Posts tagged ‘Divorce’

November 14, 2007

He says he wants to marry me….

by Rod Smith

“I have been struggling for months. When can one say that they are ready for marriage and how long must you date to take that step? I have been dating this guy for the past five years and we have a son together. I can officially say I’ve met the person I want to spend the rest of my days with. We are both 25. He says that he wants to marry me and I am ready. I feel like I need to know whether he’ll ever actually propose so that I can figure out what direction my life takes. My biggest fear is that I’ll wake up in five years to find no progress in our relationship. How do I make him aware of how I feel without making him feel like I’m pressuring him into a commitment?”

I do not seek to be unkind – but let’s give this a little thought! You have a son together, you are adults, you are both 25 – yet you cannot tell him it is time to get married? Tell him. I could care less if he feels pressure. He is a dad and it is time to be a husband. I officially tell you it is time to think about the child rather than about yourselves.

November 13, 2007

To get the best out of sex….

by Rod Smith

The power and sacredness of sex …

Morality, religious beliefs, and family values and expectations aside, which, by the way I believe is impossible to do, don’t have sex with a person whom you do not know, and are not committed to in every area of your life, for the long haul.

To say “it (sex) is just a physical thing” is naïve, shortsighted, and misguided.

Sexual behavior is powerfully connected to the essence of who and what each of us is, and to regard it lightly or with flippancy, dismisses the powerful, creative, and beautiful place sex occupies in the engine room of each our lives, whether married or single.

To regard sexual acts as purely (only) physical is absurd.

Sexuality, and its expression through physical acts, potentially combines your whole heart, mind, your spirit (or inner being) and your body – in a sacred act of shared love, resulting in mutual replenishment, mutual recharging, and the willing refocus, as a couple on all that is mutually and individually important.

It is impossible to get the best out of sex (or put your best into sex) with a stranger, or with someone you hardly know, and with whom you have no long-term shared responsibilities and commitments.

November 8, 2007

Every now again, when she has problems, she does not want to be around people, including me…

by Rod Smith

“I have been going out with ‘Jill’ for several years. We do not live together. Every now again, when she has problems, she does not want to be around people, including me. I find this very difficult. I don’t think she understands how to love or be loved. I have tried to get her to understand that I want to help her but she will not listen. She says she wants to be left alone to go where nobody can find her.”

Jack, avoid interpreting Jill’s desire to be alone, or escape, to be about her capacity to give or receive love. These desires, however triggered, most certainly pre-date your relationship. Love Jill enough to grant her the fulfillment of her desires that you have difficulty understanding.

Love – by letting alone. You, Jack, love by being present, and through absence. Both can be acts of love. Some people simply need (no, I am going to say ALL healthy people) or desire some alone time. It allows for the natural stresses accompanying even the most loving of relationships to dissipate.

And, when she goes away to be alone, resist your powerful, understandable urge to go looking for her. Trust Jill, Jack, to get what she needs. This is a very important component of your love for Jill.

October 31, 2007

For 8 years he’s waivered back and forth …

by Rod Smith

“I met a guy and fell in love. I moved in with him and got pregnant and started planning the wedding but then he was physically abusive so I moved home. He moved back once the baby was born when he realized what he was missing. For 8 years, he continued to waiver back and forth between ‘Nice’ Mark and ‘Mean’ Mark. I finally kicked him out but we were still having sex. I really wanted him to get counseling and come home because I do love him. But he met someone else and is now seriously dating her. He sends texts to her with ‘XOXO,’ which makes me sick. He says he still loves me and is more attracted to me than her. What must I do?”

Attraction is strongest between people of similar emotional health (and un-health). You are at least as confused as he is. Until you take responsibility for your own life, and confront the fact that this man is not good for you, your treadmill of pain and disappointment will continue.

I continue, even as a therapist myself, to be awed by the overwhelming pervasive belief people place in the power of counseling. This man doesn’t need counseling. He needs women who refuse to play his cruel, hurtful games.

October 16, 2007

He compares himself to a cripple in a wheelchair…

by Rod Smith

“I married 26 years ago out of a sense of guilt and it has never left. We have had a very difficult marriage and yet we both have a high level of commitment.  I want a healthier relationship but I don’t know how to get it. I know a healthier relationship starts with a healthier me, but as I try to get healthier, I feel a wider distance coming between us. I have never felt emotionally bonded to my husband, and for years it was heart breaking. I have talked with him hoping things would get better. He justifies his distance, which makes it harder for me. He compares himself to a cripple in a wheel chair. He knows that I would not insist on a cripple walking. He believes himself to be emotionally crippled and I should not expect something that he is not capable of giving. I am at the place where I feel I want to move on, but my sense of loyalty will not let me. I thought I had moved through the bitter stage but now I am not so sure.”

Repeatedly challenge his dramatic metaphor. It’s possible to remain married while also refusing to share his wheelchair. I’d suggest you do all you can to get healthy and well despite his protestations (the distance you feel, and so forth).

Let’s talk further. Until you leave him (I do not mean divorce him) in the “safety” and the “comfort” of his emotional wheelchair you are also in it! Grow on your own. Your personal development is not contingent on his cooperation.   

October 14, 2007

Nothing I do pleases him……

by Rod Smith

“I have been married 15 years (second marriage) and already had five children. I met my husband after I had an injury from a car accident, which left me disabled. I’m paralyzed from neck down. I got a settlement from the accident. He has no time for me and gives no financial help. So I am broke. He earns lots of money while I keep getting into debt. If he is upset he withholds money. I feel hatred from him. He works all the time. We are an inconvenience. He can’t hurt me more. He won’t leave and our house is the house I had before I met him. I am afraid of him. He has hit kids and said, ‘You should be the one I am hitting.’ I feel like nothing I do will please him. I do not know what to do.” (Edited)

Nothing will change until you emerge from being a victim and DO something. Where is the biological father? What is he doing? If your husband is working all the time why are you not working the phone to recruit the help you need to get out of this horrible trap? Recruit your community and family. All of you, including your husband, sound so miserable and the sooner you do something radical about it, the better it will be for you all.

October 9, 2007

More about addictions……. (continued from yesterday)

by Rod Smith

Why is gambling such an addiction (drugs I understand!)?

Where a “big win” is presented as real possibility (thus the publicity afforded “big wins”) the “common” gambler is encouraged to believe the day will come when he or she will win the jackpot.

Gambling is self-defeating for the obvious reason: the stakes are high, and so is the almost inevitable accompanying debt. Where else can one hope to get rid of loads of debt in an instant, but by means of gambling?

It is this very belief that leads to further involvement in the very behavior that one is trying to break.

Do not forget co-addictions. Addictions usually come in pairs. Even threes. The sex addict will usually also have troubles with alcohol, or the gambler with illegal sibstances. Few addicts have ONE addictive behavior, but usually face a few undesired and out-of-control behaviors. And each can destabilize the addict’s life and family.

Is there a cure? Few addicts are “cured” if cured means the addict will no longer face some longings for the behavior or its effects. “Cure” and “management” ought to be exchanged here. When an addict learns to manage the behavior, then he or she might say he or she is “being cured.”

October 8, 2007

Please say something about addictions. I think I see one occurring in our family..

by Rod Smith

Three questions to ask to establish the presence of an addiction:

1. Are there physical symptoms related to the behavior or to the absence of the behavior (cravings, ideation, longing, preoccupation)?
2. Is there loss, or threatened loss, of close relationships (breakups of marriage or friendships) as a direct result of the behavior?
3. Has there been a loss of face or position in a community (job loss, police intervention, credit issues, repossession of a car) as a result of the behavior?

While the three as above are a guide, there are other symptoms?

1. Lying (covering) about the behavior through excuses or downright lies.
2. Expecting others to lie and cover the behavior (for instance a spouse and children are drawn into the behavior and the behavior becomes a family secret – even if “don’t tell” is not used).
3. Expecting others to show their love by expressing understanding and tolerance for the behavior.

It is important to see the subtle pull the (growing) addiction has on ALL of the members of the family or community. People assume roles according to the call of the addiction (gambling, alcohol, sex, drugs, porn) and non-addicts start (often unaware of their behavior) to align themselves with the addict in ways that perpetrate the behavior. For instance, a wife who rejects the abuse of alcohol, and who is generally a truthful person, will call the husband in sick and say he has a fever when in fact he is too drunk to work.

Addictions are often family issues revealed in the person who is “acting out.”

October 4, 2007

We are fine until he has a few beers….

by Rod Smith

“I am married and have three teenage sons. We are compatible, except in one area that threatens everything. I don’t drink at all and don’t like social situations where there is too much drinking or being around drunk people. He enjoys a ‘party’ or having a few beers a couple of times a week. Very often a ‘few beers’ ends up being a ‘few beers’ too many. When he has had too much to drink he often becomes argumentative and critical of me, and sometimes verbally abusive. I have tried to reason with him but nothing much changes. People say I should just accept it because there is so much else going for the marriage. He is a good provider and father and he is caring except for those occasions when drink is involved. But I am thinking perhaps I should leave the marriage, as the situation is never going to be amicably resolved. I am also concerned how the breakup of the marriage would affect my sons, but increasingly I feel I am in a trap that I don’t know how to get out of.” (Edited)

Your staying (in the marriage) or going (getting divorced) will impact your teenagers. Finding your voice, whether you stay or go, will have the greatest, lasting impact upon your sons. A voice-less mother, someone who resists challenging what causes herself  and her family discomfort, might be more damaging than a father who has too many beers.

September 30, 2007

Questions healthy people discuss when new, significant relationships form…

by Rod Smith

Take Up Your Life (317)  694 8669

Take Up Your Life

1. Are we spiritually, financially, psychologically, and emotionally, sufficiently suited to each other?
2. Do our long-held, individual, long-term, personal goals and personal dreams somewhat fit with each other?
3. What do we each imagine is possible for us to achieve (service to the poor, overseas travel, learning foreign languages, learning new skills) within this relationship and potential marriage?
4. How do we each perceive our individual and mutual responsibilities to our parents and extended families if we marry?
5. Which of us is better with money? If we marry, how will we organize our money? Will we keep everything separate or will we pool all our resources? How will we decide what we buy, how we buy, and when we buy expensive, but necessary items needed by a new family? Which professional will we choose to help us with the wise use of our resources? [Do not enter a relationship with someone who is in excessive debt.]
6. What does each of us think about religious observance? How will we decide on where and how we will worship?
7. What help do you need from me in order that you may achieve all you have ever wanted to achieve with your life?