Category : Divorce advice

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5 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Marriage

are you ruining your marriage?As a do it yourself divorce site, (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.

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, (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?

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, 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?

Marriage And Relationship Counseling: How The Professionals See It

How the professionals see marriage and relationship councelingAs a do-it-yourself divorce service, we too often see relationships ending where one of the spouses would like to work on it and the other just wants out. But while marriage and relationship counseling may be the last thing one spouse wants to do, it can be greatly beneficial if given a chance.

Marriage and relationship counselors get to see this tug-of-war play out every day between couples, who run the risk of deciding to file for divorce. These trained specialists have been kind enough to share their experiences of what it’s like to work with a couple experiencing relationship difficulties.

Robert G. Kraft

Kraft, a psychologist in private practice in Omaha, Nebraska, said that his primary focus is on couples with intimacy issues. “They have often come late in their problems … and have developed difficult patterns and distrust. Helping them to develop trust and vulnerability with each other is sometimes a fruitful path. But there are a multitude of issues couples come with, so every couple brings unique challenges.”

Anita Sanz

Sanz, a holistic psychologist for more than 20 years, explains the challenges. “Trying to ensure that each person feels heard, understood, and respected without the other person feeling like you are taking sides or playing favorites is challenging,” she explains. “Defusing escalating destructive conflict is challenging. Trying to help each person see that there are no ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the relationship, just imperfect human beings who bring their own 50 percent to all of the problems or solutions, is challenging. Attempting to get real, honest intimacy going when this is new, unfamiliar, or there are unshared secrets is challenging. Keeping my sights on the ‘3rd client’ and, to me as the therapist, the most important client–the relationship or marriage–is challenging.”

Mike Leary

Leary is a psychotherapist in private practice. He started College Hill Counseling Center, which has been in business for more than 36 years. For Leary, marriage and relationship “runs the gamut” from “delightful to touching to frustrating.”

“Figuring out the puzzle of what they have brought to the relationship is kind of a fun thing but then trying to get them to see it can be quite difficult,” Leary said. “It is hard enough trying to educate and work with one person much less two. And especially when there is animosity so any move the one makes, the other is right there to try and slam them.”

Leary finds “seeing a couple who worked hard yet still, something just won’t click or one burns out the clock” to be a sad experience, and also notes that “when one gives up or a discovery of betrayal has occurred, it can get pretty ugly.”

“But seeing that look and having them laugh and get that sparkle back in their eyes, is very rewarding,” he added.

Whether you’re in the midst of a combative or a DIY divorce, consider giving counseling a try, and you may be pleased with what happens. At the very least, you can leave the marriage with fewer regrets.

8 Bases You’ll Need To Cover As You Prep For A Divorce

bases you will need to cover before going in to a divorceRecently, I was speaking to a man, who was going through his first divorce after more than 25 years of marriage. He was understandably crushed by the situation. His version of events was that right up to a few weeks before he was told she was going to file for divorce, they had still been intimate with one another, both in the bedroom and with the little “tells” in public (i.e. holding hands, kissing, etc).

The news she wanted a divorce and felt “trapped” by the marriage and had felt that way for a few years, left him absolutely floored. Unfortunately, he was in that weird “holding pattern” that so many victimized by divorce find themselves in — he still thought that maybe there was hope, but that feeling was leaving him a little more each day and making him feel crazy.

Divorce is seldom fun at any age and at any stage of the marriage, and yes, sometimes marriages can be saved. But in the meantime, one has to think about their own sanity and well-being. With that said, there are eight bases that need to be covered no matter which stage of the divorce you’re in:

The Legal End

Here, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going the do-it-yourself divorce route or through an attorney. If there are a lot of assets and conflict present, then you may wish to go through an attorney. However, if you think the two of you can keep things amicable and equitable, then a DIY divorce solution can save a lot of time and money.


There are two schools of thought here: either venture full-bore into your work or take some time off to recalibrate. We recommend time off because it helps you to start confronting the heartache and the other difficult emotions right away. While work can put it off, it ultimately delays recovery.


If you were both working, then you’ll have to get used to a new budget and income level. Best to do that now rather than waiting around on someone else’s decision.

New Routines

If you don’t want to give uncertainty power over your situation, then you should start a new set of routines right away. Focus on you. Don’t just sit in your house or your new apartment and think about the pain. Get out. Go shopping. Exercise. Find something that makes you happy — preferably something new that you never shared with your spouse while you were together — and live life.


Don’t neglect their needs during this time, and don’t make them feel like they have to take sides between you or your spouse. You may be as victimized as they are by the news that your spouse wants a divorce, but putting them through that tug-of-war turns you into the bad guy and can screw them up for life.

Physical Fitness

If you take a healthier interest in exercise and run, box, lift weights, etc., then you’ll start to see yourself look better and feel better. That will make you attractive to other people — maybe even your spouse. But don’t do it for them. Do it for you.

Attend To Your Mental Health

Seek counseling or trusted friends, who don’t mind allowing you to talk about the situation. Find and attend a divorce support group. Talk to other people who may be experiencing the same emotions that you are.

Get Social

You don’t want to dwell on your divorce with other people. That’s why this is separate from our suggestion to join a divorce support group. You’ll need to enter social environments where your divorce isn’t a factor. Get out and meet new people. See the post-divorce possibilities, and healing will be just around the corner.

What helped you manage the pain and uncertainty of divorce?