Drifting Apart

drifting

Drifting Apart

It stuns you when you first realize that you and your sweetie, you seemed like the perfect couple, are drifting apart. Sometimes just as perfectly as you fell for each other, as if it were only natural an event like a natural disaster, an earth shattering union over which the two of you had no control. But just as powerfully so too can each party find forces pushing them apart, and these can occur just as naturally and as inexplicably.

Sometimes we end up in a comfortable relationship that has no future. This kind of relationship has dueling emotions inside you. On the one hand you have your life goals. On the other you love this person and perhaps fear being single again and facing a big, black who-knows-what. Sometimes the fear of the unknown makes us stay in an uncomfortable situation. But the problem with that is we die a little inside for we are born to seek out our dreams. Scientists have proven that parts of the brain showing good, sound judgment shutdown when we fall in love. As the relationship progresses more and more we get to learn about our partner and deal with their shortcomings, and our own.

Once you have that down, you think you’ve got it all figured out. And you’ll live happily ever after. Or not. More likely it will be like a series of hurtles you’ll have to jump over. You’ll dodge them and do okay. Once in a while you’ll have a victory to celebrate. At other times a defeat to mourn. But when people have different priorities or if their values change, as are natural to do over time you can find the couple naturally drifting apart. The question is how far is this drift going to go? Can you relate to one another anymore? Is there trust and respect? Can you build a deep bond of connection and intimacy despite these differences? Each couple has to decide for themselves. It takes a big conversation.

Some long term couples and married couples decide to live together despite their differences. They share what they can but each also enjoy their separate lives. Others seek out a partner who fulfills all of their needs. Then there are those who try to change their lover, or spurn them for not being the person they fell in love with to begin with. Instead, talk about it. Discuss the drift. See when it occurred and why it occurred. Figure out if it makes sense to stay together and share your life together or perhaps you’ve grown too different after all. For more advice read, Help! My Spouse and I Are Drifting Apart by Dr. Bill Maier and Mitch Temple.

Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

doomed

Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

When you see a disaster is eminent, the best plan is to get out before it’s too late. After that, it’s all triage. Nowhere else is this truer than when entering into a bad marriage—the consequences of which can follow you for years. Sometimes we’re blinded by love. At other times, something arises that cannot be reconciled. Either way, when the divorce is final, we often look for easy things to blame. We feel confused, overwhelmed, hurt and angry. But usually there are many things that lead to the decline and dissolution of such a relationship. Enjoy love but keep on the lookout for important warning signs. You may be able to duck a bad situation or likely recognize when your relationship is heading south. Do you remember your first fight? Few couples do. Well, maybe some women do. In any case, lots of couples fight about the same things, money being the topmost issue, confirmed in several studies. But if you start fighting about money early on, say as you’re boarding the plane on the way to your honeymoon, the marriage could be in trouble. That’s according to research out of Kansas State University. That’s because arguments about money early on affected the marriage even years later. Fighting about money was the “top predictor for divorce” regardless of socio-economic status or income level.

If you got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment, surprise–you might not make it. But if you dated for three years before deciding to get married, you have a 39% less likelihood of seeing the inside of a divorce court, according to researchers out of Emory University. Couples who dated for three years had far better odds than those who dated for less than a year. Are you both teetotalers? Or perhaps you both like to party until the wee hours. If you’re drinking habits diverge sharply, your relationship might soon too, so say University of Buffalo researchers. If one spouse drank heavily, the couple was more likely to get divorced. But the same results weren’t true when both partners tipped the glass often. Apparently, it’s the mismatch rather than the habit that causes strife.

Did you two talk about a prenup before marriage? If so, you are more than likely to keep your money when you two go your separate ways. That’s because the longevity of the marriage isn’t the utmost concern to both parties. Couples that don’t share a bank account are 145% more likely to divorce, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. The reason is financial generosity and sharing is conducive to marriage. It makes you a unit. Keeping things for yourself and separate is not, though of course we all need some individuality. Still, complete separateness denotes something. How much did you blow on the wedding? Some events seem to cost more than a mortgage nowadays. But one Emory University study found that the more you spend on the wedding, the less likely you will have staying power. That’s because spending more gave each elevated expectations for the marriage. When you aren’t ready for problems when they inevitably strike, there are no coping strategies set aside to deal with them. Those who coughed up $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to divorce than those who spent $5,000-$10,000. Social networking sites have us all interconnected. They influence us more than we think. In fact, one study published in “Social Forces” Journal found that if a friend or neighbor got divorced, that person was 75% more likely to get divorced themselves. For ways to make you marriage strong whether entering into or already in the thick of it read, The Marriage Guide Book: How to Make Your Marriage Thrive by Vanessa Pagan.

Should you Have Deal Breakers when Dating?

deal breaker

Should you Have Deal Breakers when Dating?

A deal-breaker is a quality that makes a person unfit to date. These can be traits one does not have, such as employment. Or it could be something a person does have that drives you crazy. Smoking, sloppiness, and having political views opposed to your own are just some examples. Lots of people, especially women, have dating deal breakers. Many people no matter the gender who have been through a divorce often rework their whole vetting process. But some people make their list of wants and needs too stringent. Others use it as a roadblock instead of a checkpoint. This gives the dater the ability to reject anyone while claiming that the fault lies with the poor quality of mates available rather than with one’s self. Those with commitment or intimacy issues often rely on this tactic. Others have a specific picture of the person they want or have in mind, and don’t open themselves up to the actualities and possibilities that exist before them. So at issue is whether or not these deal breakers cause someone to reject a mate without giving them a proper chance. Certainly one shouldn’t be dating everyone but those who have potential. You just have to make sure your vetting process doesn’t accidentally filter out someone who could make you very happy, and whom you could make happy in return.

One problem with deal breakers is that those who carry them hold them as gospel. There may be someone for instance with an opposite political viewpoint who is kind, considerate, attractive, passionate and has a great sense of humor. This is where the decision-making process gets difficult. If you focus too much on this one particular aspect of the person you may lose sight of all their other positive qualities. Of course if your political outlook is such an integral part of your life that it cannot be separated out then perhaps dating someone from the other side of the spectrum isn’t the best of ideas. But for most people this isn’t the case. What’s more, a person’s focus on this issue who doesn’t hold politics as central to their life would find that having this aspect as one of their deal breakers would be getting in their own way, obstructing love for a reason that seems inconsequential. If you have someone that you adore but hate their politics don’t talk politics with them and focus on their other qualities. But putting one quality ahead of others, specifically a quality that seems superficial, may filter out those who have real potential, and therefore obstruct one’s own chance at happiness and love. More important qualities like integrity, wit, charm, and chemistry among others may be eclipsed by less integral aspects. So should we even have deal breakers when dating?

A deal breaker is pivotal only when it focuses on core aspects of a potential mate’s personality that will cause harm to you or the relationship. If a person isn’t considerate, isn’t honest or trustworthy for instance, these qualities can make or break a relationship. Of course there is some gray area here. For instance, if you have severe asthma and the person you are trying to date refuses to give up smoking then a relationship cannot form. But what is at issue is not the smoking per se but their unwillingness to give up a harmful aspect of themselves for a loftier goal, keeping you around. If someone drinks moderately and you don’t like alcohol, if they are responsible then perhaps you can overlook it. But if they enjoy drinking and you are a recovering alcoholic, this person is not right for you. It’s all relative and for each person it’s different. It’s best to have a sketch of what you are looking for. Most romantic comedies start out with two unlikely characters that are good people who end up falling in love, despite their differences. This really happens in life from time to time. You don’t want to stand in the way of your own romcom coming to life. Make sure your deal breakers are things that are significant qualities that can harm you or the relationship. Don’t reject someone outright for superficial quirks. Instead be on the lookout for deep, integral positive and negative qualities that can help or harm a relationship. With the right vetting process in place you should have far more positive dating experiences. For more on the updated guidelines of love pick up a copy of, Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating (The Rules) by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider.

Advice that can save you from Divorce

Divorce,problems - Young couple angry at each other sitting back

Advice that can save you from Divorce

Lots of people have unrealistic expectations on what marriage is and what it takes to make one healthy and satisfying. Often when they start to realize where they and their spouse went wrong it’s too late to fix the marriage. The damage has been done and the differences remain irreconcilable. If you are thinking of tying the knot, have been there before and want to avoid the same mistakes, or are curious to see what exists in marriage that you haven’t considered, read on my friend. Here is advice that can save you from divorce.

Most couples know that the key to a successful relationship is communication. But that is far too simplistic and harder than it sounds. People communicate in different ways. Some people are direct, others subtle. But if a marriage is comprised of these two different styles, how can they communicate and get over the difficult problems that they inevitably come in to contact with? The answer is patience, listening actively, cooperating on problems instead of becoming opponents and blaming one another. Couples should talk about how they communicate. What are the different patterns that come up? What does one person do and then the other that leads to a fight? How can that be counteracted or overcome? Sometimes communicating using other means such as text, notes, a checklist, and email can help too. It gets messages across without there being any chance of an argument. Also, talk for 10 minutes a day about things other than chores, work or children.

Fights are going to happen. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. But there should be some ground rules. Don’t insult one another or call each other names. If it gets too heated allow your spouse to have a time out. You can, after they’ve cooled, schedule a time to revisit the issue. If you start a fight in front of the children, resolve it in front of them too. That way they learn how to end an argument constructively. Otherwise they’ll know how to fight but won’t know how to resolve. Realize that if you are in a rut in a marriage, it won’t resolve itself. Instead, you have to work hard to renew the spark. Don’t ignore it or else it may grow into too big a problem to address.

Understand what your attachment style is and what your spouse’s is and accommodate one another. Attachment style is how we show affection. Some people are naturally very affectionate. Others are quite reserved. But when a reserved person marries someone who is outwardly affectionate one person can feel starved for affection, the other overwhelmed by it. Discuss this and find ways to show your love that fits with the way your spouse would receive it, and have them adjust to your attachment style as well. As we grow older our priorities shift. This has to be discussed and planned for when something is coming or when it occurs. If you are moving in different directions it’ll be hard to stay together. For more advice read, How Not to Get Divorced: Powerful Principals to Help You Prevent Divorce and Have a Happier Marriage by Michael Caputo.

Ways to Put your Finances Together

finances

Ways to Put your Finances Together

In the old days men generally took care of the finances, though in a few households the women took the money and paid the bills. Today, as partners, we are expected to each contribute our thoughts and feelings on the matter. People have different backgrounds and outlooks on how they deal with money. Some people realize that you only live once and money is to be enjoyed. Others understand that saving for the future and being frugal is paramount to success. Both outlooks are true. But it all depends on the kind of lifestyle you lead.

If a free spirit marries a skin-flint you’d better hold onto your hats. The arguments these two will have will be explosive. But talking about finances and ways to put them together, how to manage them, compromising, coming up with innovative strategies, and remembering shared goals are all a part of becoming life partners. It can still be difficult to navigate the uncharted waters of shared finances. There are lots of traps along that journey. But instead of falling for them take a look at these ways of putting your finances together. See if you can suggest one or two to your partner, move through the roughness and on to smooth sailing straight up ahead.

There is the equality approach. This is where both partners keep separate accounts but put money in for savings and the bills into one checking account. Both parties contribute an equal amount. Realize that a joint account means both people can put money in and take money out. There should be an explicit understanding of what that money is for and trust in one’s partner that they will handle their access to that account responsibly. If you aren’t getting married but cohabitating consider getting a cohabitation agreement to cover what may happen if you two break up. Further, separate leases could cause less grief should someone want to leave whilst both of you are on the lease.

When there are unequal incomes involved, a way of alleviating this problem is to allow both parties to contribute a percentage of their income, or what they can afford. Of course, if one person is a hedge fund manager and the other a kindergarten teacher and they live in a penthouse apartment, there’s no way the teacher could afford the rent. But who would want to give up that apartment? Instead, the educator can contribute what they would pay were s/he in a regular apartment. This gives the teacher their own independence. S/he is not reliant on the significant other for support. But it is also a sign of respect, in contributing his or her fair share. For more advice read, Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples by Matt Bell.