30 Things Divorced People Think You Should Know About Marriage

Just because someone is divorced doesn’t mean he or she didn’t walk away from a failed marriage without learning some valuable lessons on marriage. Quite the opposite, actually.It’s in failure that we often garner our most strength and wisdom. Like Janet Fitch says, “The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

Divorced people have “burned” and emerged, and most often for the best. We know better — we want better. We understand marriage in an intimate yet difficult way. Some of us wish we did things differently — some of us wish we had married a better fit. No matter what the tale, you can learn a lot about the value and delicacies of marriage from someone who loved and lost.

1. Your marriage is not as good as your vows. It’s what you put into it each day.
2. The roots of your love need to run deep from the start. If the love is attraction- or surface-based, the love will die.
3. Some parts of your marriage will be frustrating, but love enough to be patient to ride out the lows and receive the highs.
4. The grass is not always greener. Even if it looks more lush, you don’t know the quality of the soil.

5.  Tend to the garden of your marriage, lest it get overrun by weeds.

 

6. It’s more than the ring. Can you imagine growing old or being sick with this person?
7. It’s best to cool off alone before throwing down harsh words in a fight.
8. Both of you need to take turns steering the wheel.
9. If your partner backs away and avoids talking, you may have to wait for them to come back around. Patiently.
10. Marriage is not always exciting. Finding the joy in the day-to-day will serve your marriage well.
11. A good marriage means getting your hands dirty. Participating each day. Not expecting perfection.
12. We are all under construction as works in progress. Accept your partner as long as he or she is working on it.
13. Intimacy is the one thing that separates your marriage from your other relationships. Nurture it.
14. A good marriage requires two people who are both still learning about life and each other.
15.  Sometimes, marriage requires you to bend down and tie your partner’s shoes when he or she just can’t do it.
16. Expect there to be some serious storms in your marriage. You might question your love for your partner and feel alone at times.
17. But good marriages have two partners who work through tough times and see the light of a brand-new, better day.
18. A good partnership is simple, really. It just feels easy — most of the time.
19. If your partner feels like he or she has an eye, hold, or lock on you, it’s not love. It’s toxic control.
20. Love is letting the other party rest sometimes and be lazy. We can’t be our best selves 24/7.
21. And the simple little gestures you do or DON’T do each day add up . . . or subtract.
22. Doing those little gestures can lead to great changes for the good in a marriage.
23. Creating lots of joy, love, and more time to connect and “deposit” in each other’s love accounts is important.
24. Don’t be surprised if you two have issues that can feel as if they’re taking a long time to get over.
25. In marriage, as in life, slow and steady wins the race rather than rushed and hasty.
26. There will be small, tiny moments in your marriage that will feel like heaven. Enjoy that paradise.
27.  Savor it.
28. And let both of you enjoy the fruits of your life. Each of you deserves many bites of happiness.
29. Never let anyone else in your intimate emotional space. Those little “affairs” do so much damage to a marriage.
30. Decide each day to be true to yourself and your partner. Your word and deeds are all your partner has to go on.
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When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like Your BFFs…

Remember those days when you first met your spouse and everything felt like springtime? Those initial months were full of all the best firsts—first dates, first smooches, first adventures, and of course, the first time you introduced him or her to the other “loves of your life”—your besties. In an ideal world, your pals like your partner just as much as you do, and vice versa. But when they don’t? It can wreak havoc not on the friendships, but rather, on your marriage, according to a new study.

For the study, researchers followed 355 heterosexual couples to determine the impact of friendships on marriage after 16 years. None of the couples was interracial, to rule out race as a potential source of tension). What the researchers found was fascinating: In white couples where the husbands liked their wife’s friends, 70 percent of couples were still together by the end of the study. However, in white couples where the husbands didn’t like their partner’s pals, only 50 percent remained together. For black couples, liking the friends didn’t seem to impact the relationship.

What do psychologists think of this theory? Sex and relationships therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST says that connecting friend groups is an important aspect of a relationship, and not getting along with one another’s tribe can lead to arguments. “It is typical for spouses to bring up friends in conversations. If your husband makes a negative comment about your friends, you may feel unsupported or torn between two aspects of your life,” she explains. “If you don’t address your feelings and resolve the conflict, it could impact other areas of the relationship, such as enjoyment spent with your husband or even areas such as sex.”

The disapproval of your friend group is worse when it’s coming from your partner, whose opinion usually means more than anyone else’s. “This is the person that we love and trust the most, so their assessment of others around us matters to us,” says psychologist Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC.” We want to know that they agree that someone is a good person, that they are likable, and that they enjoy being around them,” she says.

One possible reason we may be bumping into this problem more and more in recent years is that dating patterns have shifted from in-person to online. So whereas we used to meet people at parties or through friends, where there was already a built-in connection and like-mindedness, increasingly we’re meeting people on dating sites and apps, where there’s no such framework.

This Internet lens can be tricky to navigate, as your partner gets to know your friends not at a bar or a BBQ but via their profiles and posts, which can be heavily curated. “Social media does not provide a realistic view of another person’s life, as they are posting the best-looking or most exciting pictures and status updates about their lives,” Geter says. “Since there is a screen between you and the rest of the world, humans are more likely to make comments they typically wouldn’t make in person or they can avoid conflict resolution with one click of a button or closing a window.”

So is your marriage doomed if your husband isn’t a fan of your BFFs? Definitely not, according to Geter and Martinez, but you might have to manage expectations on both sides. One key way to approach it is to have couple friends and individual friends, neither of which have to mingle.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have your own set of pals for support. “I encourage women to have friends outside of the couple relationship as well as hobbies outside of her husband’s interest. Not only does this allow distance for you to miss your husband, but it also provides opportunities for sharing when you are together,” Geter says. “Since you have your own personal friend group outside of the couple friend group, this may limit how often your husband is around those friends.”

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From: Reader’s Digest by Lindsay Tigar

17 Signs You’re Into Someone More Than They Are Into You

Finding out you’re putting everything into a relationship or casual thing, and the other person isn’t, can be utterly heartbreaking. It’s a truly horrible feeling knowing that you’re crushin’ on someone harder than they are on you. But do you know what? Figuring that out and accepting it is a whole lot easier, healthier, and better for you in the long run than flogging the dead horse that is your relationship.

Everybody’s different and has totally varied relationship expectations. So just because your bae is guilty of a few signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not into you (it could be their personality that makes them not touchy-feely or romantic). But if you’re consistently finding a lot of the below signs to be spot-on, it’s best to have a long hard think about whether the feelings you have are truly requited.

  1. When they don’t answer right away when you call them, you find yourself trying again before they return your call.
  2. They seem unenthusiastic to hear from you (or are always preoccupied) when they do pick up.
  3. When you do speak, they either keep it short and sweet or don’t seem engaged in the conversation. Maybe they’re happy to talk about themselves but switch off when you’re talking.
  4. When they consistently take ages to reply to texts on a regular basis and offer no excuse or apology.
  5. When you meet up, it’s slightly awkward and almost cold when they greet you.
  6. Your attempt at a passionate “hello kiss” when you greet them is returned as a peck on the cheek.
  7. Your PDA attempts are always met with a side swerve of the lips or hands, or they never initiate physical affection. Obvs, some people are just not into PDA, so don’t rely on this too heavily.
  8. The natural warmth and easy-going vibe you put on when you hang out seems to be returned with a stilted and somewhat awkward attitude.
  9. When you go to sleep at night and reach out to show affection, they consistently don’t respond or they show a lack of interest.
  10. They do little to participate when you’re having sex and it feels like you’re merely going through the motions. The obvious physical and emotional distance creates an overall lack of intimacy.
  11. While you’re willing to be generous with your time, money, and resources, they’re cold and stingy.
  12. You show your partner off and include them in family and friend gatherings but they seem reluctant to include you and it feels like they’re keeping you at arm’s length.
  13. When you express your feelings about them, it’s either returned with little to no enthusiasm, or awkwardness.
  14. They don’t show much (or any!) interest in you and your world, but you have all the time for them no matter whats going on in your life.
  15. When it comes to special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, you make an effort with the present to make them feel special. But they make little or no effort, and nothing about their attempts screams attention to detail.
  16. You’re happy to be romantic, but they treat and talk to you like you’re a friend—doing things like talking about their attraction to others when they’re around you.
  17. Your gut instinct tells you they aren’t as into you, but rather than raise the issue, you ignore the feeling because you’re afraid of what they might say or that you’ll lose them.

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From Cosmopolitan UK by Paisley Gilmour

On Ending Your Relationship by Christmas

Has something about your relationship changed? Can you put your finger on what it is? Sometimes it’s obvious: perhaps your partner has cheated on you or their behaviour has become unacceptable, which makes it clear to you that the relationship needs to end. Other times, it’s more a subtle shift in the way you feel, which has happened over a period of time and you find yourself questioning whether you can really see yourself with them long term. It’s often the latter situation which is the hardest to deal with and can come as a surprise to your partner when you tell them it’s over.

When I trained to be a relationship counsellor, I was told the key in any relationship is communication. Good communication generally leads to good relationships, poor communication will likely lead to a poor relationship. We often avoid communicating how we feel for fear of hurting our partner’s feelings, feeling guilty or not wanting to deal with potential confrontation. So, we ‘drift’ on and for a while it seems ok. Nothing bad is happening, but nothing good is happening either.

Then a significant event, or significant time of the year is approaching and the quality of our relationship comes into view again. You may start asking yourself: Do I really want to spend Christmas with them, pretending everything is ok when it’s not? What about New Year’s Eve? Do I want to celebrate seeing the New Year in with them, when I know that I’m just about to dump them?

So, is there ever a good time to end a relationship? I don’t think there is a straightforward answer to that question. For myself, I would rather know that it’s over, than find myself questioning and reflecting afterward, whether they only stayed with me out of pity. Some however, would say that it’s cruel to break up just before Christmas, as it would spoil it for everyone. Whenever you choose, it’s never going to be easy. Breaking up is painful and emotional for both parties. There can be regret, sadness and guilt.

If you are considering ending your relationship before the festive season there are a few questions to ask yourself first:

1. Why did you fall in love with your partner in the first place?

Figure out if there are remnants of those feelings that can be rekindled if you focus on them.

2. Has the ‘love light’ switched off?

I think that love is like a pilot light, sometimes it is strong and vivid and you can clearly see it glowing. Sometimes it is low and subtle, but still burning. If the love light for your partner has switched off, it’s unlikely that it will switch on again.

3. Have you been sending subtle messages that your feelings have changed?

We are sending subliminal messages all the time, so perhaps your partner is far more aware than you think they are about your feelings, and it won’t be a surprise when you tell them you no longer love them.

4. What have you valued from your relationship with them?

All relationships help us learn more about ourselves and what’s important in a relationship to us. You clearly loved them once, share with them what you will always remember about the relationship, along with helping them understand what has changed and why your feelings for them have changed.

Remaining with someone when you no longer love them is unfair to them and to you. Everyone has the right to be happy and to be equally loved in a relationship. Ending a relationship is never easy, but it can be done with consideration, honesty and empathy… even if it’s just before Christmas.

What to do if you decide to break up

Rebecca McCann, a relationship therapist from Click For Therapy advises, “When you know your relationship has ended you know, and there’s very little you can do to convince yourself otherwise. The holiday season is difficult if you are in a relationship you don’t want to be in. So firstly be 100% sure that it’s what you want, otherwise if you end up getting back together this will be forever linked to Christmas.

“If you are totally sure then be honest, and think about the logistics. Think about where you will go for Christmas, what you will do, have a plan in your head before you end the relationship so that you don’t get pulled back in by logistics or your partner convincing you to stay just because its Christmas for example.

“A plan will help you to stay firm in your resolve. The other thing is make sure that you have someone you trust to spend the holidays with, this is part of being kind to yourself. You deserve to enjoy the season as much as you can, but you will need to extra TLC to do this so give yourself a break.”

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From: Cosmopolitan

Here Is How I Knew It Was Time To Let You Go

Nobody wakes up and thinks today will be the day they say goodbye to someone they love. It’s never like that. In fact, we tend to spend a lot of time forcing something to work so we don’t have to say good bye. However, every once in awhile we get pushed to a point where we have to decide what’s best for ourselves and unfortunately, it can include saying goodbye.

I know for me, it was similar. The first year was nothing short of incredible. We spent so many hours talking. I had never met another human being, especially a man, who I enjoyed sitting and talking with like I did with him. I remember the first time we had dinner; we closed down the restaurant and didn’t even notice. We were lost in each other’s company. Something I had never experienced before.

Soon enough, we spent close to every hour we could together. We went to dinner, movies, Seahawks games, beach trips, and that’s just to name a few. We shared things with each other we never thought we could. I understood you and you understood me. You always knew how to make my day. I remember the night you surprised me with a walk through Peacock lane and dinner at a restaurant I had been dying to try. I was always trying to get you to go to new restaurants but you had your favorites and didn’t like to stray from what you knew. We just spent the evening talking and enjoying each other.

I remember the drive home that night was quiet. Except for the Taylor Swift Pandora station you kept on the radio for me. You kept asking me about what was going through my head because I was being so quiet. I may have said nothing, but in reality I was just thinking about how badly it was going to hurt when it all came crashing down. I knew deep down we weren’t meant for forever but that didn’t stop me from loving you with everything I had. I would have taken a bullet for you and even though I play it off as if I want nothing to do with you now, I still would.

I know I’ll always love you, I just learned it has to be from afar.

We continued this roller coaster of us for nearly two years. There were times you pushed me so low, I couldn’t pull myself together. I couldn’t function. You had made me feel so disrespected, but, I realized at that moment it was me that didn’t respect myself. If I respected myself, I would have walked away so much sooner instead of accepting the treatment that was given to me.

You see, you once brought happiness when I saw darkness. You were the reason I smiled in the morning. You made me feel special and as if I was worth something to you. However, between your fears and my wanting more, it turned toxic. I found that where you once brought light, you now brought sadness. You haunted me and I knew you were going to be the first man to break my heart.

So how did I know it was time to let you go?

I knew once you stopped adding to my life in the positive ways you once did, that it was time to say goodbye.

I realized that being around someone who made me feel so low, was not the kind of people I needed in my life. As hard as it was, it was the best decision I have ever made.

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From: Thought Catalog by Jules Martin

10 Relationship Facts I Wish I Knew Sooner

Here are 10 important relationship facts which, if you understand and practice them, give you a much greater chance of securing a long term happy and fulfilling relationship instead of it become just another “experience”.

Contrary to what you’ll see at the movies, relationships take work. We’re not talking “hard work” due to incompatibility issues or fundamental differences in important values – but making your partner feel valued so that he or she wants to stay with you and deepens their commitment to you, does require effort.

Studies have shown that intimate relationships between best friends is one of the surest ways to ensure that it’s likely to last. The honeymoon phases with its “high levels of passionate love” and “intense feelings of attraction and ecstasy, as well as an idealization of one’s partner”, doesn’t last forever, according to Monmouth University psychologist Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. There must be something more going on – and at the end of the day, being “best friends” first, just might be the key.

Relationship Facts that Everyone Should Know

1.  If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.

“Making mistakes” doesn’t mean cheating.  What it does mean is, doing things within the boundaries of the relationship with good intentions but if it turns out that they were not healthy, you take responsibility for them.  Without mistakes, there is no growth.  So this process simulates change and growth.  The bonding comes from taking risks and making mistakes as a couple, then learning from them and becoming stronger as a team.

2.  Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

Many believe relationships should just come naturally, like the rush of dopamine that shot into your brain when you both first met.  Actually, to be in a monogamous relationship where you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and compromise your wants / needs is unnatural.  It goes against our natural human instincts.  In order for us to adapt and embrace this, it takes time – a long time.  If you’re patient, then with the passing of time you will both adapt to each other so that ultimately, by sheer force of habit, it will feel more “natural”.

3.  Work very, very hard.

Nothing of value comes easy! There are some people who understand this principle when it comes to achieving financial security and success but for some reason, somehow imagine that all the happiness and fulfillment of a great relationship will just “come to them” like winning the lottery. There are those who are very proactive at investing time and energy into the relationship while “the chase” is on, or even into the early stages, but once they feel  secure with their partner, imagine that they can take them for granted – and yet – still hold him or her accountable to them for exclusivity and faithfulness. Nobody wants to be someone’s prisoner.

I think many underestimate how much work it takes to make a relationship successful. Referring to the heading again, most tune out after the first “very”.  So what does “very very” hard work look like?  It’s different for everyone.  But you will know because of that giant mountain you see in front of you, the one you’ve always avoided climbing.  The second “very” means self examination.

4.  Ask for opportunities.

Since we think we know our partner so well, we stop asking.  Instead, we assume.  The thing is people change.   If you want something, ask for it.  Their answer may be different today than it would have been yesterday.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never get.  It’s a basic rule of life.  And it also applies in relationships.  I believe this process of asking / communicating creates opportunities to get to know each other better.

5.  Finish what you start.

I’m referring to arguments.  Many start an argument but don’t finish it because it gets too heated.  They walk away and never come back to it.  Issues don’t get resolved.  Instead, people are not heard and there’s anger and resentment.  If you walk away from a fight without consent or getting things resolved, you’re leaving the relationship for that period.  One day, there will be no one to come back to.

6.  Say yes to almost everything.

Assuming it’s healthy and the intent is good, what’s the worst that could happen?  You get out pushed out of your comfort zone?  That’s called an opportunity for growth.  I think we say no too much in relationships.  We don’t like feeling uncomfortable.  If you want more yeses in your life, this is where to start.

7.  Busy is a decision.

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean it’s time to stop life.  Each should have their own life.  This means making a choice to be busy and working on your own container.  I think many get into a relationship and stop or slow down their own personal busyness.

8.  Don’t censor your dreams before you actually dream.

What ever dreams you had when you were single shouldn’t change because you are now in a relationship, unless it happens organically and honestly.  Many give up their dreams because the relationship doesn’t allow them.  Your dreams can change but don’t censor your dreams for anyone.

9.  In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide you want one.

I think the key word there is you not you guys.  I think many lose themselves in their relationship because they forget about their own wants, needs, and paths.  Remarkable can still happen when you’re in a committed relationship.  But you have to decide you want remarkable and you’re not willing to negotiate that.

10.  It is only a failure if you accept defeat.

We should fight for our relationship.  Always.  Not in our relationship, for our relationship.  There’s you.  There’s your partner.  Then there’s the relationship.  If you accept defeat, you are not fighting for the relationship.  Admitting that you are wrong is not accepting defeat.  Admitting that you are wrong is actually fighting for the relationship.

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From: Happy Relationship Guide

Why you’re doing your relationship wrong

 

Having come from an 8 year abusive relationship, I would have to say that the one I have right now with my current squeeze is refreshing. What makes it more beautiful is that prior to its inception, I had read Neale Donald Walsh’s Conversations with God, as recommended by a friend. The words that he wrote, as he claimed were told to him by God Himself, blew my mind.

In the book, he says that WE ALL GO INTO RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE WRONG REASONS. We always ask ourselves prior to getting in one, “What can I get from this? What can he/she give me in return? What’s in it for me?” 

And if you really think about it, if this is your frame of mind, the relationship is bound to FAIL. Because if you keep asking yourself what’s in it for you, you’re bound to have EXPECTATIONS. You want the person to be perfect. You want him/her to fulfill all your needs and wants etc. etc.

But what if he/she doesn’t? Then what?

Then you get disappointed. Then you start throwing a tantrum. Then the fights start.

In the book, Walsh says that we have to go into the relationship telling ourselves “Okay, this is the person that I want. And this is the love that I have to give. I am going into this relationship because I have all this love that I want to share.

It sounds pretty simple, but it spells a world of a difference!

When you have such a positive perspective and you think about love as something you GIVE and not something THAT HAS TO BE GIVEN TO YOU, you create a partnership. You create a real bond that’s not always looking for a return on investment. 

I got involved with my ex-boyfriend at the age of 19 and we were together till I turned 26. Looking back, it was silly of me to have been involved with someone so seriously because those were my developing years. I was so determined to marry him even though he would treat me badly. (Thank God I dodged that bullet!) But at the time, I forged on because in my head, “I’ve gone this far, I can’t give up now!” This resulted in many years of depression and loneliness, even though I was attached. I was waiting for my return on investment.

And when I didn’t get it, I was at a dead end.

There I was expecting that he would change. But he never did.

I learned later on that the kind of love I was giving him even when I was unhappy wasn’t love at all. I felt like a vendor who didn’t get paid. It felt like I was staying because he was indebted to me.

Fast forward to years later and after having read that life changing book, I now know better. Love now has become more of a want rather than a need. I want to be with him because I love him. Because I have all this love to give and he deserves it. I don’t mind if he doesn’t reply back within 5 minutes of receiving my text because  he may be driving. Before, I would dramatize scenarios in my head that the reason why he may not be replying was because he didn’t love me. But now, it feels so light to love this way. When you love and love and love and you don’t care about your return on investment. It just feels good to give it away. Now that infamous Bible quote really makes sense.

[“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8]

I know what you’re thinking. How can I stop myself from expecting from him/her? If you think that this perspective is so one-sided, because it’s human nature to always look for how a situation can help you…

Then it’s simple. It isn’t love. It’s love that you seek from someone else but only you can give yourself.

What you have may not be love at all (in the complete sense of the word), but attention.

Before you enter a relationship, I think that it is vital that you are completely whole and that you completely love all parts of yourself before you can give it away. That sounds cliche but it makes the most sense when you think about it this way.

Your partner shouldn’t be the one having to call you beautiful all the time or singing you praises all the time. If he/she can’t, then let it go. Give it to yourself. The things that you expect him/her to do, do it for yourself. Do your best to fill all the voids so that way you won’t have to NEED anyone. And it would feel TEN TIMES MORE AMAZING to feel that you WANT to be with this person.

I have made this mindset my advocacy to share it with anyone who will listen. Believe me, that it makes a HUGE difference in how you perceive everything. If you’re reading this, I hope this post changes your life somehow.

xoxo,

Cristine