Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

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Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

Are you going through an unexpected divorce? This can be a devastating experience. Whether it’s being constantly reminded of your spouse or having trouble adjusting to single life, lots of people have made these important but painful realizations about divorce and come out the other end stronger. Though this advice may sound hollow or cliché, it may be exactly what you need to hear to help you get back on the road to independence, recovery and contentment.

Just remember that following a divorce should be a period of grieving. But things can only improve over time. In the beginning it can be an emotional roller coaster. But once things level out you do feel a little bit better every day. If you have children with your ex, you are going to have to get used to the situation. Don’t let seeing them again open old wounds. Find a healthy way to interact. Put on your best face and move forward. Find healthy ways to help yourself heal and feel better; exercise, meditation, or talking to a good friend are all good ways. Alcohol, junk food and locking yourself up for months at a time, not so much.

You’re going to be okay. This is a mantra for a lot of divorced people. But if you repeat it to yourself enough times, have enough talks with friends, cry, and reconnect with yourself, though the pain is immense in the beginning, you start to know that your happiness doesn’t begin or end with a divorce. It begins or ends with you, who you are, who you choose to be and the choices you make. Realize how better off you are without that person in your life. Is this the kind of relationship you want? Of course not. You need someone who is loving, supportive, appreciative and who will be there for you no matter what. And if you are reading this it’s obvious your ex wasn’t that person.

You can view it as the end of a marriage. Or you can view it as a new beginning. If someone tells you they are there for you to talk, believe them and use them. It will really help you. Gather your network around you. You need all the support you can get. When people tell you their sorry, understand that they are on your side. They don’t know what to say exactly. But they want to comfort you. If they say this, believe them. For more advice read, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser.

Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

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Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

According to the latest U.S. Census information as recent as 2009, the divorce rate is the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the South. This all comes out of the new report the bureau is now generating, Marital Events of Americans. 2009 was the first year data was collected for this report. This document surveyed Americans 15 and older about marriage, widowhood and divorce.

Divorce rates are lower in the Northeast because people put off first marriages longer and there are less marriages occurring in that region. In the South, more marriages occur so the divorce rate is therefore higher.  The Southern states with the highest divorce rates for men were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. The Northeastern states with the lowest rates of divorce for men were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Southern states with the highest divorce rates for women were Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Northeastern states with the lowest divorce rates for women were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The report uncovered some other interesting findings. Children of divorced parents were 75% more likely to live with their mother than their father. 28% of Children whose parents divorced in 2009 were more likely to live below the poverty level. 23% of Women were more likely to need public assistance after divorce. 15% of men had a greater chance of needing public assistance. 22% of women who divorced in the last year were more likely to be in poverty, compared to 11% of men.

Previous to this report, information on marriages and divorces was collected at the state level through collecting marriage and divorce certificates. These certificates were passed on to the vital statistics system of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Then in 1996 the NCHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ceased collection of these records. This latest report taken up by the Census Bureau is meant to fill the gap. If you’re going through a divorce and want advice, read the book, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

First Date Questions to Be Prepared for

FIRST-DATE

First Date Questions to Be Prepared for

Are you going on a first date soon? The first date, as with a first impression, sets the tone for how you two will interact with each other. And this is the first crucial step to see if there is a mutual interest. They can be so scary and exciting, the butterflies, not knowing what to wear, how you should act and if you will feel the magic are all questions on your mind. Speaking of questions, it’s important to be prepared for what your date is most likely to ask you and how to respond. A first date is kind of like a job interview for love. You are seeing if they are the right fit for you and visa-versa. Of course you should be truthful in all of your answers. But you should be prepared for what they might ask you. You don’t want to be dumbfounded, fumble or be taken aback. Here are a few first date questions to be prepared for.

First, be prepared to talk about your career. If you aren’t working or you are in college, talk about what you’re passionate about. And let your interest shine through. People are attracted to others who share similar goals, passions and interests in life. And if you can let them see you radiate with what your passionate about it may deepen their interest in you, and spark a return of that same energy when they talk about what they’re interested in.

Whatever is asked, don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep everything light and positive. No one wants to hear a lot of complaining on a first date. Not that you have to steer clear of all negative subjects. But don’t dwell on them, and put a positive spin on it at the end. Be ready to talk about your achievement s, background and goals in life. Ask your date about theirs as well. People who are deeply spiritual or religious will ask about your own beliefs or faith. Try to find out as much as you can about their beliefs and faith beforehand and prepare your answers to be truthful. But make sure you are always respectful and interested in what someone else believes. That doesn’t mean you have to believe what they do. A good sign of a relationship’s ability to take root is the ability for a couple to agree to disagree on such matters as politics and religion, if you plan to stray past your own group or groups.

Be prepared to talk about any hobbies you may have. The person is looking for compatibility. These are great for conversations. See what’s in common. Can you see yourself watching movies on the couch with this person? Taking salsa dancing classes or going sky diving together? Prepare yourself for questions about kids, or wanting them. Some people will ask about past relationships. This is usually held to a subsequent date. However, if they feel comfortable or it comes up they may ask. If you or they are divorced it could be more likely to come up. Make sure to put a positive spin on it and don’t bad mouth your ex. Remember to relax and be yourself. Have fun on your first date. For more advice read, The First Date Survival Guide: What to Wear, Where to Go, How to Act by Ryan Magin.

Which is better, Adultery or Divorce?

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Which is better, Adultery or Divorce?

When in a dysfunctional marriage where you both feel a real relationship is out of the question, but you decide to stay together for financial reasons, for the sake of the children or because it’s too painful or burdensome to get divorced, in this situation it’s difficult to know how to proceed. Is adultery then the only way forward? Or should they just go ahead and get divorced? In the long run, which is better, adultery or divorce? Each person and couple in this unfortunate predicament must evaluate carefully how they each feel, using their values, judgment and beliefs in order to decide what is best for them. So then since everyone is different, we can’t ask which is better in a large blanket statement, since everyone must evaluate for themselves. But in general, which of the two alternatives is morally a better choice, adultery or divorce? This is not in terms of a bilateral divorce where both parties decide to get divorced. Nor is it unilateral where one person wants a divorce but the other does not. This is when one person is interested in taking part in a romantic and physical relationship with another outside the marriage.

From an ethical standpoint divorce is a far better choice as it does not involve deception. If you are in a loveless marriage but decide to stay together for financial reasons but are childless talk to your spouse about having an open marriage. At least if there is a way to communicate honestly about things, perhaps there is a chance not of reconciling the relationship but the mutual respect that both people shared. If the couple has children, it’s a much thornier issue. They will find out sooner or later that mommy or daddy has someone else. So how do you counteract this? Divorce would be the better option there. Or perhaps separation if the financial burden is too much. If this is a high conflict relationship get out. High conflict homes are the worst environments to raise children in. It would be much better to have two divorced but happier, well-adjusted homes than one miserable one together. The deception part of adultery, especially if it’s long term or serial adultery is the worst part. It shows a grave disrespect for the other person. Like it or not when we marry we attach ourselves to a legal and social union. It may not be easy when marriage falls apart. If you are in this situation, learn to talk to one another and solve things so you can find mutual happiness in some way. See what can be worked out. Give respect and expect it in return. Sooner or later all the tumblers will fall into place. To learn more about adultery in marriage read, Parents Who Cheat: How Children and Adults are Affected When Their Parents are Unfaithful by Ana Nogales, Ph.D.

Marriage in America Today

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Marriage in America Today

The number of people getting married is declining. Experts say the marriage rate today is lower than it was in 1880, another time when extreme differences in income affected the social landscape. Though marriage is touted in America and many societies as helping to preserve the social order, the atmosphere with which we operate is far from conducive in promoting it. In the original Gilded Age as Mark Twain called it, a new class of industrialists slashed wages and with it the prospects of workers of marrying age, mostly male factory workers. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin at John Hopkins University wrote that one difference today is many are choosing to cohabitate and have children without a marriage license filed away in the family home. That would never do in the 19th century. But today it’s quite common.

One problem is the gatekeepers to pop culture, the TV and movie writers, musical artists and others have failed to keep up and give us an image we can hang onto for this new state of affairs in how long-term love should be.  Zoë Heller at the New York Review of Books says films today and other cultural milieu are filled with simplistic plots and clichés about love, without delving into the complicated minutia of modern relationships and how best to navigate them. They don’t reflect what people are actually experiencing, nor do they give a strategy for which to encounter the prickly paradigm of modern love. Supporters of traditional values decry the end of marriage as it once was. But couples staying together longer show greater stability, know each other better and perhaps can best negotiate differences. The expense of a wedding, weakening norms and lack of financial benefit may result in a further decline in marriage, experts believe. On the upshot for advocates, statistics show that those who are getting married stay together longer. Also, the divorce rate has dropped dramatically. In fact, since the 1980’s, divorce has been in deep decline. 70% of those who married in the 1990s celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary today. That’s 5% higher than those who married in the 70’s and 80’s. Those who tied the knot in the new millennium have an even lower divorce rate.

According to economist Justin Wolfer at the University of Michigan, two-thirds of married couples today stay together. For those cases where divorce does occur, two-thirds of the time it’s the wife who wants it. The reason is women’s expectations for marriage have vastly changed. Gender roles in America saw a dramatic paradigm shift over the past two decades due to the Feminist movement. This in turn affected how both sexes interact with one another. Today, marriage isn’t only about raising a family or having financial support. It’s about love and partnership. People also want someone who will help lead them into personal growth. They want to grow and better themselves and they look to their partner to help them complete their metamorphosis. A lot of times, when we feel as though we are in a stale relationship and the well has gone dry, we feel it’s time to move on. The baby boomer generation remains the one with the highest rate of divorce. People are living older nowadays, and so when the children have moved out and they still have decades of life left, they want to make the most of it. That sometimes means leaving someone they no longer connect with in order to enjoy those years with someone they do. For more on this topic read, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today by Andrew J. Cherlin.