Top Divorce Indicator Prevention

contempt

Top Divorce Indicator Prevention

Want to know the top divorce indicator and how to prevent it? The top indicator is how a couple communicates. Does their speech build people up or tear them down? The University of Washington’s Professor John Gottman is the nation’s top expert on couple’s studies. After more than twenty years of research, he has found that the single most common indicator of divorce is when couple’s show contempt for each other. Contempt can be defined as negativity, sarcasm or a negative judgment regarding their partner. The opposite of respect is contempt. Additionally, there are four major statement that symbolize contempt. Whether the contempt is intentional or not is another matter. Your language plus a directive for instance is such language. “You should, You are, You’d better, You have to,” are examples. These kinds of statements are showing that the person is being judged and told what to do. It’s only natural then that they get resentful and defensive, not good emotions for a blissful marriage.

Universal statements are the next sort that reveal contempt. “You always, You never, Everyone or Such a” are often included in these statements. They show a person’s behavior or character in a negative light. Statements like “You always leave your socks on the bathroom floor.” “Everyone gets places on time but you.” “Everyone knows what a slob you are,” and so on. These statements hurt our partner in a few different ways. These statements only say what is wrong and shame the person they are directed to. Yet, they fail to say things in a positive light. And they don’t say how to make things right.  What is the solution to the problem? Also, this sort of logic is easy to pierce. If you say, “You never pay for anything.” The other person can just say, “I paid for dinner just last year.” This person gets a laugh and the statement has been negated all at once. Then there is invalidating feelings. If you tell someone they are blowing things out of proportion then you are invalidating their feelings. Instead, validate your lover’s feelings. Tell them you understand how they feel and why they feel that way. When you have a problem address the behavior and how it made you feel. “You didn’t pick up your socks and it made me feel like your maid” should be enough to drive the point home. Always talk to your partner with respect and expect the same in return. For more advice read, Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Ways to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson.

Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?

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Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?

7.5 million U.S. couples, mostly 20-somethings are cohabitating today as a way to make sure they’ll stay together, in hopes of preventing future divorce. The reason is most of them grew up in the 1980’s when a lot of divorces took place. Millennials and Generation Y growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s for the first time saw a record number of divorces due to a chipping away at the stigma and, what’s more, no fault divorce laws coming into vogue across the nation. These generations want to stave off marriage in hopes of making sure the person they are living with is the one for them. Divorce is of course a financially and emotionally shattering event in one’s life. But there seems to be some controversy in whether or not living together before marriage prevents divorce. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Meg Jay of the University of Virginia, who in a New York Times article wrote of what she calls the “cohabitation effect,” a phenomenon of cohabitating couples getting married and becoming less satisfied than those who did not live together, and so are more prone to divorce. According to Dr. Jay instead of getting married 20-something couples merely move into the direction of cohabitation instead of making it a point to focus on, discuss and decide on their relationship and where it is going, what she’s termed “sliding, not deciding,” meaning couples just drift into cohabitation rather than making it a serious decision as perhaps couples in past generations might have.

Sliding works like this: sex leads to leaving a tooth brush at someone’s place, then some personal care products and sooner or later the couple has moved in together. “Mission creep” is another term used for the same phenomenon. The couple seems naturally to fall into cohabitation. But according to Dr. Jay research has shown that the sexes view cohabitation differently. Women see it as an avenue to marriage while men see it as a way to have a relationship. What’s more, Dr. Jay says that the standards they hold for a spouse aren’t as high as one they hold for a cohabitating partner. As the relationship develops a new stage will sooner or later crop up, what Dr. Jay calls “lock-in” which she defines as, “the decreased likelihood to search for or change to another option once an initial investment has been made.” Once the couple is established, they are splitting the bills, have a group of friends, and even have pets. It is harder to extricate one’s self. Also, entering into dating after you’ve been lodged into this type of relationship is scary. If the relationship at home is of a lower quality than one would have if one were looking for a marriage partner, it seems as though it’s easier to settle for what you have at home than to get rid of that person and set out to seek a spouse. So people in this group settle for what they already have, says Jay.

Jay argues that 20-somethings and others stay in mediocre relationships for years, not being really happy simply out of convenience and a fear of the unknown. She says relationships that would have lasted only a few months now drag on for years, and so in her view wastes those 20-something years. Still, cohabitation seems likely to stay, not only for social reasons, or fear of divorce, but also financial ones. Lots of 20-somethings having to forgo marriage for longer bouts of education just to be marketable in the job market have staved off marriage for career. Some 20-somethings are so overburdened with work and school that they don’t have time to develop their love lives. In this sense, a default mode or staying in a non-traditional or even a non-monogamous relationship in order to get one’s needs met while still keeping one’s grades up and earning a paycheck could be more practical for 20-somethings. A whole shift in how people engage in their love lives is not based merely on the younger generation experiencing their parent’s divorce but in shifts in our economic system and other factors as well. People are also living longer today. Being married to one person for the rest of one’s life is looking less and less like an attractive option. What once only lasted a few decades can now go on and on for even half a century or more. There are many more options open today for young people due to the proliferation of internet dating and dating apps. What’s more, a generation of young women, college educated and able to support themselves are in a peculiar situation. Many don’t see themselves supporting a man. They aren’t tethered to men for financial support and so can choose and steer the course of their own romantic relationship with far less of the stigma that once occurred in the past. Dr. Jay may be on to something in one sense. But there also may be many more factors at play complicating the issue. Some psychologists and others are calling this the end of marriage. Others believe marriage will only change. Some are proposing different scenarios such as an open marriage, marriages that expire after a certain number of years but that can be renewed, even situations such as “monogamish” where couples have a few rules about when they can stray outside of the marriage. How marriage plays out in America in the future is anyone’s guess. One thing is clear, we are at the beginning of a tremendous transformation in this category of life that isn’t projected to change anytime soon. For more pick up a copy of the book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Megan Jay.

Can Domestic Violence be Prevented?

violence

Can Domestic Violence be Prevented?

With the Ray Rice video all over the airwaves and the internet, spousal abuse and domestic violence have become national topics of conversation. But this case, bringing to light an age-old phenomenon, also carries with it a number of questions. One such question is why women get together with men who abuse them to begin with. The eminent Dr. Susan Forward studied this phenomenon in depth over the course of her career. The character she outlined is the misogynist. She said that a misogynist, before the relationship, portrays himself as Prince Charming. It can even feel too good to be true. At this time the man is willing to give up power in the relationship, temporarily, to see it flourish and to initiate sexual intercourse. Healthy men do not see this period as a temporary setback, nor do they make designs to change things once she is roped in. This misogynist harbors a hatred and disrespect for women. Bitterness and resentment toward the female sex lies deep within his heart. As the relationship carries on, and the honeymoon phase fades, he will tire of always accommodating his partner. She will wonder why he has had this sudden change, distancing himself from activities they once enjoyed, during the earlier days of their relationship.

Meanwhile, she will be completely unaware of the negative feelings he has been harboring all of this time, and wondering why this sudden change has occurred. The only way for the relationship to continue is for him to keep accommodating her needs. It will begin to become oppressive to him. He will feel trapped. To escape he will form a secret hiding place for himself that he enjoys. Sooner or later he will no longer be able to contain the negative feelings he has been repressing. He will start to get a short temper, perhaps a foul mouth. He may be emotionally and verbally abusive. Physical altercations may occur. Now she has to decide whether to leave him, which could make him go off and make things far worse, or stay with him and live in constant fear. So can you be on the lookout for a misogynist and avoid domestic violence? It’s unclear. Look out for cracks in the mask, wisecracks that reveal negativity about women, stories that always paint women in a negative light and so on. Other than that, if you have an uneasy feeling, find out what it is stemming from, but listen to it.

Another important question is what a woman should do if she finds herself in a relationship with a misogynist. If he has the ability to change, and he can be reasoned with, get him to seek psychological help. He needs to be able to deal with his inner demons and the root cause for his disorder. If it isn’t possible to reach him, or he keeps getting worse or not any better, she should seek legal counsel, get a restraining order, and at a safe time gather up the children, if there are any, and her things and leave. She needs to make sure she has prepared for a safe place to go to, even if it is a women’s shelter. Contact with the abuser should be kept to a minimum. Many women don’t leave however. They are manipulated and convinced that the problem lies with them. They try over and over to meet outrageous demands. Remember always that shame and abuse are never normal. No one should put up with it. Everyone has the right to live happy and free. For more on this dark phenomenon be sure to read the bestseller, Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them by Dr. Susan Forward.

5 Steps to Stopping Divorce

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Oftentimes spouses ignore the problems in their marriage. Though one partner may complain it often doesn’t sound like what they are complaining about is really divorce worthy. But when one person finally confronts the other saying they want a divorce, they are moving out, or the spouse gets divorce papers, it suddenly feels as though the world is being torn apart. The problems were there all along but they just got used to ignoring it. Meanwhile, these issues were built up in the other spouse until they could take it no longer. Lots of times the spouse who is shocked will think that they had no idea the other was even unhappy. Sure spouses complain, but isn’t that normal? On the other side, the one who is asking for divorce usually feels like they’ve tried to tell the other spouse every which way how unhappy they were, but the other failed to do anything about it or even take notice. Whether each person’s perception is true or not is actually irrelevant at this time. What is relevant is the fact that there is a marital crisis now on your hands. What will it be, divorce or reconciliation? Certainly there are those marriages that are too far gone to be reconciled either from emotional or physical abuse, multiple infidelities or perhaps the emotional bond that once existed simply cannot be repaired. But there are lots of divorces that take place which could have been avoided. There are marriages that can and often are turned around. So if you are in the same kind or a similar situation, take heed. Here are 5 steps to stopping your divorce from taking place.

First, don’t mope, get moving. Make an action plan to address all the issues your spouse has with the marriage and how you are going to overcome those obstacles. Second, don’t play the victim. A lot of people tend to want to mope around and say, “Why me?”. Think about all the good qualities that you bring to your marriage and find out how to remind them of that. Are you going to tell them or show them? Will some grand gesture help to assuage their pain and neglect, show them that you have been listening and that you care? Let your actions speak for you. Show them your love, affection and gratitude. Show them how much they mean to you and how willing you are to work things out and make things better. The fourth step is getting out a pen and paper and write down all the negative things your spouse has been saying. What have they been complaining about? Make a list and think about it. Do these same patterns show up in your previous romantic relationships? What about your parents? Do you see any family background in how you act in relationships and how your parents acted toward one another? Our first caregivers are often the model for later relationships. If they had certain issues in their relationship it’s likely you may be exhibiting the same behavior.  Talk it over with them. Don’t have any blaming or shaming involved. Just talk about the issues. See if you can get on the same side and find ways to listen and communicate better, and how best to solve these issues together. If you can alleviate the problems that are driving your spouse away, chances are they’ll be happy and want to remain in the marriage.

Now it’s time to clean out all the old pain, misplaced anger, resentment, guilt and more. Have a heart to heart talk with your spouse. Talk about the emotional issues in your relationship that one or both of you have been carrying toward one another. This is a time for opening up and understanding, not for blame or pointing fingers, nor should anyone get defensive. You want to open up and feel comfortable talking about it with one another. This vulnerability will build up your bond and deepen your relationship, thereby reaffirming your connection. Oftentimes, fights and resentment build up over misunderstandings. See how your spouse interpreted something that you did or vice versa. Lastly, it’s time for the two of you to start developing the skills that every marriage needs in order to make it happy and well-adjusted. Cooperation, open and honest communication, positivity, gratitude, understanding and more. Read self-help books together, go to couple’s counseling or follow different websites offering relationship and marriage advice. For more, be sure to read Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart by William J. Doherty, Ph.D.

One in Three Women are Abused by their Partner

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The World Health Organization’s (WHO) first sweeping international report on violence against women was recently released, and its findings are shocking—one in three women worldwide will at some point in their lifetime be abused by their partner either physically or sexually. A recent study published in The Lancet found that one-third of female murder victims were terminated by a lover. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Dr. Heidi Stockl was the author of one study, of which she wrote in a press release, “Our results underscore that women are disproportionately vulnerable to violence and murder by an intimate partner, and their needs have been neglected for far too long.” The WHO review found that one-third of women who are or were abused defined abuse as being punched, pushed, chocked, slapped, or having a weapon used against her.  For sexual violence’s definition, a woman had to be mentally or physically coerced into performing a sex act or felt they needed to and felt degraded or humiliated in doing so.

86 countries contributed data for this review spanning from 1983 to 2010. The WHO found that Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East saw the highest incidents of domestic violence. According to the United Nations 600 million women are currently residing in a country where domestic violence isn’t on the law books as a crime. 66 countries were studied with 492,000 cases of murder in all taking place over a 20 year span for the study on murder and romantic partners. 13.5% of all murders are done by a lover or ex-lover. 38.6 percent of all women being murdered were by current or former lovers compared to 6.3% of all men. The regions where the rate for female murders by lovers is highest are high income countries at 41%, the Americas at 40.5%, Africa at 40% and Southeast Asia at 59%. Women are six times more likely to be killed by a lover either former or current than men. So it’s important for a woman to watch who she dates carefully. Her greatest risk of being murdered is most likely by a jilted lover. Not having enough data according to researchers means the problem could be far worse than this report suggests. Says Stockl, “More needs to be done, particularly to increase investment in intimate partner violence prevention, to support women experiencing intimate partner violence [most women killed by a partner have been in long-term abusive relationships], and to control gun ownership for people with a history of violence.” It’s important for the families and friends of married women to support them when they file for divorce. Often women stay in dangerous situations due to the fear that their loved ones will be ashamed of their failed marriage. For more on this topic, read Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse by Paul Hegstrom, Ph.D.