Insight re: Dating

Here’s an insight I have found to be true after having been divorce for over 7 years. One of the easiest ways for a woman to attract a man is to use her sexuality. Without the willingness to put in the work to make the relationship more than sex it soon deteriorates.

One of the easiest ways a man can attract a woman is to use money and take her to great expensive places and buy her expensive things. Again, without the willingness to put in the work to get to know the woman on more than a “skin-deep” level and really try to have a healthy relationship with good boundaries that contribute to growth in all areas of life the relationship soon becomes nothing more than sex.

Of course you say…so what! I’ve made the mistake and many women I know have too. Some of the plainest simplest insights that seem obvious may be patterns we don’t recognize. If this is a pattern for you, then think about how to break it. There’s nothing wrong with intimacy. But we can’t lean into it so much it becomes a crutch and the main or only reason for seeing someone or being with someone. Right?

Recently, an old friend was bragging to me about how much sex he gets from different women that he has lined up whenever he wants intimacy. Later in the evening he told me they are all just sex and when he tires of a woman he gets a little drunk and breaks up with her. My reflection on this conversation is…that is NOT for me. I want a whole relationship with a woman that is both attractive, but also full with friendship and lots of activities that are regular life and not just sex.

I have found it very hard to find this wholeness. Most of the dating sites are filled with people that constantly fall into the patterns I listed above. Very shallow. This includes sites like eHarmony and Christian Mingle. It’s not easy to find.

Marriages break down when someone brings immaturity to the marriage.

This is sooo true and responsible for so many divorces and problems on dating sites.

From Dr. Henry Cloud, “Marriage was not designed to complete a person. It was designed for two complete people to enter into and form something different than either of them is on his or her own. It was designed, not to make you a whole person, but to give your wholeness a new range of experience.

But many people see marriage as a ticket to short-cut completeness or maturity. Therefore they don’t marry out of strength, but out of weakness. They marry someone to make up for what they do not possess on their own. They marry out of their incompleteness, and doing so erodes the possibility for oneness.

You may have heard couples say,

“We are such a good balance for each other.” This can be good if, for example, he is good at business and she is good at building the nest, and vice versa.

But it is not good if it means that she could not survive in the real world of work and commerce on her own without him. If this is true, she has married a “meal ticket,” or someone to take care of her in a childlike dependency. And he has married a “mother” to make the home that he could not build for himself while he goes off and plays during the day.

This point is so important that I’m gong to say it again:

The crucial element of “two becoming one” is that the two people must be complete in and of themselves – they must be adults – before they marry.” 

Is your relationship/marriage spiraling up or spiraling down? Repost from Michelle Weiner-Davis

“Negative stories trigger negative feelings.

Negative feelings trigger hostile or unkind actions.

Unkind actions trigger further negative interactions.

You get what I mean.

And the crazy part of all of this is that our stories are just that- stories, hypotheses, guesses.

But that doesn’t stop us from not only believing our stories, but being willing to fight to defend the legitimacy of our perspectives!

So what can we do about our tendency to make up stories about our partners, especially negative ones?”

Last night I was driving home from a friend’s house. After stopping for a red light, I stepped on the accelerator to get in front of the car to my right because I had to make a right turn rather abruptly. As I got into my lane in front of him, he started flashing his lights at me.

This sort of behavior is uncharacteristic of the local folks who tend to be kind and generous, especially when it comes to road etiquette. And when he also turned right and continued flashing his lights at me, I told myself that his rudeness was probably due to the fact that he was an out-of-town visitor.

As I drove the remaining three blocks to my house, I was steaming; “How dare he,” I thought.

Though not extraordinarily aggressive, his flashing his lights at me- my “punishment”- didn’t seem to fit the crime of my simply needing to get in front of him to make my turn. “Must be an ego-driven maniac,” I told myself.

I must admit I had a knot in my stomach.

When I parked in front of my house, I noticed something interesting….my headlights weren’t turned on.

Apparently, the guy was flashing his lights at me was an act of kindness; he was trying to alert me to the fact that I was driving without headlights!

So much for the stories we tell ourselves about other people and the way these stories affect our feelings!

We do it all the time.

For instance, in a recent 2-day intensive with a couple, a man told me that he bought his wife flowers as a way of extending an olive branch after an argument.

Although he didn’t feel the argument was his fault whatsoever, he still wanted to make amends; he didn’t like feeling distant from his wife.

When he handed her the flowers, she thought to herself, “He must really be feeling guilty about something.”

Because of her negative story, she was lukewarm in her response to his gift which hurt his feelings and resulted in further emotional distance.

Here’s another example.

A husband I worked with was a CEO of a large company, his wife, a stay-at-home mom. They had 3 children, ages 10, 7 and 5. Their “division of labor” was fairly clear-cut and traditional; he provided for the family financially, and she took care of the children and housework.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, the woman became very depressed.

He assumed his wife was overwhelmed and stressed about her daily responsibilities. In an effort to help her feel better, he decided to “lighten her load” by taking more responsibility around the house.

He started cooking, cleaning up after meals and helping with the children’s bedtime routine.

Over time, he noticed she seemed even more depressed. When I asked her about this, she said, “Once he started taking over my job, I realized how incompetent he thinks I am. And this just made me feel really badly about myself. I feel like I can’t do anything right.”

Although her reaction may seem strange to you, the truth is, every time something happens in our lives, we immediately ascribe meaning to it. To make sense of our world, we make up stories about why things happen and the nature of people’s motivations.

And here’s what I’ve noticed about couples.

If they’ve been spending enough time together nurturing their relationships, when something occurs, the meaning ascribed to that event is either neutral or positive.

For instance, If the marriage is going along swimmingly and a spouse comes home late for dinner, the partner might think, “Poor guy, he must have gotten caught in traffic,” or “She’s been working such long hours, I really feel for her.”

If things aren’t going well in the marriage, that’s a different story.

Arriving late for dinner would probably prompt a spouse to think, “There he goes again, he is so inconsiderate,!” or “She never cares about my feelings. Never!”

Negative stories trigger negative feelings.

Negative feelings trigger hostile or unkind actions.

Unkind actions trigger further negative interactions.

You get what I mean.

And the crazy part of all of this is that our stories are just that- stories, hypotheses, guesses.

But that doesn’t stop us from not only believing our stories, but being willing to fight to defend the legitimacy of our perspectives!

So what can we do about our tendency to make up stories about our partners, especially negative ones?

First, rather than assume you know why someone acts in a certain way, ask him or her, and even if you feel skeptical about their explanation, if it’s more benign than yours accept it at face value.

Second, when irritating things happen, since we’re less likely to jump to negative conclusions if our relationships are on solid ground, we need to spend quality time together, talk, and touch.

Feeling loving towards our partners is the best way to give them the benefit of the doubt they often rightly deserve.


Michelle Weiner-Davis 

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San Antonio man ordered to pay nearly $9 million for breaking up man’s marriage

From ABC and other sources this morning. I watched as Cecilia Vega a co host on Good Morning America stated repeatedly she was “scratching her head over this one.” Then ABC’s legal expert came on air to explain these laws were antiquated. There is a much bigger story here that all of them are missing and which we have reported extensively here regarding how marriage laws vary radically from state to state and within each state from county to county

While the so called “alienation of affection” laws are antiquated, there was a place for fault divorce vs the now more common “no fault” divorce which is prevalent in most states in the U.S. today. Under no fault and as reported in this blog either spouse can run into court at any time and simply say they want out for no reason and take half the assets! This has caused many of us to question the financial liability present in a marriage certificate. Separate from religious and moral reasons, many people in our so called “modern” society are married without prenups and have virtually no protection from no fault divorce from their spouse. This means that ANYTHING can and does happen to wreak havoc on their marriage and prevent people from doing the hard work it takes to make a marriage work. This does not excuse abuse, but so many people get divorced creating an untold toll on their children, their finances and their spouse simply because they say “I’m not happy.”

You will decide for yourself what’s right for you and some of the articles in this blog may shed light on the issues.

Reposting from From Dr. Henry Cloud “Binding someone’s choices by guilt or manipulation is not love; it is slavery.

There are countless ways that people try to make other people’s choices for them. Think about the times when we’ve heard, “If you love me, you will do this or that.” They are most often crossing boundaries to take away someone’s free choice of how they will love. To say, “If you love me, you will not go bowling,” is an attempt to say, “If you love me, you will do anything I want and not have choices of your own unless I like them.” Those sorts of statements should always be confronted with a clearing up of boundaries: “That is not true. I love you, and I’ll choose how I’ll spend this evening. You can’t decide whether or not I love you. That’s my choice.”

People who cross boundaries and try to take away others’ choices call those other people “selfish” when they try to take back their power of choice. Doing something for yourself isn’t necessarily bad; it assumes that we need to do some things for ourselves, and that’s ok sometimes. Remember, whenever you tie a chain around another person’s ankle, it will invariably end up around your neck.”

7 ways you’re being disrespected (reposting from Dr. Henry Cloud)

I’m reposting this from Dr. Henry Cloud’s: My experience with Dr. Cloud’s resources are superb and they have helped me over the years.

Hey, guys.

No matter what kind of relationship you’re in — family, personal, romantic or professional — part of building boundaries means that you need to know that your feelings, needs and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. Both people need to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no.” When you disagree with someone, the other intimidates, threatens, or rages. They are offended by your freedom to choose.

2. Withdrawal: One person pulls away when the other exercises some freedom or difference. They may isolate, sulk, or be silent. But they are passively punishing you for your differentness.

3. Manipulating: One person shows disrespect by subtle stratagems designed to make the other person change his mind.

4. Direct violation: The person disrespects by continuing the same hurtful action, even after being asked not to.

5. Minimizing: One person says the other person’s negative feelings are simply an overreaction.

6. Blaming: You talk about a problem, but the other person indicates that you caused the problem. For example, a man will tell his girlfriend that it hurts when she makes fun of him in public. She might respond with, “If you would pay more attention to me, I wouldn’t have to resort to that.”

7. Rationalizing: The other person denies responsibility for whatever caused the problem. There’s always an excuse.

Post Divorce Parenting or How Divorce Made Me A Better Father

It may be counterintuitive to say divorce made me a better father, but that’s the case for me. “It takes two to Tango” as the cliche goes and unless there is blatant physical, mental, drug/alcohol abuse by only one party it takes two to create the problems that lead to divorce.

Unfortunately, where there are children involved the issues are immeasurably complicated. For one thing no one asks to be born into this world! We arrive and from our first desperate cries for attention, food, warmth and love, and we rely on our parents to provide those things. When those parents are in some way lacking (and we all are as human beings with hangups, habits and hurts) problems ensue. Healthy parents figure out healthy ways to work together, but therein lies the problem!

Often what one parent thinks is a healthy way to raise a child is very different from the other parent’s thinking. There could be issues from the way the parent was brought up by their own mother or father! Tonya Harding is now being interviewed on national television clearly denouncing the brutal upbringing she received from her own mother which scarred her for life.

All of this makes marriage with children more difficult because when two people coming together who are not emotionally, mentally, physically healthy to the degree where fighting and arguments and other dysfunction occur the children will be scarred.

What to do? As mentioned in previous posts Codependents Dance two incomplete people do not complete each other. In fact two halves do not make a whole, but a dysfunctional family. And that leads me to the title of this post! Did I make mistakes in my marriage? Absolutely! Did my now X-wife also make mistakes? Absolutely! We would each argue the other caused problems, but I would say now after several years of divorce, the real problem was we should have never gotten married in the first place. My X told me she didn’t know if she loved me enough to get married, but I was codependent and needy emotionally in 1992 and begged her to try. Mistake one!

We waited eight years to have our first child so it was not an accident. We stayed married for almost eighteen years when in the summer of 2009 my X started an affair. I wanted to reconcile at first, but discovered that was a dead end because my X had no desire to do anything than to get out and pursue her affair.

So we co-parent, but only because I fought tooth and nail for my full joint physical and legal custody and to require my X to stay within a reasonable distance within a 30 to 45 min. drive from my home in Lake County, Illinois in order to participate in my daughter’s school activities. My X predictably wanted to try to put as much distance as she could between herself and me and I would argue was not able to see what was best for our daughters this created a Why is My Divorce Legal Bill so High?! situation.

At one point during the divorce my X actually told the court through her second of four total attorneys hired after each of their predecessors did not get her where she wanted to go that “she doesn’t think she can co-parent with me.” Thus sets the stage for a great co-parenting relationship. Not!

After 7 years from when the divorce started and 5 years from when the 3-year long divorce was finalized I believe we now have a good co-parenting relationship, but only through many fights and working hard to swallow pride, ego and try to really figure out what’s best for the children. Something that is continually evolving and not easy because we are all flawed human beings.

This will begin phase II of the Divorce Recovery Blog. I welcome your comments. More soon.