Should we be Happy about the High Divorce Rate?

FUNNY-DIVORCE

Should we be Happy about the High Divorce Rate?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, our sour mood on marriage has been sustained for three consecutive years in a row, 2009-2012 with signs that it hasn’t abated. We’ll see what the newest numbers bring. The number of divorces in 2012 reached a record-high of 2.4 million. Not only are we ending more marriages but fewer are being created according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Their findings show the marriage rate is down a whopping 60%.

If you are a believer in marriage, even hoping it’s coming for you, these stats can put you down in the dumps. But just like with every thunderhead the clearest sunny day follows. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all this divorcing is good for the economy. Two separated people have to get two separate houses, or at least two distinct places to live. That means new leases or mortgages and more money flowing into the economy. That’s good for everyone else. The bad news? There isn’t much benefit to the individual.

Single women are the biggest growing demographic in the economy. They are also buying houses in droves according to the U.S. Association of Realtors. Richard R. Peterso, author of the book Women, Work, and Divorce recently said that, “Divorced and never-married women are more likely to work and to work more hours per year, and are less likely to withdraw from the labor force, than married women.” According to investment website LearnVest.com those who are single shell out more for the privilege of living alone, $67,000 more over six decades.

A recent story in The Atlantic stated that women can expect to make one million dollars more if you take taxes, healthcare and other things such as this into consideration. Though a bad economy usually increases divorce rates, due to the strain it puts on couples, some experts believe lots of people are staying separated, cohabitating instead of getting married and altogether avoiding divorce. Only with time will we see what actually happened to marriage due to the Great Recession.

Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

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Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

Divorce for women forty and over is different than for women under forty according to Erica Manfred, author of the book, History; You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty.  The sheer difference between handling divorce as a lady at 40 plus is that you have less opportunities than at earlier times. Some women have to re-enter the workforce. But if she’s been home caring for the house and children, or had a gap in employment, she may be in for a rude awakening when hitting today’s job market. If she hasn’t had a family yet and wanted one her chances are diminished.

The difference today from years ago is that there are plenty of single, available men who are also divorced. But the herd is a bit thinner than what women encounter at a younger age. If you need to reestablish your career consider attending college, community college, nursing school or some form of higher education. Civil service examinations are good avenues for employment. Networking with friends, family, acquaintances and others are good ideas as well, both for employment, and career advice.

Many people stay married for the sake of the children. They wait until the kids have grown up so as not to injure their psyches. But according to Ms. Manfred, “The kids are never grown.” What she means by that is that children are distraught by the divorce of their parents no matter what age they’re at. The kids begin to question their childhood, whether they grew up in a happy household for instance, or if it was all a lie. Now holidays are also separated into two. This will be quite awkward. Problems soon creep up in their own relationship. And they worry about who is going to take care of one or both parents once they get older and can’t take care of themselves. If you need to break the news, no matter what age, both of you should tell the children together according to Manfred. Deliver the news with empathy and understanding. Make sure the timing is right.

Surprisingly, 66% of over 50 divorces are initiated by women. This is because often the man has had bad habits, which she could ignore when he was out and about. But now that he’s home all the time it becomes a problem. There’s infidelity with younger women. And there are those men who recede into themselves and just sit on the couch and watch TV, while she still wants to live an active lifestyle and social life, go out, do things, meet people, and so gets tired of having no connection with him. It may not seem easy but for many divorce makes them much happier.

How to See Yourself as your Spouse Sees You

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Once we say “I do” everything changes. It seems that all of your life decisions, big and small, have to be run past your wife or husband. The two have become one. That means that their joys are yours, and yours there’s. But the same is true with shortcomings. When one person’s problems damage the relationship, both people are affected. But we don’t often see what issues we bring. Instead, we hold stalwart to our own point of view, making our spouse dig in as well.  It drives a wedge between husband and wife and the household falls into disharmony. Instead, learn to see yourself how your spouse sees you. You will become a better husband or wife, undo this digging in phenomenon and change the dynamic from one of opponents to partners, helping each other and working together, just as it should be. First, realize that your spouse reflects you. People respond to the signals, body language, gestures, facial expressions, and the things you say. Children or people with a developmental disorder are great at reflecting others. Many people tend to mask what they are reflecting. So watch your spouse carefully. See how you are treating them, what you are saying and doing, and how it is being reflected back at you. See what phenomenon starts with you and is picked up by your partner, and what they are doing that you are picking up.

Begin to notice your own behaviors in situations. But also see when your spouse or others around you act just as you do in the same or similar situations. Why do you act this way? How do people react to it? And what chain reaction is set off? Begin to notice when your spouse or others manipulate you. When they say a certain thing, do you do something that they know you will do? Why do they do so? Instead of having a knee jerk reaction, you can evaluate the situation and see what a better way to react would be. Why not switch roles for a day. You may not be able to go to their job. But if they are a homemaker, stay at home one day and see what it is like. Switch chores for one day or even one week and see it from the other person’s point of view. Reflect on what you learned and discuss it with your partner. Why not simply ask them what you can do to improve the relationship and take the marriage to a whole new level? They should be open to the same question from you as well. Discuss what phenomenon often comes up, who starts it and how the other reacts when an argument occurs. What is the best way to address the issue? How should both of you act instead? Why not talk to one of your enemies and ask them how they see you? Why is it that you two are enemies anyway? What can you do to become friends? They reflect you just as your friends and spouse do. There are lots of ways to become more self-aware, and use that knowledge to improve yourself and your marriage. For more guidance on how to strengthen your marriage, read the advice of Russ Harris in his book, ACT with Love: Stop Struggling, Reconcile Differences, and Strengthen Your Relationship with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

What to Know about Dating a Jamaican Man

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Whether you know a Jamaican man in your own country, or you are on vacation and are interested in dating a Jamaican man, the culture is a bit different than that of the U.S. The stereotype is that Jamaican men are controlling, womanizing, and disrespectful of women. The truth is they are like any other group of people. Some Jamaican men don’t treat their women well. Others treat them like queens. We cannot stereotype or generalize, but the culture can be a little bit different. Study the culture if you are seriously interested in someone of the Jamaican persuasion. Here are some things to get you started. If you are going out for a date, or hanging at home, realize that they don’t have the same fast food culture that we in the U.S. do. In fact, Jamaicans eat lots of fresh food prepared at home. Fast food may be okay once in a while, but of course it isn’t healthy so he won’t appreciate eating it all the time. So instead, why not prepare something at home, go to a healthier restaurant, or perhaps ask him to make one of his favorite dishes? And what makes a better date than cooking together? Jamaicans are said to have a number of jobs at one time. The truth is that Jamaicans have a strong work ethic. So don’t be afraid to ask him what he does. It will probably make for interesting conversation.

Jamaicans are very family oriented. In American society, being taken to meet a man’s family means that he’s serious about you. In Jamaican culture, not so much. Very often someone in the family is throwing a party. If they are aware of you they will invite you. But that doesn’t mean, should he be seeing someone else, that he won’t bring her to the next family party. So don’t take an invite or a point where you meet his family as too big of a sign. Also, Jamaican men often take what their mothers say to heart. Understand that her opinion in his life in general, and of you specifically, may carry more weight than an American man’s. If you are a bit prudish, dating a Jamaican may not be for you. In American culture, talking about sex is done behind closed doors, never in front of the family. In Jamaican culture the attitude about sex is much more laid back, and may even be discussed in front of the family. Understand this and don’t be too embarrassed if you find yourself in the middle of some awkward, funny, and interesting conversations. Machismo and masculinity is very essential to the Jamaican lifestyle. If you have any gay friends, realize that your Jamaican interest may be homophobic. Talk to him about it before you bring your gay friends around. Lastly, Jamaican men are thought to be smooth. Don’t get too caught up in his accent or the way he can put sentences together to charm and sway you. You can learn more about dating Jamaican men through the advice of Empress Yuajah in her book, How to Date a Jamaican Man: How to Love and Understand a Jamaican Man.

New Boyfriend Red Flags

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Are you in a new relationship? In the beginning, lovers are so enamored with each other that they often don’t see the big problems waiting for them once the honeymoon phase is over. Usually when a huge problem strikes the relationship, a woman will think the man just changed out of nowhere and that he wasn’t always like this. It could be that he was on his best behavior until he got comfortable and started to let his hair down. But it could also be that this behavior was always there. But for some reason it was ignored or denied. Of course, everyone has problems, issues, and things they need to work on. But certain things can be ignored or accommodated for, while others are a no go. Here are some new boyfriend red flags. Watch out for these and make sure your new beau isn’t exhibiting any of these relationship killers. First, watch out for inconsistency. If your guy is always changing jobs, friends, bank accounts, or even zip codes maybe think about getting a new boyfriend. There is something funny going on here. He either has commitment problems or is operating some sort of illegal operation. Either way, it spells doom for you if you let it get serious. Does your man have a short fuse? If he gets into fights or screaming matches with strangers and can go from zero to boiling in a matter of seconds, you should slink out of this relationship. What happens when he turns that temper on you?

If he left his ex for you, or cheated on her with you, red lights should be flashing behind your eyes. He may have commitment issues, be insecure, or have an ego the size of the Superdome. If he cheated on her, why won’t he cheat on you? All relationships get rocky at some point. If you want someone to weather the storm with you, perhaps look elsewhere. If your man can’t hold down a job, you may need to push the eject button on the relationship. The labor market is not great. Don’t kick a guy when he’s down, but find out the real reasons why he can’t keep a job. Does he cause disciplinary trouble? Was he laid off, fired, or did he quit? What are the particulars? Of course you want a partner that will stand by your side, not a child whom you have to take care of. Watch out for a manipulator. Do not become vulnerable to this person. If he tries to coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do or into giving him money, consider dropping his phone number and telling him to take a hike. You can learn more about the behaviors of a manipulative man in the book, The Manipulative Man: Identify His Behavior, Counter the Abuse, Regain Control by Dorothy McCoy.   If he has kids with more than one ex, back off. There will be a lot of drama in your future if you don’t. Lastly, worry if he keeps bringing up his ex. He’s not over her. Tell him to give you a call when he’s finally done with her.