AuthorAnthony Fitch

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How to Rekindle Intimacy in Your Relationship

There isn’t a relationship around that hasn’t experienced it at some point in the evolution. A loss of intimacy. It’s common for one partner or both to get so wrapped up in life and all the daily responsibilities and routines that they lose sight of one another. The bedroom is one of the first places to go when making up for lost time, and that’s unfortunate because it’s so vital to a couple’s bond. 

If you feel that bond starting to slip and you’re worried about the possible outcomes, take action now. Here are some suggestions for getting you back on the right path. 

Schedule time free from all distractions. No kids, no guilt, no worries. Just you and your spouse or partner committed to being with one another physically. You can start innocently enough if you feel rusty. Don’t even think about the bedroom. Just have a date night and do something that you both love to do. 

Do something for your partner without expecting anything in return. Couples who commit to doing at least one nice thing for each other each day — without any expectation of repayment — are much more likely to have a healthy sex life. That’s because for men and women, sex is often about emotional bonding rather than physical. If you feel closer to someone emotionally, you’ll want to be closer to them physically in other words. 

Remember that practice makes perfect. If it’s been a while since you and your partner have been together — blame it on the kids, work, whatever — don’t expect to write your own erotica novel after the first time back being together. Don’t put too many pressures and expectations on one another. Instead commit to being in the privacy of the moment and allowing that to be enough. With this type of “practice,” it’ll become much easier to resume intimacy in the relationship.  

Have you ever lost intimacy in your relationship and managed to get it back? What are some things that worked for you in doing so? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

This Is How a Relationship ‘Works’

Perfect relationships do not exist, and that’s not a bad thing because if they did, then it would be extremely difficult to look at your own as anything but a failure. The differences that exist between two people can lead to conflict, but they are also part of the spark that keeps love alive for 40, 50, or 60 years. While the perfect relationship is unattainable, you can harness your similarities and your differences to create a relationship that works. Here’s how the best couples pull it off. 

First, they are comfortable with who they are as individuals. 

Not only do they love their spouses or partners for who they are as people, they love themselves in the same manner. Each individual in the relationship has the self-worth to feel as if they’re deserving of love, and that makes them attractive to the person they’ve chosen. 

Secondly, be proud of one another. 

For a relationship to thrive you need more than just the sparks that come with a physical connection. You need to be proud of who your partner is as a person. Celebrate their achievements, and let them know every day what they bring to the relationship. 

Thirdly, don’t run from conflicts. Resolve them. 

Rather than putting away the things that bother you and never having disagreements, allow yourself to speak up when your spouse or partner does something wrong, and be willing to listen when they state their case or feel the same. Resolving differences builds a much stronger relationship than running from the problem. 

Fourthly, balance unity and individualism. 

Don’t try to be one person. Be two separate people with unique, diverse personalities. But when it comes to what you do as a couple, find solidarity and act as a unit. Not only will it lead to a relationship free from excuses, but it will also make you both more effective as parents should you ever want to travel that road. 

Finally, earn your comfort. 

Too many people stop trying when they commit to marriage or a long-term relationship. You wouldn’t join a gym and then expect a six-pack ab if you never went. In the same vein, it takes more than committing to a person to get the most out of the relationship. You need to work every day to deserve the comforts that go along with being in a stable relationship. Put in the effort. 

What are some things that you think a relationship that works requires that we haven’t listed here? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

How to Bring a Relationship Back from the Brink of Breakup

Bringing a strained relationship back from the brink can be one of the most challenging things that you ever do. After all, it’s kind of like trying to force something that at one time felt so natural. However, the moment that you realize the work involved in a relationship is the moment that you can start working toward the process of re-ignition.

Recently on an Exhale TV, Dr. Nicole LaBeach generously shared three tips that can bring couples closer together if they’ve drifted apart. Here’s how to do it.

1. Turn towards each other, not away. 

One of the first things that LaBeach insists for a couple to do is to turn toward one another rather than their friends and family. If there are issues in one’s life, don’t confide in people outside the relationship and expect your partner to still feel close to you. The moment that both partners start doing this together is the moment that they will forge a stronger bond.

2. Don’t forget why you got into the relationship. 

Unfortunately, many couples fall apart because they forgot why they fell in love in the first place, LaBeach observes. Instead of looking at one another and seeing the love of their lives, they take that person’s presence for granted and begin to view them as a piece of furniture that blends into the room. Couples need to spend more quality time together if they’re feeling taken for granted and/or like they’re taking their partner for granted. They need to date and have conversations like they did when the relationship was new or else it’ll never feel that way again. 

3. Make an effort to forgive.

The longer you’re together, the greater the likelihood that you will hurt one another. That hurt won’t often come in massive, grand acts of infidelity. It could simply be a subtle loss of respect over time. But it will happen from time to time, and how you respond to it makes all the difference in the world. The only way to move past it and pull your relationship back from the brink is to make an effort to forgive each other, LaBeach notes.

What are some things that have worked for you in revitalizing your relationship? Is Dr. LaBeach’s advice correct? Sound off in the comments section.

Soldiering On: How to Fight Through and Against Divorce Warfare

One oft-cited statistic in discussions about divorce is that four out of five times, it’s only one spouse wanting to end the marriage. What this means is that the unwilling party will do anything they can to keep things together, even when there is no hope of doing so. This can create significant conflicts on both sides of an issue as the one spouse works to have her wishes honored and the other tries to force something that isn’t there. 

With such competing interests, it’s only natural that things can get ugly, but if you find yourself in one of these contentious types of divorce, take heart. There is a way through. Here’s how you can fight through it and against it. 

Fighting Through It

Demand and give respect. Too often you’ll have one spouse demanding respect while refusing to give it themselves. This can be seen in an adulterous spouse, who places her needs front-and-center without really caring how it affects her spouse. Similarly, a spouse, who doesn’t want out of the marriage, can get so wrapped up in their own wants and problems that they refuse to hear what their spouse is telling them with the words, “I want a divorce.” It can be the hardest thing to do when you’re ready to move on with your life — or when you’re trying to preserve something that isn’t working — but resolving to both give and demand respect will solve many issues between parties. 

Fighting Against It

While the above sounds nice, it isn’t always possible to keep calmness and respect as the order of the day. When your spouse won’t be denied their fight, you can fight back by not giving them what they want. How do you do that? By not engaging in any words or actions that will escalate the conflict. Keep your eyes on the prize — getting through the divorce and setting your life on the right path — and be goal-oriented. Repress any urge toward an emotional outburst that you may feel. Be cold. Dry. Businesslike. If you aren’t playing by their rules, they’ll eventually have to stop playing by them as well. 

What were some things that helped you through a contentious divorce or breakup? Sound off in the comments section. 

Affording Divorce: How to Do It Right

Divorce is often cited as one of the most costly legal actions you’ll ever go through. To be fair, that’s not always true particularly if you and your spouse have few issues and are able to work it out without a lengthy litigation. Unfortunately, more often than not, a divorce action goes to trial, clogging up the court system and sending costs to the stratosphere.

But it is possible to afford divorce with or without an attorney provided you’re able to accomplish the following. 

1. Work on your relationship. 

No, we’re not telling you to do the impossible. You don’t have to resolve all of your differences or concede defeat in order to make your spouse happy. But if you want to keep things from spiraling out of control, you should work on your relationship with regard to how you deal with conflict. Don’t say or do anything that might escalate the situation or pour gasoline on the fire. Try to maintain a business-like approach, keeping your focus forward instead of backward. 

2. Use an attorney referral service. 

Attorneys know that there is a lot of competition in their sector, and so to attract clients, they often offer special incentives to let them handle your case through an attorney referral service that specializes in connecting clients in need to local practitioners. Some of the online divorce reviews that we offer at MDD actually cover attorney referral services to point clients in the right direction.

3. If possible, work it out on your own. 

Even better than using an attorney, you could partner with a reputable forms site that has the ability to walk you through the paperwork step-by-step for a fraction of the cost. These options typically work best for people who are able to manage conflict well or work out any of the divisive issues before filing. 

4. Don’t forget to budget other costs.

Additional costs that you will encounter in a divorce might include filing fees and other unforeseen expenses. Before you sign with an attorney or take the task on yourself, make sure that you’ve examined the laws in your region and that you are aware of all the costs associated with the divorce, not just the price on the service you are considering. For this information, your county clerk is a great resource. 

While divorce can be a financial hardship, it doesn’t have to drag on for years and break the bank. Try the options above, and get focused on the future.

Event Planning for the Divorced Parent

Planning and attending an event that is designed to honor your child is doubly difficult for a divorced parent when they know they’ll have to see their ex. However, it’s not impossible to pull off a great family function even while you’re not particularly fond of the company. There are some precautions you’ll need to take, though. 

1. Try to handle the planning together. 

When you are the only one coordinating the event, it can be difficult planning for the stiff dynamic that might exist between you and your ex. By the same token, it can make you seem like you’re running the show instead of being inclusive. The best thing you can do is reach out to your ex with enough advance time to bring them in on the planning or, at the very least, get their blessing for moving forward. They’ll appreciate that you asked, and it will go a long way in moving forward with a tone of respect. 

2. Discuss any ‘guests’ that you plan on including. 

Unfortunately, divorced people do not often go through their moving on processes at the same time, so it’s important to realize that one of you may be single while the other one isn’t. It’s not altogether necessary to bar your new guy or girl from attending the event, but you should discuss the matter with your ex first and be sure that you’ve allowed a respectable amount of time and healing to pass before even considering it. Again, “respect” is the word. 

3. Keep the behind-the-scenes stuff behind the scenes. 

Your child will probably feel tense enough — depending on age — knowing you’re both going to be there. That’s at least if your discontent for one another shows through. However, you shouldn’t have to avoid each other when it comes to a day or event that is supposed to be about the kid. If there are any issues that you have to work out re: planning and/or feelings and conflicts, take care of it behind the scenes. Leave your child out of it, and let them be a kid. 

What are some event planning tips that have helped you when coordinating events where you and your ex will be present? Share in the comments section. 

Why Divorce Will Make You Question Everything

Divorce is a difficult life experience that no one ever hopes they have to go through. Nevertheless, each year about half of all married people resort to it, depending on which set of statistics you believe. It also has a tendency to leave the people experiencing it in doubt about everything they thought they knew. There are three reasons, to be more specific, that divorce will make you question everything. Those three reasons are as follows.

1. It’s a betrayal of trust. 

When you stand up in front of your friends and family and exchange vows to have and to hold until death do you part, you’re putting a great deal of trust in the person you’re saying those words to. You’re also placing a lot of trust in the institution of marriage itself. Whether the betrayal you experience is infidelity or simply growing apart, you are bound to be disappointed by people and/or ideas you held dear. That’s hard to overcome when your world view has already been established, and it leads to you questioning whether you were wrong the whole time about life and about your ability to read others.

2. It uproots your sense of stability. 

In spite of all the statistics to the contrary, people still tend to look at marriage as a permanent institution that means “for life” in the sense that you have a relationship you can count on to weather every storm, through thick and thin, forever. When that fails, the part of you that still thinks that way experiences turmoil in the very construct you’ve grown to rely upon. Naturally you start to feel unstable in every aspect of your life.

3. It doesn’t show you the end results upfront. 

When you divorce, all you see is the failure aspects of divorce. You haven’t grown and developed enough past it to see the many good things that will come from it with hard work, determination, and the right attitude. If you could get divorced but be able to look into a crystal ball and see yourself happy and well-adjusted three or four years down the road, it wouldn’t cause you to question as much as you do. But that’s not possible. You have to first go through the work, and before you settle your mind to do so, it’s understandable that you have a lot of doubts about the present.

What were some long-held things you started to question as a result of the divorce process?

When Counseling Doesn’t Work, It’s Usually Because of These Factors

Marriage counseling — or single counseling for that matter — often gets placed in an unfair position. When it works, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. When there are no immediate results, it’s the worst thing ever. If you’ve ever gone to marriage counseling, then there is a good chance that it didn’t “work” in the sense that it saved your marriage. That doesn’t mean it failed altogether, but more on that in a bit. For now, let’s look at some of the primary factors why your counseling “failed.”

1. You expected too much.

You can’t go in to a marital counseling session expecting all your troubles to go away overnight, or to even be on the right path. Effective counseling is a journey to achieve understanding and growth. You usually enter counseling from a point of desperation and confusion as to what went wrong. Therefore, it’s unfair to blame the counselor if you’re not beaming after that first session (or the first several).

2. You were unwilling to accept responsibility. 

Many people who believe counseling is necessary for themselves or a relationship get frustrated because they go to a therapy session that was THEIR idea and find out that they have issues which need to be addressed. Counseling is not a customer service business. You’re not always right. Some individuals simply have too difficult of a time accepting personal responsibility, and if that describes you, then don’t be surprised when your counseling fails to deliver.

3. You worried more about your spouse’s duties than your own.

If you’re constantly wondering when the counselor is going to “lower the boom” on your spouse for all the wrongs that you see in them, then you will probably be sorely disappointed. Few marital counselors can provide service to two people and not see the faults of both. If you’re so hung up on your spouse’s, then the chances are good that you will ignore the things you need to work on, thus causing the counseling to “fail.”

4. You gave up too easily.

If you quit going because you didn’t hear what you wanted to hear or your marriage broke up and you no longer find it useful, then you have given up too easily. Counseling doesn’t work wonders overnight. It builds you into a mentally stronger person over time. But if you’re not putting the time in, you’ll never get there.

Do you feel like counseling failed you? Did you recognize any of the above factors in yourself or your spouse? Share your experiences in the comments section.

Relationship Toxicity: Signs You Should Cut Your Losses

For the vast majority of relationships that fail, the end never happens all of the sudden. The signs are usually there in the relationship toxicity. They poison every aspect of one’s happiness until eventually there is a breaking point. That breaking point can seem like a surprise because of a thing called denial, but if you’re attune to the warning signs then you’ll see where the relationship is headed long before it reaches the end.

Today we’ll look at just a few of these signs. See if any apply to your marriage. 

One: Nothing you do is good enough. 

Any time that you take initiative, is your spouse more likely to complain than anything else? Do they make you feel down on yourself or are they always hyper-critical, seeing the negative before the positive in anything that has to do with you? If so, then your relationship is toxic.  

Two: They’re self-centered. 

They come home from work. They talk about their day. They go off on that jerk of a boss or the co-worker, who never does anything as good as they do it. They never once stop to ask you about your day. There isn’t awareness that you even had a day. You’re simply there to hear them talk.  

Three: There is never peace. 

Is your spouse always at odds with someone? Is it usually the other person’s fault (to hear them tell it)? Do they have criticisms about you, your family, your friends, etc., and only too happy to share? If your spouse is the kind of person that drama seems to surround, then that can only spill over into your relationship and turn it toxic. 

Four: You don’t feel like you can open up to them. 

Whether it’s something you prefer in the bedroom or an interest/hobby you have that you want to explore, you don’t feel like you can ever tell them about it because there will be criticism or resistance to the idea. Also, if you want to pursue a new interest or crush a bad habit they enable, you can’t get encouragement to pursue the growth and change you desire. All these feelings point to the fact that your relationship is toxic. 

In Summary

There are remedies to toxic relationships that don’t involve divorce, but it’s so hard to manage them because it takes the commitment of both people, and toxic people don’t often realize they’re toxic. While it’s admirable to save your marriage, you can’t do it alone in these situations, and you shouldn’t have to.

Life Happens, and Here’s How It Leads to Divorce

The old saying “life happens” refers to those incidents that are often beyond your control but disruptive enough to cause long-lasting and detrimental change. A recent article on the Health website looked at these “life happens” events and how many can mean the end for a marriage. Writer Amanda MacMillan spoke with Elizabeth Ochoa, PhD, and here were the doctor’s observations.

In all, there are seven life events that can do in a marriage. They are:

  • Illness
  • Job changes
  • Childbirth
  • Living apart
  • Trauma
  • Empty Nest Syndrome
  • Infidelity

For more detail on each one, we highly recommend checking out the article in its entirety at this link.

As for our purposes today, we’re going to deal with the burning question that permeates throughout each one, and that is this: What can I do to prevent life changes from ending my marriage?

It’s not simple or easy, and it often requires a concerted effort wherein both spouses are on the same page and working as a team. That means each spouse is engaging in the following behaviors.

1. They’re trying to experience things through their spouse’s point-of-view. “Life happens” events can sometimes make us draw up inside ourselves, but that’s really the opposite of what you should be doing to keep a marriage strong. Rather than focusing on how the life event is impacting you, put your partner’s needs first and try to really empathize with what THEY are going through. If both parties in the marriage are reciprocating, then it makes it much easier to work together as a team.

2. They’re setting long-term goals even in the short-term. Being goal-oriented can see you through some rather difficult life events. If it’s a cancer diagnosis, you may be living for positive results at that six-month checkup. If it’s a death in the family, it may be reestablishing your life routines. Tap in to your productive side to see the long view and be cohesive with one another in your goals.

Is a “life happens” moment to blame for your divorce? What experiences helped (or are helping) get you through it?