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5 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Marriage

are you ruining your marriage?As a do it yourself divorce site, MyDivorceDocuments.com (MDD) often finds itself in the role of facilitating the administrative process. But when you get right down to it, we’d rather couples find a way to work out their differences before it gets to this point. With that in mind, we’ve put together, from our own observations after helping many couples through the divorce process, five ways you could be sabotaging your marriage. Become aware of these behaviors now, and make the decision to file for divorce a last resort.

1. Venting To Others

When a marriage hits the rocks, we’ve noticed that in many cases, it’s because one or both spouses are talking to everyone else about their marital troubles but the people they should be talking to — each other. Blasting your spouse to a friend behind his or her back is not a form of counseling. It’s seeking an ally. And the only need for an ally is when the battle lines have already been drawn.

2. Avoiding Fights

You may think you’re doing your marriage a favor by keeping your mouth shut when you feel your spouse has wronged you or done something to annoy you, but you’re actually freezing those conflicts in place and allowing them to build up to an eruption of volcanic proportions. While there is a limit to the idea that fighting couples are happy couples — you shouldn’t be fighting over every little thing — fights are really the only means two partners have in gaining the conflict resolution skills necessary for the marriage to survive over a longer period of time.

3. Keeping Secrets

We’re not saying you shouldn’t have your space in a marriage, or that you should lay every last detail of your life story at your partner’s feet, but in relation to the bond that you share and the things that could affect it, there should be no secrets. If there is something you’re going to do, or some bit of knowledge that has come to your attention, which might negatively alter your relationship — well, those are secrets just aren’t worth keeping if you want your marriage to last.

4. Cyber (Or Real) Flirting And Affairs

The Internet makes it very easy to flirt with other people and facilitate real-world affairs. But even if it never gets to the point of a physical relationship, you should refer back to No. 3 and ask yourself, “Would this communication upset my partner?” If so, then you already know you shouldn’t be engaging in it.

5. Taking Each Other For Granted

Over time, it’s easy to take each other for granted — to mistake the constant silence as the two of you simply being comfortable in your own skin. While one of the best things about marriage is being able to sit in the same room and do your own thing without saying anything at all and still feeling secure and supported, it doesn’t get you off the hook when it comes to romance. Men and women both still want to feel attractive, wanted, and needed, by their partners. If silence and comfort has replaced every exciting thing you used to do, then you’re slowly killing your marriage. Bottom line: it’s okay to be comfortable with one another, but remember that you still should make time to woo each other. Dating shouldn’t stop with the wedding vows.

If your marriage is past the point of saving, then MDD’s DIY divorce options can help ease the pain and the turmoil of divorce. But if your marriage still has a fighting chance, make sure you’re avoiding the marital sabotage methods above.

Rebuilding After Divorce: It’s Not As Hard As You Think, And Here’s Why

Rebuilding after divorceRebuilding after divorce — even in a stress-free do it yourself divorce like the kind we often see here at MyDivorceDocuments.com — can be difficult when the wound is still fresh, and you’re trying to adjust to life alone.

But the good news is, it’s not as hard as you think. At least, it doesn’t have to be. To make the journey from loss to recovery an easier one, you’ll need to understand things about yourself. Unique qualities that make you attractive to others and, more importantly, pleasing to yourself.

Here’s why you shouldn’t fear the rebuilding process after you or your spouse decides to file for divorce, but rather, embrace it.

You Know Your Limits.

When couples enter into a marriage for the first time, there is an aura of uncertainty about what they will (and won’t) accept in a relationship. If you’re divorced, you’ve been there and done it. You know what you’re not looking for in another person as well as your preferences.

If You Let It, Divorce Teaches You How To Love Yourself.

Before marriage, many have a tendency to tie their own value to another person. They look for validation in the eyes and the arms of a lover, and until they find it, they’re not happy. Once the marriage is over, you have two options. You can seek pity from others — a mistake many divorcees make by dating too soon — or you can take time for yourself and explore all the interests and hobbies that were impeded by your marriage. When it comes to pity-versus-self discovery, always choose the latter.

More Options 

The world we live in today is much different than it was 20 years ago. Today, a 45-year-old divorcee doesn’t have to “take whatever he or she can get” when it comes to social opportunities. There are numerous ways that you can meet other like-minded people and explore common interests that might lead to something more meaningful. Book clubs, bicycle groups, church, CrossFit, online dating services. You can use the web to explore all these opportunities, enabling you to get back out there when YOU’RE ready and not when society thinks you should be.

Whether you spent 17 years battling it out in court or opted for the easy DIY divorce, the only person, who can hold you back from the rebuilding process is you. Don’t let negativity dictate who you become.

Why People Cheat: 6 Common Reasons

why people cheatSurprisingly, cheating happens more often than you might expect in cases of do it yourself divorce, particularly when the parties have been together for less than five years. Most spouses in that situation simply like to cut their losses and move on with life. When the couple has been together for quite some time, however, they have the opportunity to amass greater amounts of property together, thus making complex divorce proceedings more prevalent. There may also be children involved and a greater unwillingness to part ways because of the emotional history.

While it’s not the biggest reason people file for divorce — finances are — infidelity is still a major contributor to the dissolution of a marriage. When it happens, there is almost no coming back from it. The bonds of trust are gone indefinitely, and unless the cheating partner is truly regretful and throws himself (or herself) 100 percent into being transparent, then the marriage might as well end immediately.

While statistics are hard to prove on how often it occurs — after all, it’s a hard thing for many people to admit — the reasons are far more traceable. Here are six of the most common:

  • A history of cheating. If it’s happened once before — as in before marriage or in other committed relationships the spouse had before he married you — then he’s likely to do it again. This is probably true in most of the DIY divorce cases that we see involving infidelity.
  • Substance abuse problems. Drunkenness is often cited as a reason people take part in one night stands. For longer affairs, this excuse is a harder sell. While we suppose it’s possible liquor can make individuals do things they wouldn’t have otherwise done in a state of sobriety, it’s still not a good reason to turn the other cheek. After all, if substance abuse makes a spouse cheat once, it’ll probably happen more often.
  • Age differences. Many a middle-aged man going through a mid-life crisis has been guilty of engaging in a physical and emotional relationship with a partner several years younger. These relationships almost always end badly because, many times, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the material comfort that attracts a younger spouse to the relationship. Once the new wears off and the “honeymoon stage” is over, the younger spouse finds out they don’t have as much in common as originally thought.
  • Mental or emotional issues. If there is an unresolved or traumatic issue in a partner’s past, then he or she is likely to “seek therapy” in the arms of another person.
  • Long distance relationships. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say, but too much of it can make the heart forget. When a couple only sees one another once a week or month, it’s far too easy to stray.
  • Unresolved relationship conflicts. If you’re the type of couple, who never fights, look out! Relationships require some conflict for one spouse to continue looking upon another as an individual. When a spouse can see your convictions in action, they tend to respect who you are as a person more thoroughly. Unfortunately, many couples avoid conflict and allow themselves to drift apart. When that happens, they often forget why it was the marriage occurred in the first place, and one or both are more likely to cheat.

Have you experienced cheating in a relationship or marriage? Which of these factors do you feel was most to blame?

Divorced Men, More Likely To Live Alone

divorced men more likely to live aloneSince the 1970′s, a larger number of men, ages 15 to 64, have become the heads of single-person households. In other words, they’re living alone, and according to new US Census data, divorce is the likely culprit.

To support their claims, the Census Bureau points to an 11 percent increase in the number of men living alone. Today, more than 34 percent are residing in one-person households compared to just 23 percent in 1970.

The report reasons that the increase in divorces, specifically the spike in the divorce rate between 1970 and 1980, could be affecting the change.

Interestingly, no increase was detected in the amount of women living alone, or men over the age of 65 for that matter. The Census report speculated that this consistency in numbers is because a child is more likely to live with his mother after a divorce.

Divorce Challenges

Each group — men and women — has its own set of challenges. As a do it yourself divorce service, MyDivorceDocuments.com (MDD) sees it all the time.

Men struggle with the prospect of being alone and often removed from the constant company of their children. They also see an added financial burden in child support and (possibly) alimony.

Women struggle with the financial and personal aspects of raising one or more children without help.

Even with mutual, DIY divorce, couples can feel at a loss for what comes next. The impending loneliness is often something spouses don’t think about when they first file for divorce. If you’re finding it difficult to cope, here are some things that can help you deal.

  • Reconnect with old friends.
  • Become more active outside of the house or apartment.
  • Focus on work.
  • Obviously, being the sole caregiver of a child (or children) can be just as much of a burden than being alone. Either way you start to feel disconnected from your own happiness. If you have custody of the children, let grandma and grandpa or a trusted friend take them occasionally, so you can have time to explore your own interests.

Have you ever lived alone after a divorce? How did you handle the silence?

Top 10 Divorce Rates By State

Divorce rate by state

 

 

Do you wonder how your state is holding up compared to others when it comes to couples, who file for divorce?

If so, a recent Huffington Post article shedding light on how all 50 states in the US stack up will be of interest. According to the data, the top 10 states by divorce rate range from 11 divorces per 1,000 population to 14 per 1,000.

 

 

 

 

Starting from most divorce prone to least, here’s the breakdown.

1. Alaska 14/1,000

2. Alabama 13/1,000

3. Arkansas 13/1,000

4. Kentucky 13/1,000

5. Oklahoma 13/1,000

6. Nevada 12/1,000

7. Maine 11/1,000

8. Georgia 11/1,000

9. Tennessee 11/1,000

10.Mississippi 11/1,000

Alaska’s filing fee was one of the lowest in the nation at $150 and had a minimum total processing time of around 30 days. As a result, it’s also the friendliest state in the union when it comes to do it yourself divorce.

States like Mississippi were able to keep filing fees even lower at just $52, but the smaller price tag comes at a price of a 240-day processing time, which can prove to be problematic for cases of uncontested divorce, as in the longer a dispute continues, the more likely conflicts can arise between spouses looking for a dissolution to their marriage.

Perhaps the most difficult state to get a divorce is Arkansas, which clocked in with an “ease of filing score” of 20 percent. (And with good reason.) The Natural State has a divorce filing fee of $165 and a 540-day minimum total processing time.

Of course, in every case, going the DIY divorce route will speed things along significantly, but if you’re going that route, make sure any issues that exist between you and your spouse can be worked out in mediation. The more lawyers are involved, the more the overall cost of the divorce will spike.

Here’s the full report if you’d like to know where your state ranked.

Do you think it should be easier or more difficult to apply for a divorce?

Unhappy But Unwilling To File For Divorce? 4 Steps You Can Take

Unhappy but unwilling to file for divorceFor some couples, divorce is never an option. It doesn’t matter whether they’re happy, unhappy, or indifferent. They signed up for “till death do us part” and they’re not breaking that pact. But if you refuse to file for divorce, then you owe it to yourself and your spouse to improve upon the things that are lacking in your relationship. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at four things you can do to turn things around if your marriage is faltering. Here goes!

Counseling

Counseling is probably the most obvious option for what you can do to repair what is broken in a relationship. Counselors are trained listeners, who can help you both break down the barriers of communication that are keeping you apart. They can also offer helpful advice regarding how you communicate and what you can expect from each other. Whether you’re constantly at each other’s throats or simply weighing a non-combative do it yourself divorce option, you should at least give counseling a try before calling it quits.

Start Planning To Do More Things Together

Sometimes unhappiness can overtake your marriage without either of you even expecting it. You don’t really have anything against the other person, but you both seem like you live in different worlds. It could be work, school, or other factors keeping you apart. Regardless, snap out of it! Make some time to speak to your partner and say something like this: “Listen, we haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time together lately. I feel like we’re in a rut, and we need to do something about it.” Then, plan things that you can do together. Play tennis, pick a book that you would like to read and take turns reading it aloud to one another, go to the symphony. Communicate what you like to do, and then take turns actually commit to doing it together.

Stop Blaming Each Other

When a marriage falls apart, communication (or the lack thereof) is usually to blame. Stop blaming the other person, and realize that assigning blame is less important than fixing the issues.

Sleep Apart

This is probably going to be the most controversial suggestion, but there is actually some science to back it up. According to a recent study from Ryerson University (reported by The Daily Mail), sleeping in different beds/rooms can actually help a struggling relationship by allowing both partners to reach deeper stages of sleep. This occurs because a person’s sleeping activities are often to blame for disrupting the other partner’s rest throughout the night.

“People can have very good and satisfying relationships sleeping apart,” explains Colleen Carney, author of the study. “Some people might be headed to divorce and then they actually sleep apart and find this new way to connect.”

If you’re sure that you want out of your marriage, then our DIY divorce site can help you through the process in a flash, if uncontested. But if neither of you want out but feel your marriage could use a boost, try the steps above, and you may be able to reignite your feelings for one another.

Conventional Relationship Wisdom That Could Be Killing Your Marriage

Marriage Counseling does not workAs a do it yourself divorce service that works with a lot of people experiencing marital difficulties, we’ve heard all the conventional wisdom regarding how to build a healthy relationship.

 

 

 

  • Get counseling for any problems you may have.
  • Find a trusted friend or family member who will allow you to vent.
  • Talk about issues you are experiencing with your partner.
  • Work on marital troubles together.
  • Spend some time apart because “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

As you can see, these bits of expert advice can be confusing and contradictory. After all, how are you supposed to work on your marital problems together if you’re busy making the heart grow fonder?

Well, one expert has taken issue with this conventional wisdom, believing that these snippets of advice often lead more people to file for divorce.

Mort Fertel, author of the Marriage Fitness System, suggests you take all the above advice and forget about it.

Marriage Counselors, Friends, And Family? Out! 

According to a recent blog post that Fertel did for DailyVenusDiva.com, counselors, friends, and family members are the last people who can help you solve your relationship problems. Fertel points out that marriage counseling “does not work in most situations.”

“The success rate is dismal. Most couples report being worse off after marriage counseling,” Fertel said, adding that “it’s a mistake to talk about your marriage or your spouse to family or friends.”

Fertel called doing so “a violation of your spouse’s privacy.”

Forget About ‘Talking It Out’

According to Fertel, discussing problems never actually solves them. It only makes matters worse, adding that “you’ll never talk yourself out of a problem that you behaved yourself into.”

“Marriages change because people change,” he added. “Say little; do much. Speak in the vocabulary of your actions. New choices resolve marital problems; discussion don’t.”

Be The Example

Fertel also reconciled the idea of being a lone wolf in your marriage with overcoming the desire to separate. Instead of a separation, he suggests that you work to fix what you can fix on your own.

“One person’s effort can change the momentum of a marriage, and very often, it’s that effort that motivates the obstinate spouse to join in the process of saving the relationship,” Fertel said.

But despite telling you to “go it alone,” Fertel emphasizes the importance of staying together and not taking marital difficulties as a cue to “make the heart grow fonder.”

In fact, he believes “in marriage, particularly in a broken marriage, absence separates people. It creates distance, and that’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve, which is closeness.”

Fertel’s thoughts — whether you agree or not — are definitely worth a read, and they could just save you from a combative or DIY divorce. Do you think he has a point?

‘Celebrating’ Divorce Helps You Move On

Celebrating divorceA recent article over at Huffington Post detailed a number of common “myths” that people will tell you once you or your spouse have followed through on the decision to file for divorce. In all, there are about 25. Whether you agree or not, they’re worth looking over as you enter (or deal with the fallout from) this next chapter of life.

However, today we’d like to focus on this one:

There’s a reason there’s no divorce ritual/celebration or marriage funeral — they aren’t needed!

In other words, it’s a lie that you don’t need some kind of commemoration to “celebrate” the end of your marriage. On this point, we’d have to agree.

Now, as far as celebrations go, it’s not going to be like a normal celebration where you experience great happiness and joy and make memories to last a lifetime. While you may make some good memories and have a few laughs, it is tough to completely recover from the experience of splitting up from your spouse in a single trip. It’s okay if you continue to feel the effects after the ritual is complete. Even so, rituals are important.

Think about what a ritual does. 

Before many major changes in a person’s life, a ritual is usually there to symbolize it. You have a wedding before a marriage. A memorial service to acknowledge loss and move on with the healing process. A bar mitzvah to symbolize the passing of childhood and the beginnings of adulthood. A baptism to begin a spiritual journey. A housewarming party to “break in” a new home or apartment. Rituals are important to us in every other walk of life, so why wouldn’t they continue to be when it comes to a contested or do it yourself divorce?

The ‘proper’ way to acknowledge your divorce 

Finding the “proper” ritual to acknowledge your divorce begins with realizing there is no one answer that fits the bill.

When I experienced my divorce, my brother and I “celebrated” with a weekend trip to Memphis In May. He let me talk when I wanted to talk. We took in several live music acts, tipped back a few beers, and just enjoyed the time away from everything and everyone back home. After I returned to my normal life, I continued struggling with the fallout of my divorce for a couple of years, but the healing process had been set in motion because of that trip.

Mine was a DIY divorce, but that didn’t make it any less painful. For me, that trip was the “proper” way to heal. For you, it will likely be something else. But it’s important you find some method of beginning the process.

What ritual did you conduct to help with the healing process?

Single With Kids: Why The Happiness Gap Is Shrinking

Single motherThe idea that single mothers — whether birthing a child out of wedlock or as survivors of a hotly contested or do it yourself divorce — are unhappy has been a popularly held notion for a number of years. And while that’s not an altogether unfair generalization, the unhappiness gap between single and married mothers is falling, according to a new report from the Journal of Happiness Studies.

John Ifcher, one of the study’s co-authors and an assistant professor of economics at Santa Clara University, believed that most single mothers are unhappy because of their relationship status. However, they’re finding more happiness thanks to a number of changes over the past 30 years.

The General Social Survey

Ifcher and co-author Homa Zarghamee, an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College, looked at the General Social Survey from 1972 to 2008 to determine their findings.

In that time span, the researchers discovered that while single moms reported being less happy than their married counterparts, the gap had narrowed since 1972.

Reasons The Gap Has Narrowed

Identifying the reasons this gap in happiness has narrowed, Ifcher and Zarghamee agreed that it could be attributed to these main factors:

  • Single moms’ happiness levels have gone up as other women have experienced decline.
  • There is less stigma associated to single motherhood in 2008 and beyond than there was in 1972. This lightening of the stigma is due mainly to a jump in single parenting and a boost in the number of women who choose to mother children alone.

One factor not mentioned could also be the rise in a woman’s ability to provide for the financial needs of her child without help from a spouse. According to our own month-end report, women file for divorce about 64 percent of the time, and in most of those cases, higher income than their spouses is a common correlation.

Our own DIY divorce site often deals with parents, who would like to file but are afraid of what it may be like for the kids and for their own happiness to try and parent without the help of another person. If you’re concerned, these latest findings present hopeful possibilities.

Unreasonable Behavior Overtakes Infidelity As Grounds For Divorce [Study]

Unreasonable BehaviorUnreasonable behavior has overtaken marital infidelity as a primary cause of divorce, according to a new study out of the UK.

The study, conducted by Co-operative Legal Services, looked at more than 5 million divorce cases in the United Kingdom dating back to the 1970s and found that cheating was less of a motivator to file for divorce than it was close to 40 years ago.

The actual numbers: 29 percent of divorces were caused by infidelity in the ‘70s, while only 15 percent of cases today make the same claim. Incidents of unreasonable behavior have gone from 28 percent to 47 percent over the same period of time.

What Is Unreasonable Behavior? 

These odd behaviors could be anything from “an unsociable husband making his wife feel guilty when she wanted to go out with her friends” to “a cross-dressing husband who decided to have a sex change, and a spouse withdrawing all the family savings,” the Guardian noted.

Co-operative Legal Services officially defined “unreasonable behavior” as “when the Respondent’s behavior supports a claim that the Petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with them.”

“It depends on the particular facts and circumstances of each case,” the website states. “Examples of unreasonable behavior the court would consider include physical violence, verbal abuse, demanding sexual relations too frequently or denying them all together, cruelty, and intimate relationships with people of the same or opposite sex, even if they don’t actually include intercourse.”

Our Personal Experience

In our own personal experience as a do it yourself divorce service, it’s hard to cut through to the root of domestic divorce causes. The “no-fault” nature of many states throughout the US allows many petitioners and respondents to call it quits without citing a specific reason, though whether fault is stated explicitly or not, something has generally occurred to make spouses feel their marriages have become irreconcilable.

That being said, we do notice certain trends in who is initiating a DIY divorce action as well as characteristics common to filers. One of the most consistent for us has been the fact that most filers are women (63 percent) who earn close to $10k more per year than their husbands.

If you’ve thought about getting a divorce or have just gone through the proceedings, did you have an underlying reason that was more in line with infidelity or unreasonable behavior? Share your experiences with us in the comments section.