Archive for January, 2012
You want to get married. It’s taken a while to admit it. Saying it out loud — even in your mind — feels kind of desperate, kind of unfeminist, kind of definitely not you, or at least not any you that you recognize. Because you’re hardly like those girls on TLC saying yes to the dress and you would never compete for a man like those poor actress-wannabes on The Bachelor.
You’ve never dreamt of an aqua-blue ring box.
Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother’s wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 36-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride — she was so effing happy — and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you’re not married. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering… Deep, deep breath… Why you’re not married.
Well, I know why.
How? It basically comes down to this: I’ve been married three times. Yes, three. To a very nice MBA at 19; a very nice minister’s son at 32 (and pregnant); and at 40, to a very nice liar and cheater who was just like my dad, if my dad had gone to Harvard instead of doing multiple stints in federal prison.
I was, for some reason, born knowing how to get married. Growing up in foster care is a big part of it. The need for security made me look for very specific traits in the men I dated — traits it turns out lead to marriage a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Without really trying to, I’ve become a sort of jailhouse lawyer of relationships — someone who’s had to do so much work on her own case that I can now help you with yours.
But I won’t lie. The problem is not men, it’s you. Sure, there are lame men out there, but they’re not really standing in your way. Because the fact is — if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on it. So without further ado, let’s look at the top six reasons why you’re not married.
1. You’re a Bitch.
Here’s what I mean by bitch. I mean you’re angry. You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring men off.
The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here’s what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn’t think so. You’ve seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man’s fear and insecurity in order to get married — but actually, it’s perfect, since working around a man’s fear and insecurity is big part of what you’ll be doing as a wife.
2. You’re Shallow.
When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.
Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.
3. You’re a Slut.
Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin — it doesn’t stay recreational for long.
That’s due in part to this thing called oxytocin — a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm — that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It’s why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn’t even all that great and the next thing you know, you’re totally strung out on him. And you have no idea how it happened. Oxytocin, that’s how it happened. And since nature can’t discriminate between marriage material and Charlie Sheen, you’re going to have to start being way more selective than you are right now.
4. You’re a Liar.
It usually goes something like this: you meet a guy who is cute and likes you, but he’s not really available for a relationship. He has some condition that absolutely precludes his availability, like he’s married, or he gets around town on a skateboard. Or maybe he just comes right out and says something cryptic and open to interpretation like, “I’m not really available for a relationship right now.”
You know if you tell him the truth — that you’re ready for marriage — he will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don’t want that. So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don’t want to get in a relationship at all! You swear!
About ten minutes later, the oxytocin kicks in. You start wanting more. But you don’t tell him that. That’s your secret — just between you and 22,000 of your closest girlfriends. Instead, you hang around, having sex with him, waiting for him to figure out that he can’t live without you. I have news: he will never “figure” this out. He already knows he can live without you just fine. And so do you. Or you wouldn’t be lying to him in the first place.
5. You’re Selfish.
If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems.
Howevs, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: Bitch, hello! It’s not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say — if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the lotharios.
6. You’re Not Good Enough.
Oh, I don’t think that. You do. I can tell because you’re not looking for a partner who is your equal. No, you want someone better than you are: better looking, better family, better job.
Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since women who don’t know their own worth make terrible wives. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won’t love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this.
I see this at my son’s artsy, progressive school. Of 183 kids, maybe six have moms who are as cute as you’re trying to be. They’re attractive, sure. They’re just not objects. Their husbands (wisely) chose them for their character, not their cup size.
Alright, so that’s the bad news. The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You’re just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won’t. Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.
Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something — it’s about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession — a free-agent penis — and for us, it’s the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.
The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self — you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:….Love.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This “pre-adulthood” has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn’t bring out the best in men.
“We are sick of hooking up with guys,” writes the comedian Julie Klausner, author of a touchingly funny 2010 book, “I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters and Other Guys I’ve Dated.” What Ms. Klausner means by “guys” is males who are not boys or men but something in between. “Guys talk about ‘Star Wars’ like it’s not a movie made for people half their age; a guy’s idea of a perfect night is a hang around the PlayStation with his bandmates, or a trip to Vegas with his college friends…. They are more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home.” One female reviewer of Ms. Kausner’s book wrote, “I had to stop several times while reading and think: Wait, did I date this same guy?”
For most of us, the cultural habitat of pre-adulthood no longer seems noteworthy. After all, popular culture has been crowded with pre-adults for almost two decades. Hollywood started the affair in the early 1990s with movies like “Singles,” “Reality Bites,” “Single White Female” and “Swingers.” Television soon deepened the relationship, giving us the agreeable company of Monica, Joey, Rachel and Ross; Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer; Carrie, Miranda, et al.
But for all its familiarity, pre-adulthood represents a momentous sociological development. It’s no exaggeration to say that having large numbers of single young men and women living independently, while also having enough disposable income to avoid ever messing up their kitchens, is something entirely new in human experience. Yes, at other points in Western history young people have waited well into their 20s to marry, and yes, office girls and bachelor lawyers have been working and finding amusement in cities for more than a century. But their numbers and their money supply were always relatively small. Today’s pre-adults are a different matter. They are a major demographic event.
What also makes pre-adulthood something new is its radical reversal of the sexual hierarchy. Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.
Still, for these women, one key question won’t go away: Where have the good men gone? Their male peers often come across as aging frat boys, maladroit geeks or grubby slackers—a gender gap neatly crystallized by the director Judd Apatow in his hit 2007 movie “Knocked Up.” The story’s hero is 23-year-old Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), who has a drunken fling with Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) and gets her pregnant. Ben lives in a Los Angeles crash pad with a group of grubby friends who spend their days playing videogames, smoking pot and unsuccessfully planning to launch a porn website. Allison, by contrast, is on her way up as a television reporter and lives in a neatly kept apartment with what appear to be clean sheets and towels. Once she decides to have the baby, she figures out what needs to be done and does it. Ben can only stumble his way toward being a responsible grownup.
So where did these pre-adults come from? You might assume that their appearance is a result of spoiled 24-year-olds trying to prolong the campus drinking and hook-up scene while exploiting the largesse of mom and dad. But the causes run deeper than that. Beginning in the 1980s, the economic advantage of higher education—the “college premium”—began to increase dramatically. Between 1960 and 2000, the percentage of younger adults enrolled in college or graduate school more than doubled. In the “knowledge economy,” good jobs go to those with degrees. And degrees take years.
Another factor in the lengthening of the road to adulthood is our increasingly labyrinthine labor market. The past decades’ economic expansion and the digital revolution have transformed the high-end labor market into a fierce competition for the most stimulating, creative and glamorous jobs. Fields that attract ambitious young men and women often require years of moving between school and internships, between internships and jobs, laterally and horizontally between jobs, and between cities in the U.S. and abroad. The knowledge economy gives the educated young an unprecedented opportunity to think about work in personal terms. They are looking not just for jobs but for “careers,” work in which they can exercise their talents and express their deepest passions. They expect their careers to give shape to their identity. For today’s pre-adults, “what you do” is almost synonymous with “who you are,” and starting a family is seldom part of the picture.
Pre-adulthood can be compared to adolescence, an idea invented in the mid-20th century as American teenagers were herded away from the fields and the workplace and into that new institution, the high school. For a long time, the poor and recent immigrants were not part of adolescent life; they went straight to work, since their families couldn’t afford the lost labor and income. But the country had grown rich enough to carve out space and time to create a more highly educated citizenry and work force. Teenagers quickly became a marketing and cultural phenomenon. They also earned their own psychological profile. One of the most influential of the psychologists of adolescence was Erik Erikson, who described the stage as a “moratorium,” a limbo between childhood and adulthood characterized by role confusion, emotional turmoil and identity conflict.
Like adolescents in the 20th century, today’s pre-adults have been wait-listed for adulthood. Marketers and culture creators help to promote pre-adulthood as a lifestyle. And like adolescence, pre-adulthood is a class-based social phenomenon, reserved for the relatively well-to-do. Those who don’t get a four-year college degree are not in a position to compete for the more satisfying jobs of the knowledge economy.
But pre-adults differ in one major respect from adolescents. They write their own biographies, and they do it from scratch. Sociologists use the term “life script” to describe a particular society’s ordering of life’s large events and stages. Though such scripts vary across cultures, the archetypal plot is deeply rooted in our biological nature. The invention of adolescence did not change the large Roman numerals of the American script. Adults continued to be those who took over the primary tasks of the economy and culture. For women, the central task usually involved the day-to-day rearing of the next generation; for men, it involved protecting and providing for their wives and children. If you followed the script, you became an adult, a temporary custodian of the social order until your own old age and demise.
Unlike adolescents, however, pre-adults don’t know what is supposed to come next. For them, marriage and parenthood come in many forms, or can be skipped altogether. In 1970, just 16% of Americans ages 25 to 29 had never been married; today that’s true of an astonishing 55% of the age group. In the U.S., the mean age at first marriage has been climbing toward 30 (a point past which it has already gone in much of Europe). It is no wonder that so many young Americans suffer through a “quarter-life crisis,” a period of depression and worry over their future.
Given the rigors of contemporary career-building, pre-adults who do marry and start families do so later than ever before in human history. Husbands, wives and children are a drag on the footloose life required for the early career track and identity search. Pre-adulthood has also confounded the primordial search for a mate. It has delayed a stable sense of identity, dramatically expanded the pool of possible spouses, mystified courtship routines and helped to throw into doubt the very meaning of marriage. In 1970, to cite just one of many numbers proving the point, nearly seven in 10 25-year-olds were married; by 2000, only one-third had reached that milestone.
American men have been struggling with finding an acceptable adult identity since at least the mid-19th century. We often hear about the miseries of women confined to the domestic sphere once men began to work in offices and factories away from home. But it seems that men didn’t much like the arrangement either. They balked at the stuffy propriety of the bourgeois parlor, as they did later at the banal activities of the suburban living room. They turned to hobbies and adventures, like hunting and fishing. At midcentury, fathers who at first had refused to put down the money to buy those newfangled televisions changed their minds when the networks began broadcasting boxing matches and baseball games. The arrival of Playboy in the 1950s seemed like the ultimate protest against male domestication; think of the refusal implied by the magazine’s title alone.
In his disregard for domestic life, the playboy was prologue for today’s pre-adult male. Unlike the playboy with his jazz and art-filled pad, however, our boy rebel is a creature of the animal house. In the 1990s, Maxim, the rude, lewd and hugely popular “lad” magazine arrived from England. Its philosophy and tone were so juvenile, so entirely undomesticated, that it made Playboy look like Camus.
At the same time, young men were tuning in to cable channels like Comedy Central, the Cartoon Network and Spike, whose shows reflected the adolescent male preferences of its targeted male audiences. They watched movies with overgrown boy actors like Steve Carell, Luke and Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Will Farrell and Seth Rogen, cheering their awesome car crashes, fart jokes, breast and crotch shots, beer pong competitions and other frat-boy pranks. Americans had always struck foreigners as youthful, even childlike, in their energy and optimism. But this was too much.
What explains this puerile shallowness? I see it as an expression of our cultural uncertainty about the social role of men. It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.
Today’s pre-adult male is like an actor in a drama in which he only knows what he shouldn’t say. He has to compete in a fierce job market, but he can’t act too bossy or self-confident. He should be sensitive but not paternalistic, smart but not cocky. To deepen his predicament, because he is single, his advisers and confidants are generally undomesticated guys just like him.
Single men have never been civilization’s most responsible actors; they continue to be more troubled and less successful than men who deliberately choose to become husbands and fathers. So we can be disgusted if some of them continue to live in rooms decorated with “Star Wars” posters and crushed beer cans and to treat women like disposable estrogen toys, but we shouldn’t be surprised.
Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven—and often does. Women put up with him for a while, but then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man. But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men’s attachment to the sand box. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do.
They might as well just have another beer.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Are you an angry dater? Answer these questions:
- Are you someone who seems to always attract the wrong people?
- Do you find yourself always dating people who seem to screw you over?
- Do you always seem to find people who are emotionally unavailable while you believe are totally emotionally available?
- Are you the person who gets a lot of first dates and not a lot of second dates, and you blame others for this problem?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are likely an angry dater desperately in need of some anger management. What you need to do right now is to get up from your seat, go into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and realize . . .the common denominator in all these scenarios is YOU.
In order to be a successful dater, you must figure out what you are projecting to other people. If you are angry, or you’ve been hurt and you haven’t started trusting people again, then you are going to attract other people who don’t trust. Two people who are both like that are going to suffocate each other.
Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. If you take a look at yourself and determine that you indeed are an “angry dater,” you don’t need to worry. You just need to take the necessary steps to correct it.
You need to embrace where you are, and start taking the steps necessary to become who you want to be in your dating life so you will begin to attract the kind of people you want. To help you do this, here are 5 ways you can stop being an “angry dater:”
1. Stop Searching For Replacements. If you recently ended a relationship, stop trying to find someone to replace the person with whom you just ended that relationship. There’s obviously a good reason that the relationship ended. Trying to find someone to replace the other person will only cause you to repeat the same mistakes over again.
2. Do Some Self-Analysis. Before going out to search for new people to date, you need to first do some self-reflection and self-analysis. Take the time to figure out what you did wrong in your past relationships. Now I am not saying that you were totally to blame for your relationships ending, but there is always at least some blame on the part of both people in a relationship when that relationship ends. Stop pointing your finger at somebody else and being a victim. Start taking an honest look at what role you played in the downfall of your past relationships.
3. Take Responsibility. Start taking responsibility for your actions. It takes two to tango. It takes two people to paddle a canoe. It also takes two people to cause the end of a relationship. So once you’ve identified what your role was in causing the end to your past relationships, you need to then take responsibility for your actions and whatever role you played in causing the end to those relationships. Own your mistakes.
4. Let Yourself Heal. You also need to look deep inside yourself and see what you need to heal before you go and try to have another relationship. The worst thing you can do after ending a relationship is to jump right into another one where you can (and likely will) make the same mistakes again. There is no law that says that when you’re single you are required to be constantly in pursuit of a relationship. Take whatever time you need to let the hurt from your past heal, so that your next relationship has an opportunity to flourish.
5. You Get What You Put Out. As you are in your search for someone, always remember one significant and fundamental natural law: you attract into your life exactly what you put out to the world. If you’re angry or distrustful, you WILL attract people who are just like you and have all those same qualities. Consider this if you seem to repeatedly attract people with undesirable qualities into your life. Think also about how, if you take the time to change yourself, that by this law the type of people who come into your life will change for the better!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
My boyfriend has so much anger and seems to blame me much of the time, saying that I do not do all the things he wants me to do and do many other things wrong. He loses his temper at least once a day and yells at me.
Also, if I do not agree with a particular political or religious belief of his, even if I answer him respectfully, he yells at me and says I am “arguing just to argue.” I tell him calmly that we can have a difference of opinion and still respect each other. Yet he still accuses me of loving to argue.
How can I make him see the light?
I don’t think you should try to change the man you are dating. His anger and controlling tendencies have nothing to do with you. They are his problem, and it is something that he has to want to change. Without his own internal motivation and a concerted effort (including therapy) on his part, your efforts will be worthless.
There are certain personality traits that do not lend themselves to building and maintaining a stable, healthy relationship. Anger and the excessive need for control are two of these negative traits. Even if they never lead to physical or emotional abuse, they place a huge burden on the relationship. You will seldom be able to do anything right in his eyes, you will forever try to placate him (unsuccessfully), and you will stifle your own voice because he cannot tolerate your differing opinions and will accuse you of being disloyal to him.
If you stay with him long enough you will lose your personality and self esteem.
At times he appears to be a “nice guy.” People who cannot appropriately channel their anger, or who act very controlling, can frequently function well in many environments, such as the workplace or in a social setting. But they release the pent-up anger or exert their need to control in front of the people they are closest to — their friends, spouse and later, children. They may feel contrite after the anger is released, but the damage is already done. After a while, the cycle begins again of holding in anger at work and in public — and then releasing it at home.
Most of the time, a person who releases anger in such a harmful way will have unresolved issues from the past that need to be addressed. (He also has to learn how to handle day-to-day frustrations in a healthy way.) He may not want to confront these unresolved issues because they are painful to face. Similarly, a person with controlling tendencies may be unwilling to get the help he needs to change his behavior. Control has become the way he copes with anxiety about a variety of issues, and it may prove very difficult for him to address the foundations of this anxiety.
Now that you understand how difficult it can be for this man to change the way he handles anger and displays an excessive need for control, you should understand why the desire for change must come from him, not from you.
I understand that you are dating him because he has certain appealing qualities. However, I can’t imagine how these qualities can balance the severity of the difficulty you describe. Is he worth the grief you will continually encounter if you remain in such an unhealthy situationRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Is my husband having a mid-life crisis is a question I get asked pretty regularly by women. Here’s one woman’s story of trying to understand what happened to the man she thought she was married to.
It’s been 7 months since Derek told Lauren he wanted a divorce and moved out. For Lauren, it came out of nowhere; for Derek, he had been contemplating what to do about his unhappiness for months, probably years.
Lauren came to our women’s counseling to get help in how to respond to this ‘new’ Derek and make sense of what’s happened to her shattered life. I also meet with her and Derek for divorce counseling to mediate their divorce.
Occasionally Lauren sees glimpses of ‘old’ Derek she thought was her husband. Like when he calls out of the blue and offers to help with something. But most of the time she deals with ‘new’ Derek who takes things from the house without telling her, or makes a withdrawal from the ATM without talking to her first and overdraws their joint bank account.
As she’s tried to make sense of ‘new’ Derek and his erratic behavior, she’s been asking herself, and me, is he having a mid-life crisis? Is he having an affair? Is he depressed?
The answer is potentially yes to all of those questions – although which have occurred, in what order, and have led to his behavior is still unclear.
Here are some mid-life crisis warning signs we can see in Derek that have helped Lauren see that, yes, he probably is, and has been, having a midlife crisis:
- Distant and disconnected. Derek had been this way for the past year, and Lauren had noticed it, but she thought it was just due to all the pressures at work.
- Lack of real communication. Lauren has come to realize that what she thought was good communication with her husband wasn’t that deep and didn’t let her know what was really going on inside Derek.
- Talk about big changes (jobs, new hobbies, large purchases). Derek has been doing these things for several years. Often these are a sign of internal unhappiness.
- Sudden lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, it took Lauren almost 3 months after Derek moved out to seek out professional help by coming to women’s counseling.
Whether or not Derek is having a mid-life crisis isn’t as important as just recognizing the midlife crisis warning signs of a problem that’s going to explode the way it did for Lauren. If she or Derek had responded to these signs sooner, it’s possible that much of the pain they’re now suffering could have been prevented.
Since the separation Derek has admitted he’s seeing another woman. Even though Derek insists it started after he moved out, Lauren’s uncertain if that’s really true. Derek’s now planning to change jobs and has also gone back to school.
Lauren has asked Derek that if changing jobs or going to school will make him happy, why he didn’t do them before he left. Derek hasn’t been able to answer her. In the next article we’ll explore the characteristics of men who can have a mid-life crisis and why Derek didn’t make these changes sooner. Lauren will also share things about Derek that she now sees, but didn’t before, that help her understand more of why he’s done what he’s done.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Darrell and Amy got into it again. It doesn’t matter over what; what matters is how angry at each other they got. For months each of them has been threatening getting a divorce. During the fight, Darrell told Amy that if she wanted a divorce, he’d give her a divorce. In a rage, the couple jumped in their cars and raced each other to the courthouse. Darrell ran up the steps and waited for Amy. Fortunately for him, she couldn’t find a parking space, and while searching to find a place to park Amy came to her senses and drove off.
So what can we learn from Darrell? Here’s some very valuable divorce advice for men:
1. Don’t Make Emotional Decisions
Darrell decided to get a divorce while in a state of rage. The last thing you want to make an emotional decision about is getting a divorce. This is such a life altering decision that it should only be made in a non-emotional state and only after much consideration of the consequences.
2. Have a Plan
Darrell had no plan. He didn’t know what he was going to do after filing the petition for divorce (only step one of many, many forms and steps). Here’s the BIGGEST divorce advice for men to always keep in mind: The most important thing in a divorce is how you come out of it. In order to come out in the best position possible you need to be strategic and smart about how you manage each step of the process.
3. Get Professional Advice (but not necessarily from a lawyer)
Darrell hadn’t talked to anyone but his brother. Everyone has 2 cents of advice to share about how to go through a divorce. Nearly all of it is going to be unwise and very biased – neither of which is in your best interests. The best thing you can do before starting a divorce is talk to a professional who helps people through divorce. But this doesn’t mean only a lawyer. Lawyers will only help with the legal and financial aspects. However, the emotional, psychological, and behavioral affects and responses are crucial to address too in order to have success. Divorce counseling with a therapist experienced in divorce can be invaluable.
Divorce is extremely hard, even if you’ve been through it before. Don’t be a Darrell and be stupid. Get some divorce counseling to help manage your emotions, get help developing a plan, and to learn a professionals’ advice on how to come out of your divorce in the best shape possible. We men can be a bit stubborn and think we know what’s best at times when we really don’t, so listen to this divorce advice for men — you’ll thank me for it later. Darrell did (he wised up and came in for divorce counseling).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A good question. Certainly anger is not a comfortable feeling to have. It may be a slow smouldering feeling burning us up inside, or perhaps a fierce boiling feeling ready to overflow into words and actions at any moment.
Actually the feeling of anger is very simply the reaction inside us to something someone has done or said or an event that has occurred.
When do you feel angry?
I feel angry when someone has let me down, lied to me or ignored me. Beneath that is a need in me to be valued which has not been met.
Sometimes I feel angry over an injustice and that spurs me on to do something about it, if I can.
There is nothing morally wrong about feeling anger at something, but most of us would agree that it would be wrong of me to hit my husband, because I was angry with him. What we do with our anger is so important.
Feelings of anger may not last, but we can develop an attitude of anger, which is not actually an emotional thing. It’s when we hold on to our anger, offence and resentment, nursing it and feeding it, so it grows. Bitterness can follow on and hardness of heart, an unwillingness to forgive and a desire to hurt someone and make them pay. That sort of anger can be very destructive – it tends to distort our view of reality, making it even harder for us to forgive and heal a relationship.
We can become more and more focused on the injury, the injustice or hurt. It draws all our focus onto our hurt, onto the issue. We no longer see the other person’s point of view. We withdraw into ourselves, trying to punish them, even by our coldness. It kills relationships.
Some people never realise the damage until their loved one dies. Have you come across people in this situation? Something happened to cause anger and disagreement and the situation was never dealt with properly. Over the years the hurt and bitterness grows. Death brings them face to face with a different set of values. Suddenly it’s too late to put things right and the hurt doesn’t seem as important as it once was. Their eyes blinded by anger and unforgiveness are finally opened to what they really lost.
We all have different ways of handling anger that we’ve learnt as we grew up. Some of us can’t handle it, we let it pour out of us like molten metal, burning everything in range.
We may hold it in, smolder and become more and more resentful, or we may boil over quickly and it’s all gone.
The trouble is if we boil over, the damage may be done before we’ve calmed down. Words can be said that cannot be easily forgotten.
Anger often makes us lose sight of others’ needs totally and focus only on our own hurt. It’s amazing what a keen sense of justice and injustice we have when we’re the injured party.
Perhaps something between the two is better. If we can hold on to our angry words long enough to think rationally about things, then we may manage to make some decisions about what to do with our anger. Anger can be expressed calmly. It can be expressed in a way that doesn’t seek to destroy another person. It can be used to push us into sorting a problem out with someone else rather than just brushing it under the carpet. The hurt behind the anger may be very real. We may need to talk about it, either with our partner or with someone we can trust. If you talk with your partner, try and remember they may not have intended hurting you and may regret it.
Forgiveness is an important step – making a decision not to demand revenge. It’s hard to do this if we have a sense that someone is “getting away with something”. We may need to remember some of our own past mistakes and what it meant to us to be forgiven. It takes a lot of courage to face up to mistakes and to own up to them. One never knows what reception one may get. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
We may need to say sorry to our loved one for holding onto the anger and being unforgiving. It may also help to recognise how we were hurt. Perhaps we were expecting too much of our partner; perhaps we were too easily offended or too sensitive.
Some good advice I’ve heard at a wedding was never to let the sun go down on a quarrel or anger. It is always possible to start the healing process by saying sorry for hurtful words. A good nights sleep and time to reflect may bring some wisdom on how to sort things out further. Using conflict constructively to sort out problems and resolve issues can really strengthen a relationship.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Nearly one in five U.S. women has been the victim of a rape or attempted rape at some time in her life. In addition, one in four women has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which was conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact that these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement accompanying the release of the results.
The survey also found that one in six women has experienced a stalking that made her very fearful or believed that someone close to her would be harmed or killed.
Based on the results, researchers calculated that on average 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking every minute. In a year, that translates to more than 12 million women and men. More than 1 million women reported being the victims of a rape or an attempted rape in the 12 months prior to the survey, officials said.
Of women who have been victimized, almost 70 percent experienced some kind of violence from an intimate partner before the age of 25. And about 80 percent of female rape victims were first raped before age 25.
But domestic violence is not limited to women, according to the survey. About one in seven men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives, and one in 19 men has experienced stalking at some point.
“This report highlights the heavy toll that sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence places on adults in this country,” said Linda Degutis, who heads CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
The results come from a national representative telephone survey of 16,507 U.S. adults and mark the first of what will now become an annual survey of domestic violence.
Advocacy groups said the statistics underscore the severity of the problem.
“The prevalence of sexual and intimate partner violence is staggering,” said Ester Soler of Futures Without Violence, a San Francisco-based group. “The CDC survey findings also show a strong link between violence and health problems. And given that victimization is starting younger, we need to do more to prevent violence with intervention programs for children and adolescents.”
The lifetime estimate of one in five women is “very close to previous estimates,” said Scott Berkowitz of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, a Washington-based group. The estimate of 1.3 million rapes per year is “vastly higher” than many other studies, Berkowitz said. But he noted that the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, which is much larger, reported only about 200,000 sexual assaults per year.
“So I’d be cautious in interpreting the new data or accepting it as an accurate depiction of the extent of the crime,” Berkowitz said. “That said, CDC, DOJ and other studies all show that this is an incredibly violent crime that impacts nearly every family in America. So in that sense, this affirms what we’ve long known: We’re a long way from solving the problem of sexual violence in America.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
It’s not unusual for awful traffic conditions or incompetent driving to make some people really angry behind the wheel. But when enraged drivers actually lash out at others on the road, that’s road rage — and experts say it can be a sign of deeper emotional problems.
The term road rage was coined in Los Angeles – a city long known for its epic freeway jams. Mike Shen got a taste of how bad it can get shortly after moving to L,A., when a woman viciously tailgated him on the freeway.
“She got so angry that she started pacing me to my right,” Shen says. “She wasn’t looking at the road, she was literally yelling — out the window — racial epithets at the top of her lungs.”
So Shen decided to take his road rage digital, starting the blog LA Can’t Drive, where he and others vent about the disastrous driving they’ve seen. Often, it’s distracted driving that’s to blame – people eating, applying makeup or even shaving behind the wheel. Shen recalls seeing one driver reading the newspaper while merging onto the freeway. “Literally in my rearview mirror, I didn’t see the person’s face,” he says — only the spread out newspaper.
In fact, surveys show that the more drivers are distracted, the more other drivers get angry and start honking, cursing, making obscene gestures and waving their fists in the air.
In its annual survey, the road club AutoVantage asks members about bad driving: Did they curse at another driver? Make an obscene gesture? Wave their fist in anger? Purposely slammed your vehicle into another car?
“Oddly,” says AutoVantage official Michael Bush says, “in Washington, D.C., you’re four times more likely to have somebody drive into you on purpose than anywhere else on the planet.”
Clearly, ramming into someone else on purpose is an extreme version of road rage. But this type of outburst is exactly what might signal a deeper underlying problem, says psychiatrist Emil Coccaro at the University of Chicago.
It’s called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and it can affect as much as 6 percent of the population, says Coccaro. It doesn’t just happen on the road but at home, on the job, even when out with friends.
“Those outbursts can be temper tantrums, throwing things around, breaking things, pushing, shoving, hitting people,” he says. They can be caused by any number of underlying problems, Coccaro says – for example, paranoia.
“If somebody gets in their face, they’re going to respond aggressively to that,” he says. Like: “So who’re you looking at? Why are you looking at me like that?”
Other people are emotionally unstable and explode when they’re rejected. Still others are compulsively rigid and explode when their sense of “order” is upset.
“Their fuse for exploding is very, very short,” says Coccaro, “so if something happens that they’re not happy with, there’s not much time for them to think of other ways to handle their reaction to it.”
Their fuse is short for a number of biological reasons. For starters, he says, people don’t produce enough of the “happy” hormone, serotonin, which is thought to be a behavior inhibitor. “It’s basically the brakes,” he says, “and if your brakes are bad, you’re going to get into trouble.”
At the same time, people produce too many of other brain chemicals that promote aggression — a “dangerous combination,” says Coccaro, but one that can be treated.
Medications like antidepressants and mood stabilizers can help to restore the brain’s chemical balance. Cognitive behavior therapy helps patients not take things personally, and coping techniques like a time out — just leaving the scene — can make a difference, says Coccaro.
Of course, if you’re driving in your car, you can’t just leave the scene. But you can stop engaging in the aggressive behavior.
These techniques won’t completely “cure” the disorder, but they can certainly help contain the explosions.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows as more people decide to live together now and wed later, reflecting decades of evolving attitudes about the role of marriage in society.
Just 51 percent of all adults who are 18 and older are married, placing them on the brink of becoming a minority, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census statistics to be released Wednesday. That represents a steep drop from 57 percent who were married in 2000.
The statistics offer a snapshot in time, and do not mean the unmarried will remain that way. They are a byproduct of a steady increase in the median age when people first marry, now at an all-time high of older than 26 for women and almost 29 for men.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to get married someday,” said Kate Shorr, 30, a lawyer and lobbyist who until recently wrote a blog about her social life in Washington, A Single Girl Doing Single Things. “All of us want to meet that special person and marry, but there’s no real rush to do that. Especially in the career-driven society we have here. You don’t move to Washington, D.C., to get married, you move here for your career.”
The marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits. In 1960, for example, when most baby boomers were children, 72 percent of all adults were married. The median age for brides was barely 20, and the grooms were just a couple of years older.
“In the 1950s, if you weren’t married, people thought you were mentally ill,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who studies families. “Marriage was mandatory. Now it’s culturally optional.”
The decline in marriage rates has affected people in every age and ethnic group, but it has been steepest among the young.
A Pew survey last year determined that more than four in 10 Americans younger than 30 consider marriage passe.
“They see it as an obsolete social environment,” said D’Vera Cohn, a Pew researcher who co-wrote the analysis. “People say they want to get married, but Americans are much less likely to actually be married than in the past.”
The slide has worsened with the economy.
Rose Kreider, a Census Bureau demographer who specializes in household statistics, noted last year that 7.5 million couples were living together without being married, a 13 percent jump in just one year. Many had a partner who had lost a job, or they could not afford to maintain two homes.
Most college graduates will marry, eventually. Nearly two in three college graduates are married now, compared with less than half who have a high school education.
“They’re pulling in two incomes, marrying and doing pretty well,” Cherlin said. “People without college educations are having a harder time finding jobs, and they’re reluctant to marry.”
W. Bradford Wilcox, head of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said marriage is fading fastest in communities with many residents with the least education.
“Half the births to high school-educated moms are out of wedlock,” he said. “Among that group, we’re at a tipping point. Marriage is losing ground among middle Americans. They were doing okay until the last decade or so, and now they’re the most at risk. College-educated folks have been doing pretty darn well.”
Matt Statler is one, and at 29, he is at the median age when men marry. “I’d like to get married, some day,” said the accountant who works as a DJ in the evenings at bars, clubs and weddings in the Washington area. “But I’m definitely in no hurry.”
At this stage of his life, he said, he wants to build his career, hone his photography skills and travel the world without feeling that he should be spending time in a committed relationship.
“It’s just easier to date around and not be as emotionally invested in someone when I have other goals in life right now,” he said.
Statler went home to West Virginia for Thanksgiving. His parents, who married in their early 20s, do not pressure him to marry, he said — although his mother has talked weddings and children with his sister, who recently moved in with her boyfriend.
“Living together, that’s a safer first step,” he said.
The generation born during a time of rising divorce rates in the 1970s and 1980s say that watching their parents split convinced them not to rush.
“I come from divorced parents, and most of my friends do” said Shorr, whose father advised her to stay single until at least age 35. “It’s a matter of not wanting to rush into something, get in over our heads and make a mistake. A lot of us saw our parents make mistakes. We’re going to take our time and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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