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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Is This The Reason So Many Relationships Fail?

Eli Finkel, a US university professor specializing in social psychology reckons there’s a very common reason modern relationships fail—and it’s all about our expectations. In an interview with The Atlantic about his new book The All-or-Nothing MarriageFinkel explained he considers many people in relationships too idealistic.

Basically, rather than just being content that our partner provides us with a spare pair of hands to sort out the home and go about our daily lives, we’re expecting them to be everything to us.

We are, he reckons, demanding WAY too much of them. A lot of modern couples expect their significant other to love them because, duh, but also to “help them grow” and become our best selves. We want them to make us feel attractive, smart, hilarious, sexy, basically all the things all the time. And this, he says, is putting so much pressure on our relationships that we are totally screwing them up.

Why though? Finkel says in the past 100 years, marriage and relationship expectations have blurred due to cultural changes.

In his The Atlantic interview, he said:

“I would just urge everybody, think about what you’re looking for from this one relationship and decide, are these expectations realistic in light of who I am, who my partner is, [and] what the dynamics that we have together are? If so, how are we going to achieve all of these things together? Or alternatively, how can we relinquish some of these roles that we play in each others’ lives, and outsource them to, say, another member of your social network?”

What he’s saying is, in order to not overload your partner with expectations, you probs could maybe go to a pal or family member for the assurances your partner can’t give you. And that’s totally fine.

He continues:

“The question isn’t, ‘Are you asking too much?’ The question is, ‘Are you asking the appropriate amount, in light of the nature of the relationship right now? ‘The idea of ‘going all-in’ is, ‘Hell yes. I want to ask my spouse to help make me feel loved and give me an opportunity to love somebody else and also [be] somebody who’s going to help me grow into an ideal, authentic version of myself. And I’m going do the same for him or her. I recognize that that is a massive ask, and because I recognize that that’s a massive ask I’m going to make sure that we have sufficient time together. That when we’re together we’re paying sufficient attention to each other, that the time that we’re investing in the relationship is well-spent.'”

So if Finkel’s theory is true, we need to accept most of our expectations are a tad too much. In order to avoid constant disappointment and inevitably, the end of our relationship, we need to not pile too much pressure on that one person.

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By: Paisley Gilmour for Cosmopolitan

9 Tips For Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship

As someone who was in a long-distance relationship for two years and is now currently in another one, I know all the pains that come with being in an LDR all too well. Sure, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also downright sucks. It’s not the most frugal dating option, not to mention how difficult it is to not be able to see your significant other anytime you want. Although long-distance relationships aren’t the easiest, they aren’t impossible to survive either — as long as you keep these nine things in mind.

  1. Assume that it’s going to be really tough: Let’s just get this one out of the way. It’s great to have a positive attitude going into a long-distance relationship, but you should also expect to encounter many bumps along the way. Once you embrace the challenge, you’ll be better equipped to get through the more difficult moments and won’t be as tempted to give up when you’re put to the test.
  2. Always have your next visit planned: You need to give yourselves something to look forward to. Each time you reunite, discuss when the next time you’ll be seeing each other will be. Secure the date, add it to your calendars, and start counting down.
  3. Facetime as much as you can: Trust me, seeing each other face to face will help your relationship more than a phone call can — even if it’s just through a screen. It’s obviously not the same as being together in person, but it’s the next best thing you’ve got. It’ll also make you more focused on your conversation without being able to multitask as easily.
  4. Woo each other: Surprise each other with mailed letters, homemade goodies, or any other thoughtful things you can imagine. Think of how your relationship was when you two first started dating and pull out all the stops. Small and sweet gestures can go a long way.
  5. Make your visits count: You don’t get time together often so when you do see each other, take full advantage. This doesn’t mean you always have to have an extravagant plan on hand; being present is enough. Put your phones away and give each other the time and attention you don’t often get to enjoy.
  6. Celebrate the little things: And this includes cheesy holidays you’d normally skip if you were together. Celebrating personal accomplishments, relationship milestones, and even National Pizza Day together while apart will help you both feel more connected. Plus, it’ll also give you an excuse to make a visit or do something nice for one another.
  7. Get a travel rewards card ASAP: Spending money on visits can really add up, so you might as well rack up points you can use towards your next trip. Most credit cards come with bonus miles when you first sign up, while some come with companion fare tickets, so be sure to take advantage of all the perks.
  8. Make your visits a vacation opportunity: Instead of flying into their hometown, pick a city to meet in! It’ll allow you two to experience new places together and make visits even more fun.
  9. Be in it to win it: If only one of you is fully invested in making your long-distance relationship work, it won’t. Like any other successful relationship, it takes two willing partners. Make sure this is something you both equally desire because giving halfhearted effort just won’t cut it. You should also have a serious conversation about what you both expect out of this relationship. How long are you both willing to endure long-distance? Is relocating an option? Envision a future together and create a game plan to make it happen. If you both want it, you’ll make it work!

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By: Nicole Yi for Popsugar

How Do I Stop Being Jealous for No Reason?

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for seven months and we’re about to head off to college. He’s going two hours away from home and I’m going out of state. This relationship has been so incredible and I’m so excited to see where we go in the future. However, I have a really bad habit of getting jealous, even though he has given me no reason to be and has been nothing but reassuring, kind, and loyal to me. How do I allow him to make friends and stop being so clingy and smothering?

I feel for you: Dating someone who’s headed off to college sucks. You aren’t wrong to feel jealous. It’s normal to freak out and imagine he’s kissing some co-ed while you’re studying. It’s scary to send a boyfriend or girlfriend off to start a new phase of life. But extreme jealousy has a funny way of blowing up in your face, if not making all your worst fears come true. You’re smart to try and get ahead of this problem.

To help you deal with these inevitable feelings, first I think you have to accept a few lousy things about distance because they’re unavoidable. Here’s a random assortment of a few: 1. He’s not always going to text or call when you want. 2. He’s going to be busy when you’re not. 3. He’s going to make lots of new friends. 4. Some of them will be cute girls. 5. You’re going to see something on someone’s social media that bothers you. 6. Clueless friends are going to say insensitive things about how he’s definitely fooling around. 7. He’s going to want some space. 8. No matter what, you’re not going to be able to see or talk to him as much as you’d like. 9. Sometimes, his phone really is going to die. And all of the same things will be true for you as well when you’re settling into your new college routine.

I’m not trying to scare you. It’s just that there are dozens of ways in which this long-distance relationship is going to be hard—and if you start off hoping that it’s going to be smooth sailing, you’re bound to be disappointed and jealous when you discover it’s not so easy.

Then next year, be realistic and pick your moments. Think: quality phone calls and visits, not constant contact. Make a few reasonable plans in advance: In addition to regular check-ins, consider scheduling a standing phone call every Sunday night or a visit every other weekend. Sometimes, when things go wrong, you can help control your jealousy if you’ve got a plan on the books to look forward to. Remember that it’s healthy to talk about how much you miss him, but there are degrees: Be honest about your feelings, but don’t lay a guilt trip on him every time you say goodnight.

My big-picture advice: Take care of yourself first. The more you think about him than yourself, the more jealous you’ll be. Practice being alone a little bit before he goes. Don’t just think about missing him—think about all the new things you’ll do at your new school. Keep yourself busy with clubs, classes, meeting new people. If you’re happy and busy with your own life, you’ll be less likely to obsess over his and smother. Remember that obsessive jealousy is just never a good look, and there’s nothing more attractive than a woman who’s got her shit together.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for close to three years. He comes from a relatively strict Catholic family, and they are conservative pro-lifers. I, on the other hand, am very liberal and I do not hold back from making my feminist viewpoints known. My boyfriend however does not see the importance of feminism, and doesn’t find it necessary. He believes men and women already have completely equal rights. Every now and then I try to educate him a little, but he’s pretty firm in his beliefs and has “evidence” of his own to back up his viewpoints, so I usually let it go. Ultimately, his behavior never broaches sexist, and that’s the most important thing for me. I’ve been hearing about a 2018 Women’s March and I was unable to attend the first one, so attending the next one is incredibly important to me. I asked my boyfriend if he’d go with me, and he said he would, but then asked if I’d join him for the March for Life in January. As you can guess, this is not something I want to do at all. The two events stand for completely different things and even though I want to support him, I want to show no support for the pro-life movement. What do you think I should do?

This is a fascinating problem. If I’ve got this right, your boyfriend is a nice guy who treats you well. But he’s also willfully, extremely clueless: Every time anyone tells him about gender-based discrimination (the wage gap, sexual assault rates, domestic abuse stats, sexual harassment headlines, campus rape stories, etc.) he sticks his fingers in his ears and la-la-la’s or tosses out anecdotal counter-evidence because he is certain that everything is absolutely equal and fine and good. But it’s not.

My first thought is: As a woman, it’s going to be really hard to have a long relationship with a guy who denies the fundamental realities of your life. He doesn’t have to call himself a “feminist” and be woke on social media. But he does have to grapple with facts if he’s going to honestly engage with your life. I worry about what happens when he tells you that, no, you’re wrong about how you feel about your life, your experiences, and the forces that shape them.

But my answer to your question is actually quite simple:

Go to the Women’s March or any upcoming event you’d like, whether that’s with your boyfriend, your girl friends, or yourself. Do not cut a deal and agree to go to the March for Life, because you should not be strong-armed into supporting a cause you disagree with as part of some kind of 50/50 deal, regardless of the cause. Sure, if you’re interested in the March for Life, check it out. But if you fundamentally disagree with something, stand by your principles, and explain that you’d rather not lend your support to a movement you oppose.

All I’ll add to that is that I hope you spend some time thinking about what it means to be with a man with such strict conservative beliefs who refuses to see the discrimination all around him. I’ve known couples who got along fine before the big issues came up—but fought like hell when life got more serious and those fundamental disagreements started to have a bigger impact on everyday life. This is just one March, but if this relationship lasts, you’ll want a traveling partner you can trust on the long road ahead.

This weekend I got very drunk with a friend of mine. We ended up making out. I’m not sure what happened because I had blacked out. I feel bad since it was my friend’s first kiss. We’re both gay, I’m a lesbian and she’s bi. I tried telling her that I’m not interested in anything serious, especially with a friend. I just went through a rough breakup with someone I had lots of friends in common with. Ever since that weekend, I’ve noticed her looking at me a lot more and differently, like she’s in love with me. She talks to me that way too. How do I explain that I don’t have feelings for her and I’m not going to kiss her again, without hurting our friendship? 

Look, you can’t help it if you’re an amazing catch (and, sounds like, an amazing kisser). Sometimes, people are just going to fall for you. Since this was your friend’s first kiss, it’s no wonder she’s crushing especially hard on you.

You’re on the right track and this is going to be fine: You’ve just got to figure out how to let this woman down easy. That begins with watching your behavior. It’s all fine and good to say, “I just want to be friends,” but if you start making out with her the next time you get drunk, she’s not going to believe you. And there’s a whole world of grey area in between. The best way to send a clear message is to stop sending mixed messages. Create some distance. Play it cool.

Most of all, if you don’t want to hook up with her, be clear about that. It sounds like you’ve almost said the right thing. You told her you’re not interested in “anything serious” with a friend. But that’s not the truth, is it? You don’t want to casually hook up again, do you? If you don’t want anything romantic or sexual with her—serious, casual, otherwise—tell her that. “I like you as a friend—but just as a friend. It was a mistake to hook up with you and I can’t do that again.” Don’t leave any wiggle room. Don’t make excuses or over-explain it. (If you blame it on your break-up, she might just think you need some more time before you make out again.) It might sound ten-percent more harsh to be clear, but it’s necessary. In love, as in home security, you’ve got to shut that door tight or someone will keep trying to pry it open.

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By: Logan Hill for Cosmpolitan

Goal Setting in Relationships

Setting goals with your partner can be a double-edged sword. On one end, when you achieve them you feel joy and exhilaration for having realized a dream or aspiration. On the other hand, when you fail to meet them, you may face disappointment as you are forced to reevaluate your ambitions. When it comes to your relationship, setting achievable goals with a tone of collaboration can help enrich each other’s lives and support the bond between you and your partner.

The Anatomy of Relationships

No relationship is the same, and just like people change over time, so does a relationship. According to Donald Peterson, contributing author of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” there are five general stages that can be distinguished in the development of close relationships: acquaintance, buildup, continuation, deterioration and ending. Obviously not all relationships go through all stages, but the changes in goals from one stage to another are critical in determining the course a relationship will follow.

Stephen John Read and Lynn Carol Miller, also contributing authors of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” recount how individuals may base their projections of what a relationship might be like with someone in part on how each other’s life goals will mesh with one other. The idea that “opposites attract” has been debunked by research showing how “most married couples tend to be more alike than different in regards to life goals, interests, values and personality dispositions, as well as education, economic status, and other sociological variables.” In other words, when evaluating a prospective partner, people look at how they can accomplish goals in common, for example having intellectually stimulating conversations, having children, etc.

 

Goal-Setting Strategies

Relationship goals can cover the gamut, including areas such as problem solving, emotional support, financial goals, creating a family, etc. One way to set goals in your relationship is by having a weekly meeting with your significant other to go over the upcoming week and set a ‘to-do’ list of items for each other. Then, review those same items from the past week and move forward anything still needing to be completed. As part of this process, share three positive things big or small that your partner did that you liked in the past week, and one negative thing you would like them to consider working on. In time, you will have created a habit of openly talking about where things are with your relationship, and where you want them to be.

Another way to set goals with your significant other is by applying some of the guidelines set forth in “Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals.” Authors Susan B. Wilson and Michael S. Dobson recommend writing them down in specific measurable terms, so that you can visualize and achieve them with realistic deadlines. As part of defining these goals, make sure to keep them manageable and actionable, as well as include a regular review of their progress. Reward desired behavior, reinforce successes however big or small and provide feedback when correction is needed. When correcting, do so in private and be specific, focusing on the error and not the person to avoid grudges and keep a healthy outlook. Develop objectives for both the short and long term.

 

From Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation

In a study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” researchers examined the connection between relationship satisfaction and self-regulation. “Individuals experiencing higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship exhibit higher levels of perceived control, goal focus, perceived partner support, and positive affect during goal pursuit.” This results in higher rates of daily progress on personal goals. In other words, as your relationship satisfaction increases, so does your motivation to effectively self-regulate your actions and progress toward achieving your goals.

According to Peterson, goals between partners tend to converge to the extent that transformations occur mutually. For example, “a person who initially stopped smoking to please a partner may genuinely come to find smoking abhorrent.” Changes in personal dispositions of this kind are independent of the relationship, and when they occur they can reduce the demands for accommodation by shifting the motivation from an extrinsic to an intrinsic place. Keep in mind that any union is limited by the biological needs and personal goals of the individuals in the relationship, so revisiting them on a regular basis can keep interests and values aligned in the long term.

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From: Live Strong by Raquel Villareal

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

When your partner is also your best friend

It goes without saying, you don’t have to be “best friends” to have a great relationship (some people even gag at that idea). But while others might think of you as insular or clingy, you know better.

1. You started out as friends. 

Great things take time. Baked potatoes, fully mature redwood trees, and friendships that turn into relationships. First dates feel different than first hangouts. You really get to know each other’s personality when you’re not as worried about trying to impress the other person.

2. He makes you laugh all the time and you make him crack up. 

It’s not just about how he makes you feel, or how great the sex is, or how well you work together. When you hang out, you wind up cracking each other up so much you can’t breathe. Some of your favorite memories are the two of you doing the dumbest stuff and laughing about it nonstop.

3. He always wants you around. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a “guys’ night” or a five-hour road trip; he wants to hang out with you. And it feels natural too. When he’s out with friends, you never get the vibe of “oh, he brought his girlfriend along.” You’re his friend, so you’re everyone else’s friend. Basically, all his guys just sees you as “that one friend he also has sex with”… which is a compliment, really.

4. You always know what he’s thinking. 

It’s not quite like you can read each other’s minds, but you’re so comfortable with each other that it really feels like that sometimes.

5. He’s seen you through your worst moments. 

He’s gotten you through some of your darkest moments, however you define them. Even when other friends drop off or stop calling, he’s there for you, and you’re always there for him.

6. You can spend a day just hanging out. 

It’s not that you both love being couch sloths all day, but you could be and still have a good time. You don’t need to be making Instagrammable moments constantly to feel like you’re having a good time. All you really need is each other.

7. Other couples hate you just a little. 

They might not say it to your face, but you can tell they’re insanely jealous of the chemistry you share. You can tell. Basically, you make other couples look boring and they can’t stand it.

8 You don’t feel like you need time apart from each other. 

You know how to prioritize “you” time when there’s something you want to get done just for yourself, but everything you do just feels somehow better when you’re with them.

9. He trusts you deeply. 

Not just in the basic ways, like trusting you not to cheat on him when you go out. That barely even counts; that’s just assuming you’re not going to be a garbage person. He also trusts you with things he’s never told anyone, like his embarrassing secrets.

10. It still feels like you just started dating. 

You still have this energy that’s stuck around even though you’ve been dating for years. That “honeymoon phase” never really ended for you.

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From: Cosmopolitan by Frank Kobola