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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Relationships

Your Partner Is Not A Mind Reader

Some people getting divorced stated it was partly because their partner did not fulfil their needs.  These individuals said if their partner really loved them, they would know what to do.  No, your partner is not a mind reader. How can a person expect another to know what is going around in their head? A spouse does not intuitively grasp what the other person is thinking and feeling.   Be specific, such as “I had a rough time at work today and want to chill for a few minutes.”

Relationships are built on good communication and not on assumptions. Ask questions to ensure that you are both on the same page. Do not assume that you both are feeling the same way. Use I statements to be clear in your communication. “I feel shut out when I sense something is wrong and you won’t talk.”

People have dealt out the silent treatment as if it were a punishment.  An American man fell in love with a European woman. When she was upset, this woman would sulk for a few days and refused to have a discussion no matter how much her partner tried. He could not read her mind nor make amends for perceived acts which may have bothered her. The man eventually walked away from a person whom he loved. Counseling may have helped this couple to communicate more effectively and avoid a break-up.

Help a partner to share their thoughts by asking open ended questions.  “You are more quiet tonight, what is going on?” Make it clear that you have no idea, so your partner does not expect you to telepathically know how they feel. A couple near my son with a young child, are getting divorced. The wife’s voice comes through his wall, saying “You don’t love me. If you did, you would have known that I wanted to be held when I went to sleep last night.” Or “You should have realized that I had a bad day at work and made dinner.”  The husband tells my son that if he had a clue how she felt, He would have cooked the meal and so forth.

Be specific what you need. My male friends want to fix whatever needs fixing – my problem, car or wherever it is.  I have to be clear, since they cannot read my mind. “I only want you to listen right now. I am going to vent about my co-worker and then we can move on to something else.” The guys then get that I want to let off some steam. If I do not express what I want, then before I am done with my story, these fellows have already formulated an action plan.

Please read more in Divorce Magazine www.divorcemag.com/blog/your-spouse-is-not-a-mind-reader/

How to Maintain a Relationship – People Share Their Secrets

This is a cross processed photo of a young African American couple with the city behind them.

Tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls when dating. It can be puzzling how other folks stay together for half of a century when your relationships last for a few dates. 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   www.divorceforce.com/

Tips For Going On A First Date Post-Divorce

Going on a first date after a divorce has its challenges. One may have done well finding a person online that seems compatible or through an old-fashioned introduction. Now comes the hardest part – making a great first impression and sustaining that throughout the evening. A speech on networking at a Toastmasters International meeting had a lot in common with dating. The audience was surprised that when initially meeting someone, to keep 99% of the conversation on that person.

Ask Your Date Questions About Them

In networking which also pertains to dating, begin with asking about their family and move on to what is their occupation. Ask what are their hobbies and interests, finishing up with inquiring what really matters to them. What gives meaning to their lives, their passion and what makes them tick. People enjoy talking about themselves, and by asking these questions you will be viewed as the most interesting person on the planet. There is now rapport and it is a good time to start revealing fascinating tidbits about yourself.

Reveal A little At A Time

Bombarding someone with your life story when first meeting them is a turn off. One acquaintance wondered why she rarely got a second date. She did not ask the above mentioned questions and focused the conversation solely on herself. A co-worker told too personal details about her body functions and friends’ sex lives. Have some decorum.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Have a friendly demeanor and be cognizant of your body language. Arms folded across your body can mean “stay away” or as in Martial Arts, a sign of aggression. Nervous habits such as jingling change in your pocket or tapping your foot can be interpreted as impatience. Watch the amount of eye contact. Too little indicates lack of interest and staring can be uncomfortable for the receiver.

Have Conversations Topics Ready

Be up-to-date on current news and major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Be able to have discussions, but try to veer away from religion and politics on a first date. Have some amusing stories about co-workers, travel adventures and so forth ready in case you get tongue-tied or your mind goes blank. Pauses in conversation are okay and not every second has to be filled in by talking.

It is fine to mention that you are a parent, but hold the cute toddler tales. Let your date know you are a well-rounded adult, not a one dimensional person. This does not only pertain to being a parent, but also when focusing on one aspect of your life. For example. I briefly dated an attorney whose whole existence revolved around his job. When I suggested that we see a film, he said that he did not own any casual clothes and would have to wear trousers from one of his suits. I knew this relationship would not work out, so ended it quickly.

A multi-faceted person is enticing. Having a full life before dating is more attractive to someone than having dating be your life.  Please read more    www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-for-first-date-after-divorce/

Dating Again After a Break Up or Divorce

Consider letting the ink dry first on your divorce decree before jumping into the dating scene. Some guys start dating during divorce and bring old issues into new relationships. Take a breather after your divorce to make sure you are truly over it and ready to move forward. Your ex-wife may be the devil’s love child and you have every right to complain. New dates do not want to hear about her and that is a big turn off. Instead, tell your buddies over a pint about your lucky escape from Hell.

Let people know you are ready to start dating again. They may have a cute cousin to set you up with or do a double date. Going to parties is a great way to meet many women at once and see whom you like. You are relaxed and having fun with others, which makes it easier to approach someone interesting. I know a few couples who met at these gatherings and later got married.

Get involved with networking and joining professional groups at work. Not only do you boost your career, but you expand your connections and get to know fascinating people. Several doctors and lawyers met each other at professional functions and got married. Going to networking luncheons is another way to enlarge your circle of friends. It can be enjoyable to go out with co-workers after work for Happy Hour. Sparks may fly when getting to know them on a more personal level. Several marriages were the result of this at a large hospital where I used to work.

There are many online dating sites. Some vet their potential clients by doing background checks and interviews. With others you have to hope people’s profiles are accurate and their photos are from this decade. This also means you cannot use the photo where you had hair and a trim waistline, if that is no longer the case. Have a friend look over your profile to make sure it is enticing and not a bunch of fiction, as you want to meet someone who shares your interests. Speed dating is becoming more popular as a quick method to meet many at one go. There is a specified amount of time that you talk to each woman. Then after the event you turn in a sheet to the organization saying whom you would like to date. If there are matches, then you and the women are notified of them. There is no rejection on the spot which takes the pressure off you.

Sometimes after a heartbreak it can be difficult to begin dating again. There is no timetable when to start, so do not let friends try and push you into it. If they keep asking about your dates, tell them you will let them know if you become serious about anyone (even if you are not actively dating). There are ways to enjoy female companionship when not ready to date. Volunteer for a charity or cause which ignites your passion. Although several divorced people were not intending to remarry, they did after becoming friends with someone in their animal rescue group. Others joined photography, hiking and other groups and met some great members (platonically and otherwise).

Some people have gone to a movie, play or concert on first dates so they could start to feel more comfortable without having to make a lot of conversation when nervous. The event itself generates things to discuss. Others have found that hiking, walking or being out in nature is relaxing. If feeling stuck or awkward on dates, seeing a dating coach is an option. They can help you come up with strategies for either meeting women or having them want more dates.

Podcast on dating tips  datingcoach.libsyn.com/08-getting-ready-to-date

My article was originally published in  Men’s Divorce   We believe everyone deserves equal treatment in family law, so we strive to educate men on how to protect themselves before, during and after divorce.  mensdivorce.com/?s=wendi+schuller

Signs You are Dating a Narcissist

Narcissists can be charming people who are the centre of attention. The spotlight shines on them and it can be enticing to be their date. They crave admiration for their overinflated egos. Something may seem a bit off, but then one thinks,” must be my imagination” since they are the focus of an adoring crowd. Here are some signs your new partner is a Narcissist:

  • Lack of empathy. These individuals do not get how others feel and are unable to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They do not comprehend another’s viewpoint. They may appear callous and could care less about the plight of people or animals. While they may volunteer or work at a charity, it is because they garnish attention and are in the limelight. It is not because of a desire to make the world a better place. If you are upset or want to discuss a problem, they show no support.
  • Narcissists have an unrealistic sense of importance. The topic of conversation will be about them and their perceived achievements. Some of this is embellished or outright lies whether on a CV or about awards which were never really received. When caught in lies about false accomplishments, they have a plausible cover story or attack the accuser. Narcissists put others down who are perceived competitors, especially when others win awards. They are not team players and can view co-workers as obstacles to their success. See if you can talk about yourself, or if the conversation bounces right back to them.
  • They are social climbers who exploit others to help them move up to more elite social circles. They are rude and dismissive to those who cannot advance their careers or social standing, such as wait staff, sales clerks and so forth. See how staff is treated to get a true picture of someone. They will turn the charm on like a faucet when they desire a perk – airline seat upgrade, discount, prominent table in a restaurant, for example. They may make “jokes” (really insults) about those who seem worthless. They tear others down in order to build themselves up.
  • Their lives are about being seen. Yes it is fun to go to the latest clubs, restaurants and high profile events, however your role is to be arm candy. That gets old. Narcissists can exhibit hostility to those who do not give them the praise and adulation which they think they deserve. When not given the red carpet treatment, they can get nasty and belittle others.

Narcissists may not be that interested in meeting your family and friends. They make a charming first impression and then feel that they did their part. They are not going to be going to your mums for weekly Sunday roasts or chilling out with your gran watching Coronation Street. They will not be helping your parents with DIY projects or doing deeds that do not directly benefit them. They may seem bored or distant when out with your friends.

When dating, there is give and take in relationships.  With a Narcissist as a partner, there is an imbalance with them doing the taking. They may be using you, such as asking for money right away.  If you have a crisis or illness, is your partner a source of compassion and support? If having a problem, can you talk it through with your partner? Are you with someone who can just listen? If no, get some feedback from friends and family.

Cannot tell you how many folks I interviewed who chose not to listen to their friends’ warnings and said they could have avoided getting divorced if they had. If feeling confused, consider talking with a dating or life coach to ensure you are on the right track.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Podcast on narcissists       soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009

The One Who Got Away

Most of us have stories about “The One That Got Away.” He might have been a high school crush or the lovely woman from a previous job.

When we hit a bumpy road in life, such as with divorce, we wonder “What would have happened if we…?”  You still may be dealing with a broken heart and your friends have a glazed look when he is the topic of conversation for the hundredth time. The cliché “Time heals wounds” does not seem to working for you. Understanding what the one who got away represents, gives clarity in determining what is lacking in your life now. That relationship may remind you of happier, carefree days. You were younger without all of the current burdens and responsibilities.

When we feel overwhelmed, it is natural for our minds to drift off into fantasyland of what might have been. Does that relationship conjure up fun and excitement that seems to have vanished with divorce? It does not always mean that you want the actual person back, but rather the circumstance surrounding that former relationship. When a few friends talked about the one who got away, it seemed like they were missing the social clique and parties more than the boyfriend. Think about whether it is really about that specific individual.

What did you learn from that relationship which can be brought into new ones? Perhaps it is having a sense of fun or someone who treats you respectfully. Examine the specific behaviour or action that caused this break up. If she left you for someone else, then her interest level plummeted and it was over. If you drifted apart – analyse that situation so you can gain closure. We look at the past through rose coloured glasses which can affect our sense of reality regarding a former relationship.

If you had a holiday fling and wonder if it could have been made permanent, rethink this situation. If it was meant to be, then there would have been communication between you two when the holiday was over. If stuck in the past and having difficulty letting it go, consider seeing a divorce coach to get you back on track. A way to avoid dealing with present problems is to stay rooted in the past. A friend did cyber stalking on her former flame who is happily married with a suitable spouse. Both are high powered solicitors who are on the party circuit. Discussing how his current life choices are so different from hers, was the wakeup call for my friend to move on. She was having difficulty in her marriage which prompted this reminiscence. Going through a divorce stirs up emotions and a longing for pleasanter times from the past.

There are cases where people have reconnected many years later and got married. There are also ones where the same problems from before, sabotaged their relationships again. Consider relationship counselling if tempted to reunite with the one who got away. Divorce can leave one vulnerable, so do not jump right back into another relationship.

Working on getting a more fulfilling life, diminishes daydreaming about a past love during or after divorce. Enlarging one’s social and professional networks brings interesting people into one’s sphere. Connecting with others helps to lessen loneliness and gives a sense of community. Understanding why a relationship has continued to haunt us, is the key to exorcizing it for good.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine