Getting back the life and love you’ve lost along the challenging road of marriage.
“When your marriage which you thought would stand the test of time ends, your heart understandably is broken. It’s normal to feel completely lost, afraid and all alone. It’s also natural to start wondering about when to date after divorce because you want the pain to go away,” says Alicia Clark PsyD.
Don’t you just detest going through a divorce? All those stressful meetings, the screaming, blaming, seemingly endless arguing that eventually lead to even more screaming, blatant cursing, and bickering until both parties are too exhausted to attack each other and just agree on signing those liberating documents – this is the usual scenario in divorce cases.
When nothing’s turning out right in your relationship, there are still a couple of little yet significant things that you can do to turn things around. Remembering that even if these steps are simple and small, these gestures will yield more meaningful moments in relationships as time passes by.
Control is a demonstration of power or authority. To display control towards anybody, especially one’s partner, is a form of abuse. “Most people typically think of emotional abuse as one partner belittling or criticising the other. But emotional abuse is much more than verbal abuse. It can be defined as any nonphysical behaviour that aims to control, intimidate, subjugate, demean, punish, or isolate another person,” says Krasi Kirova, registered psychologist. A lot of marriages crumble because the other half becomes obsessed with dominating the other to the point of feeling suffocated and imprisoned.
Characteristics Of A Controlling Partner
To efficiently conclude that you are becoming a victim of a controlling partner, the first thing that you should do is to identify the following characteristics and behavior:
Insecure and over-possessive
Disapproving of your thoughts and opinions on any matter especially parenting
Mostly creates the rules that should be strictly followed
Forces you to explain expenses; always requires a credible reason whenever you ask for money
Psychologically, verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive
Doesn’t include you in planning the future or in important decisions
Disregards your valid and useful contributions
A controlling partner can also be a narcissist. “Some people just seem to be way too self-involved. They drive the rest of us crazy with their constant need to be admired,” says relationship doctor Stephen Snyder, MD.
Drawing The Line
If you notice that your better half is overly consumed with being in command all the time, there are ways to cease the behavior before it ruins the relationship.
Communicate With Honesty
Without proper communication, the dominant partner will never acknowledge that he or she is controlling. Instead, the person will insist that it’s only a way of taking care of you and protecting you because that’s what a good partner should do. In a controller’s mind, the behavior has good intentions and is not meant to be suffocating in any way. Because of this thinking, your partner is not entirely aware that his or her behavior is controlling and possessive; though this is not a pertinent reason to push you around and take advantage of your affection and respect towards your significant other.
It is critical that you let your partner understand how you feel. Be honest by explaining your side. Furthermore, be patient if your partner still exhibits dominance after you’ve talked about the issue. Be forgiving and tolerant of your partner for as long as you can see that he or she is trying to change his or her demeanor. Bad habits take time to unlearn.
Stop Submitting To Demands
One of the reasons why control continues in a relationship is because the other half is reluctant to refuse all the whims of the other half. When you think you’ve had enough, be adamant in telling your partner that you are no longer going to take the bullying and abuse. Whenever your partner demands explanations or details of your whereabouts, calmly tell your partner that you are not obliged to reveal everything since you have the right to your privacy.
Stop Trying To Get Validation
If your partner has this habit of telling you that you are never going to be good enough to do anything, that is your partner’s mindset talking. At this point, there’s no use going through the loops just to acquire appreciation. Yearning for approval from your partner will only fuel his or her bad behavior and will just feed your partner’s ego to continue his or her sinister nature.
Keep in mind that you do not deserve to be bossed around and bullied just because you love someone. Being in a relationship should be sufficient reason to carry the weight of an abusive partner. You are worthy of affection and respect; therefore, stand your ground and spill it all out. If your partner refuses to change, there’s no shame in closing the book of your relationship and move on.
You must also seek help, if necessary, say with a therapist or a counselor. “Many folks worry that going to therapy means they’re “crazy” or “out of control.” In reality, people go to therapy for all sorts of reasons: personal growth, coaching through a rough patch, to get a neutral outside perspective, to optimize their life, to change a habit, and many more. Most importantly, they go because they want to make a change, but don’t know how to start,” says Ellen Hendriksen, PhD. This could be that change for you.
Aside from abuse, probably one of the worst things that you can do to your partner is to have an affair.
Cheating sucks. And the reality is, no matter how great you think your marriage is, it is not immune to the possibility of being afflicted with infidelity. The moment the affair has been uncovered, individuals who are cheated by their partners will be grappled with feelings of anger, sadness, and betrayal.
But cheating on your better half does not immediately mean that your relationship has taken its final turn for the worst, and the only way around is to end the marriage. Even if duplicity has severely damaged the very foundation of your union, giving it one more shot by rebuilding the relationship from ruins is possible. That is if you’re still willing to mend what was broken. Sari Cooper, CST, LCSW said “Not all couples split or divorce post-infidelity. Based on a 2008 Gallup poll, 31% of heterosexual married spouses stated that they would not divorce a spouse who was unfaithful.”
In The Aftermath
According to research, almost 25% of men and 11% of women will wind up engaging in extramarital affairs during their marriage, and some of of the reasons include falling out of love, variety, and neglect. According to statements in the article by Theresa E DiDonato Ph.D., “Sometimes (but not always) a deficit in an existing relationship leads people to have extradyadic affairs. For many people, a desire for variety factors into their cheating behavior. Some people engage in infidelity as a response to their partner’s lack of attention.”
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has indicated that for as long as the couples are willing to go into therapy and are amenable to mend the rift, there is a higher probability for the relationship to pull through. Furthermore, if the goal of the couple is to make their marriage work rather than staying due to their children and other obligations, the possibility of recovering from the dark times is possible.
The Route to Healing
Zen psychologist, Andrea F. Polard Psy.D., recommends: “Pay extra attention. Take seriously your partner’s arguments and inner conflicts. Pay attention to the mundane. Focus on the bigger picture. Say “Yes” to the whole, even if you do not like every single part – love is a resounding YES.” Make sense, right?
Betrayal is something that a person cannot quickly forget. Due to the intensity of emotions and the shattered trust, others would result to completely cutting the ties that bind. As for those who are still a bit hopeful and are leaning towards the notion that their marriage can still work despite the tragedy, here are some of the things that couples should do to start the process of restoring what was damaged and lost.
Answering All Questions
For the one who committed the act, you owe it to your better half to provide the answers to all questions thrown at you, no matter how sensitive it is or how uncomfortable it can be. Lay every single detail out in the open and leave nothing unturned. To move forward, one must come clean.
Addressing The Reason
All arguments or discussions regarding the infidelity must primarily include the reason that led to the unfaithful event. Talking about why the act of cheating happened is a huge step in moving past the illicit sexual relationship. Sometimes, those who cheated are clueless why they did it; therefore, resulting in the statement, “It just happened.” For this reason, couples should take time in recalling where their relationship has gone astray and from that point, assess how it became so messy. By figuring out how and why the unfaithfulness occurred, couples can resolve all underlying issues.
Avoiding Constant Reminding
It is expected that untoward feelings due to infidelity will erupt now and then; it is an experience the cheater has to bear. Your partner is entitled to emotions of betrayal and despair. However, once the couple has dealt with and has agreed on making the marriage work despite the struggle, it is best not to bring up the incidence as much as before. Do not re-open a wound that’s trying to heal.
Couples who are experiencing a rough time, especially when it has something to do with infidelity, must be willing to seek professional help. It is difficult to survive and thrive without the aid of a marriage counselor or a therapist.
My father left my mom for a woman who was only six years older than I was last year. I am eighteen now, and his mistress was a 24-year-old temp in a firm which used to be his client. He left my mother, a beautiful and strong woman in her forties, for a slutty and gold-digging girl who is almost my age. Am I angry at him? Bah! You bet I am, but he is my dad. He pays for my college tuition at the University of Maryland. It sucks big time to be me, as I saw my mother cry every night for months due to her heartbreak which my dad has caused.
He gave the house to my mother because I have two minor siblings who need her. I live with my mom, and I don’t think I’ll move out anytime soon, not until I’m sure that she is better off or at least coping from this mess that my middle-aged dad has created. She is a housewife, and his financial support is spot on.
He Is My Dad After All
I can’t say anything bad about my father on that money thing. But is money enough? Can it fill the void in my mom’s heart? No, it’s not enough. It can’t make my mom less empty. I mean, they’ve been together since my mom was fifteen and they’ll be thirty years in eight months. How can he forget all of that, hurt my mother to the core, and go off on an adventure with a child almost my age? I was so pissed at him, and with my resentment all in, I wrote my dad an email. I told him everything that my heart could afford to say – basically saying, what is wrong with you dad?
A few days after that email I received his reply. He said that we needed to talk. My dad wanted me to go to his pad so we can converse without distractions and all. I asked him if the tramp was going to be there and he said that Ainsley (I hate her name) was at her mom’s for now. His reply was weird, but then I set a date for our meeting.
His pad was a 2-bedroom place. It was luxurious and nice. Mom would have loved to decorate the place for him, knowing my mother – she had this artistic flair. My dad opened the door and forced me to hug him. I agreed reluctantly, thinking that he is my university benefactor. Of course, I made sure not to waste time and asked him why he wanted to meet with me.
An Unexpected But Wanted Reaction
He was silent for a few minutes and tried to open his mouth and looked for words that wouldn’t come out.
“I am so sorry.”
“I was stupid and selfish.”
“Your email made me realize how self-centered I am.”
Those were the only words I could hear since he was sobbing – my dad was crying!
“Too late for what, dad?” I asked.
“Your mom, is it too late for me?” He replied.
I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but yeah, mom was already in the “scene” and dating other guys. I know for a fact that she hasn’t slept with anyone after dad left her, but yeah, she had some mature and handsome divorced or widowed men trying to swoon her.
My dad has to know, and I told him about her romantic dates. He seemed to be hurt even more and looked so hopeless. I told him that he needed to face my mom soon and to ask her out – not to propose anything as of yet. Of course, I also told him to kick the tramp out and break it off with her. Apparently, my email made him do that on his own. Oh, good Lord, thank you! He also said that he would do call my mom and he hugged me again as I said goodbye.
A Daughter’s Wish
It’s up to them now if they want to reconcile or not. I did my part as their child, and even if my dad was the culprit, I know that he just made a big mistake. He is human after all. My mom will have to decide if he is to be forgiven or not. Do I want them to get back together? YES, YES, and YES. Many times over. And until then, I am rooting for them.
Yes, love crosses no boundaries. No one is allowed to question your decision to have a beautiful life with your significant other. That is regardless if you want to settle down and get married. However, there are things that you must consider. Not only does marriage is a commitment, but it is also something that gets built over time. So if you want to be in a situation where you think it will make you happy, then go for it. But if you are only concern about this stuff below, then you might want to reconsider the idea of marriage.
Marrying someone because of parents’ choice is something you should never consider. Yes, there are still a lot of cases in other countries and religions that support the practice. But if you want to have the happiness you always dreamed of, never marry someone that your parents chose for you. Take note that it will not only create tons of future complications. There might also be a chance that the marriage will turn you into someone you are not supposed to become.
Money should ALWAYS have to be out of the picture when it comes to marriage. Unfortunately, a lot of people are engaging in the practice of marrying someone rich, even though there is no romantic attachment at all. Some individuals value possession more than their life-long happiness, and we somehow cannot blame them. But if you appear to be on the exact situation, consider evaluating things first for the sake of your emotional and psychological health. Never allow money to ruin your future happiness because it is not going to be worth it.
No matter what the circumstance is, never marry someone who controls your decisions through blackmail. That person is so evil that he or she will never love you, unconditionally. When you allow yourself to get caught up in a situation where an individual is forcing marriage, then by all means never to do it. Chances are when you marry someone just because you get blackmailed; you will never quickly get out of the situation. You will get trapped in a marriage that only controls and never considers.
Of course, you know that vengeance is never an ultimatum reason for marriage. No one does that. No person desire to prolong the agony of their miserable life only to get revenge. However, there are exceptions. Some people chose to get married because they want others to suffer the way they did. But if you are in that condition, might as well pass. It will never create something useful and often ends terribly. So when you try and incorporate marriage to vengeance, all things turn out negatively.
Marrying someone is something you should do with full of determination and considerations. It is not something you only thought you could do just because you can. Learn to value commitment and marriage, because that is the only way you can appreciate your worth.
Marriage is more than just a ceremony. It is a relationship built on trust, love and a little bit of everything that makes up who you are.
Marriages work when two people are willing and want to choose each other over and over again no matter what. “The truth is that mature love is developed through daily feeding of the marriage and devotion to the relationship, which provide the oxygen that allows partners to survive and thrive in the vicissitudes of life,” explained by Stan Tatkin Psy.D.
As a married woman, I never thought that marriage is far more difficult than having a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of relationship.
When it comes to marriage, a lot of people think that significant issues are the only ones that need attention. However, when you ask most married couples, they will tell you the opposite. The truth is, the majority of individuals believe that one impactful mistake will never become equivalent to hundreds of small ones. The latter gets often ignore because some of them are just not worth to become a big deal. But contrary to that ideology, people do not understand that most marital issues often come from small and seemingly unworthy things that grew multiples times day by day. Still, no one cares to pay attention.
Andrea F. Polard Psy.D. says that you have to open your eyes and make every day life magical, while you can. “Pay attention to your partner in the first ten minutes after you wake up as well as when you reunite later in the day. Smile at your partner for a few seconds longer. Ask how he feels. Tell him how much you love him. Listen carefully. Kiss and embrace him. You might be surprised, but this is a scientifically proven way to turn things around dramatically.”
Both Are Always Busy
When it comes to marriage, spending time with each other is the most valuable thing. But with all the necessity of doing a lot of things in the house, and trying to juggle work and social connection, getting busy becomes an excuse. Couples become unaware of losing each other in the process of trying to keep themselves with loaded activities. As a result, couples drift apart from one another without knowing why. In some unfortunate cases, couples become confused about their feelings, and their commitments appear to get affected as well. Yes, no one look at the matter as an essential factor that needs development, not until it is all too late.
Underestimating Hurtful Words
You see in marriage; there are instances that couples will engage in an intense level of argument. With that, one or both could inevitably express anger towards each other and might spit out some unnecessary hurtful words. Honestly, it is typically one of the usual things that happen every day for most married individuals’ household. But the problem of not addressing and tolerating the habit is the buildup of emotional and mental complication. As you can notice, hurtful words appear to be verbal abuse. But since most couples do not want to emphasize on that, they tend to ignore the habit. It is as a typical marital way that people can get used to no matter what.
“In a committed relationship, intimate communication often means revealing something about our own feelings that you’d ordinarily not reveal. It’s about taking a chance. Stepping out onto thin ice. And trusting that the other person won’t let you fall through,” as said by Dr. Stephen Snyder, sex and relationship therapist.
Not Helping Each Other
One of the fundamentals of marriage is helping each other out. No matter what the situation is, and regardless of how small and big the assistance would be, it is vital in the relationship. Unfortunately, lots of people put too much pressure on what both man and woman should do for each other. There is this identification of limits and responsibilities that somehow take the couples’ perspective negatively.
An example is when a woman works for the family, while a man takes care of the house. Society doesn’t seem to approve this; that is why it becomes an issue. Since there is this segregation of what is in for whom and what is not, there becomes an imbalance.
Regardless of how people should look at things, couples must understand one thing. There is nothing more fulfilling than being there for someone you love. So instead of ignoring things, try becoming more sensitive enough in understanding what might cause probable marital issues. “Problems are always going to happen, just as life does. Knowing you can face them together keeps a relationship strong and healthy.” said by Alicia H. Clark, PsyD.
With the availability of the remedy of divorce in the United States, it becomes convenient for some married couples just to call it quits. Some husbands and wives have chosen to part ways because of so many problems that they encounter during the union. What if they children? “Parents need to know that divorce always affects children because of the disruption in their life. Some children may fare better than others – others may not. Parents can expect a full range of emotions from spitefulness, uncooperativeness, feelings of depression, being withdrawn or combination of all the above,” says Katherine Sellwood, PsyD. Aside from this issue, there are others that can fuel the fire.
Some of the common issues involve financial problems, acts of infidelity and different opinions in some matters. Even my spouse and I have also considered on ending our marital union due to some irreconcilable differences. However, we did not give in and chose to fight for the relationship.
For over my ten years in a relationship with my husband, I am pretty sure we already experienced so many ups and downs. The truth is, I cannot even think of one particular case because everything in my head always leads me into a couple of unwanted stuff. So instead of overthinking and trying to torture my mental health, I preferably choose not to worry about those. As Alicia H. Clark, PsyD said, “Try not to fight your anxiety.”But lately, I have this emotional battle that I am not sure where the hell comes from. I am confident that I am at my best emotional state. However, my mind tells me a different story.
I Reached Out, But No One Answers
According to Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., “The further you move away from experiencing your emotions, the more distant you become from others, as well as from yourself.” The thing with my emotional strength, I have this confidence to tell people what are the emotions I have at the moment. The particular practice allows me to have the edge over others who cannot seem to put into words their emotional turmoil. With that said, since I am having a different kind of feelings that I cannot seem to explain, I told my husband about it. In my surprise, talk therapy did not work. I felt so devastated that I thought something is wrong in the way I delivered my emotional concern. I thought maybe the details are not precise, or perhaps some of them are not worthy of becoming an issue. I was as confused as to what I should be thinking about that moment. Did I tell my husband nonsense stuff? Are my emotional crisis doesn’t mean anything at all? Am I overreacting or only trying to grab some “I-don’t-really-need” attention? Those are the things I asked myself because I thought it was about me. Later, I figured out that it was my husband’s ignorance of my mental illness.
Unfortunately, my beloved husband does not understand the mental condition I struggle to have. He assumed that I only needed some rest and lots of sleep to become better. Well, I honestly listened to his advice and made myself a list of self-care tips. However, what I entirely needed that time is his full understanding and attention of the symptoms of my depression. I want him to know that I needed someone to be there for me because I was having a problem of knowing what is wrong. Unfortunately, I only receive a little amount of emotional and mental support from him. My husband thought that all of the things I was going through are something that can cure itself over an extended period. Boy, he was so wrong.
I understand that I can never push someone to understand my emotional and mental health battle because not all people know how to react. I do not blame my husband for being ignorant of the situation because he never intends to disregard my emotional and psychological crisis. He is only unaware of the things I am having, and I can consider an exemption for that. My depression is now both our battles, and I am thankful that he chooses to stay and fight it with me. As what Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. stated, “there are precious few guarantees in life. It’s almost always a matter of probabilities.”