Relationships

How to Maintain a Relationship – People Share Their Secrets

After getting divorced one may be more cautious when dating again – wanting to avoid potential pitfalls. Your marital union has ended and it can be puzzling how other folks stay together for half of a century. A variety of couples graciously revealed their secrets to what makes a relationship last.

Just let go

At the end of the day, let go of the trivial things which happened. Do not get worked up over the small stuff, but rather focus on what is important. When we carry all of these insignificant grudges around, they become a big load. No one is perfect – so give your partner some slack. Do not keep score. “I did this so you had better do that.” One acquaintance kept a tally of grievances and when she reached a high number, they got a divorce. A friend kept track of who did what chores. She expected them to be split 50/50 even though she worked fewer hours outside of the home. That ended in divorce. Your spouse’s actions are not motivated by malice, so just let go. We all have annoying quirks.

No one has the power to  “make” you happy

People have divorced or broken up with partners when that individual no longer “made them happy.” We choose our feelings and no one else has the power to make us feel a certain way. It is in our control to be happy or not. Long -term couples said that they required other relationships besides the marital one, such as being in clubs and with friends. The Dalai Lama states “True happiness does not depend on an external being or thing. It only depends upon us.” When becoming unhappy, that is a red flag to have a discussion with your partner. One woman informed her husband that she wanted a divorce because she was so unhappy. Talking this through, they discovered that she missed her old job and was miserable being a stay-at-home mom. Once back in the workforce, she was content with her life.

Follow your gut instinct

A priest said that he talks to both mothers when doing weddings. He tells these ladies not to interfere with their children’s relationship. Do not let your friends interfere with your relationship either. Friends can mean well, however give lousy advice that is detrimental. They may have their own agenda, which does not align with yours. Two co-workers were close and the friend played racquetball with the other’s husband. She pretended to support her married pal, but the end result was that the couple got divorced and the other two got married. Trust your gut instinct and do not rely on others to offer opinions on what to do. I knew it would be a mistake to get married to my now ex-husband. An older family friend kept insisting it was only “pre-wedding jitters” and to go through with it. Big mistake listening to her.

Be  careful about what you say

Be careful of what you confide to others -especially when going through a difficult time. Friends will side with you and may not like your partner after hearing your complaints about him or her. They often continue to loathe them after your problems are resolved. You may be told you are too good for your spouse, when personal details are overshared with family and friends. What you say in anger can have a negative effect on their viewpoint of your partner and of you remaining in the relationship.

Share

Couples stated that sharing was important, which includes sharing child care responsibilities. One father said that he is “the bottle washer” since his wife also works full time. Sharing household duties means looking around for what needs to be done and not waiting for a partner to ask for help.

Have fun and a sense of humor

Many said having a sense of humor keeps things running smoothly. Laughter connects people and having fun adds spice to the relationship. Couples have taken up Salsa dance lessons, golf, joined gourmet dining clubs or got into volunteering. They have become active in community issues or rediscovered a long-lost passion in life. These people are reinventing themselves together on the same path. Life events have kept some individuals from traveling in the past. I have met many couples in second marriages exploring the world and ticking off exotic places from their Bucket Lists. Others have gotten involved in projects together, such as renovating a house for retirement is a sunny locale.

At a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, the wife said that “commitment is love – you can’t have love without commitment.” When they went through rough patches, they each knew the other was committed to the marriage and was not going to bolt. Secrets to lasting love is to have kindness, be respectful of your partner and put them first in your life above others.

Originally published in Divorce Force   https://www.divorceforce.com/

Why Staying Together For The Sake Of The Children Is Not Always Best

Parents sometimes feel that they are doing their children a favour by staying together instead of getting a divorce. Are two parents in the house better than in two separate households? Not according to a study done in the UK. 82% of children stated it was better for their parents to separate than stay together because of them. Emotions are contagious which means kids pick up on the unhappiness and tension in the home. Parents may erroneously feel that their angry or hurt feelings are well hidden behind smiling masks. Youngsters are smart and figure out that something is not right between their parents. My sons asked me for several years why I waited so long to get a divorce. My parents screamed at each other behind a closed door when I was a toddler. They divorced when I was four and it seemed like Christmas every day afterwards.

Some couples claim that they are staying together for the sake of the kids when the real reason is fear of the unknown. Consider consulting a professional if this might be the case. If wondering if you would have enough money post-divorce, meet with a financial advisor or career coach. They can look at your assets and financial state to give an idea what to expect. A relationship therapist can help you sort out the pros and cons with staying or divorcing plus give support. One grandmother was afraid if she divorced that it would affect how much she could see her grandkids. A reality check helped her to follow what was really in her heart.

In the same study by the charity Resolution, 31% of the children were upset about their parents putting the other one down in their presence. This draws kids into one’s divorce drama. If they defend the absent parent, the one criticizing may get angry. If they are silent that may be perceived as agreement with the criticism. It puts the youngsters in an uncomfortable position. Nearly 90% of the children felt that their parents needed to stop making the divorce process seem as if they had to take sides. Even if a third party is involved in the divorce – do not talk about them to the youngsters.

Children know that they got half of their DNA from each of you. Trashing the other parent may be misconstrued that part of them is bad, mentally ill or whatever you said about the other parent. I told my sons that each of us made some mistakes and look at what did and did not work. Use that information to become fantastic parents themselves someday. It is okay not to mention the other parent at all. I still do not talk about their father, but will listen without commenting if they feel the need to speak about him. Some people can co-parent wonderfully together and others cannot for various reasons. I interviewed former spouses in the school setting regarding their secret to being able to co-parent so well. All stated “we put our egos aside.” Fabulous advice. Make “doing what is best for the children” be your motto.

When splitting up, keep in mind that you have needs too. It is easy to let friends fall to the wayside when struggling through the divorce process. This is when you need a support system the most. Make some time to be connected with others – even if for a quick latte. One accountant who was swamped with end of tax season work, went off to see a movie. She said when life is most stressful, that is the time for a short break to get one’s batteries recharged and get rejuvenated. Just as you require some fun built into your schedule, so do the kids. They need to blow off steam, get away from the divorce situation and just be kids. Think of some enjoyable activities – a carnival, bowling, ice cream, white water rafting etc.

Shake up the rituals that you did when married with a different twist post-divorce. Go to different restaurants and venues to replace old memories with new ones. I was trying to keep many of the same routines post-divorce with my sons. After they commented about the unpleasant times spent in places that we went while still married, it was my wake up call for a ritual overhaul. We stopped going to the old restaurants and replaced them with lively cafes and coffee houses. We found different travel destinations which were exciting. A way to get over the past is to have new adventures. If fear is holding you hostage, there are professionals who will hold your hand all through the divorce process and guide you every step of the way.

Originally  published in Splitsville    splitsville.com   which is a social utility where you’ll connect with others,
swap stories, get ideas, solutions and much more.

Early Warning Signs Of A Potential Abuser

There are early warning signs that you are in a relationship with a potential abuser. After divorce, one may have joined an online dating site and now has a string of first and second dates. While people put their best foot forward and hide their darker side – it is still possible to catch a glimpse of who that person really is. One may feel it is love at first sight, however if something does not quite seem right, put the brakes on. Trust your gut instinct. Your subconscious is screaming at you to back away when these signs of a potential abuser appear:

  • Are they disrespectful to anyone? While no one agrees completely with another, people can agree to disagree in a respectful way. When a date treats others callously so early in a relationship, this is bound to get worse. This may include name calling or derogatory labels. If women are called obscene terms, hit the road.
  • Are they controlling? They want to plan your social life and dictate whom you may see. They may tell one how to dress or where they can go. They want their dating partner to get their permission to do various activities.
  • Potential abusers excel at using sarcasm with little jabs at others. They may mock what you say. They make “jokes” at your expense and say you are “too sensitive” if you are hurt or object. They are critical and judgemental. There do put downs which may begin in private and progress to belittling you in front of family and friends.
  • They are possessive which may seem flattering at first. One can mistake this for affection, when really it means you are their property. For example, a person may keep their arm permanently attached to you in a group setting. Instead of love, it can be marking their territory. They may call multiple times of day to check up on you.
  • They are jealous of your relationships and may attempt to isolate you from others. In some cases, the person is jealous of their date’s children. They resent the time the parent spends with their kids and competes for attention. These potential abusers want to be the centre of the universe and get upset when forced to share their date.
  • They blame you for their bad mood or blame others for any misfortunes. They cannot handle feedback that points to any mistakes they have made.
  • The biggest sign is that they have violent behaviour which may not necessarily be directed at you. They start with a small action at first, such as throwing a book across the room in rage. It progressively increases in intensity, such as hitting the couch near you, or tossing your possession at something. It is only a matter of time before you become the target of physical abuse. It is so important to get out of this relationship immediately and not listen to any excuses. Leave after the first violent act and not wait until you become the punching bag.

This true case illustrates several points mentioned above. Violet dated a medical student from a fantastic family. Ken appeared to be loving and caring, yet a few things bothered her. He blamed others for his mistakes or said they were wrong when his discrepancies came to light. He belittled Violet in front of others and her mum begged her to leave him. She did not. Right before her trip abroad, Violet asked Ken to drive her to a store to get some cosmetics. He refused –saying he did not want her to look pretty for other men. Then he gave her a prominent hickey on her neck which was very visible.

When Violet returned, Ken put a fist through a door inside her flat. Shortly after that he threw her shoe at the wall, which resulted in a hole. The violence scared her and she realized what would be happening next. Violet realized she had given Ken too many chances and promptly broke up with him. A few years later an acquaintance revealed that Ken married and got divorced the next year. She knew why.

It is easy to fall into the trap of listening to excuses and giving extra chances as Violet did. When any act of violence occurs – no matter how small – end the relationship.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine    thedivorcemagazine.co.uk