All Articles Tagged "divorce"
Should I stay or leave?
This is a question that crosses the minds of people in long-term relationships more often than they probably care to admit. Sometimes, these concerns are fleeting. They are often the result of temporary frustrations or other random feelings that missing out. Other times, it’s something deeper.
“The only thing determining whether to stay or leave is how we feel, which can be a pretty hard matter to work out for ourselves,” says philosopher Alain de Botton in a video from The School of Life. “Our feelings have a dispiriting habit of shifting and evading any efforts at rational clarification.”
For those who have seriously found themselves at a crossroad, and are wondering whether or not it’s really time to peace out, the Architecture of Happiness author recommends doing a self-check by asking yourself the following questions presented in the video below.
During Monday’s episode of “The Talk,” Aisha Tyler opened up about her impending divorce. Though the actress and comedian admitted that she and her husband, Jeff Tietjens, have been living separately for over a year, she says that they really fought to save their marriage.
“My husband and I separated over a year ago, but we were really fighting to stay together,” she said.
Unfortunately, the pair came to the realization that they want two very different things out of life, and decided to move on.
“As you can imagine, it’s pretty frustrating to have people talk about your private life who don’t really know anything about it, and speculating and saying lots of crazy stuff. I met my husband when I was a teenager. We’ve been together for more than half of my adult life. He’s been my only adult relationship, and other than my parents, he’s the person who has influenced me and cared for me the most. In fact, he’s cared for me even longer than my parents have cared for me. It’s very hard when you love someone very much but begin to realize that you want very different things for your lives.”
Tyler admits that she wanted to handle the divorce privately for obvious reasons, but also, to protect her husband, who is a private person; however, the media catching wind of the filing changed that.
“It’s strange for people to understand why you would want to protect someone you’re breaking up with, but I love him and I’ll always him.”
She emotionally continued:
“We loved each passionately and we lived life fully, and we’re trying to let each other go in the kindest way we possibly can,” she said. “He’s a wonderful person. He’s been my best friend for almost my entire life.”
After twenty years of marriage, Aisha Tyler and her husband, Jeff Tietjens, have called it quits.
According to TMZ, the “Talk” host and Tietjens have been living separately since January 2015. Ultimately, it was Tietjens who pulled the trigger. He filed for divorce with the L.A. County Superior Court and cited irreconcilable differences.
Tyler’s spokesperson, Lisa Morbete, told TMZ that she and her husband will continue their friendship despite the fact that their marriage is ending.
Tyler and Tietjens, who were college sweethearts, tied the knot in 1994 when she was just 23 years old. At the time, she was sure that she didn’t want children, but as she approached her 40s, she experienced a change of heart.
“I was with someone at 19, and I was married at 23, and I didn’t want kids when I was in my 20s,” Aisha shared back in September. “I wasn’t mentally prepared to take care of them; I was focused on my career. And then when I got to be in my 40s, and I thought about having kids, I wasn’t able to have kids naturally. I don’t regret it.”
The couple tried IVF for a while, but they were unsuccessful, and eventually, decided to give up. It is unclear if this played a role in their breakup.
Before my divorce was even final, before the ink and the tears had dried, there was another “d-word” that I was preparing myself for– dating. Just like the divorce itself, I knew it was something that I wanted to do; something that I probably needed to do, but I didn’t know where to begin, or more importantly, if I was really ready.
After diving into the dating pool headfirst and somehow landing on my behind, I had to get up on my feet, dry myself off and ask myself some important questions. Questions that anyone getting out of a marriage — or any long-term relationship for that matter — should consider before moving on.
It’s inevitable. When something monumental like a divorce happens in your life, everyone and their mother will try to tell you what you need to do and how you need to do it (yes, I realize the irony here). And at some point, someone‘s going to suggest that you get out there and start dating. Being the stubborn one that I am, I was the one telling myself that I needed to see other people, despite what everyone else was advising me to do…or not do. I may have been wrong (lesson learned), but at the end of the day, it was my life. It was me who was going through the divorce, so ultimately, it had to be my decision; good or bad.
Am I doing it out of fear?
After my divorce I found myself going from the thought of being with someone “till death do us part” to the paralyzing fear that I’d die alone. Fear is a b–ch! It can make you do crazy things; like looking for someone — anyone — to have a relationship with, even if you know it isn’t right. That’s how I ended up getting married in the first place, but I couldn’t let fear drive me into another relationship that would ultimately lead to more unhappiness. This time around, I had to face that fear, assure myself that whether I’m in a relationship or not, I’ll never truly be alone, and move forward looking for the right someone; not just anyone.
Am I doing this just to cheer myself up?
It’s easy to think that getting back on the dating scene will make you feel better; better about yourself and better about your situation. Getting dressed up, having men shower you with compliments and tripping over themselves vying for your affection? Yeah, I want that! Who wouldn’t want that?! But the reality is that there are just as many lows as there are highs when it comes to dating. Even for the best of us, there is a little thing called rejection. Rejection hurts. Rejection hurts worse when you’re still dealing with the end of another relationship. You start doubting yourself; losing your self-esteem, feeling worse than you did when you started, drowning your sorrows with wine (or maybe that’s just me) asking, “What am I doing wrong?” “What’s wrong with me?”
I know. It’s harsh. And probably not the best way to word it, but at one point or another you have to ask yourself what you did wrong in your relationship? What was your role in the divorce? Yes, even in matters of infidelity. Bear with me….
As it turned out, my best friend ended up going through a divorce at the exact same time that I was, but hers was a very different situation. Her husband of seven years had been cheating on her over the course of their entire marriage…with multiple women…including his secretary, whom she later found out was pregnant (#scandalous). It wasn’t her fault that he cheated. He was and still is a complete jerk (keepin’ it rated PG). There wasn’t anything that she could have done differently to stop him from cheating. But after she took a step back and really reflected on everything, she realized that she knew what was going on all along. Not to the extent that it was happening, but she knew something. There were even times when she questioned him, but he always managed to manipulate the conversation and turn things around so that she was the one who was hysterically crying, begging him to forgive her for making the accusations. She doubted herself. She was constantly putting herself down, calling herself stupid for believing the murmurs around town about his “extracurricular activities.” She never stood up for herself. She was never really able to find her voice, and it was something that she had been doing in all of her relationships.
Regardless of the circumstances, everyone has something that they can learn about who they are after a divorce– if they’re truly honest with themselves. There’s always something to work on; something you can improve upon so you’re not bringing the same bad habits into your next relationship. It won’t happen overnight. It may even take a little therapy. Bad habits can be hard to break. It’s an ongoing process, but definitely a necessary one.
Am I just looking for a caretaker?
It’s one thing to be afraid of being alone. It’s another to be incapable of being alone. Throughout my marriage I thought that I practically did everything on my own. I told myself that I could hold it down with or without my husband because, according to me, he hardly did anything anyway. When we separated he left me with a busted sewer line, a broken gate in the backyard and a car that I had no idea how to take care of. I was beyond overwhelmed. I panicked. The first thing I thought to do was find another man to come take care of it all–and to take care of me. It was a cry for help to my mother who talked me down off the ledge and got me to realize that yes, maybe I did need some men in my life (and women too — not to discriminate). It didn’t mean that I needed to find a date; what I needed was to find a plumber, a handyman, a good mechanic, and to learn a few new skills on my own so I could really hold it down.
I have four kids and a busy life, so I had to take an honest look and decide if I realistically had the time to put into dating; and if not, if I was willing to try to work out ways to make time. It was a difficult decision. As a mother my first priority always has and always will be my children, so it was hard to even admit to myself that yeah, sometimes I wanted to take some time to go out. It was even harder to get myself to realize that wanting that didn’t make me a bad mother, just human.
It’s something that every single mother has to deal with– deciding when to get the kids involved in your dating life. Was I going to let men pick me up at my house for dates with my kids around? When should I introduce them? Do I do it early on so I can see how they interact with one another, or should I wait until I know the guy is going to be around for awhile? Knowing that I wasn’t looking for anything serious at the time, for me the answer was simple. I didn’t want a revolving door of men coming in and out of my kids’ lives (not that I was going through them like that!). I chose to keep my dating life and my home life separate until I was ready to commit to a different kind of relationship. When it became something a little more solid, they were simply around to pick me up every now and then, or my kids knew them by name and who I was talking to on the phone, but they were always introduced as friends; nothing more. If and when things progressed from there, that’s when I finally let my dating life and my home life intersect.
Somewhere along the way in my premature post-marriage dating experience, I met a man; a fine man at that (just sayin’). We hit it off really well, getting closer and closer over the course of a month, but we seemed to be heading into the friend zone, and I couldn’t figure out when or why things went left. Eventually he spelled it out for me. It was clear to him that I wasn’t over my marriage, because during every phone conversation, over every cup of coffee, at every dinner date, there he was– my ex. I was constantly talking about him. Not always in a bad way. Sometimes it was just random memories, but all of my talking translated to one thing: My ex was so present in my thoughts and conversations that essentially I was still in a relationship; all I was missing was the physical aspect, so that’s all that I was really looking for. He was right. It wasn’t that I wasn’t over my ex. I was over him long before the marriage actually ended. What I wasn’t over was the fact that the marriage had actually ended. I wasn’t over the idea of me being divorced and what that really meant. I had to come to terms with the finality of it all and let go.
It didn’t take me long to admit that I was looking for something that was mostly physical. I guess you could say a friends with benefits type of thing. The truth is, not everyone is looking for their happily ever after right after ending a marriage. Some (like me) want something casual or short term, and that’s perfectly fine. But I had to acknowledge that that’s what I wanted moving forward so I could be honest and upfront with my dates and there wouldn’t be any unrealistic expectations going into it. I didn’t want to waste the time of someone who was looking for a wife when all I wanted was– well, you know.
Who am I looking for?
The online dating scene can be a pain to get started, and somewhat disappointing in the end, but the one thing it did was force me to sit down and decide what I was looking for in the person I was hoping to find; even if it was only for something temporary. All of those little checkboxes and dropdown menus mapped out the person I was looking for, my type, which as it turned out, did not match up at all with who my ex is (what is it that they say about hindsight?). There were things that I hadn’t really taken the time to consider. Did I want someone with kids? Did I want him to have a certain kind of profession? Yes, I wanted to be “open,” but I also wanted to be realistic about what would work for me, my personality, and my lifestyle.
What are my dealbreakers?
While I was willing to compromise on things like height, weight, and race, there were some things that I simply refused to settle on. They were my dating dealbreakers. Smoking– deal breaker. Not having your own place– dealbreaker. Unable to carry on an intelligent conversation– dealbreaker. I wasn’t in the same mind-frame as I was before I met my husband, when my dating criteria was a car, a job, and a pulse. I grew up. I now had standards. I wanted someone I could respect and actually enjoy spending my time with. I wasn’t going to fake it anymore. Because after an unsuccessful marriage, isn’t that the point…to stop faking it? To ultimately get what I really wanted? What would truly bring me happiness?
Whether it’s dating short term, long term, or going it alone – it’s all about finding your happy. Divorce is hard. Dating is hard. Life is hard. None of it, however, is impossible. I may have learned it the hard way, but I did learn it nonetheless.
Have you ever wondered what the number one predictor of divorce is? Hint: it’s not screaming matches, money-related disagreements, mismatched parenting styles or in-law disputes. The number one predictor of divorce is good ole contempt.
According to Marie Claire, after four decades of studying couples at the Gottman Institute, Dr. John Gottman found that harboring feelings of contempt or disgust towards a partner causes marriages to come apart at the seams. Of course, it’s natural for feel frustrated or even annoyed with your mate from time to time, but once feelings of disdain develop, you’re in unhealthy territory.
“All relationships involve ongoing, perpetual problems that will resurface,” explains Gottman researcher Mike McNulty, Ph.D. “Partners who do not handle discussions of these problems well are at the most risk of divorce.”
Wondering if contempt might be eating away at your union? Think about the reoccurring issues that continue to surface in your relationship, such as disciplinary differences or debates about spending. How do you or your partner behave when discussing these matters?
“Partners who are headed towards divorce have the following tendencies: They become angry and use what we call the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse or negative patterns of communication, which are criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness,” said Dr. McNulty. “This leads to something we call ‘diffuse physiological arousal’ or ‘flooding’ [which involves] one or both partners’ bodies releasing hormones as heart rates accelerate, muscles become tense, the skin becomes hot or sweaty, and the stomach feels nervous.”
Not to worry, though. If you and your partner are still engaging in heated arguments, it means that you may still be in a position to save your marriage.
“Relationships die by ice rather than fire,” said McNulty. “Some couples eventually stop trying to dialogue. They find working on key conflicts to be too difficult or painful. They give up. They grow more distant, and live more like roommates than spouses.”
This means that if you and your partner are still fighting, you still have a fighting chance.
“If you’re both still arguing you haven’t yet reached the point of surrender,” said McNulty.
For advice on how to nip contempt in the bud, click here.
Parental gatekeeping isn’t a term that you hear too often, but we see examples of it every day.
Let’s say a couple gets divorced. They have three children together. The mother has primary physical custody or placement, but the two have worked out a visitation schedule that gives the father ample time with the kids. Everything is going well for a while, but one day, the parents have a disagreement. To get back at her ex, the mother decides to keep him from seeing the kids; either by telling him flat out, issuing an ultimatum, or creating an excuse for her to have them for a longer period of time.
When they finally work things out, or when the mother decides to let go of the issue — whichever comes first — she finally lets the father see his kids. But weeks later, there’s another disagreement, and in retaliation, the mom takes even more time away from dad.
See where we’re going here? Sound familiar?
That, my friends, is parental gatekeeping.
Restrictive gatekeeping is supposed to be used for a child’s protection. For example, if dad is drinking heavily or there are concerns about some kind of neglect or abuse, mom (or whomever the custodial parent is) has the right to restrict contact and/or communication with the kids to keep them from harm. When there’s no suspected endangerment to the children, though, the power is being misused.
And according to some, this misuse of parental gatekeeping is considered child abuse. Why?
The first time the kids are kept away from their father, it’s not a huge deal. When they see each other again, they pick up right where they left off and all is right with the world again. But as the number of times they’re kept apart increases, the more the children get used to him not being around, and in some cases, think that it’s because he doesn’t want to see them. They’re hurt. Resentful. And sooner or later, the relationship between the father and the children becomes strained…possibly to a point where it’s irreparable.
It’s not physical abuse, but it’s definitely psychologically damaging; and in many states that’s equivalent to serious physical harm, and the parent could end up losing custody altogether.
In some states, like the state of California, that kind of unreasonable gatekeeping is punishable; especially if it includes a false accusation of substance abuse, neglect or abuse against the non-custodial parent, but it’s not looked at as a form of child abuse. It could, however, result in a change in the custody agreement. California Family Code 3028 allows for compensation when a parent has been “thwarted by the other parent when attempting to exercise custody or visitation rights contemplated by a custody or visitation order, including, but not limited to, an order for joint physical custody, or by a written or oral agreement between the parents.”
Meaning: The mother could end up having to pay the father a minimum of $100 plus his legal fees; share physical custody; or worse, custody could be awarded to the the father if the judge decides that he’s the parent who’s more likely to allow the child “frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent.”
Is this the better option?
Where do you stand on the issue? Should unreasonable parental gatekeeping be considered a form of serious child abuse in every state? Tell us what you think!
I am currently going through a divorce. My soon to be ex-husband and I were married for 10 long years, and during that union we had two handsome boys (ages nine and seven). They seem to be taking the divorce well. My marriage was really rocky. I dealt with affair after affair and severe emotional neglect. I am writing because I am considering changing my last name, however quite a few family members are aggressively encouraging me not too (mom, aunt and older sister). I didn’t think it would be such a BIG DEAL!!! What would you do in my situation?
The Name Changer
Dear Name Changer,
To change or not to change? That is the question.
Deciding whether or not to keep your married name is your choice and right. I was married (years ago) and when I knew divorce was inevitable, I started weighing my options. I have three AMAZING daughters and wondered if changing my last name would upset or affect them in any form or fashion. I decided to have a conversation with my two oldest, my youngest was just a baby and would not understand.
My oldest said, “Mommy you will still be my mommy no matter what.” After hearing that, I felt good and took it as a green light to move forward with what I wanted do. My last name was legally changed on my social security card and driver’s license the week after the divorce was final. I did have to ask the judge for permission to return to my maiden name, but the process was smooth.
For me, going back to my maiden name was a declaration of independence!
There are some specific questions to ask yourself prior to making that decision:
- How do your children feel about the name change?
- Has the last name become your identity?
- Are you changing/keeping your name for positive reasons?
- Is your professional reputation tied to your name?
Remember, at the end of the day there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. You have to decide what is best for you.
If you decide you want to proceed with the name change or even if you “may” be considering, ask the judge during the divorce proceedings for your name back and make sure you tell him/her the new name you wish to use. You will get a copy once the divorce judgment is entered and filed. Be sure your name change is included in the order, if so your name is now legally changed.
Even though your name is now legally changed in the eyes of the court, you still need to go and change your name on identification-Social Security and Motor Vehicle License are two important ones to change (take a copy of your divorce decree!). Legal documents, utility bills, passports, insurance companies, banks and the post office should all be notified as well. If you don’t ask for a name change during the divorce and decide later that you want to change back – be prepared to come out of pocket.
There are so many reasons women decide to change or not to change. Here are a few that I know personally and a few that I’ve heard:
- The woman scorned is the woman who does not want to change her name with hopes of annoying her ex or possibly his new love interest/spouse. Spite is an energy that will suck the life out of you….are they worth it?
- The woman who just wants to make sure she has the same last name as her children. I totally get and understand that reason. I know sometimes having different last names may cause a problem/confusion with schools and or medical situations.
- The Professional woman who has earned degrees/certificates and/or has experienced success in her profession usually opt to keep their name. Who wants to start over if they don’t have to?
- The woman whose identity has been defined by her last name: marriage, motherhood, white picket fence and dog…the “AMERICAN DREAM.” She doesn’t want to explain to everyone what happened to her “happily ever after.”
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.” –William Shakespeare
Taleema is a proud mother of three beautiful girls, an early childhood expert with over 18 years experience, and a woman who is passionate about promoting positive change and cultivating character in a world that is quickly forgetting those principles exist.
Children of single parents grew up with a mom or dad who seemed to be able to do it all. And kids who grew up watching those shining examples come to expect a lot from their partners. We know what it’s like to be a superwoman, and that makes us fiercely independent. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not looking for a partner to lean on sometimes, just for something a little different.
Early on, kids of single parents learned what not to do, what they do want in a relationship and how to be happy outside of one. Different points of view on love make us all unique. And those quirks affect who we choose, how we love them and what we want out of life. That includes the good and the bad, but it’s all love in the end. Check out the interesting ways some children of single parents look at love.
We Have A Tough Outer Shell
But that’s just the outside. Once you prove you’re worthy of letting in, it’s all unconditional love on the inside.
Serious question: Would you say “Yes” if you didn’t really mean it? Not every proposal happens with “Dangerously in Love” playing in the background. But what happens when you walk down the aisle despite the chill coming from your your cold feet?
Recently, the folks over at Reddit asked their married readers what took place when they decided to get married even though they had serious doubts about their relationship and wanted to ditch it. And not just any doubts, but “We should have broken up ages ago” or “I was going to say it’s over but wound up pregnant” doubts.
It sounds like a recipe for immediate disaster. But wait until you read these surprising stories. We were shocked at some of the outcomes. And after you read them, let us know: Is it ever a good idea to walk down the aisle if you’re having cold feet? Let us know how you feel about saying “I do” if a person is really feeling more like “I don’t.”
Although the nation’s divorce rate doesn’t appear to be an indicator of this, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics suggests that Americans have become less accepting of divorce.
Researchers surveyed thousands of men and women, whose ages ranged from 15 to 44, on their views on marriage, sexual behavior, and children. Researchers asked participants the same questions between 2002 and 2013. One of which included a question where both men and women were asked whether they agree or disagree with the following statement: “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems.” Over time, the divorce number of participants who expressed that they disagreed with the statement, which resulted in the divorce approval rating dropping from 46 percent to 39 percent.
As for why the divorce approval rate is declining, Bowling Green University in Ohio family and marriage researcher, Wendy Manning, believes she may have the answer.
“Marriage is becoming so selective that maybe people think if you achieve this status, you don’t want to end it, Manning told the Associated Press.
Have your views on divorce changed over the years?