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4 Destructive Behaviors Common to Post-Divorce Recovery

The period of time shortly following your divorce can be one of the most vulnerable points that you face in your recovery. This is where you’ll be the most tempted to let go of healthy choices and give in to bad decisions. But being aware of destructive behaviors can give you the best chance to avoid them. Here are four of the most common. If you can keep these out of your life, you’ll be in a great position.

1. Substance abuse

Many divorcees — particularly the ones not wanting out of the marriage — will use alcohol and other substances as a way of self-medicating when the papers are finalized. Unfortunately, a dependency can develop, and from there, it can turn into full-on addiction, affecting relationships as well as physical and psychological health.

2. Fighting with your ex

Once the divorce is final, there is no reason to keep dredging up the past with your ex, especially when you don’t have any children to keep you linked to one another. If you do have kids, you can still take steps to parent your child without bringing old arguments into play. Limit potential conflicts by conducting co-parenting decisions and interactions via email or text message.

3. Bad-mouthing your ex to the kids

Remember that every bad thing you say about your ex in front of your child is an attack on the child as well. That may not be how it seems to you, but it is to them. The fact that your child comes from both you and your ex, is not lost on them, and they’re superb at making connections — even connections you didn’t intend for them to make. Doing this can also lead to the No. 2 destructive behavior above.

4. Not taking care of yourself

Beyond substance abuse, other ways that you can self-destruct include not eating right, not exercising, and just exercising general apathy for life in general. These “sins of omission,” so to speak, can affect future relationships, work opportunities, and your overall mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, or worse.

What are some things that you have the most difficulty with now that your divorce is final? Are there any demons that you’ve been able to overcome? Share your journey in our comments section.

 

4 Signs You’ve Grown Apart

Long-lasting marriages and relationships aren’t usually as easy several years down the road as they seem from the start. Eventually the honeymoon phase will wear off. Kisses and hugs will begin to feel like routines instead of heartfelt gestures. And if you’re not careful, that over-familiarity with one another can signal the beginning of the end. 

But here’s the good news: you can overcome these lulls that you will inevitably experience with your partner. It just takes awareness and commitment. But to get there, it helps knowing the major signs that you’re growing (or have grown apart). Taking it from the top, here are some of the most common. 

1. Lack of physical intimacy

Physical intimacy often wanes as hormones start to level off or decline, but that doesn’t mean you should stop looking at or touching each other. Whether you’re 25 years old or 80, you can still be physically intimate with your partner to some degree that makes sense within the reality of your relationship. The key to overcoming this sign that you’ve grown apart is to make time for togetherness. Open up to one another, and the physicality will follow. 

2. Looking forward to your time apart

No one is saying that you should want to spend every waking minute of the day with each other, but if you derive more pleasure and energy from separating than you do from coming together, there’s a problem. Couples who communicate effectively are able to keep excitement in their marriages and relationships, and they are able to capitalize on the quality of time they spend together while not paying as much attention to the quantity. By pursuing each others’ interests and scheduling things that you can both look forward to you can ensure your time together is well spent. 

3. Losing your desire to put in the work

Maybe you know what needs to be done as a couple in order to fix your woes, but you just don’t care enough to put in the time and effort. If this is the attitude of one or both parties in a marriage or long-term relationship, then it’s very likely the situation is beyond hope. 

4. Refusing to listen

This final sign you’ve grown apart is a bit of an offshoot of some of the other entries on this list, but it is still worth singling out. When you are done trying and you lack the energy that it takes to strengthen your relationship, there’s a good chance that you’ll no longer listen to anything your spouse wants or says. This signals the breakdown of communication, which can be quite toxic. Whether it comes as a result of the other things on this list or it’s actually the cause, the moment you shut your ears to your spouse is the moment that all hope is lost. 

What were some ways that you knew you and your spouse had grown apart? Sound off in the comments section!

The Link Between Divorce and Heart Attacks

A new study released in April 2015 revealed that men and women who experience divorce are more susceptible to heart attacks; and surprisingly, it’s women who run a greater risk. 

The study — from Duke University and reported here by the BBC — reveals that women carry a 24 percent greater likelihood to have a heart attack if they’ve been divorced once and the number goes up to 77 percent if divorced multiple times. Worse, remarrying only slightly improves the odds of avoiding a heart attack. 

The analysis was of 15,827 people and originally published in the journal Circulation. It argued that “chronic stress, linked to divorce, had a long-term impact on the body.” 

Men experienced a 10 percent greater likelihood of divorce-caused heart attack for one time and 30 percent for multiples. Men who remarried tended to bounce back unlike their female counterparts, indicating that men reenter marriage with a great deal more confidence than women. It also indicates that men use marriage as a way of dealing with stress. 

(In both men and women, the likelihood tripled for multiple divorcees.) 

Of the comparative ease with which men deal with divorce and remarriage, an author of the study had this to say. 

“I think this is the most interesting bit in the paper. We joke around here and call it the ‘any-women-will-do orientation’ for men. They’re more comfortable being married than not married and cope with different women being their spouses. First marriages are protective for women and it’s a little dicey after that.”

Of course, you’ll stand a much better chance of avoiding the heart attack risk if you focus on your health and wellness after divorce. Changing the diet to heart-healthy foods, exercising four or five times per week, and taking care of your mental well-being with hobbies, are all great ways of alleviating the stress that most divorcees feel. 

Do you feel like your divorce is causing unhealthy physical side effects for you? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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?

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?

Mary J. Blige Forbids Husband To Have Female Friends: Here’s Why She’s Right

173633963_6b23387a12_oRealizing this may not be the most popular post we’ve ever done at our online divorce review site, we’re going to take a look at some recent brow-raising comments made by R&B artist Mary J. Blige. Blige is approaching her 11th wedding anniversary to manager Kendu Isaacs.

What’s the secret to their success? 

“He always has my back – he’s going to fight to the death for Mary J Blige,” she said. “The downside is that there’s no separation — it’s on all the time. When you don’t feel like answering to your manager, he’s still your husband. If one of you doesn’t want to talk about something right now, you have to respect that. And you have to respect each other’s space.”

Not too controversial, but that’s not where she stopped.

She also shared the fact that she has banned platonic relationships with other women and decided on the same course of action between herself and male counterparts.

“All females for me, all guys for him,” Blige said. “There’s none of that, ‘Oh, that’s my female friend. Oh, that’s my guy friend.’ No. Not in a marriage, I’ve never seen that work.”

While commenters at Huffington Post disagree with Blige’s decision, it’s really not that bad of an idea. While some may feel it highlights insecurity, here’s why we think, in Blige and Isaac’s case, it’s the right call (and why it may be the right call for you, too).

There is nothing wrong with steering clear of temptation.

Yes, you may think Blige is insecure, but if she and her husband know that it may be too tempting for them to have platonic friends of the opposite sex, then hats off to them for avoiding it. Too often in a marriage (or anything, really), we think we’re proving our strength by deliberately placing ourselves in situations that we know might present a problem. They’ve recognized this — she by banning it and he by respecting his wife — and that’s resulted in one of the longer celebrity marriages that you’ll find.

What do you think, readers? Is there anything wrong with swearing off platonic friends of the opposite sex in a marriage?

[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

‘Marriage Isn’t For Everyone’: Worst Post-Divorce Advice Ever

At our online divorce review site, we try to help many people find a quick way through the divorce process, but sometimes people need help after the breakup, and that’s where you, the good friend, comes in. We advise that you be careful through this time because how you respond to your friend or family member’s pain could have a significant impact on how they cope. That’s why you should avoid sharing this piece of “advice” at all costs:

Marriage isn’t for everyone.

The reality is that marriage IS for everyone provided you have found the right person. And even if you’ve been (or are) divorced yourself, sharing this nugget of wisdom is not helpful. Why?

1. Because it implies there is something defective in the person to whom you’re saying it.

You may have managed to comfort your divorce with the old “Marriage isn’t for everyone” line, but keep in mind that they are not you, and in their mind, they’re trying to process what went wrong. They didn’t want their marriage to end in divorce, and it’s likely they’ll want to get married again, so saying this is just insulting.

2. Because it brings cynicism into the world of relationships.

Cynicism doesn’t work for healthy relationships. If you tell your friend that marriage isn’t for everyone, you inadvertently influence them to look at all future relationships as if there is something intrinsically wrong with them. This can lead the people you care about to pass up promising relationships based on nothing.

3. Because it trivializes everything about the relationship they are leaving behind. 

While you may look at your past relationships and see them as meaningless, your friend may not see it that way. No one wants to feel like they’ve wasted a whole chunk of their lives that they’ll never get back, yet when you say that, you make them think they’ve pitched those years off a cliff with nothing worthwhile to show for it.

If you know someone who is getting a divorce then be more careful with the words you say. If you are at the end of your marital rope, then check out our online divorce reviews for your options.

The Thing To Remember About Your Spouse’s Past

Helping with an online divorce review site, you never know when your own personal experience might come in “handy.” When the opportunity does arise, it isn’t usually the most comfortable. Such a case happened today. I was at a local restaurant that my wife and I occasionally frequent. Our waiter came to the table, dropped off the menus, and took our drink orders.

There was a weird feeling about the whole exchange and I immediately noticed that something was “off” about the situation.

As soon as the waiter was gone, my wife explained to me that the man getting our drinks was at one time her fiancee. She looked uncomfortable, but the restaurant was my idea, and so I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was one of those situations you just can’t plan for in life.

We went through the meal as uncomfortably as we could. To his credit, he tried to keep things professional, joking around uncomfortably in a manner that didn’t go beyond rapport building. At this point, all of us knew the truth but none of us were saying anything.

At the end of the meal, I paid the check and gave a standard tip so not to come across insulting. I had nothing against this guy, and I was pretty sure he had nothing against me. Before we left, however, he couldn’t resist saying something. Thankfully, it was a simple, “Nice to see you again. It’s good to see that you’re doing well.”

It was certainly a bad situation, but the three of us made the most of it and went on with our lives. I reminded myself that there are people who go through “actual” suffering and so this really wasn’t that big of a deal. For us, it isn’t. We talked a bit about it after we left. She voiced how she didn’t know if she should have introduced us or what. I told her it was fine. Who in their right mind walks in to a restaurant and expects that to actually happen?

While I would have probably avoided it altogether had I known what we were in for, I’m still kind of glad it happened in a (possibly) strange way. It reminded me that, yes, my wife had a past. But so did I. In fact, I’d been married once before. She had not.

Sometimes you’re not particularly proud of your past. Sometimes all you can do is acknowledge that it happened and move on. We used the experience later that night to talk about where we’d been and where we are now, and in talking about it, felt an overwhelming sense of relief that our lives had gone the way they had. We’re happy. We’re secure. We have a daughter we love more than anything in the world.

Yes, there were chapters of our lives where we lived without the other. But today, our lives are about each other and the beautiful life we’ve made. Thankfully, we’re living in the present where we belong and neither of us are bound to those lives we led so long ago.

If you’re here to read some of our online divorce reviews and think about the best way to end your marriage, don’t be discouraged about what you’re going through. It will soon be your past, and the future will be entirely up to you.

4 Tips For Hitting The Reset Button On Your Physical Relationship

As an online divorce review site, we see it every day: couples at the end of their marriages because they lost that initial spark that made the relationship exciting and new. Passion and physical chemistry are important to every romantic bond, and if you want a healthy marriage, you’ve got to work to keep it going. After all, things can get stale. The mystery and “fun” can wear off. Children can become so demanding of your time that you start to feel like roommates. But with work, it is possible to weather the storm. Here are a few proven methods:

1. Make your physical relationship a priority. 

This would entail diagnosing that there is a problem and then seeking help. Though there is nothing wrong with going to a therapist or counselor for your issues, it could be as simple as having a heart-to-heart with your spouse about new and interesting things you’d like to try when you’re together. Through it all, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and don’t be judgmental about your spouse’s wants either. Good sex starts with communication. Make this part of your relationship priority enough to talk about it and exchange ideas.

2. Determine why your physical relationship is suffering. 

Beyond simply knowing there is a problem, you also need to know the root of the issue. Is it a new baby? Work? What? By establishing the issue, you’ll be more likely not to repeat it.

3. Put yourself under the spotlight. 

If you are worried about sounding too harsh or judgmental towards your spouse, then first shine the spotlight on you. Poor sex lives don’t get that way usually because of a single person. It happens because one person got bored and the other was too nervous to talk about it. Or maybe you’re both too bored. Bottom line: no one’s hands are clean in a situation like this. Identify what you could be doing better. That encourages reciprocation from your spouse, and it can place you both on the road to recovery.

4. Take your time. 

If you can’t have patience with your spouse, you can’t have patience with anyone. Understand that you may not fix your issues overnight. Just be there for your partner and don’t take your issues outside the relationship.

If you have reached the point of no return, however, then make sure you’re ready for the next steps. Read our online divorce reviews to understand your options and go from there. Good luck!

Wedding Rings After Divorce: What Should You Do?

Many of the visitors at our online divorce review site are dealing with a new crop of issues they’re not prepared to handle when first starting out their post-divorce journey. There are so many questions, and seemingly so few answers. One of the first big ones: what do I do with this wedding ring?

This was a tough one when I first found myself divorced after four years of marriage. It wasn’t a decision that I wanted at the time, though it turned out pretty great. Still, looking down at the wedding ring on my finger, I felt nothing but loss and failure and heartache. I didn’t want to get rid of it because it meant that I was admitting it was over. I didn’t want to keep it because it reminded me of the anger and hurt and betrayal.

Ultimately, I decided I HAD to get rid of it, and it really didn’t matter what I got for it or where it ended up. My solution: pawn shop, $75.

Was it worth more than that? Yes. But it didn’t matter because I was getting something much more valuable by getting it out of my life: freedom.

The freedom to admit it was over. The freedom to move on with my life. The freedom to embrace my mistakes and make new goals. Dream new dreams.

Now clearly my solution is not the only one. It was right for me but might not be right for everyone. You may have a legitimate use for it after the marriage is over — like giving it to your child, for instance. Or just keeping it as a reminder not to rush in to your next relationship. (You should probably get rid of it before he or she sees it, though.)

The key is to ask yourself one question: what will help me best move on and put the past behind me? Answer that, and you’ll know what to do.

If you have any questions about which sites are best for helping you find an attorney or complete the divorce on your own, make sure you read our online divorce reviews, and good luck!