr. Whatley believes the most essential ingredient in a healthy marriage is mutuality. “You need mutual respect and a mutual emotional connection.” She adds, “Reasonable behavior in a marriage does not have to do with acting or feeling happy all of the time. Happiness in a relationship is not a constant state; it wouldn’t be special if it was. It’s about the two parties who sometimes disagree and mess up, but always bounce back—because they each want to bounce back.”

Hood says we have to fight the narrative that there exists a marriage on high where two partners are perfectly in sync and fair with each other all of the time. The key is to be able to safely communicate when you aren’t in sync, and when you feel you’ve been wronged. That differentiates a worthwhile marriage from a toxic one. “When you feel disappointed, hurt or trapped, in any way, can you have that conversation and still be heard fairly?”

How is the coronavirus impacting marriages?

Dr. Whatley says that 2020 is an interesting year for marriages, and predicts there will be droves of relational paradigm shifts on the other side of the pandemic. “I have some clients who are quarantined with their spouse in small places. If they were on the fence about their marriage, this has brought immense clarity—some have grown closer, while many have realized that it’s simply not working,” she says.

Pollock says that the shelter-in-place orders are provoking individuals to take a microscope to their relationships. When the freedom to venture out of the house for a cocktail, or to a friend’s place to blow off steam is stripped away, having nowhere to run sort of serves as a magnifier—of both the good and the bad. “We have gotten calls from people who have been prompted to seek divorce counsel as a result of examining their relationships. We are encouraging people not to make any final decisions based on these very unusual circumstances during which everyone is under significant stress,” she says.

So while some individuals may be inspired to view their relationships in a light of heightened gratitude, Pollock says others “may have entered the crisis viewing their marriage as not great but ‘good enough,’ but will leave it with a new perspective that life is too short to settle for ‘good enough.’”

At the end of the day, divorce happens because a marriage has lost its glue.

Regardless of the reasons that provoke thoughts of divorce, how does one know when it’s really over? Dr. Whatley says it’s when the marriage has lost its glue. “You know that special thing you bond over, that has always held you together—in conflict, in tragedy, or after a huge mistake? Couples can come back from so many awful things, but only when the glue is still there. If it’s lost, if it starts to feel indifferent, that’s when the marriage falls apart.” She adds, “…and that is when it is nearly impossible to be put back together.”

 

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Most Couples You See Are Going to Break Up

Whenever I see people together on the subway, I assume that they have always been together, and that they will always remain together. That they emerged from the ether as one, and that they will sink back into it, eventually — also as one — and that it is only I who emerged and will likely be receding back into the ether in solitude.

But then, the other day, for whatever reason, when I was pretending not to watch a cute young couple bicker intimately on the train, I thought, You know what? They’re probably going to break up. Each of them was probably dating someone else pretty recently, and they’ll probably date other people again soon.

It’s hard to guess how many breakups happen in any given year, in the world, but if roughly 40 percent of American marriages end in divorce (per 2017 CDC data) and most of us date at least five people before getting married in the first place (a conservative guess), then that’s basically infinite breakups. Infinite!

This tiny mean thought — no one is forever as happy as they seem in any given moment — felt harmless and buoyant. Heartbreak is widespread. I mean I, too, have ridden the subway holding someone’s hand, leaning on their shoulder. It’s funny how performative public transportation can be, for relationships. Honestly, it’s basically like a wedding. The difference is that it costs only a couple dollars to be a guest on the subway.

 

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10 Signs You’re Finally Getting Over A Breakup & Are No Longer In Love With Your Ex

Breakups can be brutal. But you’re past that now. Here’s how to know you’re over your ex.

The worst part of a breakup is not knowing how long it takes to get over a broken heart. At first, it feels like you’ll never figure out how to move on.

While you’ll probably always feel some type of way for your ex and the relationship that you had, slowly but surely you’ll start seeing the signs you’re finally getting over your ex.

We sympathize with those of you who were still pining over an ex (we cyberstalk our exes sometimes, too), we’re hoping this article will help you in your process of getting over a breakup. It might just be the catalyst you need to move past that toxic purgatory.

1. You don’t feel homicidal when he starts dating someone else.

In fact, you’re thrilled for both of them. Especially since you’re the one who set them up in the first place. After all, just because the two of you didn’t work out doesn’t mean he shouldn’t find happiness with someone else.

On the flip side, if he happened to know someone who might just be your soulmate, you’re sure he’d do the same for you.

2. You feel no urgent need to return his phone calls, texts, and emails.

Because he no longer holds the number one spot in your heart. And it’s not as if he’s going to see the error of his ways simply because you’re prompt.

3. You are interested in other men.

When you and your ex first broke up, you hit the bar scene in earnest with your best gal pals, but your heart just wasn’t it, no matter how many jolly rancher shots they plied you with.

But just the other day, that sexy bartender smiled at you, and you experienced a moment of zing! And yesterday evening, you brushed shoulders with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome as you were picking up your kids from school, and your stomach did flip-flops. It looks like you’re ready to date again!

4. You now realize that a lot of his personality “quirks” were annoying or lame.

Like the fact that he was a compulsive liar. Or the fact that he constantly preened in front of the full-length mirror, making it really difficult for you to get dressed in the morning.

If you’re done seeing him through rose-colored glasses, you’re over him.

5. You consider your relationship a learning experience.

When you think back on the happy memories the two of you created together, you can’t help but smile. Yes, there were serious problems, but now, thank your lucky stars you know what to look out for in the future.

And that awful angst you experienced during your breakup and subsequent mourning period? It only made you stronger.

6. You no longer blame him for everything.

In the past, the bitterness you experienced due to your breakup caused you to inject spiteful comments about him into every conversation. Thank God that’s over and done with.

7. When you meet a new guy, you don’t automatically compare him to your ex.

Not only that, but you’re not even tempted to bring him up on your first date. Instead, you’re truly interested in learning more about this new guy’s life and, when asked about your own, are able to present yourself as a woman with hobbies and interests separate from those you shared with your old partner.

8. You think of yourself as single, not as someone who’s just gotten out of a relationship.

You’ve wallowed in self-pity for long enough, and are again ready to embrace the fun, adventure and boundless possibilities inherent in singledom. If you’re excited to be single, you’ve put Mr. Past where he belongs.

9. You truly feel that the relationship wasn’t meant to be.

And that you’re that much closer to finding the one you are supposed to be with.

10. You try to think of his middle name or phone number and can’t recall it.

Congratulations! The unnecessary detritus from your time together has been officially flushed from your system. Now go out and find someone who doesn’t give you chronic migraines

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5 Mistakes Most Women Make When Dating Divorced Men

Learn from my mistakes.

“Do you want kids?” I asked.

“Sure I do,” he said.

And with that, I was hooked. Yes, I knew that he was divorced and had two children, but just knowing that he did want kids meant overcoming the first hurdle of dating him.

However, the first 6 months, there were a lot more hurdles, which led to the relationship breaking down.

Having dated a divorced guy, I’d always wished there was some kind of dating advice to help me navigate. Fortunately, from experience, I now know what not to do and the mistakes to avoid.

So, if the guy you’re seeing is ready for dating after divorce, here’s how you can be too. Avoid these five mistakes when dating a divorced man.

1. You ignore his opinion on kids.

Make sure you are both aligned to what you want.

Even though he said he wanted kids, I could tell half way through our dating that things had changed, and I ignored the signs. He already had two children and even though in the first instance he said he wanted to have another with me, I knew that he had started to change his mind.

Instead, confront your situation head-on (if you do want kids with a divorced guy), especially if he has children already. To avoid adding pressure, make sure that you know that you are both on the same path.

2. You get involved in a relationship when he’s still fighting with his ex.

Make sure he is over his ex and/or knows how to handle his emotions towards her.

It felt like I was in a relationship with both of them. He would talk about her all the time. This would cause a lot of tension and would then be transferred into our relationship, which caused a lot of stress on both of us.

To avoid this, it’s key that he has moved on so you can focus on having a good time.

3. You move in together too quickly.

Make sure you take things slowly. Figure out whether this divorced man is the right person for you. Keep your options open.

By moving in together within the first month, we both took a lot on. I took on the new responsibility of not only getting used to living with him but also being introduced to his children. In addition, he doubled his commuting time, which added more stress to the plate.

If we had taken our time, things wouldn’t have fallen apart so quickly as they did. We both needed time to adjust to our new roles, which we didn’t do. Remember: dating is a time for fun, not for seriousness.

4. You choose to be with someone who is in a financially different situation.

Make sure that you are both in a financial situation that you can do fun stuff together.

Because he was paying for his kids and didn’t earn a huge pay check, this limited what we could do with our time together. I really wanted to travel a lot more, so when I did, I would travel on my own as he had other financial commitments. If he did travel with me, I would willingly pay for him.

However, men being men, he wanted to pay and this would frustrate him, and also frustrate me that he couldn’t. If our income and financial situations had been similar, we wouldn’t have had this problem.

5. You spend very little quality time together.

Make sure you make time for the relationship when you are dating. This may sound really obvious, but you would be surprised at how “life” can get in the way, especially if he has kids.

This one was a big one for us both as he worked night shifts, making it challenging to see each other. Also, most weekends he wanted to see the children, which meant there were weekends we spent apart.

It’s normal that he prioritized the children. I wouldn’t have expected anything less, but it definitely put a spanner in the works for us to just enjoy our time.

 

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How To Get Over Someone Who You Think You’ll Never Get Over

Some people are just really difficult to let go of. That’s one of the lasting side effects of having loved someone. And often, the stronger the love, the more difficult it will be to let go of it all and move on with your life, especially if you spend a lot of time remembering how good it once was and believing it could be that good again. Even when you come to accept that it is time to move on, it is not always easy to get over someone you think you’ll never get over.

Losing someone you thought was your forever person may leave you feeling blindsided, and your first instinct might be to try to get back with them. But even if you have fully decided you definitely want to get over this person (which is a major step in itself, so congrats), there can still be a long road ahead for you. However, it is important to remember that you will not always feel like this. In fact, there are a number of steps you can take to get out of this funk faster and get on your way back to a happier, healthier place in life.

Woman sad staring out a window

Shutterstock

1. Give It Time

Time really can heal all wounds. How much time, however, depends on the individual. If this is someone you never imagined yourself moving on from, then you’re probably going to need more time than you imagine. But move on you shall — as long as you let yourself.

“Allow yourself to feel sad, to cry, to simply grieve the loss of something that could have been, but don’t let it paralyze you,” LA-based relationship therapist Dr. Gary Brown previously explained to phicklephilly.

So don’t rush moving on; just slow down a bit, and take the time you need to just heal.

2. Get Some Closure

Getting closure is one of the best ways you can understand why you two wouldn’t have worked out. Regardless of whether you were dumped or you were the one doing the dumping, if you’re still hung up on this person, then you’re going to need to do some digging.

Maybe you’re bad for each other. Maybe the timing was just never right. Or maybe you two just didn’t have it in you to keep trying to make the relationship work.

Whatever it is, find the reason (or, often, reasons) you need to let go, and hang on to that instead. “Remember specific examples of things they said or did, or didn’t say or didn’t do as a reminder” of why you two might not have worked out in the long term, Dr. Brown said.

3. Focus On Yourself

If you’ve spent a significant amount of time focused on someone else, once they’re out of your life, it may be hard to refocus back onto yourself. But self-care is essential. “I encourage clients to get ‘back to themselves’ by reconnecting to their inner pulse, their internal thoughts and feelings,” Liz Higgins, LMFT and founder of Millennial Life Counseling, suggested. One way to do this, she said, is by journaling: “This could be as basic as giving yourself 10 minutes a day to just write the thoughts that come to you, or to pick structured prompts like ‘five things I’m grateful for in my life’ or ‘qualities I feel I brought/bring to my relationships.’”

There are a number of things you can do to make sure you’re prioritizing yourself. Find what feels good for you.

4. Remember There Are Other People Out There

“Just remember that there’s mathematically more than just one person who you can be happy with,” Dr. Brown noted. “Don’t get hung up on the false idea that there’s only one.”

Of course, getting yourself to the point where you’re ready to seriously date other people is difficult, and you shouldn’t move on to this step until you feel you’re actually ready to do it — not just for your sake, but for the sake of your potential future partner.

“You are hurting, and if you don’t want others to hurt you, don’t hurt others by using them to get over your negative emotions,” Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (DHS, MA, BA) and founder of Eros Coaching, previously told phicklephilly.

5. Understand Loss Is Part Of Life

Moving on can be extremely painful, but as Dr. Lee said, the is part of being human. “Pain tells us we are alive — we can stay with [it], embrace it and work through it one breath at time and one day at a time,” she said. So, even though it might hurt at the beginning, these steps toward getting over someone will ultimately help you feel better, and hopefully work toward a better, more fulfilling future for yourself.

 

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You’re Probably Going To Marry The Wrong Person — And This Is Why

But there’s good news, too.

According to your exacting standards, you have tried to do everything right in choosing a spouse.

You made your list of must-have qualities to which they appear to have, you put them through a thorough vetting process, by which I mean you dated them and met their family and friends, and you made sure not to show them your flaws and less-attractive qualities.

You’ve done everything right and know that you have chosen the exact right partner for you. Or have you?

In an opinion piece, writer Alain de Botton stated that, while we go to great lengths to avoid marrying the wrong person, in actuality, we really do it all the time.

“Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: ‘And how are you crazy?'” de Botton said.

While crazy is a word that makes me uncomfortable for its insensitivity towards mental health issues, I understand what he’s saying: all of us are flawed beings with our own issues and it would be nice if we could be honest from the start.

For instance, if we knew that our potential spouse absolutely loathed pickles and we were from a family who pickled everything, we could decide in advance if that particular behavior was something we could or wanted to deal with.

“Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating,” he added.

In the past, people married for logical and practical reasons, but these marriages of reasons weren’t, in fact, reasonable at all; they were pragmatic, close-minded and deceitful.

Now, we have the marriage of feeling, and what matters is that the two individuals are drawn together by instinct and they feel in their hearts that their union is right.

De Botton theorizes that, while we think we’re looking for happiness in marriage, what we really want is familiarity. We’re looking to recreate (with our adult relationship) the feelings we knew so well in our childhood.

“The love most of us will have tasted early on was often confused with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his anger, of not feeling secure enough to communicate our wishes,” he continued. “We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy.”

The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we discover that we’ve married the wrong person.

Instead of getting rid of them, we need to get rid of the idea that the perfect person who can meet all our needs and satisfy all of our desires actually exists.

“The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement… Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementary, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the ‘not overly wrong’ person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition,” he concluded.

So, every person is wrong for us until they grow into being right for us.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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7 Reasons You Feel ‘Stuck’ After Your Divorce

Knowing why you feel stuck will help you figure out how to move on.

Divorce is heartbreaking and painful; you have to deal with your marriage being over, financial and home life changes, and not to mention the strain of getting the divorce.

You may have struggled to try and save your marriage as well, and are feeling “stuck” or fighting loneliness and don’t know how to practice good post-divorce care.

In other words, you have no idea how to move on after divorce. But don’t worry — this is common, and you’re not alone.

Nobody wants to admit that they get stuck along the way in dealing with divorce. It would be like admitting to yet another shortcoming.

“My marriage failed and I can’t get over it!” Making a statement like that for many people would be tantamount to taking out an ad on Facebook saying “I’m a loser.”

But the truth is that everyone gets stuck somewhere along the way dealing with divorce.

Feeling stuck at least once is normal because learning how to get over divorce isn’t a required course before getting married.

Besides that, it doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read, how many times you’ve talked it over with your divorced friends, or even how many celebrity divorces you’ve followed, you’re going to get stuck. (Yes, this is true even if you’ve been divorced before because every divorce is unique.)

You don’t know what it will take for you to get over your divorce until you’re done dealing with it.

However, in all my years working with people dealing with divorce and going through my own divorce I’ve found the most common reasons people get stuck.

By knowing these reasons, you’ll be better able to identify then when you start to get too mired in your misery. And when you know exactly what’s tripping you up you’ll have an easier time finding the specific help you need to continue dealing with your divorce instead of staying stuck.

Here are 7 reasons you feel “stuck” after your divorce and how to move on:

1. You’re grieving

Many people get trapped in lamenting what they’ve lost. This includes the hopes and dreams of what their marriage meant to them. It also includes more tangible things like the house and the 401K.

And it includes the relationships that are lost.

2. You feel like a victim

When you get ensnared with feeling powerless you’re about as stuck as you can get. Feeling like a victim also shows up as needing to assign blame — either to yourself or to your ex.

Anytime you relinquish your power to change your life, you’re giving up and dealing with divorce becomes impossible at that point.

3. You’re angry

Anger, fury, and rage are a normal part of the divorce process. However, you can get imprisoned in these emotions because they feel so powerful and righteous.

The trick to using these strong feelings to help you deal with divorce positively is being willing to look underneath them. When you do, you might discover another layer of hurt that needs healing.

4. You feel worthless

Most people experience feelings of being unwanted and worthless when they divorce. And it makes sense to do so! After all, if the one person who said they wanted to spend the rest of their life with you is content to toss you out with the trash, then what else are you supposed to think?

But the truth is that divorce does nothing to define your value.

5. You’re afraid

This is a biggie! Fear is the driving force for people staying stuck in all kinds of situations besides dealing with divorce.

If you can remember that fears usually fall into one of three categories (fear of loss, fear of dealing with divorce, fear of the future), then you’ll be better able to deal with each of your fears.

6. You’re unwilling to explore love

It might sound funny, but many people who are otherwise successfully dealing with divorce get stuck in a belief that there’s no such thing as love for them or that they now have to have rules about how they will experience love.

However, the failure of your marriage has nothing to do with your ability to experience love in the future.

7. You’re feeling lonely

The loss of so many relationships surprises most people who are dealing with divorce. But on top of those losses comes the feeling that no one else really understands (or maybe doesn’t want to try to understand) what you’re going through.

Divorce is a horribly isolating experience. And the only way to make it through without getting stuck in the loneliness is to find a support system.

These seven reasons people get stuck dealing with divorce are broad and you might not see exactly what you’re facing in this list. However, keep in mind that these are general categories of problems people face when they’re going through divorce and, if you look carefully, you’ll find a hint for the help you need to get through the specific challenge you’re facing.

And the best part is that by knowing how you’re getting stuck, you’ll be better able to move through it so you won’t stay stalled for too long. Just remember that everyone gets stuck as they’re dealing with divorce, but with this cheat sheet you will find your way through your healing much more quickly.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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A Divorced Dad’s Beautiful Advice For All Married Men

Gerald Rogers is a father and Psychologist who has been through a rough divorce. A few years ago, he wrote an amazing post that beautifully describes the lessons learned through this tough process, and importantly, valuable advice for all married men.

His words remain timeless.

He says,

“After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I could have had…”

What marriage advice does he wish he could have had? Dads, husbands reading this – this advice is solid. This advice is real. And if you think your relationship could do with a breath of fresh air right now, then this is it.

Image: iStock.

1. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable

Your wife is attracted to and loves your masculinity. But this doesn’t mean you should remain stony-faced even when you are tearing up inside. Rogers’ advice is to “be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.” You can’t go wrong with this formula.

2. Don’t make it all about the cash

Yes, you need money to survive in this mean world. But if you find yourself having more and more arguments with your wife about cash, stop. The advice is to find ways to work with your partner as a team, financially. Both of you have strengths, use these.

3. Grow together

In Rogers’ beautiful words: “The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.”

Image: iStock.Grow together. Image: iStock.

4. No skeletons in the closet

The foundation of a good relationship is trust and if you want to have her trust, then you need to open up to her about everything. It takes courage to open up your deepest heart, even as you are not sure that she will like what she hears or sees. Let her see your shades of light and darkness as these imperfections make you perfect in her eyes.

5. Never stop dating her

You might have two kids and 10 years of marriage behind you. But never, ever take your partner for granted – she deserves to be loved, to be cherished as much as the very first day you met her and knew she was the one.

6. Find ways to fall in love with her daily

“You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other every day. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were dating.”

The truth!

7. Finally, CHOOSE LOVE!

Ultimately, this is your magic charm, this is the only advice you’ll need. As Rogers points out, if this is the guiding principle through which all your choices are governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage.”

Love will always endure.

Image: iStock.Choose love. Image: iStock.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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5 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is About To Be Over

Phicklephilly brings you 5 warning signs your relationship is about to be over.

There is nothing like the enjoyment of meeting someone for the first time. From the time he or she had you at “hello” and the first kiss, and the first kiss and the first time you make love.

Sadly, once the threshold of intimacy is crossed, then the strength of the supposed ‘love’ is put to test which in many cases gets strained. The signs of a deteriorating relationship are usually abundant, but people generally don’t know what to look for.

1. Your flaws are noticed than your strength

When you’re in love with someone, you tend to see the potentials in them more readily than their imperfections. “If you lose sight of all of the good virtues that made you interested in your partner in the first place, it could be a sign that things are hitting the rocks.

2. You’re wondering if you can do better

When you get to a point in the relationship and you feel obliged at a point to be the one to always make things better and possibly less appreciated for your efforts. This could be a sign that the cookies have crumbled .That great person you met two years ago was great based on who you were then. They’re a nice person and you have the love for them but there are thoughts .

3. When trust is totally lost

When you ask your partner questions about who they have been with or where they have been, you aren’t sure that they are telling the truth. This is a big sign the end is near to the relationship.

Trust is the basis of every relationship. Once it is lost, the future of the union becomes blurry.

4.When you become emotionally worn

After your partner constantly neglects your expressions on your insecurity, and anger in the relationship to your partner, you should know they just don’t care anymore.

Take the best foot in this case because it is a warning sign for the health of your relationship and also your mental well-being.

5. Your intuition

Are the warning signs of a breakup in very visible to you in your thoughts ? Are you worried that your partner is about to end your relationship or marriage? Or perhaps you are thinking about breaking up? Nothing beats the human intuition. Follow your heart, you are all you got.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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