Advice that can save you from Divorce

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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.

Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

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Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

Trying to stick together for the children, even after you’ve done everything possible to resurrect your marriage, usually just makes things worse. Even when the children are shielded from the arguments, they can sense the hostility like a tense fog over the house. Some kids even report feeling relieved when hearing of their parent’s divorce, the opposite of what we picture would happen, begging them to stay together. But having things appear to be working and having them actually working are two different things. You can’t hide the truth from them. They live there, too. And they know, already. Kids have an incredible beat on what’s happening with their parents. It’s some sort of natural inclination. But to deny it is to insult their intelligence. Children also model their romantic relationships after their parents. If you stay together without any longer feeling love, commitment or any tender feelings at all towards one another, what kind of message are you sending them? Will they do the same in their future marriages or relationships? Don’t you want them to be happy and follow that happiness, wherever it may lead? If you stick together, your sacrifice is wasted. In fact, it is doing more harm than good.

There are lots of considerations when getting a divorce. There is the financial burden, which everyone will endure, including the children. It can be hard in a variety of ways. There is telling them, the possibility of moving and putting them in a new school, custody battles, and fights over asset allocation, child support and alimony. The average divorce lasts somewhere in the vicinity of six months. The most hotly debated and contentious can take years. For those in no financial condition to divorce, a separation until the means for a simple divorce can be arranged may be the best answer.  Some worry about the stigma. But today, divorce is so common the stigma has virtually evaporated. What generally happens when it is all over, or at least when a new pattern settles in, is things get better. Without living in a contentious household, the kids feel more secure. They will relax and be themselves. More focus will now be placed on them instead of on the elephant in the room. Parents can also feel that they are being upfront with their children, and the kids won’t feel lied to. There are also lots of life lessons being portrayed that can carry over into their love lives, once they grow up. Children learn to have realistic expectations for relationships, love and marriage. Too many people today have some sort of Disneyesque vision, skewing their expectations. They just are not realistic when it comes to love and relationships in the real world. But children of divorce see past all that. They are also less likely to jump into a committed relationship without thinking about it, and who with.

A divorce helps children see their parents as people. They see their parents in many different roles; sometimes as a worker, of course as a parent, a friend, child, and a sibling and when they start dating again, as a partner to someone else. In other words, the kids don’t take their vision of their parents for granted. They also recognize more closely that their parents are flawed, or to put it a better way, human. But children who see their parent’s marriage as an ideal to be lived up to, suddenly cannot choose what their heart wants. They keep chasing an ideal that they will never catch instead of the reality of love that is before them. Everyone has to find someone right for them. And those two people have to develop a relationship that works for their particular personalities. But when we try to bend a relationship to match some unrealistic ideal, things are bound to run in to trouble.

Children can see their parents more as people who have hopes, dreams, flaws and regrets. They also gather insight into how bad relationships operate and how good relationships work. Usually, parents get into other long-term relationships after divorce, or get remarried. So instead of focusing on having children coming from a “broken home,” realize that if your house is full of contention, either explicit or implicit, it is affecting the children far more negatively than you think. It’s best instead to have the courage to move on with your life, embrace who you are and after you heal, allow yourself to love again. These are great lessons to pass onto your children. They will learn to be brave, and go forth in the world to find the love that they deserve, the kind that is right for them. To learn how to operate and move forward when you have kids and a separation is looming read, The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert Emery.

Why Catches Stay in Bad Relationships

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Why Catches Stay in Bad Relationships

Have you ever seen someone who was a real catch and then see their partner and wonder what in the world they were doing with that person? Most people have experienced this. There are those in bad relationships who don’t feel they can leave. Others seem to go on and on while the couple tries for the umpteenth time to make it work. The truth is there are a lot of catches who stay in bad relationships and just become complacent, but why? Turns out there are many reasons. Sometimes one partner makes more than the other. You get used to a luxurious lifestyle. The relationship or marriage is on the rocks. But you can’t leave. How can you ever live like you used to, after getting used to being a jet-setter? The truth is human beings have an emotional need for intimacy. If you love champagne and caviar more than the person who’s feeding it to you, this will always be an unhealthy relationship that if you let it, will consume you. These are silk handcuffs, a prison made of dollar bills, and even though it sounds fun for a while, sooner or later one realizes that true happiness is making a connection with one’s lover, not making a connecting flight to Barbados to try and fill an emptiness in their heart.

Some people stay together because they don’t want to hurt the children psychologically. Studies have shown however that children growing up in single parent homes grow up just as well-adjusted as those that grow up in dual parent homes. What’s more, relationship static affects children. So staying together but fighting, arguing or other strife can negatively impact children’s mental health. Children know whether their parents get along or not. So any amount of pretending isn’t good. What’s more, you model how your children will interact in terms of love. If you settle for something less and don’t pursue your happiness you are teaching them to do the same. Then there’s codependency, a problem for many couples. Having a partner there reassures lots of people. In fact, there are plenty of people who are scared of being alone. For more severe cases a spouse or partner’s inappropriate behavior gives them attention and sympathy from outsiders which would not be available without the significant other and their bad behavior.  Whether you are with someone just to be with someone, or there is something more involved you must realize that this isn’t a good reason to be in a relationship. In fact, it only perpetuates a negative cycle. You have to truly love yourself to be happy. Focus on yourself and that happiness will resonate. Find ways to overcome the problems and self-esteem issues you suffer, and ways to feel good about yourself. Remember that you deserve a healthy, happy relationship. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. For more on this topic, read Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships by Cindi Sansone-Braff.

Scientists found a Cheating Gene

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A British extra-marital affair website called Elicit Encounters has just finished a poll of 2,000 women and found that 75% of those who cheated had a mother who had an affair. 62% of these said that their mother’s choice to cheat had a direct influence on their decision to go astray. 54% of men said that their father’s infidelity made them more comfortable with having an affair. Some scientists today even believe that cheating is genetic. Researchers from the State University of New York in conjunction with Binghamton University found that 50% of those who had the DRD4 gene, also known as the thrill seeking gene, had more acts of infidelity and more sexual partners. This is one variation of the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism or DRD4. According to Justin Garcia, lead researcher on this study, those who had the gene “were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity.” Gambling addiction and alcoholism are also associated with this gene. By influencing brain chemistry the gene influences a person’s behavior. The rush of dopamine to the reward and pleasure centers of the brain is what someone with this active gene craves.

181 students took part in this study. They took a survey that was anonymous detailing their sexual history. Questions such as whether or not they’d been unfaithful and how many sex partner they had had previous were included. A special mouthwash was then used for each participant to see what their genetic makeup was like and if they indeed had the gene DRD4. This gene does have a variation with longer alleles and those that have this variety are more likely to be promiscuous and take part in infidelity. Those that had 7 repeat alleles or more were twice as likely to have taken part in promiscuous sex or a “one night stand.” According to Garcia, “It turns out everyone has got the gene.”  The difference is how pronounced it is. “Just as height varies, the amount of information in the gene varies. In those who have more, their alleles are longer and they are more prone to thrill-seeking,” said Garcia. He went on to say, “It’s inheritable, too. If your parents have it, you have it.” What varies is how impactful the dopamine surge is. Those who have longer alleles need more dopamine to rush to the pleasure centers of the brain in order to feel satisfied. To give an example, Garcia says that when it comes to sex, “It’s rewarding and makes us excited and gives us pleasure. But the people with the DRD4 gene need more stimuli to feel satiated. Some of them say ‘wow, that was a rush’ after jumping out of a plane. Others ask, ‘When is the plane going back up?’” For more on this topic, read Mean Genes by Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan.

How to Make a Blended Family Work

The Brady Bunch

Though they certainly seem common nowadays, it isn’t easy to put together a blended family. This is the Brady Bunch scenario where both parents come together and bring their kids to make one family. Though no problem was too big for the Brady’s that they couldn’t tackle it in an hour, in real life breakups, separations and divorces, or households rife with strain, can be filled with repressed anger and other negative emotions. Truth be told there aren’t a lot of resources out there for blended families to learn how to solve their unique issues. In a newly blended household, there are a lot of people worried and clamoring for attention or having a hard time seeing where they fit in. Don’t worry. If you have good will, patience and fortitude, plus love for one another you’ll be able to weather the storms and make it through. Here’s how to make a blended family work. First, realize that the more kids you have altogether the more difficult and stressful it makes everything. It makes if feel like you’ve been married for decades and decades when really it’s only been a few years. They’re more expensive, too. Make sure you let all the children know how important they are and how loved they are. Let them know that they’ll have to pitch in to make it work and that they are a part of something bigger now, a blended family.

If you run in certain circles, there might be some shame attached to being from a blended family due to other’s religious beliefs. But blended families, just like everyone else, need help. They are just people trying to make their way in the world. So if you feel as though your family or a member of it is being treated unfairly, speak up and stand up for yourself and your loved ones. We all have equal rights. No one should feel excluded. Don’t try to get over it yourself. Don’t try to do everything yourself either or you’ll run yourself rampant. Ask for help or emotional support when you are stressed from neighbors, friends and family members, even a civic or religious leader should you be so inclined. The kids may not want to do it at first, but why not schedule a family fun night? You can watch movies, play board games, go on a hike, go stargazing, arts and crafts, and so much more. It’s important to build a family culture that each person can cling to and feel as though they belong to something bigger. Remember that it’s important to be flexible. If you are too rigid you are liable to snap. Instead, dole out love and forgiveness. You can’t be self-absorbed. You can only be selfless. Don’t only focus on the children. Let each parent get a little time to themselves now and then. Also focus on your marriage, it’s the model for who the children will become. They look up to you and your relationship so keep it strong and vibrant and everyone will benefit. For more on this topic, be sure to pick up a copy of Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family by Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green.