Will Changing Together Save Your Marriage?

Will Changing Together Save Your Marriage?

Change is inevitable in any relationship, regardless of how close you start out. When you first get together, you may have many of the same hobbies, interests, and opinions. As you grow older and go through more life experiences, both of your views will start to change. Rather than changing together, you each are changing in ways the other doesn’t understand. Before you know it, you may not even recognize the woman lying in bed next to you.

Often, this will cause issues in the relationship. Both of you want the other person to change in the same direction. Perhaps you take up a hobby that you think is the best thing ever, and your wife thinks it’s dumb and a waste of time. Maybe your wife stops working out, and you get back into the gym. Maybe your wife decides to go vegetarian, and you love steak. All of these things will eventually cause stress in the relationship – simply because you and your wife have incompatibilities.

Don’t panic just yet though. Change is normal and healthy. If both of you were to stay the same, you’d both get bored. Your conversations would be stale and unexciting. Change, as scary as it is in a relationship, is very important to keep things hot. Alongside that, no one wants to date themselves. You need to have some difference in a relationship to bounce ideas off of, have things to talk and debate about, and cause the friction that is necessary to draw two people together.

So how can you and your wife make these differences work for you?

1. Take an interest in your partner’s hobbies

It’s so easy to discredit or toss aside things that you don’t think you’ll like. It’s very easy just to say, “Nah, that sounds stupid!” and go and do your own hobby. You know you already like your hobby anyways.

The problem with that is that you’re missing an opportunity to get to know your wife in a new way before you’ve even tried it.

If your wife is passionate about something, take an interest in it! And by that, I don’t mean you have to go to her knitting meet-up or Jiu Jitsu practice – but just ask her about it. Try to find out why she finds it cool or relaxing or interesting. When she starts raving about something new she learned, stop what you’re doing and listen. Even if that hobby doesn’t specifically appeal to you, at the very least, you can pretend to care about what she’s saying. If you just show her new passion respect, she’ll feel loved and heard.

If you have even a small amount of interest in her hobby, try incorporating that into your life. For example, if she loves yoga, go with her to a yoga class and see what it’s about. If she’s started learning the guitar, take her to a show on a date. The more you spend time with her doing those hobbies, the more time you have together doing something fun. Plus, you’ll see what she values in her hobby, and that will give you more to talk about.

On the other hand, you should try to invite your wife to join in your hobbies and passions. If you love playing board games, teach her the rules to one of your favorites. If you’re getting back into fitness, invite her on a date where you go for a bike ride together and grab dinner after. Of course, you can’t force her to join you – but if she seems tentative, try to think of subtle ways to get her to partake in your hobbies. Eventually, she may learn to love your hobbies too. ‘

Hobbies are a fun way to spend time together….especially because it’s been proven that hobbies release endorphins and those hormones create a feeling of bliss that can bond couples together. Changing together doesn’t sound so bad when I put it that way, does it?

2. Spend time together (and make it non-negotiable)

One of the main reasons people grow apart is because they let life get in the way.

Jobs and kids and extended families and traveling and money all start to overshadow the actual relationship. Suddenly, it isn’t you and your wife against the world – it’s you and your roommate against the world.

Don’t let that happen. Don’t take each other for granted because before you know it, you both won’t know who the other person is and you’ll be left wondering why you got married in the first place.

The easiest way to combat this issue is to spend time together. Yes, it sounds easy. In reality, it’s not. This is one of those things that tends to sneak up on couples. You both live together, and you think that means you’re spending time together. In actuality, you’re just both doing different things in the same area. That hardly counts as quality time.

So, make “You-time” non-negotiable. If you have kids, get a babysitter or the in-laws over to look after them and then go out. Talk about things other than your children and have fun. Hell, go on a week-long vacation without the kids and reconnect over margaritas and sunsets in some tropical location. If you can’t afford that, then go for a picnic at a State Park and reminisce about all the crazy things you used to do. Make an effort to keep the bedroom hot and spicy (easier said than done) and continue to reconnect sexually.

It all comes down to making an effort to spend time together. You both chose each other for a reason – so remember that. If both of you make each other a priority in your lives, you’ll enjoy changing together. You’ll discover new things together and have more to talk about during the more mundane parts of your lives.

3. Ask important/thoughtful questions

The longer you’re with someone, the less you have any need to talk to each other. You’ve seen those old people on park benches or sitting in Denny’s, right? They sit there in comfortable silence because they’ve seemingly talked about everything and they have nothing left to say to each other.

Don’t be them.

If your conversations with your wife are shallow all the time, everything’s not okay in your relationship.

I’m not saying you need to fill every silence with deep, meaningful life changing questions – but what I’m saying is that every question shouldn’t revolve around what your kids did at school that day or what’s on TV. You and your wife should be having fairly deep conversations about your values, passions, and plans. This will not only show you a side of your wife you might not have known, but you won’t be hit over the head when she tells you that she wants to move to Mexico and learn Spanish. If you guys have consistently been honest and had fairly involved conversations, these kinds of life-changing talks will inevitably come up.

Along with that, most people enter marriage with the hope that they’ll be able to share themselves completely with another person. Of course, this probably isn’t completely realistic – but the ideal is there. Asking your wife deep questions about who she is, what she values, and what she pictures her future to be like will make her feel that she is important to you and that you still care about her as a person. Alternatively, you’ll learn new things about your partner that will enrich your life together.

Sometimes for men, it’s hard to talk about these kinds of things. That’s normal. A very easy way to break the ice is to look up “Questions to ask your Partner,” get out a bottle of wine and some good food and spend the night trading questions. Make it into a game if you want. Have another couple over and play “The Honeymoon Game” where you have to guess your partner’s answers. Just get talking.

Once you’ve started asking harder/deeper questions on a regular basis, you’ll find that things end up getting easier in your relationship. You’ll have a greater respect for your wife, she’ll have a greater understanding of what makes you tick, and overall your relationship will just feel stronger. You’ll both start changing together, and a lot of the issues you have will be more about working through them together than fighting against each other.

4. Embrace/respect the changes being made

Sometimes you won’t understand the change your spouse is making and you won’t be able to relate to her. This is particularly the case when it comes to big life changes in your spouse. And what constitutes a big life change? It could be something such as quitting her job, becoming religious, deciding she wants to move, changing lifestyles, etc.

The first thing you need to do is evaluate the situation. Sometimes people change in ways that are ultimately incompatible because it crosses a boundary. For example, if you both got married under the assumption you would one day have a family, and she no longer wants children – this will probably cross your boundary. Another example could be that your wife wants to open up the marriage and you don’t. In these two situations, there is very little room for compromise, and so it will be hard to respect or embrace the change.

But in most situations, a clear boundary is not being crossed, and although the change will impact your life, your wife is ultimately doing it because she feels it will improve her life.

It’s hard to accept change that you don’t understand so the next step is sitting down with your wife and trying to figure out why she feels she needs to make this change. Why does she think this change will benefit her? Why does she want this change in her life? When you have this information, you can start to see things from her perspective, and that will make the transition easier on everyone. Perhaps she’s going to church because she enjoys the social atmosphere or maybe she wants to quit her job because she’s bored and unhappy at her current one.

Whatever her reasoning is, don’t try to poke holes in it. Nothing will make her pull away (and change without you) more than you trying to destroy something she thinks is valid. Instead, try your best to understand. Be respectful and don’t get overly emotional.

You don’t necessarily need to change with her, but if you’re supportive and try to understand the value it brings to her life, you can grow alongside her. She’ll feel that you are her ally, and she’ll be happy to share the changes she’s going through with you. If there is something that will affect you, she’ll be more likely to want to cooperate if she feels you’re supportive of her life changes and on her side.

And of course, if you do have concerns, you need to tell her about them. If something is impacting your life and making you miserable, then an open dialogue is where you both need to start. Being open and communicative with your wife is going to be the first step to fixing any issues that may come up between the two of you. Changing together sometimes won’t be easy, and compromises will have to be made, but it will be a lot easier if you’re both respectful, direct, and open about what’s going on.

5. Focus on the positives in your spouse

When your wife starts to change in ways that you don’t understand or in ways you don’t really like, it’s easy to start to see the negatives in her and the relationship. Maybe you resent the fact that she’s decided to change without you, or in ways that you don’t like, and you feel yourself growing distant and angry.

When you get into these downward spirals, you need to stop and remember all of the good things about your wife. Perhaps she’s started to spend more time with her friends, and you feel neglected. Instead of feeling jealous that she’s spending more time with other people, think of how that makes her happier when she comes home to you. Maybe she’s become more religious – instead of focusing on how you don’t believe in what she believes in, start to think of how that might be nurturing her compassionate side. A change in your perspective can stop those negative thoughts in their tracks and help to connect with what you initially loved about your wife.

There’s a theory called “the broaden and build” theory that shows that positive emotions open your mind more and broaden your sense of possibilities, which helps you build new skills and resources that provide value in other areas of your life. So not only will positive thinking help you in your relationship, it may help you in other parts of your life also. If you can spin a negative situation into a positive one here, what’s stopping you from doing that in your job, with your friends, or during your hobby? And hell, your wife will probably appreciate your new optimistic outlook and want to spend more time with you, doing things you both enjoy. Honestly, it’s a win-win for you – you see your wife in a new light, and the world seems just a bit brighter than it did before.

Changing Together Adds Spice and Excitement

You and your wife will not be the same person throughout the marriage – that’s a given. You’ll both change in a myriad of positive and negative ways. The key to improving your marriage is in making an effort to understand each other and see one another for who you are. If you both take the time to see the world from your partner’s perspective, you can use these changes as a way to add spice, excitement, interest, adventure, respect, and love to the relationship. If you focus on how terrible these changes are, then you will be fighting against something you can’t win, and ultimately, your relationship will suffer and maybe die. So respect your partner, enjoy the changes, and focus on the good. Ultimately, that’s the only true way to change together.


(c) Can Stock Photo / McIninch

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How Social Media is Harming Your Marriage

How Social Media is Harming Your Marriage

Love it or hate it, social media plays a large part in our everyday lives. From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat to Youtube, it doesn’t matter how far you run, it always seems to catch up. Phones have become permanent fixtures in our hands, and we spend hours and hours staring at both small and large screens. We take photos of food, friends, and events to share with other people who write the same hashtag as us. We ask for advice from complete strangers before our families. We’d rat her spend a night commenting on Youtube videos than go out to the theater with friends. We do things for the views and not for ourselves anymore.    

And of course, one of the places you can see the effects of online communication the most is on your marriage. Social media is one of those things that sneaks in under the radar because “everyone is doing it,” and before you know it, it’s caused a large rift between you and your wife and you don’t understand why. So, how can all this online activity harm your marriage? Let’s count the ways.

Tuning Out/Ignoring Your Partner

This is probably one of the most obvious ways online behavior harms your marriage. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with your wife in bed and she just kind of nods along while scrolling through Instagram pictures? Has your wife ever tried to stand in front of the computer so that you’ll hear what she’s saying? In both situations, the other person starts to feel disrespected, unheard and forgotten. Nothing feels worse than not being as interesting or engaging to your SO as random pictures or words from strangers.  

The worse part about this is that, for the most part, people don’t understand that what they’re doing is hurtful or disrespectful. They’re just caught up doing something different. As much as humans wish they can multi-task, humans are better at focusing on one task at a time. So when you or your SO goes to interrupt the other, the person using social media can’t switch from one task to another. That’s why you get the nods and the “Uh-huh, uh-huh,” even when she’s not hearing a word you’re saying. And that’s also why your wife goes nuclear after you shrugged off yet another attempt to ask you about your day.

So, how can you fix this?

First, if you’re the one guilty of ignoring your wife, it’s time to make more of an effort to put down the phone, turn off the computer, or close the tablet and listen. Yes, look her in the eyes and engage with her. If you find it hard to disconnect, then maybe you need to begin to ask her for help. Ask her to take your phone or hide your phone after dinner. Go for a walk together and leave your phone at home. Have blackout times where both of you are forbidden from using your phone.

If she’s the one who seems to be ignoring you in favor of FB, then you need to bring up your concerns. Tell her that her social media usage makes you feel disrespected, ignored in your marriage, and hurt. Tell her that you want to reconnect and then, just as above, make times where you both aren’t allowed to touch your phone. If you and your wife have a competitive streak, you can even make it into a game (“The first person to touch their phone has to do the dishes….naked.”) 9 times out of 10, she probably doesn’t even realize she’s disrespectful and so you need to show her that this  is no longer acceptable and you want a change. If she cares about you and the marriage, she should try to make an effort to help solve the issue  

It creates unrealistic expectations

Social media is fake. Or rather, it’s an exaggeration on real life. Everyone wants to show the best parts of themselves online. It’s not very often someone posts something mediocre or dull online. Instead, everything is flashy and glamorous and perfect. Everyone has a perfect marriage, job, and house on the internet. 

It’s easy to get swept up in these fantasies. When everyone around you looks like they’re having the best time of their life and you’re not, it’s hard not to wonder if things would be easier with a different partner.

Here’s the thing though 

No one has a perfect relationship, job, body or life. When you start to compare your life to social media, you will always lose. Your wife will always lose when compared to an airbrushed supermodel. If you had that woman though, she wouldn’t be as perfect as you thought she would be. Maybe she’d be a violent alcoholic or someone all of your friends hate. You get my drift. 

So, treat social media like you would a magazine. It’s nice to look at, but it’s far from reality. And when you look at your marriage – don’t compare it to everyone else’s “Online Marriage.” Instead, compare it to what it was before. Has your relationship gotten better or has it gotten worse? If it’s worse, why? Can you return it back to the way it was before? In what ways has it improved? That is the real test as to if your marriage is headed in the right direction.  

It fosters jealousy, snooping, and infidelity

Social Media can turn a relationship into a toxic cesspool in one fell swoop. 

Because online networking is so far-reaching, it’s very easy to connect with a million different people from a million different places. You can make new friends, new business partners, and yes, new partners. In fact, experts say that social networks have made it easier to cheat with both familiar partners and also previously unknown strangers. 

So when someone is permanently on their phone (especially late at night or during times when normally they wouldn’t be), it can cause the other person in the relationship to question what they’re doing. It’s not unheard of, then, for one partner to go snooping on the other partner to see if their concerns are valid. Often, even if there aren’t any red flags on the social media account, the partner who snoops will find out something they didn’t want to know. Perhaps there’s nothing explicit in the chat, but the two people discuss their marriages or issues in their marriage. Maybe there are a few flirty chat messages here and there. Whatever there are, one partner is eventually going to end up questioning the other. The other partner is then going to get angry as well because their privacy was invaded. This causes an obvious rift between the couple. 

Jealousy is also created when one person in the marriage is constantly “liking” or looking at another person’s online accounts. Often these “likes” will pop up on their SO’s homepage, which can deeply hurt the person who sees their partner is engaging with someone new…usually in a flirty or sexual manner.

Both of these scenarios are relatively normal occurrences when dealing with social media.     

An excellent way to fix this is to be upfront with your wife and most im  portantly, yourself. If you’ve started engaging with someone online for validation, you need to stop what you’re doing and take a long hard look at your marriage. Why do you need this person’s approval in your life? Why can’t you get this from your wife? Have you both been drifting further from each other? Once you realize that your marriage needs work, you need to be the one to cut off contact with your virtual crush and get to work rekindling the spark with your wife. Take all of that time and effort you spend on your online crush and put it towards your wife. Be upfront with her about where you’re at in the marriage and the things you would like to improve.  

If she’s the one who is spending a lot of time talking to a certain someone online, sit down and talk to her. Tell her that you’ve noticed what’s going on, you feel disrespected, and you want to work together to get your marriage back to where it was. Be direct, but not accusatory. If you snooped on your wife, then also fess up this. Tell her that you know it was unacceptable, but you were worried about your relationship and wanted to look into it further. She probably won’t be happy – but don’t let her use this as an excuse not to talk about what’s going on with her online crush. Both of you did something wrong to hurt the other’s trust, and both of you need to work through those issues together. If you find that you’re both stuck fighting the same fight ad nauseum, it’s time to look into marriage counseling.  

Of course, if you find hard evidence of cheating, then you need to consider if working on your marriage is worth it. Sure, social networks makes it easier to cheat, but your wife’s actions ultimately come down to her. Your boundaries are yours to decide, but make sure that if she has done something that you find unforgivable, then you need to find a divorce lawyer and start getting everything ready. If you’re still willing to work on the marriage, then marriage counseling should be your next step. Either way, know that you get to decide what is right for you and your life and that you have control of how you react. Make the choice that is right for you.  

Creating a false life to get likes

Social media is addictive for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest ones is because it gives you immediate positive feedback. In fact, according to the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, the “social” and “visual” parts of your brain are activated when you receive “likes” on Instagram-like social networks. To add to this, it doesn’t matter if the like is from a complete stranger or your friend – it all feels the same. So if you post a picture and someone likes it, it makes you feel good. When you see people comment on your posts and respond, it makes you feel popular. You want to continue to feel good and popular, so you share things more and more. 

On a small scale, this isn’t a problem in a marriage. It becomes a problem when you are no longer living your life for you, but instead, you’re doing things for a faceless group of strangers who have the ability to like your content. A great example of this is when you and your wife have been arguing, but 10 minutes later, you both take a cute photo together with big smiles on your faces and “I love you sooooo much!” as the caption. Of course, you love each other – but at this moment, it’s not real. You’re posting this for other people – not the two of you. And do  you really think you’ll look back fondly on that moment or will you be thinking of the huge fight you had before you took it? 

It’s hard to separate an online persona from the real life, but you and your wife need to do this to have a healthy marriage. It’s okay to have online presence as an accessory to your marriage, but when it starts becoming more about the facade than the actual relationship, it may be time to take a break. Go camping far from Wi-Fi, take a hiatus, or limit your recreation online time on a weekly basis. Put the phones down during dinner, enjoy the music at the concert without Snapchatting, and talk to each other like you used to do. 

Social Media is a Tool 

Overall, social media is a tool. And just like all tools, its usefulness depends on how you use it. If you let it take over your life, run rampant through your marriage, and take up all of your free time, then prepare to have a very chaotic relationship with your wife. If you decide to use it in moderation, then make a conscious effort to keep that standard in your marriage. If your wife is struggling with a social networking addiction, then you need to be direct and upfront about what’s going on. Ultimately, it is her choice to quit her addiction – but you can be the guiding light that shows her that her behavior is unacceptable and how to get help. And honestly, in the end, your marriage is worth more than a few hundred likes. Don’t forget that. 

 


(c) Can Stock Photo / AntonioGuillem

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Choosing Between Your Job or Your Marriage

Choosing Between Your Job or Your Marriage

Your marriage and your career have many things in common. Both require hard work, passion, and good communication skills to be successful.  As the saying goes, “Grass grows where you water it.” Depending on the industry or career, you may have to choose which is more important to you – your job or your marriage.

You spend eight hours (or more) at work every day – and usually, the rest of your day is dedicated to your marriage and your family.  Unfortunately, in our demanding market, trying to balance your career with marriage is becoming harder and harder.

Companies are insisting on longer working hours, and we often bring work home with us. Our managers and bosses can email us at any hour, and we’re expected to be “on-call” even when we’re on vacation. We’re expected to give 110% every day in both our professional life and our personal life.   

For some men, this is great. They thrive off of the challenge their work brings. They find that their work brings them meaning to their life and they enjoy that – maybe even more than their married life. For other men, the never-ending workload creates extra stress and depression, and they would prefer to spend more quality time to hang out, travel, and relax with their wives and families. Of course, everyone has different priorities and things that bring them happiness.

So sit down and think deeply about it. Ultimately you need to decide. Which is more important, your career or your marriage? If it came down to it and you had to choose just one, what would it be? 

I choose my job!

So, you’ve asked yourself if you would rather keep your job or your marriage, and you’ve decided that your job brings you more fulfillment. There are many reasons you might feel this way. You might feel that you’ve worked harder in your career and have gotten further than you could have ever imagined. You might feel that you spend most of your weekends wanting to work. Maybe you’re a certified workaholic that loves the challenges that work brings to you. Perhaps you’ve started your own business, and you’re passionate about seeing your hard work pay off. Whatever the reason, your job feels more important to you than your marriage right now.   

Obviously, this is affecting your marriage. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t. You’ve been juggling too many things at once, and you’ve dropped the ball a few times. I’m sure this has created immense stress on your marriage. Probably one of the reasons this is happening is because you haven’t been honest with yourself or your wife. You didn’t want to admit out loud that your job is more important to you than your marriage.   

So, how can you fix this?

Step 1: Acknowledge the situation

The solution starts by admitting to your wife that your priority at the moment is your work. I know that sounds crazy but honestly, you can’t start solving these issues until you come clean with her. Like with work, clear and direct communication is the backbone of a healthy marriage. Should you say: “Honey, I love you, but I love work more.”? Not unless you’re already done with the marriage and ready for a fight. Instead, go into this conversation with compassion. Sit her down and tell her, “Honey, I’ve realized that my career brings me a lot of happiness and fulfillment. I know I’ve been focusing a lot on my career, but the reason I’m doing that is because of reasons X, Y, and Z. With that said, I know that my work has caused some issues in our marriage and I would like to talk about that.”  

This is a good way to start the conversation because it shows her that your career is important to you beyond just the money aspect. If you both have a reasonably healthy  relationship, she’ll want you to be happy in your job. It’s also good to acknowledge that you’ve been spending more mental energy and effort on your career than your marriage. Everyone can appreciate the person who is introspective enough to look at the situation and admit that there are problems that need to be addressed. 

Step 2: Come up with a game plan

Now that you both know where you’re both at, you need to come up with a game plan. If you’re still looking to stay married, you need to compromise. The reason there is so much struggle is probably because your wife feels unappreciated and forgotten. Ask her about ways that you could improve the situation. What does she need to make her feel better about your work schedule? Maybe she would prefer if you didn’t talk about work all the time or maybe she wants you to stop working six days a week and stick to a Monday to Friday schedule. You get the idea. Be open to her suggestions. You don’t need to agree on every little thing, and of course, stick to your boundaries, but also try to see where she’s coming from. She married you because she liked spending time with you, exploring new places and things with you, and enjoyed your company. She didn’t expect to marry someone who only focused on their career.   

With that said, you are looking for tangible goals you can accomplish. Don’t be vague. If you both agree to go on a date night once a week – pick a day! If it helps, pick out the activity and make reservations ahead of time. If she wants you home for supper, then have her give you a call at 5 pm to remind you to head home. It’s hard when you have to choose between your job or your marriage, but  it’s easier when you can have a bit of both. If she respects you and your grind, and you respect her and her needs, then you can both work together to get through it. Balance is essential.     

Step 3: Look into divorce

So, you’ve tried talking to your wife and explaining the situation, and you’ve tried making game plans. You’ve tried to leave work early and not bring it home with you. You’ve tried to cut back on emails and  late night work dinners. Unfortunately, your job is just too demanding, and you’re not willing to give it up. It’s something you enjoy and something you take pride in.  

There is nothing wrong with that.

With that said, you have to realize that your wife deserves someone who is present in her life. Ultimately, if you both can’t compromise the struggle will continue indefinitely. If your career is that important to you and the stress of the marriage is becoming too much, it’s time for you to begin to look into finding a lawyer to discuss your options. Some issues in relationships are irreconcilable and making the decision between your job or your marriage might be one. If all else fails, then you need to follow the thing that brings you the most joy and fulfillment. 

I choose my Marriage!

So, you’ve thought about it, and you’ve realized that your career is hurting your marriage. If this is you, you’re not alone. The stress of the job, the commute, the long hours working in front of computer screens, and the stress of never having a minute to decompress can wreak havoc on a marriage. If you add in children and your wife also dealing with work, it can seem overwhelming.  Of course, emotions are going to run high and passion cold when you’re dealing with chronic everyday stress. In fact, it’s been reported that  64 percent of working parents revealed that they’re too stressed from work and taking care of families to have sex with their partner. But what can you do to change this?

Step One: Find a new direction

The first thing you and your wife need to do is take a very introspective look into your life together. Sit down at the kitchen table and hash everything out. Focus on the solution and don’t point fingers. Both of you have created your life together, and both of you are to blame for things going sideways. So rather than focus on that, focus on how you can work together as a team to get through it. Some questions you might want to ask are things like: What are your priorities as a couple? What would you like to have more time to do together? How are your jobs affecting your marriage? Do you travel too much for work? Are you working in a stressful work environment?  

Once you have answered these questions, you can start working towards your goal. If your commute is destroying you and eating into family time, then maybe you need to consider looking into getting a new job or moving closer to work. If your work is too stressful, then maybe you need to find a new team, go back to school, or talk to someone about changing positions. If you find that you don’t have time to de-stress before you get home, maybe plan to take a walk or go to the gym before coming home.

Step 2: Gain financial independence

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to switch your job or get out of a situation that is making you miserable. If you absolutely can’t fix your issue, you and your wife should try your best to gain financial independence. Cut down significantly on costs, create a budget, and begin to pay off debts. This may not seem like it will help your marriage, but a lot of marital stress comes from financial issues and the stress that comes from living paycheck to  paycheck. When you are that swamped in debt, you have no options and no bargaining chips. When you’ve gotten your finances in order, lots of money in your emergency fund, and your retirement all paid for, you can  look into working at jobs that make less money but give you more time.  

A good place to start would be talking to a financial advisor about your options. You could also look into books or blogs that could help you with saving and paying off debt. If you have thrifty friends that seem to have vast financial knowledge, ask them also. It’s not easy to change old spending habits, but you and your wife will breathe a lot easier knowing that everything is in order. Create a plan and stick to   it.According to Forbes, small steps will get you there much faster than having a big vague goal in front of you. 

Step 3: Change your situation

Another great option is to talk to your company or job about the situation at work and try to change it. The company that you’re working for may have a few different options for you depending on your situation. Many people now work from home a few days a week. It’s been reported that individuals who work remotely  are more satisfied with their jobs and also feel less stress from their jobs. Another option is asking to change from a job where you spend a lot of time traveling, to something that has more of a home base. With so many different ways to connect, its so easy to stay in one location and work from there.      

Talk to your HR department or supervisors and see what they say. If you’re working for a good company, they’ll want to keep you around, and they’ll want you both to be happy about the situation.  They can help you come up with a plan and execution to satisfy both of your needs. In the meantime, you’ll have more time and energy to spend with your wife and family and less stress to deal with. Which is what both you and your wife wanted to begin with. 

Choosing Between Your Job or Your Marriage is Hard 

All in all, deciding whether to choose between your job or your marriage is hard. There aren’t very many clear cut answers. What is most important though, is that you do what feels right to you. Don’t feel ashamed if you’d prefer to be at work than at home, and vice versa, don’t feel ashamed to prefer to be at home than at work. Neither is better – they’re just better for you. It’s your life – live it the way you want.   

Help a workaholic.

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(c) Can Stock Photo / photography33

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How to Know When Your Marriage Is Over

How to Know When Your Marriage Is Over

It’s hard to know when your marriage is over. Often, you’ve got a long list of pros and cons for your marriage and it’s hard to know which ones take priority. It’s also fairly easy to get stuck on old memories of the two of you and ignore the present situation. Basically, you’re in it too deep – you can’t see the forest for the trees. However, if these five clues are constantly present in your relationship, you may want to reconsider your marriage.

1. You can’t see any positives in your wife

If you can’t even remember what you saw in her to begin with, your marriage is in rough shape. Perhaps you have so much pent up resentment that it’s clouded your vision or maybe you both have become too comfortable with each other – whatever the reason, this mindset has no place in a healthy relationship. If you find that everything she does drives you crazy, then you need to take a long look at yourself and the marriage and find out what has caused this change in your perspective.

A red flag that many people overlook is how you perceive past memories with your spouse. John Gottman, one of the leading marriage psychologists, has done studies with thousands of couples to see which couples divorce and which ones stay together. He noted that he can predict the chances of divorce based on how the couple talks about the beginning of their relationship. If there is a strong negative slant when the couple talks about their shared history, there is a much higher chance the couple will divorce. This shows that the present situation has deteriorated to such an extent that it’s affected the couple’s perception of the past.

So if you can’t remember any good times with your wife (or focus mainly on the negative times) and everything she does now makes you feel angry, sad, upset, or annoyed, that’s when you know when your marriage is over.

2. There are problems that you can’t work out

Everyone has a different set of deal breakers and boundaries and both you and your wife deserve to have those respected. Marriage takes compromise – no one is denying that. With that said, sometimes there is no way to compromise on something. For example, when you and your wife first started dating, you may have discussed the issue of children and come to the conclusion you both didn’t want to have any. If your wife eventually changes her mind, there is no real compromise you can come to. Either you both have children or you both don’t. For this situation to work out, one person needs to bend to the other’s wishes. The same goes for fidelity. If you initially both go into the relationship with a monogamous viewpoint, and you decide you want to open the relationship later, there is no real compromise there either. You can’t have half of an open relationship. The relationship is either open or closed.

This issue can also come up if one party isn’t willing to compromise at all on something. This could be anything from deciding to buy a house, sharing phone and computer passwords, or cleaning the house. If one person in the marriage has a strong need for something and the other person refuses to compromise (or even entertain the thought of compromising), this can create an irreparable rift in the marriage. Often this will lead to arguments, fights, and misunderstandings. Both people in the marriage will feel disrespected.

Having boundaries in a marriage is healthy because it’s important to be an independent person in a relationship. Unfortunately, if your boundaries and your wife’s boundaries are conflicting on big issues or many small issues, you may not be good matches for each other. When your marriage is over, compromise seems impossible and fights are inevitable.

3. There is no physical relationship of any kind

When was the last time you passionately kissed your wife? When was the last time you held her hand? When was the last time you and your wife had hot sex?

If you can’t remember the last time you did any of those things, at the moment, you are roommates, good friends, or co-parents. The difference between being friends and husband/wife is only one thing: desire.

Yes, after being together 10 years, perhaps you don’t desire each other as much as you used to. That’s understandable. Life circumstances often get in the way of desire – having kids, working 40+ hours a week, and life stress plays a large part in decreasing libido.

However, you both should continue to desire each other on a physical level and show your spouse that you desire them. Sex and physical touch play a big part in creating intimacy with your spouse and they are the glue that can hold a marriage together. If you don’t want your wife sexually anymore, then the marriage isn’t as strong as you might think. If your wife is refusing to have sex with you (and not communicating why), you need to re-think the marriage. Why are you both together if you don’t enjoy the physical part of your relationship?

It is not shallow to divorce over a lack of sex and physical touch. This is a very human need. If you and your wife no longer show physical love in any way, it’s time to take a long hard look at your marriage. When your marriage is over, your desire for your spouse goes unanswered or slowly fizzles out.

4. The trust is completely broken

Marriage is completely based on trust. Healthy relationships need trust to survive. Both individuals need to be on the same page when it comes to trust – if one person doesn’t trust the other, it can wreak havoc on the marriage.

There are many situations that can cause distrust. This could be related to fidelity, money, raising children, and yes, even emotions. If you don’t trust your partner to do what is in both of your best interests, that’s when your marriage is over. If you don’t trust your wife to communicate with you about important issues, then your marriage is built on a broken foundation.

Let’s focus on fidelity first. Obviously if you’ve caught your wife having an affair, your trust in the relationship is going to be broken into a million little pieces. You are well within your right to divorce your wife after finding out about the affair – and guess what? If you give it time to try to repair the trust and you ultimately can’t, no one would blame you for walking away. In fact, more than 40 per cent of marriages are expected to end in divorce before the 30th anniversary. Infidelity plays a large part in those divorces, as many individuals can’t get over the lies and betrayal that accompanies an affair.

Of course, infidelity isn’t the only way your wife can break your trust. If you find yourself feeling confused in the relationship because of all the lies she’s told, betrayed by her actions or words on a continuous basis, or let down because she won’t follow through with her promises, that’s when your marriage is over.

5. You always feel completely miserable around her

You and your wife know each other better than anyone else. You know all her little flaws and she knows all of yours. You’ve seen the best of each other and the worst of each other.

But if you find that her flaws are dragging you down, depressing you, or suffocating you, you need to acknowledge that and take a long hard look at your relationship. It’s completely normal to get annoyed with your SO, but it’s not normal to actively try to stay away from your SO because your wife makes you miserable every time you have a conversation.

You always have to pay to play in relationships. People aren’t perfect – you’ve got to take the good with the bad. However, sometimes the price you’re paying to play isn’t worth it. Maybe your wife constantly belittles you and makes you feel terrible about yourself. Maybe she micro-manages you. Maybe she’s insanely jealous and won’t let you see your friends anymore. Maybe she’s just a really negative person that sucks the light out of every room she walks into. Maybe she fights dirty in an argument.

If you’ve tried to work through these issues together ad nauseum and there’s no change, then you need to decide if you can live with the status quo forever. Is she worth your future happiness? There’s a big world out there with many happy, supportive women that you could have a great relationship with. Your partner should make you feel good about yourself and the relationship a majority of the time. If she makes you feel terrible 95% of the time, that’s when your marriage is over.

Admitting When Your Marriage Is Over

It’s hard to admit that things aren’t working in your marriage – no one plans to get divorced when they get married. However, at a certain point, it’s healthier for you to try to take an objective look at the marriage as a whole. If any or all of these 5 clues to knowing when your marriage is over stands out to you, a good idea would be to focus your attention on that aspect of your marriage.

If you think the issue can be fixed, then visiting marriage counseling would be a next step. If you’ve tried everything and you’re ready to walk, then your next step would be reading through Guyvorce to arm yourself with knowledge. Ultimately you deserve to live a good life, whatever decision you decide to make.

If you’re in the middle of a divorce, how did you know when your marriage was over? Do you feel like your marriage is over or is there still a chance? Leave a comment below.

 

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(c) Can Stock Photo / dobled

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5 Mistakes to Avoid During the Divorce Process

5 Mistakes to Avoid During the Divorce Process

Divorces are hard on everyone involved – you, your (ex) wife, the children, and your extended family. Between trying to find a good lawyer, explaining everything to your friends and families, and setting up parenting schedules, the divorce process can be overwhelming. On top of that, you’re dealing with the emotional fallout of the divorce.

Your soon-to-be ex could have been the one that pulled the plug on the marriage and blindsided you. You could have been the one to serve the papers and now she’s begging and pleading with you to reconsider. And yes, even amicable divorces can have surprising difficulties that you’d never expect or plan for.

With that said, there are some things that you definitely shouldn’t do during the divorce process. Doing these five things can hurt you and make your divorce harder in the long run.

Move Out of the House

After you decide to divorce, it’s so tempting to just pack up your stuff, call up the nearest hotel, and head there for a few days. Perhaps you have both been fighting constantly. Maybe you’re just the type that needs space to think things through and get a game plan ready. Maybe your wife wants you out and has told you that you need to find somewhere else to go.

Even though this is your first impulse, don’t move out of the house if you have children.

Why?

This could potentially cripple you in a custody battle for your children. The court wants to see if you are a responsible adult, and more importantly, they want to know that your children aren’t being too negatively impacted by the divorce. They want to see that you are an active participant in their lives and they want to know that you’re helping your children cope with the divorce. As soon as you move out, you’re putting your need for space over your children’s need for their father. Your ex can use this as a way to show that she has always been the stable, caring parent and you’ve been more concerned with your own self-interests.

Along with that, if you regularly visit your children after moving out and the divorce proceedings go on for a long period of time, this schedule can be considered the “new normal” for the children. The judge is less likely to want to change the children’s lives and routines even more than they already are and so it will be much harder to convince them you deserve equal custody. Last of all, if you move out, you’re probably moving into a smaller apartment or house. For obvious reasons, the court system is going to want the children to stay in the larger house and they may even think your living arrangement is inadequate.

For all of these reasons, do not move out of the house. Remember, it’s half yours! You deserve to live there, too. If it makes life easier, move into the basement or into the guest room. Start creating a routine where you both interact with the children equally but separately. Try to be available to spend as much time with your children as you can. If you’re serious about getting custody of your children during the divorce process, you need to show the court that you can provide a safe foundation for them.

Put Off Finding a Good Lawyer

Lawyers are expensive but getting a good lawyer will save you both time and money in the long run. It could even save your relationship with your children! If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t expect to perform surgery on it yourself – so don’t try to make your way through the divorce process without a professional.

If you’re the one considering filing for divorce, before you even tell your spouse, you should consult with a lawyer about your financial situation, custody of your children, and any other relevant information that could impact the divorce process. If you’re not sure you have the money for legal fees, many lawyers will give you a free consultation so you can see where you stand.

Why is this important? Because divorces can be emotional and having someone’s impartial opinion will help you deal with the fallout (if there is any). They can give you advice about what paperwork to file, what to do if your spouse cleans out your bank account, and how to get custody of your children.

The same goes for if you’ve been served papers out of the blue. As soon as your wife tells you she wants a divorce, it’s time to lawyer up. The faster you do this, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Talk to Your Ex About Anything Other Than Kids

It’s hard to get divorced. That bond you once shared with someone you loved has been broken, and for some people, it’s hard to come to terms with that. Some people say that getting divorced is harder than dealing with a death of a loved one. This is especially true if you didn’t expect the divorce or if your wife was cheating on you.

With that said, the fastest way you can get over your ex is stopping contact with her.

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? The last thing you want to do is give her space. You’d like to talk about it until it makes sense to you. Perhaps you want to fight for her…or maybe you hate her and just want to get back at her. Whatever your motivation is, it’s not going to help you. You’re cutting your nose off to spite your face.

You’re allowed to feel whatever you feel – sad, angry, confused, depressed, guilty, or vengeful. These are normal reactions to loss. It would be more concerning if you didn’t feel any of them. But it’s important that you deal with those emotions without her participation. For you, that may mean looking into counseling, going to the gym, hanging out with your closest friends or going on a trip.

So, don’t contact her during the divorce process unless you are talking about your children and the logistics associated with the children. Don’t drunk text her. Don’t show up at her work and try to plead with her to come back. Don’t corner her in the house when you’re still living together and try to have a deep and meaningful conversation.

Especially don’t stalk her on Facebook or any other social media platform.

This makes you look weak and pathetic, which she could take advantage of (both in court and outside of it). On top of that, it’s not healthy behavior, and is prolonging the pain of the divorce.

So, if you’ve got kids, set up a parenting plan and custody plan and then follow it. All interactions should be through a court approved email system so that you can track your correspondence if something goes sideways. You can take turns going to your children’s events and picking your children up from school. All emails can be answered with “Yes” or “No”. Don’t go into any detail about your feelings or thoughts about this or that. Keep it professional.

Eventually, you may be able to find a middle-ground and perhaps even be friends. But initially, give yourself time to grieve the end of the marriage without having her front-and-center of your life. Use this time to separate yourself from her and the marriage.

Throw Yourself Into Unhealthy Habits

Sometimes the easiest solution isn’t the right solution.

When you’re in the midst of divorce, it’s hard to take care of yourself properly. You’ve probably got negative emotions floating around in your head and a lot of doubt and insecurity. You may have feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and sadness. Along with that, you’re now living a new life with new habits, routines, friends, places, etc. It’s a lot to go through at one time.

A lot of people turn to unhealthy habits during this time of stress. For many men, it’s easier to self-medicate than to focus on their feelings and deal with them in healthy and productive ways.

Anything can be an unhealthy habit if you do it in excess. This can range from the usual culprits like drinking too much, turning to drugs, or eating too much. This can also be things that seem healthy like exercising a lot, spending hours gaming, and excessively working.

Whatever your vice is, the first step is to recognize it. Don’t live in denial and pretend you’re doing fine when you’re not. It’s not more macho to suffer silently. Instead, reach out and get help from friends and family, a group like AA, or a professional. These people can help you get back on track. You don’t want to hurt your children with your unhealthy habits…and most importantly, you want to move into your new life with strength, positivity, and perseverance. So use the divorce process as a way to change your life for the better.

Involve Your Children in the Divorce Process

Your children deserve to have happy childhoods. That’s all there is to it. As a parent, it is your responsibility to put your children first, regardless of what is going on in your life.

What does that mean exactly?

That means that in front of your children, you treat your ex with respect. Behind closed doors, you can hate her with every cell in your body….but in front of your kids, you keep it civil. Your children are also going through big changes and having you and your ex-wife at each other’s throats will hurt them. In fact, studies show that children whose parents have divorced are two to three times are likely to divorce after they get married. The rougher you make the divorce process for your kids, the more repercussions that will have on your children’s futures.

Of course, if there are legitimate problems with your ex’s behavior, you’ll need to have a conversation with her and work towards a mutual compromise. If talking to the ex doesn’t work, and you are concerned for your children’s safety, then it’s time to talk to your lawyer about taking action through the court system.

There’s no getting around the fact that telling your children horrible things about their mom will hurt their relationship with you in the long run. They’ll end up resentful that you put them between you and your ex. They’ll also have less respect for you. Ultimately, it will probably hurt your ability to co-parent successfully with your ex. If what you say gets back to her, she is less likely to work with you, and more likely to make things difficult.

So show up for your kids. Figure out a parenting schedule that works for you and your ex, keep it professional, and don’t say anything bad about your ex to your children. Those talks are for your buddies, therapist, and lawyer.

Getting a divorce is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do in your life and while you’re in the middle of it, it feels like it will never end. But the better you handle the divorce process, the faster you can find a life that makes you happy again. If you follow avoid these five mistakes, you’ll be in good shape to start putting the pieces back together to rebuild your life.

What advice would you like to give other men going through the divorce process? What do you wish you had known when you first started getting divorced? Leave a comment below!

Having a hard time keeping your cool? Here’s 7 Reasons to Keep Your Mouth Shut When You’re Angry and The Real Man’s Guide to Anger Management During Divorce.

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(c) Can Stock Photo / Bialasiewicz