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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The 28 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

It’s a wonderful feeling to be in a deeply committed relationship, whether that means you’re married, engaged (congrats!) or simply in a solid forever partnership. But with deep dedication comes a great responsibility to make sure you’ve talked about the most important questions to ask before marriage—even when it’s tough.

After all, “learning how to ask hard questions is not something that ends after you get married,” says Michelle Joy, MFT, co-owner and co-instructor (along with her husband) of Marriage Prep 101, a workshop designed for engaged, newlywed and seriously dating couples. “Asking your partner difficult questions even when you disagree or are afraid of their answer is important to keep emotional intimacy alive. Being comfortable with this before the ‘I dos’ sets the trajectory for continuing this open communication in your marriage.”

As for what you should be asking? Let’s start with these questions.

Where do you stand on kids?

“Many partners have values or assumptions that point to one partner staying home with the children, however, more and more I am seeing that both partners really desire to stay connected with their careers—even if it’s just part-time—after children are born,” says Joy. “Having that expectation discussed beforehand is important.”

1. Are we having kids? If so, how many?

2. How soon after marrying do you want to start a family?

3. What is our plan if we have trouble conceiving?

4. After we have children, do you plan to work?

What should I know about your upbringing?

“For example, if there was a lot of yelling,” says Joy,“then either the partner believes that yelling is normal and thinks nothing of it when they yell, or on the contrary, yelling may scare them. Asking about your partner’s parents can give you an enormous amount of information about their sensitivities and perspectives about communication and conflict resolution.”

5. Did your parents ever disagree in front of you?

6. How did your parents resolve conflicts?

7. How did your parents show love?

8. Were your folks emotionally available to you?

9. How did your parents deal with anger?

How will we approach money?

According to Rachel DeAlto, Match’s chief dating expert and relationship coach, this is a tricky conversation that can definitely bring up feelings of insecurity and awkwardness. But it’s hugely necessary in terms of mapping out your life and deciding how to intermingle your dollars (and debt). “The important thing is to be transparent, because not disclosing financial issues could cause a huge problem down the road,” DeAlto says. “People talk about everything but money.”

10. Do you have any debt or any savings?

11. What’s your credit score?

12. Are we going to buy a house at some point?

13. Should we discuss purchases over a certain amount before buying?

14. Will we have joint accounts?

15. What’s our plan if one of us loses their job?

16. What are our savings goals and what will they go toward?

17. How will we split expenses?

And how about religion?

“In an ideal situation, it’s OK for each partner to have different beliefs but neither is expected to conform to a religion that’s not theirs,” DeAlto says. “If they support your faith from afar, and if you’re OK with attending services on your own, it’s perfectly normal to not expect them to physically show up for you.”

18. How would you describe your beliefs?

19. Do you expect me to join you in group religious services?

20. Do you envision our whole family attending every week or on holidays?

21. Are there any rituals you’d like to adhere to at home?

22. Will our kids be raised religiously?

23. Will we have a religious marriage ceremony?

How do you show and accept love?

“We always want to be sure that emotional resources are not only being given to our partner, but that we are receiving them as well,” says Joy. “For instance, are you able to receive affection but it feels awkward for you to give it back? It’s possible that your partner’s definition of affection differs from yours. Ask them what affection, dedication or commitment means to them and how they plan on demonstrating those qualities in your marriage.”

24. How much affection do you need from me to be happy?

25. Do you expect us to always be monogamous?

26. What does showing love mean to you?

27. Are you willing to see a marriage counselor with me?

28. What do you need to feel appreciated?

If you’re met with resistance when broaching any of these points, remind your partner that you’re in your relationship for the long haul and talking things out will only make you closer.

“If someone doesn’t want to have these conversations, I kind of want to shake them—gently—and remind them that this is a huge step and talking is intended to benefit both of you,” says DeAlto. After all, “When you have mortgages, job issues and kids, all of these things make life more complicated.” In other words, do it now.

 

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20 Signs You’re With the Woman You Should Marry

If she buys you French fries even when you say you’re not hungry, she’s a keeper.

m going to assume that if you’ve somehow landed on this article, you’re at the stage of your relationship where you’re considering marriage. Cute! Maybe you’ve been together a year or so, maybe you’ve gotten some pressure from your Aunt Lisa who loves getting into your business over Thanksgiving.

Whatever the reason, I’m sure your girlfriend has some redeeming qualities that, at the very least, made you consider marriage with her in the first place. Whether she laughs when you snort, gets you extra French fries when you say you’re not hungry, or texts back right away without leaving you on read, these are all good things that make for total wife-y material.

But if you’re looking for some sort of formula or equation that’ll make it easy for you to determine if this person is, like, your person, you should sign up for an algebra class (…and not be reading this Cosmopolitan article).

That’s because, truly, all clichés aside, you’re the only one who can determine if the woman you’re with is who you should marry. So while, yes, there are some signs this woman could be your person—whether as a wife, or serious life-long partner—it’s truly dependent on how she makes you feel. Check out the list below and see if any of it resonates with you.

1. She makes your bed in the morning. I know this sounds weird, but it’s totally a thing. Sometimes life really is about the little things, so if she takes the time to make up your bed in the morning after you’ve slept in it, just imagine all the other little things she probably does that you don’t even notice.

2. She buys you Corgi socks just because she knows corgis are your favorite. So this one is a lil specific, but you get the idea. If she thinks about you enough to notice there are some socks on sale with your favorite dog on them, it goes without saying but she’s obviously a keeper.

3. She cares how your friends are doing. She knows all your friends by name and is genuinely invested in whether or not your roommate Kate gets together with that guy she likes because they would be so cute together and she wants her to be happy.

4. You can go on trips together and not fight constantly. If you can survive being in a nightmare spa resort full of screaming children, no clean towels, and weak drinks with old pineapple on the rim without fighting constantly, you have something pretty amazing.

5. You still catch her checking you out. For no reason, really. She just thinks you are the hottest human always and is happy to let you know.

6. You share the same values. You both want the same type of relationship, you know where you both stand on having children, and your goals for the future are the same. If you want to work until you’re 90, so does she. If you want to retire early and eat only pudding for the rest of your life, she’s cool with that.

7. She loves bragging about you. To her friends, coworkers, everyone. Because she’s proud of you and thinks you are the coolest person she’s ever met. Her friends, and roommates, and coworkers know every little thing about you before you even meet them. You’re basically like a band she’s obsessed with that she also gets to date.

8. You hear your friends complain about their significant others and you can’t really relate. Just keep it to yourself that you and your girlfriend have fun staring at blank walls and she’s incredibly supportive and thoughtful and compassionate. Not the time to share that info.

9. She’s your biggest supporter. She believes you can do things even you’re not sure you can do because she has the utmost faith and confidence in you even at your lowest moments because she believes you are magic.

10. You feel comfortable planning things way, way in the future. You can buy concert tickets or book a vacation in advance without worrying if she’s going to break up with you or you’re going to break up with her before then. You trust her completely and she’s become such a part of you that your future together seems as certain as anything.

11. She makes sacrifices for you and you do the same for her. And she thinks nothing of it because she genuinely enjoys making sure you’re happy and you feel the same way about her.

12. She doesn’t try to change you. She knows every messed up, weirdo thing you do when you sleep and when you’re awake and when you’re tired and when you’re cranky, and she’s okay with all of it in a way that you weren’t sure anyone ever would be.

13. Your friends are really, genuinely happy for you. After suffering through countless drink dates and morning-after breakfasts with your horrible exes, your friends are so relieved you’re actually with someone who is as cool as you are because you’re truly right for each other, which is something they’d wanted for you for a long time now. It’s like seeing your really tall friend find workable pants, but instead of pants, it’s a person.

14. You can be completely honest with her about anything. No matter how anxious or worried or nervous or scared you’re feeling, you know you can tell her anything at all and she won’t judge you. Sexual fantasies, awkward illnesses, a fight you had with your parents; anything.

15. She’s the first person you want to talk to when something cool/funny/weird happens. You used to text your best friend all of this stuff, but your best friend isn’t even mad about that because they’re so happy you’ve found someone you’re so close and connected with.

16. She indulges your guilty pleasures. She knows you love sitting in track pants and eating an entire Funfetti cake, and not only totally accepts that, but sometimes she brings one home and lets you tear that shit up.

17. You want to protect her. Even though she totally doesn’t need protecting. It’s just an impulse because you love her so goddamn much.

18. She fights fairly. She doesn’t get excessively angry or mean-spirited, and she doesn’t bring up old issues or low blows just to hurt you. She might be mad, but she wants to work it out with you, so you talk about it like adults who love each other.

19. She has her own life outside of your relationship. She knows you two are going to function best when she does her own thing and you do your own thing, and then you both come together and forget about the rest of the world existing.

20. You tell her you miss her when she’s gone, and you really mean it. Like, you say you wish she were there because you actually wish she was there. All the time. Maybe in, like, a live-in situation. A live-in situation with wedding rings. And all of our friends there. And then someone gives you fancy kitchenware. Maybe like that.

 

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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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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.

 

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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.

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Tales of Rock – Jerry Lee Lewis

Folks… Have I got a week that’s chock full of delicious content for you!!!

Enjoy!

With a nickname like “The Killer,” rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis was bound to make some waves in his career. And while he certainly did that with wild performances, including the time he set his piano ablaze after becoming incensed at the idea of having to open for Chuck Berry, the biggest scandal of his career happened far from the ivories.

During his 1958 European tour, the British press excoriated Lewis after discovering he’d married his 13-year-old third cousin, Myra Gale Brown, the year before (Lewis was 22 at the time of their marriage). According to Rolling Stone, Lewis attempted to cover up the marriage by telling people Brown was his other cousin, J.W. Brown’s daughter. He also allegedly lied about Brown’s age, but when the truth came out, he became “cocksure and defiant to the point of parading Brown onstage.”

The ensuing media frenzy effectively sapped Lewis’ career, and he spent the next decade descending into drug and alcohol addiction while attempting to rebuild his career by playing at small, local gigs. Meanwhile, Brown was living a life of quiet desperation.

Speaking with The Gwinnett Daily Post, Brown, who has since remarried and now goes by Myra Lewis Williams, described her 13-year marriage to Lewis as “a trial by fire,” “devastating,” and “chaos all the time.” Williams had her first child, a son named Steve Allen, when she was just 14, then a daughter, Phoebe, at 17. Asked what advice she would give to herself looking back, Williams said, “I would tell my young self that life is not always going to be like this. Get through it and it’s going to be better because it was as if I was going to be there forever and it’s never going to change.”

Yeesh.

 

 

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

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How to Charm and Marry an Asian Woman

We can freely say that for many men, women’s mind is like an ancient secret that they just cannot crack. This can be even trickier if you want to seduce a woman that is from another culture. There is no question about it, we are all defined by our communities, and our perspective on different aspects of life is influenced by the culture and people that surround us during your formative years.

Because of this, we are all different, and oftentimes it can be difficult to really get to know someone who is a foreigner. Maybe something that they do, you will find odd and vice versa. However, every now and then, a man meets a woman that intrigues him, and he is ready to do almost anything to charm her in order to spend the rest of his life with her.

IMAGE SOURCE: WECLICK.COM.AU

Asian women are known for their delicate beauty, so it comes as no surprise that men all around the world are mesmerized by them. However, seducing them is no easy task. They have certain expectations when it comes to the man that they are going to marry. For some men, flirting might be an impossible task to complete, so if you are one of them, check out love-sites.com where you can find a few tricks that you can use. If you want to ensure that you will be successful in this quest, keep reading this article, because we are going to tell you what you have to do and how you have to act.

First of all, you have to be respectful.  We are not only talking about treating her nicely, but you also have to respect her family, culture, and customs. These things are extremely important to her, and if you come across as ill-mannered, then she is going to lose her interest immediately, and there is nothing you can do to change that.

IMAGE SOURCE: EHARMONY.COM.AU

Do not try to guess whether she is Japanese, Korean or Chinese. Not only is it rude to play this guessing game, but also she will not find it amusing. Instead, simply ask her where she grew up and let her tell you some stories about her childhood and family. It is completely normal to inquire about this information and she is probably going to ask you the same thing. Just, whatever you do, do not try to guess her ethnicity.

Furthermore, when it comes to family, show her how much you love and appreciate your parents because this is going to tell her a lot about your upbringing. Generally, speaking women love men that have a close relationship with their immediate family, and for Asian girls, this is even more important.

Why? Well, it is common in Asian culture for children to take care of their parents as they grow old. To them, there is nothing more important than family. Because of this, you have to be on your best behavior when you go to meet her parents. If they perceive you as impolite, then chances are that she is going to form the same opinion about you.

Next, when you meet a foreigner, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is to learn some basic phrases in their language. This is great! It shows that you are eager to get to know her, to learn about her language, customs, and so on. A simple phrase like “How are you?” will go a long way.

IMAGE SOURCE: SORINCAREBA.CO.UK

However, be careful. Over a thousand languages are spoken in Asia, so you shouldn’t assume what is her native language. If you don’t have this information and thus don’t want to come across as a fool, then a simple “Hi” in English is enough. Later on, you can inquire about the language and ask her to help you learn some phrases because we all know how difficult that can be. Just try not to make any assumptions.

Moreover, if you want to have children in the future, this is definitely something that you can bring up. But maybe not on the first date, the moment you meet. As already discussed, the family is the most important thing in their lives, so it is natural that they want to have one of their own. Keep in mind that they probably come from one-child families, which means that she has never had the experience of growing up with siblings. Due to this, she might want to have more than one kid. If you agree with this, mention it and she is probably going to perceive you as husband material.

In addition, show her that you have a successful career. This might seem wrong, but in reality, it is really important for Asian women, simply because they have grown up in patriarchal communities where the men work and take financial care of their families. They want to know that you are going to care for them and ensure that they have everything they need. They do not want to spend the rest of their lives living from paycheck to paycheck and this is definitely something that they don’t want their children to experience.

IMAGE SOURCE: NEWSPELLSSITE.WORDPRESS.COM

What’s more, demonstrate to her that you have big plans for the future. Women are looking for someone who is serious, who has great plans for his life, both professional and private. Generally, speaking they do not want a man who is going to be satisfied with a mediocre job and who is going to spend every afternoon in front of a TV or online. Talk about your interests, things that you like to do in your free time, skills that you have mastered or countries you have visited.

To sum up, in this article we have given you some guidance when it comes to your behavior if you want to charm an Asian woman. If you have just met, you should definitely take things slow, and give yourself and her the opportunity to see if you want to pursue this relationship further. As you know, connecting with some on a more personal level can take some time, so be patient and see how to thing develop.

 

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

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American Men Are Getting Less Marriageable — Here’s Why.

  • We’re in the middle of a great marriage decline in the US.
  • This phenomenon is partially explained by economic forces that are making men less appealing partners.
  • Traditional gender roles are also to blame.

If it seems like the number of complaints from your female friends about not being able to find a man is growing, we may finally know why. Somewhere between 1979 and 2008, Americans decided it was much less worth it to get hitched: the share of 25- to 39-year-old women who were currently married fell 10% among those with college degrees, 15% for those with some college, and a full 20% for women with a high-school education or less.

This great American marriage decline — a drop from 72% of US adults being wed in 1960 to half in 2014 — is usually chalked up to gains in women’s rights, the normalization of divorce, and the like. But it also a lot to do with men. Namely, economic forces are making them less appealing partners, and it ties into everything from China to opioids.

The most revealing data comes from University of Zurich economist David Dorn. In a 2017 paper with an ominous title (“When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men”), Dorn and his colleagues crunched the numbers from 1990 to 2014. They found that employability and marriageability are deeply intertwined.

The flashpoint is a sector of the economy that politicians love to talk about: manufacturing. It used to be a huge slice of the employment pie: In 1990, 21.8% of employed men and 12.9% of employed women worked in manufacturingBy 2007, it had shrunk to 14.1 and 6.8%. These blue-collar gigs were and are special: they pay more than comparable jobs at that education level in the service sector, and they deliver way more than just a paycheck. The jobs are often dangerous and physically demanding, giving a sense of solidarity with coworkers. Not coincidentally, these jobs are also incredibly male-dominated —becoming even more so between 1990 and 2010. But since 1980, a full third of all manufacturing jobs — 5 million since 2000 — have evaporated, making guys less appealing as husbands.

Dorn and his colleagues find that when towns and counties lose manufacturing jobs, fertility and marriage rates among young adults go down, too. Unmarried births and the share of children living in single-parent homes go up. Meanwhile, places with higher manufacturing employment have a bigger wage gap between men and women, and a higher marriage rate.

“On simple financial grounds, the males are more attractive partners in those locations because they benefit disproportionately from having those manufacturing jobs around,” he told Thrive Global.

It underscores how in the US, the norms around money, marriage, and gender remain — perhaps surprisingly — traditional. Marianne Bertrand, an economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, has found a “cliff” in relative income in American marriages at the 50-50 split mark. While there are lots of couples where he earns 55% of their combined income, there are relatively few where she makes more than he does.

While the pay gap is certainly a factor here, Bertrand and her colleagues argue that the asymmetry owes more to traditionalist gender roles and remains a class issue. They reference recent results from the World Values Survey, where respondents were asked how much they agreed with the claim that, ”If a woman earns more money than her husband, it’s almost certain to cause problems.” The results broke along socioeconomic lines: 28% of couples where both parties went to at least some college agreed, while 45% of couples where neither partner went beyond high school agreed. Spouses tend to be less happy, more likely to think the marriage is in trouble, and more likely to discuss separation if the wife out earns her husband, as well.

“Either men don’t like their female partners earning more than they do,” Dorn said, or women feel like “if the man doesn’t bring in more money, then he’s an underachiever.”

As manufacturing jobs are lost, there are also increases to mortality in men aged 18 to 39, Dorn said, with more deaths from liver disease, indicative of alcohol abuse; more deaths from diabetes, related to obesity; and lung cancer, related to smoking — not to mention drug overdoses. (These “deaths of despair” have taken over a million American lives in the past decade.) Ofer Sharone, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts, has found that while Israelis blame the system when they can’t find a job, Americans see themselves as flawed when they can’t find work, which sounds a lot like perfectionism. And remarkably, half of unemployed men in the US are on some sort of painkiller. Unremarkably, all that makes long-term monogamy less appealing. “This is consistent with the notion that males become less attractive partners because they have less money and start doing drugs,” Dorn said.

The precarious situation that American men face has a lot to do with the nature of the jobs they’re doing. Germany and Switzerland, which are bleeding manufacturing at a much slower rate, do more precision work (read: watches and cars), which is harder to ship overseas to hand over to robots and algorithms. Traditionally masculine, American blue collar jobs tend toward repetitive tasks, making them easier to replace. (One British estimate predicted that 35% of traditionally male jobs in the UK are at high risk of being automated, compared with 26% of traditionally female jobs.) There’s a race to automate trucking, a traditionally male role, but not so much nursing.

And the working-class jobs that are being added tend toward what’s traditionally taken to be “women’s work.” Care-oriented jobs like home-care aides continue to go up — a trend that’s only going to continue as America gets older and boomers move into retirement. These are not trends that add to the marketability of guys. “The lack of good jobs for these men is making them less and less attractive to women in the marriage market, and women, with their greater earnings, can do fine remaining single,” says Bertrand, the Chicago economist. “For gender identity reasons, these men may not want to enter into marriages with women who are dominating them economically, even if this would make economic sense to them.”

So what’s a man to do within change like this? Dorn recommends, if one is able, to specialize in areas that are harder to automate — jobs that require problem-solving and creativity. But those jobs also often require more education. Then comes the much woolier, complex issue of gender norms. There are individual choices to be made at a personal level for men to take on traditionally feminine work, or for heterosexual couples to settle on a situation where the wife brings home the bacon. But these individual choices don’t happen in a vacuum — they’re necessarily informed by the broader culture.

“Traditional masculinity is standing in the way of working-class men’s employment,” Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin said in an interview. “We have a cultural lag where our views of masculinity have not caught up to the change in the job market.” (This was captured in a recent New York Times headline: “Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree.”) Parents and educators will play the biggest role in teaching more gender neutral attitudes regarding who belongs in the home and who belongs in the marketplace, Bertrand said. And eventually, she adds, gender norms “will adjust to the new realities” that are already present in the economy: women are getting better educations and are more employable, and the work opportunities that are growing are — for now — thought to be feminine.

 

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

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