Light at the End of the Tunnel: Surviving Divorce
Divorce is hard. Divorce is staring down the barrel of all the years the two of you spent together, and feeling the weight of your decisions. Divorce is loneliness and fear. Divorce is cataloging your entire life and deciding what you get to take with you. Divorce is so much more than just the emotional toll it takes on you. If you have children, they will crave answers to why their lives are shifting. Custody will have to be decided. The custody of pets must also be determined. From there you have to add up all the financial and physical wealth you’ve gained as a team and divide it to both parties satisfaction.
It doesn’t matter which side of the divorce you’re on, whether you asked for it or not, there is an uncertainty there. Having to start everything over again will give you pause, if only for a moment. A lot of things happen during a divorce, and it can be easy to get swept up in it. There is usually anger from at least one party. If the anger is yours, don’t give in to it. Divorce doesn’t have to be a brutal fight, a desperate need to wrestle every ounce you can from the other party. In the end, none of that stuff will matter. Fighting with each other over Tupperware, Aunt Helen’s tea cozies, and a pizza cutter won’t truly make either of you feel better. “Winning” one of these items might feel good in the moment, but dragging out proceedings over every object will leave you both hurting more.
Even though you are divorcing, remember, not all the times were bad. This person is someone you once loved. You planned a future with. You have inside jokes and funny stories. The relationship didn’t work, and that’s ok, but don’t lose sight of all you gained from the marriage. Don’t burn the bridge more than you have to. If you have kids, this is a bridge you will have to walk on often. Burning it makes you just as likely to get hurt. If you have kids, they are watching how you treat their other parent. It’s setting a baseline for every break up they have.
No matter how long the divorce seems, no matter how hard it is to get through the changes and the loss, all of it will come to an end. You will walk out the other side. When you do, there is an internal push for change. Cutting your hair, buying all new furniture, a need to pull all of the pieces together immediately. Be wary of that inner voice. It’s all too easy to overspend and end up in very troubled waters. This time all on your own. Make the changes, pull things together, but do it mindfully and responsibly.
Divorce is a fresh start. Divorce is a way to reinvent yourself. Divorce is the beginning of the next phase of your life. Divorce is pushing yourself on to better things. Divorce can be scary, but it’s usually for the best.
Getting Serious? Be Sure to Discuss These 5 Topics Before Taking the Leap
Dating in a “swipe right” world is much different than how your parents dated. Courtship has evolved into speed dating, dating apps, and inflated profiles. The good news is one aspect of dating hasn’t changed. Discussing life-changing deal breakers before making ultimate commitments is still a best practice. If you find yourself in a semi-serious relationship and are contemplating a commitment, be sure to address these common social topics, and their financial implications before moving forward.
Wanting or not wanting children can make or break a relationship instantly. Know your preferences and don’t be afraid to engage in this conversation. Whether or not to have children can be a dynamic, life-changing decision. It also comes with a financial commitment of child-rearing costs, daycare, and tuitions. Make sure your partner shares your views.
Where to Live
If you’ve dreamt of country living and imagine yourself raising a family in a rural setting, you need to share this with your partner to make sure you’re not committing to someone who feels just as strongly about living in the city. Where you plan to establish your family will also have financial implications. Be sure to discuss your expectations so you can prepare together how best to manage the cost of living in your dream location.
We often avoid discussing religion when we’re starting off a new relationship. However, if you’re considering a long-term commitment, it’s probably best to have these discussions. Aligning your moral compass with someone may be simple but adhering to a series of spiritual requirements or adopting a new faith altogether might be a deal breaker. Be candid and honest about what you expect. Religion can play a part in every aspect of life together including ceremonies, child-rearing, and obligations.
Division of Finances
Be clear about your spending decisions, setting up finances and investments. If you’re adamant about maintaining your own accounts, discuss it with your partner. Maybe you both agree to make all of these financial decisions together and jointly. Don’t be afraid to discuss credit scores, outstanding debts and plans for long-term savings. The more you’re able to address up front, the easier the transition will be into a committed partnership.
Maybe your dream is to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you want to climb the corporate ladder with your firm. Maybe you don’t want to work at all. Talking about your career goals and understanding your partner’s career goals can uncover potential deal breakers. Career choices will also directly affect your income as a household.
Disagreeing on any of these topics doesn’t necessarily constitute a breakup. It will, however, be a good indicator of shared beliefs and relationship compromise. Stick to your guns on those most important to you, but don’t be afraid to negotiate others. Compromising and settling are very different. Be willing to compromise, but don’t settle for someone who challenges your core beliefs. Discussing these before walking down the aisle can help eliminate a lifetime of resentment or costly separation later.
Communication and Relationships: Communication Is The Key To A Healthy Sex Life
You know that feeling on Christmas morning, when you’re sitting down near the tree, and you’re excited because you’re pretty sure your special someone got you just what you wanted? But then, as the day goes on, you realize that they didn’t. Instead, they got you something that was very thoughtful, and a little insightful, but it wasn’t really what you had your heart set on.
That feeling? That mix of bittersweet and disappointment that you feel sort of bad for having, but still can’t shake off? There’s no reason you should feel like that in your sex life. If you find that sensation creeping in, there’s a sure-fire way to do away with it. It isn’t a huge secret, but it can take time to get used to it.
Tell Them What You Want… It’s As Simple As That
The reason you don’t get the gift you want, more often than not, is a lack of communication. Maybe you think you were being clear, but if you’re dropping hints hoping your significant other will follow the trail of breadcrumbs, there’s no guarantee they’ll reach the conclusion you wanted them to. If you want them to get to the right place, you need to post clear signs, and draw them a map.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to your sex life.
The problem is that a lot of us are embarrassed to talk about sex, or about what we want from sex. We think that if it isn’t spontaneous, and that if it isn’t born out of in-the-moment passion that it’s somehow not as genuine, or that it shouldn’t be as good. That thing where two people intimately know each other’s wants, though? That happens in one of two ways. The first is that you’re the protagonist in a romance novel, and the writer wants to make your love life seem perfect and magical. The second is that you and your partner have been together for a long time, and you’ve explored each other’s needs, grown together, and discovered all those red buttons and secret wants.
There is no shortcut to a great sex life, but you can speed up the process by not playing coy when it comes time to retire to the bedroom (or the living room, or the kitchen, or wherever your preferred place happens to be). You just need to take a deep breath, sit down with your partner, and be open with them about what you need from them.
You Might Find Buried Treasure, If You Start Digging
Open, honest communication is scary. Even if you love your partner, and you trust them, you are leaving a very private part of yourself exposed. But if you can’t be truly naked when it comes to your sex life, then when would there be a more appropriate time?
You’ll find something else happens when you’re direct, open, and honest with your partner, too. You end up learning that what you want might not really be all that hard to provide. Whether it’s how you like to be touched, what your fantasies are, or what things you’d really prefer your partner stop doing, you’re going to find those barriers that felt insurmountable are really just smoke and mirrors.
Because trying to figure out your partner’s sexual wants is a lot like being a safe cracker. If you’ve got a good ear, the right tools, and a lot of experience, you can tell when the tumblers have dropped, and you’ve gotten inside. But since you want your partner to get in, not giving them the combination in the first place isn’t really helping anyone.