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  • What is best for your children – Staying together for the sake of the children is an outdated idea and a bad one.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.

 

Why Divorce is Sometimes the Band-Aid that Needs to be Ripped Off

Divorce can be heartbreaking, traumatic and painful for both spouses regardless of who initiated the break-up.  The length of time that it takes for a person to move on and heal from their divorce varies case by case and person to person.

People often believe the overwhelming feelings of sadness and unhappiness that they experience while going through the divorce process are the result of mourning the loss of their spouse and the life they had once shared together.  It is not uncommon that we recreate and distort our memories, subconsciously filtering our recollection of events through rose-colored glasses while completely dismissing the negative memories.

Although no two divorces are the same, the breakdown of any marriage is rarely, if ever caused by one single event, followed by an immediate filing for divorce from one or both spouses.  The path that leads people to divorce is usually a long, sad and lonely one and as creatures of habit we gradually adapt to accepting whatever life we find ourselves in instead of looking for a happier and more satisfying life.  Unfortunately, sometimes the path to living a satisfying and happy life can only happen by confronting the sharp pain of ending a chapter in your life in preparation for a new beginning.  Just like ripping off a band-aid, it hurts in the beginning – a lot– and then one day it doesn’t.  You soon find that you are able to look forward and not back, replacing the sad and lonely days that you thought you missed, with happy and fulfilling ones.

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.

DIVORCING CAN MEAN LOSING CUSTODY OF YOUR FRIENDS

One of the most under-recognized casualties of divorce is friendships.  An invisible line is drawn in the sand among friends when rumblings of marriage trouble begin.  Married friends begin discussing your marriage with each other, taking notes and comparing their marriage to yours- what they would have done differently, why that will never be them and the big one, where fault is placed.

Whether your friends side with you or your spouse is often determined by whether your friends knew you or your spouse first, and that person is the one who wins the continued friendship.

The demise of a marriage is almost never just the end of your marriage, but often the end of at least a few surrounding friendships you once counted on.  But the end is always the mark of a beginning – and all good things have a beginning.

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

PICKING YOUR BATTLEGROUNDS

The Analysis:

From time to time issues will arise during your divorce that put you and your spouse on opposite sides. The possible areas of conflict are endless. Do you stand firm on all issues to maintain your integrity?  Must you stand firm to prove your strength and resolve?  Are you standing firm for your children, or does it have more to do with something between the two of you?

The Recommendation:

During divorce, communication between you and your spouse becomes an exercise in frustration.  You may find yourself wanting to distance yourself from the conflict.  You may want to rely more on your attorney or mediator to communicate with your spouse, through his/her attorney.  Not only is this expensive, but it creates a situation which discourages the spouses from speaking with one another.  If you have children to discuss, this type of four party communication is impractical at best.  It’s better to set up ground rules and meet periodically in a public place to resolve issues between you.  These meetings will not be 100% successful in your favor; you may have to compromise on some issues, and hopefully so will he/she.  Before the meeting, pick the battles which are the most important to you and gear the negotiation to compromise on those which are less important.  Let your spouse “win” on a few issues which matter less to you, but remember that what you feel may be a generous offer from you may never be reciprocated.  Your compromise does not guarantee reciprocal compromise.  Giving something does not guarantee you will get in return.  If you expect this, you will be disappointed.