When to Say When

 

The decision “when to say when” with regards to ending your marriage is not a decision that is made after one day of thought, but rather over weeks, months and sometimes years.  Moving forward with a divorce is a life altering decision.  Because divorce affects almost every facet of your life it is not uncommon that we share our thoughts and feelings with friends, family members or even our attorneys prior to moving forward.  No one other than you can make that final decision, but there are 3 questions you should certainly ask yourself before starting a  divorce:

  • No regrets – One of the main reasons why making major life changing decisions is so difficult is that we are afraid that we will regret the decision in hindsight. However, if you exhaust every option to make your marriage work, i.e., effective communication with your partner, marriage counseling, etc. prior to making your decision, it will help relieve you of future feelings of regret.

 

  • Choosing yourself over your partner – It is not uncommon that while one person is incredibly unhappy in their marriage, their partner is happy, or at least sufficiently tolerant, with the state of their relationship. Disregarding your genuine feelings of marital unhappiness and dissatisfaction to avoid the guilt you may feel in disappointing your partner can lead you to depression, resentment and other physical symptoms.  To stay true to your heart and to yourself some action might be needed prior to choosing divorce.  Taking action is empowering.

 

  • What is best for your children – Staying together for the sake of the children is an outdated idea and a bad one. The fact that both of you are not sleeping in the same room, or under the same roof, is not reason enough to stay in an unhappy marriage.   What is best for your children is to ensure that they grow up with parents who are stable, focused, and able to provide guidance and love to their children.

Contact Grossman & Associates, Ltd. for guidance if you are thinking about a divorce at 617.969.0069.

 

 

 

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Children and Divorce

One of the most challenging issues a parent going through a divorce has to deal with is what and how to tell their children about their divorce.  The heartbreak and sadness a parent feels as a result of the breakdown of the partnership they once had with their spouse often pales in comparison to the stress and concern one goes through when they think of their own child’s heartbreak and sadness over their divorce.

Although not an easy conversation to have with your children there are a few pointers that are important to keep in mind when discussing divorce with your children:

  • Honesty is the best policy – Telling your children the truth about why their parents are breaking up without disparaging the other parent can be a hard pill to swallow. Sticking to simple and honest explanations like “We can’t get along anymore” is enough information to ensure your children that your divorce is not a result of anything your children have done.
  • Reassurance – You can never say “I love you” too many times to your children during this time. Reassuring your children that although the feelings both you and your spouse have for each other may have changed, the feelings you and your spouse have for the children will never change.
  • Prepare them for the new normal – The uncertainty of what to expect in the future can create anxiety in children. Laying out a plan regarding living arrangements and parenting schedules can help ease a child’s concerns about their relationships with each of their parents, and their day-to-day routines.

 

Effective Ways to Punish Your Ex

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Gautama Buddha

Experienced divorce attorneys know what holding onto anger looks like from the eyes of a betrayed spouse.  The betrayed spend emotional energy defying, resisting, delaying and even punishing their betrayers.  Despite the warnings and guidance of their attorneys, the betrayed are on their own emotional journeys while their attorneys follow at a close distance with a broom and dustpan to manage the mess.   Volatile emails and text messages between spouses escalate.  Sometimes the spouses enlist the children for support.   Excessive spending on legal fees and other expenses increase. These are the most common ways the betrayed will attempt to punish their exes and the most damaging to them both emotionally and financially.  Sometimes an apology soothes the anger, and on other occasions it is a disappointing exercise.

The betrayer is no better.   Instead of contrition, the betrayer is emboldened by the new relationship, encouraged to fight back, inflames the conflict by introducing the children to the new relationship, or becoming less available to them, and retaliates with financial withholding and communication black-outs.

How can these reactions be managed?     Here are our top 3 “Helpful” techniques:

  • Take Care of You First – Find a therapist to acknowledge and redirect emotional reactions; make time for yourself; exercise; meditation; a healthier lifestyle.
  • Avoid Engaging with Your Ex – This is more difficult when children are involved but isolating yourself from their social media websites and intentional run-ins will ease your anxiety and heighten your ex’s curiosity. Take the emotion out of your interactions.  Adopt new flexibility techniques and avoid being too reactive.
  • Keep Busy – Time heals wounds. Being busy makes your time more constructive and reduces your focus on the conflict.  Forming new and building on current friendships brings new dimensions to fill in the missing pieces.

Getting divorced is one of the worst times in a person’s adult life.  It can rarely be considered a positive experience.  Minimizing the bad experience and keeping you healthy to live happy again is the goal.

And the Winner Is…

Sex, religion, money, family – the list goes on and on and depending on how many opinions you are inviting, the list will continue to grow.  The more google searches you do, the more websites you will encounter with yet more advice on what destroyed your marriage.

After over a decade of working with both men and women going through the divorce process, I have heard hundreds of detailed accounts of how and why each person’s marriage ended AND THE WINNER IS…..there isn’t one.

As frustrating and anti-climactic as that news may be – any other answer would be as accurate as your daily horoscope.  Of course there are similarities among all of the stories I hear where there is heartache, deception, manipulation and love lost but often one will fixate on one event or problem as being the lone perpetrator in the death of their marriage.  More often than not this one event is the red herring of a combination of so many issues that were really destroying one’s relationship as demonstrated in “His Penis Extension Broke – and 9 More Crazy Reasons People Divorced” .

The good news is that most marriages are not so fragile and one specific issue will not end decades of a marriage partnership between two people.  Issues and areas of disagreement exist in all marriages whether they are successful or not, but become red herrings when one or both spouses no longer likes being in the partnership.  It most likely didn’t happen overnight, and it is usually not caused by one particular event or bad decision.  Just as falling in love and creating a marriage partnership is a process, so too is it’s destruction.

Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
617-969-0069

The Wives Club

Recognizing that many of our clients are linked by the common thread of their husband’s infidelity, we responded with an idea to help our clients on a broader level.  Energized by the idea, Hindell immediately called three women clients, each recovering from their husband’s infidelity, to ask if they would be interested in meeting each other.   The suggestion was met with exceptional enthusiasm.

Fast forward to a muggy, rainy Tuesday evening, when the three women clients met at Hindell’s home and shared an evening of wine and support.  Conversation was lively and uninterrupted, as if they had known each other for years.   They talked of inspiring songs and poems, fantasy revenge, and private pain. The conversation reflected viewpoints of their marriages…

“I knew something was different in my marriage. 

The vacant look on my husband’s face- he was not present. 

He felt I didn’t take care of him.

He was never really part of the family.

He was my rock.”

They left feeling rejuvenated, excited and hopeful.  In one night these clients realized that the “club” they didn’t want to be a part of had turned into opportunities for friendships, activities and adventures.  Within weeks after the initial meeting the clients met on their own and have plans for another weekend gathering.    “While I wish we weren’t in the same boat,” said one of the clients, “I am delighted to have such smart, beautiful row-partners.”

Psychology Today’s recent article, This is Why Betrayal Hurts So Much, explains that betrayal involves “giving your trust to a person who turned out not to be worth of it…and that people conspired against you without letting you participate in the decision”.  The problem that each of these client’s faced was not just the personal betrayal, but also that they lacked the outlet to speak about the feelings associated with betrayal.  How do you talk to a friend, a family member or a colleague who has not felt the betrayal on the same level as you have?  Friends and family are supportive of you, but can they truly relate to how the betrayal made you feel?

As the article advises, “We can’t change the situations that provoke our negative emotions, but by redefining the way we view them, we can eventually find fulfillment in changing our emotional responses.”  By meeting, commiserating, consoling, and celebrating, these clients were offered a path to a new life- the light at the end of the tunnel- and feel hope again.

Grossman & Associates, LTD. 617-969-0069