AuthorAnthony Fitch

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How to Channel Anger in Healthy Ways

Anger is one of the oldest human emotions, and in divorce, it’s one of the most common. Feelings of betrayal and self-doubt — which are typical of a split with your spouses — can easily give rise to this caustic emotion. But here’s the thing about being angry. There’s nothing wrong with it, as long as you’re finding the right ways to channel it. Here are some of the healthier ways to do just that.

1. Realize it’s a dangerous emotion if improperly expressed.

Like a wildfire, it can spread throughout your system and boil over in unhealthy ways, charring a swath of destruction to all those in its path. Victims can include your ex, but they can also include your friends, family, and children. The moment that you realize what you’re dealing with, it becomes easier to control it.

2. Be goal-oriented, not past-oriented. 

Hallmarks of people incapable of controlling their anger: they continually relive the worst parts of their marriage over and over. They fail to take one proactive step to overcome what they’re feeling. They snap at anyone and everyone and seldom have anything positive to say. Don’t be those people. They’re too focused on the past. By setting goals and then working to achieve them, you won’t have time for anger, and you’ll like the person you become much better.

3. Live for the people you have, not the ones you lost. 

Spouse leave? Did they take some of your best friends with them? Don’t fret over that. Instead observe the people who are still around. These make up your support unit, and they deserve your love and attention for being there. If you start living for them instead of the ones you lost in the divorce, you won’t have it in you to be angry.

4. Self improve. 

The divorce may not have been your fault, but that’s no reason you can’t look at areas of your life that need improvement and then commit to making those improvements. Be it your wardrobe, your waistline, your disposition, your career — find areas where you can grow, and then grow them in the right direction.

If you commit to the four tips above, you won’t necessarily get rid of the anger, but you’ll use it to build yourself up, and that’s ultimately what you want to do.

Which State Has The Most Second Marriages, And What It Means For You

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.26.53 PMWhen it comes to getting married, most people only want to do it one time. They foresee a lifelong bond that can only be severed by death. However, in the state of Arkansas, the want and the reality are two different things. According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the state is quite terrible at holding on to first marriages. It led the nation in the number of second marriages and third marriages.

What this indicates

When you look at the traditional age range for marriage, Arkansas residents tend to get married young. Furthermore, the state has one of the poorest average salaries in the U.S. So the cocktail of young marriage and high poverty leads to divorce early and often. Aside from not having the best rates at first marriage, Arkansas residents also tend to stumble at second marriage, since they lead in the third marriage department as well.

What does this mean to you if you plan on getting married in Arkansas or anywhere else for that matter?

It means that age, experience, and income all play major roles in whether a marriage succeeds or not. It also means that there are cultural realities you should be mindful of before following suit because “all my friends are getting married, so I should to” poisons your thinking.

Statistics shouldn’t dictate every decision that you make when it comes to marriage or life in general, but you should be mindful of their effects. They show trends, and if you have any doubts whatsoever — even if they’re far-recessed doubts — it could be a good idea to bring them back to the front and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why do I really want to get married?

2. What is it about this person that makes me want to stay with them for the rest of my life?

3. Am I feeling any external pressure to make this decision?

4. What sets my situation apart from every other situation where my peers got a divorce?

If you’re brutally honest with yourself about the answers to each of these questions and still want to get married, then have at it. But don’t go into it blindly without first listening to the statistics. Good luck!

How Second Spouses Can Benefit From Their Partner’s First Marriage

When you’re growing up as a little boy or girl, the last thing that you probably dream about when thinking of Mr./Ms. Right is the idea that you won’t be their “first” spouse. People seldom if ever dream about marrying a divorcee just like the divorcee never “hopes” to have their first marriage fail. But the good news is this: if your partner has grown from their first marriage and been mindful of the pitfalls, you stand to reap some pretty major rewards for saying, “I do” to them. Here are a few.

1. You get someone who’s been through the trial-and-error.

Many first marriages end in divorce because the participants were too young, too inexperienced, or both. They had little idea about what it took to have a successful marriage, and so through trial-and-error, they lost their way. When you are husband or wife number two, your spouse has a greater tendency to be mindful of potential pitfalls regarding behavior and how they interact with you. Example: they know the fights that are worth it and the ones that aren’t.

2. You marry a person who is more considerate and analytical.

This one is particularly true if they come from a marriage where their ex was a powder keg, who always had to have a “battle” to fight. Often times, people who escape from these marriages are so relieved to be done with it all that they don’t ever want to repeat the same mistake of marrying someone who is the carbon copy of their ex. They have a tendency to know trigger points much better than your average person. They’re also more mindful of their own faults and work harder to police those so they don’t spill out on you.

3. You say ‘Yes’ to someone who is often more successful. 

Prime earning years usually don’t come until around 35 to 50 years of age. That means, often by default, you’re going to end up marrying someone who is more successful financially and someone who has a better idea of where they’re going in their career path.

4. You marry someone who is more willing to try new things.

If you want adventure, then be someone’s second husband or wife! Many are mindful that they were too “reserved” the first time around and so they resolve to try new things and expand their horizons in ways that your standard young married person just wouldn’t.

So how about it, second spouses? How do you think your husband or wife’s first marriage benefitted you?

What Your New Relationship Needs From You To Find Success

Every new relationship is scary and exciting because there are so many variables regarding what could go right and what could go wrong, and you haven’t been “in it” enough to “win it.” While there are factors beyond your control, the good news is that you and your new partner have quite a bit of say over the outcome. From the divorcee’s perspective, here is what this new relationship needs from you in order to be successful.

1. A farewell to the past.

For a new relationship to be successful, there is much that the divorcee will have to let go of, particularly whatever baggage they are carrying from their marriage. If your spouse cheated on you, for instance, you have to remember that they cheated on you, not the new person. You cannot expect your relationship to succeed if you’re still allowing trust issues to dictate how you interact with your new partner.

2. A fresh perspective on yourself.

Just like you cannot hold the sins of an ex against your current partner, you also can’t allow your own foibles to make you think you’re entitled to anything less than happiness. Even if you have a degree of guilt regarding your role in how the marriage failed, you have to learn to look at yourself and your life with a fresh perspective. That was then, this is now, the old saying goes. It’s your job to make that a reality.

3. An openness to change.

One of the biggest issues I faced in finding happiness after my divorce was letting go of the need to always be right. I feel that the competitiveness that I brought to my first marriage led to escalation on some fights that today would be no big deal. I realized that there were far too many calories burnt on trying to position myself as “correct.” But here’s the secret: even if you can get your partner to “admit defeat” in an argument, you haven’t won anything except for maybe their bitterness. Point being: it’s far better if you’re open to changing things about yourself that were not productive to the health of the relationship.

What are some things we left off regarding what your new relationship needs to find success? Share some of your thoughts in our comments section.

Marriage Tip Of The Day: Be Unpredictable

One of the major keys to a healthy relationship includes keeping things fresh between you and your spouse. How do you do that? By keeping them on their toes, in a good way.

For example, if your spouse is the one who does most of the cleaning around the house because you work more, take advantage of those times when she is away to tidy up the place. Do the dishes, run a load of laundry, fold clothes, sweep, vacuum — do it without asking.

If your spouse has worked really hard and he wants a day to veg out and play video games, make a gift of that to him.

These are just examples that underscore the importance of the unexpected in a committed relationship. If you know your spouse and you’ve been paying attention, then you know what it is they enjoy. So find a way to give it to them.

But also, keep this in mind: your spouse doesn’t necessarily want you to enjoy what they enjoy.

They just want to see that you appreciate what it means to them. That’s why, in the video game example, the answer isn’t necessarily to join in with him in a day-long gaming session. It’s simply to make the time and the circumstances fit to what he wants to do.

Knowing what your spouse would like to do with you and what your spouse would rather do alone is an important aspect of delivering the unexpected because it shows that you have an understanding of how they operate and how to make a gesture that will have the most significant impact on their happiness and well-being.

If both parties are committed to each other in such a way, then a strong marriage or relationship is within grasp. However, reciprocation is essential. It can’t be one-sided, or bitterness and a feeling that one isn’t appreciated will set in.

 

How Divorce Affects Children Of Different Ages

Dr. Gail Gross, in an article for Huffington Post, recently shed light on the impact of divorce on different-aged children from toddlers to 12. According to Gross, the impacts can be very negative, but manifest themselves in different ways.

For toddlers (ages 1-3), they can be “more vulnerable to emotional problems later in life,” mostly because they “personalize their world; as a result, they may feel that their parents’ divorce is their fault,” Gross writes. This is an impact inwardly. But as the child gets older and experiences divorce later in life (ages 6-12), the impact tends to manifest in outward ways.

“For school age children … parental divorce can negatively impact education … In this age group, children are still very egocentric and can feel responsible for not only their parents’ separation, but for the possibility of a reconciliation. Children ages six through 12 grieve the loss of their parents’ marriage. It is almost inconceivable … that their parents, that belong to them, are no longer living together, and that in fact, one parent is living apart.”

The feeling of being completely helpless to the outcome of a divorce can lead to the child displaying “regressive or aggressive behavior.”

“Withdrawal, aggression, needy, and disobedient behavior can all be seen in the classroom. Daydreaming and not doing schoolwork are behaviors seen by the teacher by children of divorce. Also children ages 6-12 are old enough to understand that their parents have detached from one another. It is here that children criticize one parent or the other and might show their anger by deliberately taking sides.”

So yes, things get a LOT more complicated when the child is in the six to 12 range, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that your divorce, if done early enough in the child’s life, will be less of an impact. Children in the toddler stages see things. They see other kids with moms and dads, and they wonder why theirs can’t get along.

The best way through either situation is to be the best parents that you can be for your kids, and that’s not something easy to do alone. Co-parents may not work as husband and wife, but they can be an incredible source of stability for children during a difficult time in their lives. If you are on the verge of divorce, make your children the biggest priority that you have. It will help neutralize the negative impacts.

Your Spouse Needs Space, And So Do You: How To Find Balance

Sad-CoupleOne of the hardest things to live up to when getting married is the old adage that “two become one.” This has been misinterpreted over the millennia to mean that you no longer exist as a separate entity. Unfortunately, such talk can be dangerous if taken too literally. The reality is that your spouse needs space, and so do you, especially if you plan on strengthening the family unit.

By acting as individuals, you both can bring an element of surprise and excitement to the marriage that always keeps things fresh. You’ll also be able to conquer challenges that you may not have been able to handle on your own, as seen when one spouse is able to get their partner through a death in the family or serious illness.

But how do you find balance for your lives, where you can get the space that you need without sacrificing the marriage?

1. Start with schedules. Time gets harder to come by once kids enter the mix, and if you’re not doing something to stay organized, then you’re going to let a lot of opportunities for Me Time and Together Time pass by the wayside. So map out your week. You don’t have to get too detailed. Just know where your work obligations are, as well as your parental obligations and your spousal obligations. From there, look for gaps in the schedule and plan on doing something that you enjoy.

2. Plan your thing. My wife works early mornings to afternoon. Sometimes she’s out of the house by 6:40am. My schedule, because of childcare, doesn’t allow me to work until afternoons and evenings. Many times it is hard for us to see each other during the week, so the weekend is our sanctuary. That means we plan the lion’s share of our time together for Saturday and Sunday. She’s fulfilling her work obligations while I’m being a parent, I’m fulfilling mine while she’s being a parent, and since we’re on different sleep schedules at this point, we both get Me Time when our little one is asleep. Without structure, we wouldn’t be able to find time for everything, but that structure also lets us know when our space will come, and it gives us something to look forward to when we’re working. Planning — can’t stress it enough.

3. Make one-on-one time a priority. Be careful not to spend too much time together “as a family.” That sounds awful to type that, but it’s really true. Children will not allow you to tap in to that dating side that you both so desperately need to make your marriage last. While you want to be there for them as a source of support, don’t do it at the expense of the relationship that you enjoyed before your children came along. It can be work to manage all of it, but it’s work that usually pays off in a long-lasting and healthy marriage.

Do you think personal space is important to a healthy marriage? How do you spend your Me Time?

4 Tips For Relationship Building When You Don’t Like The In-Laws

In-laws can be an unpredictable sort. Sometimes you hit the jackpot like I did the SECOND time I got married. Other times, you just get the pot, like I did the FIRST time I was married. While it’s a lot easier when everyone gets along, it’s not impossible to have a good, healthy relationship if you don’t. You simply have to stick to these four tips.

Tip 1: Discuss the matter with your spouse. 

Be ready with specific examples of what it is that your in-laws do that you don’t like. Let them know how you feel about it, what you’re willing to accept in terms of a relationship with them, and what you’ll do if they can’t respect you. In other words, start by knowing your boundaries and sharing them with your spouse. From there, the ball is in his/her court, and it’s theirs to fumble. You can’t be held accountable.

Tip 2: Stand up for yourself. 

When the burden is on your spouse to change the relationship with his parents that he’s grown used to, it can take some time to see results. That’s where you can help him take back a bit of the power by standing up for yourself. Be respectful and welcoming and an ideal spouse to your partner. Be the kind of son-in-law or daughter-in-law that any rational parent would want. But if they cross a boundary, let them know it. Be direct. Be honest. But keep your cool. They’ll either learn to adjust their behaviors accordingly, or your spouse will realize that you mean business, and he’ll be able to run interference when you do have to interact with them. It isn’t comfortable, but again, it helps you un-shoulder some of the burden and it prevents a later, unhealthier outburst.

Tip 3: Be careful not to initiate fights between your spouse and your in-laws. 

You may want your spouse’s parents to respect him more than they do, but only he can make that change. You can guide him, let him know what he’s worth and how he should be treated, but if he has an unhealthy relationship with them, there is only so much you can do. He has to take the steps toward empowerment. So don’t, either consciously or subconsciously, press him to fight it out with his parents. Just show him what’s healthy and how it could be. Getting more proactive than that could make you look like a manipulator and “the bad guy.”

Tip 4: Move away.

Boundaries can be hard to set when you see each other every day or even once a week. That’s why one of the healthiest things that a couple can do to strengthen their relationship and distance themselves from toxic in-laws is to move away. Symbolically and physically, this action sends the message that you are your own family unit now and all decisions will be for the good of you and your children. No one else.

So how about it, readers who don’t get along with your in-laws? Have you been able to make your relationship work anyway? If so, what helped most of all?

Should Co-Parents Make Vows To Their Children?

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.48.58 AMAs an online divorce review site, we’re always looking at new tips and stories that might be able to help you, the reader, who may be going through a difficult time. One of the most difficult experiences of all is that of co-parenting after you’ve said goodbye to the marriage. Sometimes it can seem like your ex is just doing things to mess with you. But then, other times it can work beautifully.

There is something you can learn from the beauty, and this tip comes from Heather Cooper, who recently sat down with Huffington Post to describe how she and her ex-husband made it work after they ended their marriage.

While the whole thing is worth a read, we’re going to pull out one particularly interesting part — the “vow” that she and her ex made to their two children.

“When we divorced, Steve put his wedding band from our marriage on his right hand and we told the children that we never were going to become unwed to the family. Thanks to a lot of discussions and planning, we’ve been able to stay true to that vow. Any decision involving the kids is made mutually so our children never felt like they were able to pit us against each other. They knew we would consult each other first and they respected that.”

What Heather says makes a lot of sense, but it can be difficult to implement if you’re in the wrong mindset. Unfortunately, co-parenting often becomes about wanting the kids to like you more than your ex. When you take this route, though, you’re actually encouraging your children to dislike a part of themselves. To avoid this, a vow may be in order.

Steve actually made a physical action. He moved the wedding ring from his left hand to his right to show the kids that he wasn’t divorcing himself from the parenting relationship. By taking a memorable action, he made the vow to his children real. You and your ex may want to consider doing the same thing, but remember what Heather says: it took “a lot of discussions and planning.” Don’t be frustrated if you’re not “there” yet with your ex. It’s work, but it’s work that can have incredible results for your children. Best of luck!

Mitch Albom Weighs In On Gay Vs. Straight Marriage With Advice Everyone Needs To Hear

The United States remains somewhat bitterly divided over the same-sex marriage debate, and it’s tough to take a point on the issue without alienating half the country. Mitch Albom, the celebrated author of Tuesdays with Morrie, took a stab at it in a thought-provoking column that ran in the Detroit Free Press last year, reprinted online by the Alaska Dispatch News.

His take was an unexpected one that “honors” marriage no matter what side of the issue you find yourself on. With some statistics putting divorce rates at nearly 50 percent, Albom felt like both heterosexual and homosexual marriages could learn from that. “People are people. Fights, losing interest, losing passion, finding someone else — do you think this is the sole purview of heterosexuality?” he writes. “While we are consumed with who gets to get married, many nations are losing interest in the institution. In France, the Netherlands — even Italy, with its stereotype of the big family — marriage is becoming passe. Why burden themselves with vows and commitments?”

Albom feels that is the bigger issue in the marriage debate and to prove his point, he cites a case in the Michigan Supreme Court where the child of an estranged lesbian couple was forbidden to see the non-biological mother by the biological mom. “Critics lamented that if they were legally married, then divorced, the child and denied mother would have rights to see each other. So we’re now using divorce to justify more marriage?” he asks.

“The only thing we can be certain of is that all of this will land in the U.S. Supreme Court soon. Meanwhile, can we at least agree that, no matter what we think of someone else’s marriage, we could all put more emphasis on our own?”

And there’s the takeaway. But to expand on this a bit and make it relevant for people who are either divorced or about to go through the process, there are two lessons to learn here:

1. Don’t worry about how the world looks at you because you’re divorced. Just concern yourself with improving your life and making positive life decisions. Let the divorce live in the past and be the catalyst to a new beginning.

2. Should you remarry, focus inwardly and don’t allow others’ lives to remove your focus from the work involved in forging a strong relationship.

If you’re at the point of no return in your marriage and aren’t sure what steps to take next, check out some of our online divorce reviews of both attorney referral and DIY forms services to see which best applies for you.