Category: Relationship Tips

December 28, 2016
There was even a TV show

There was even a TV show

I hope you are as excited about our new offering of Divorce, Version 4.0 which offers a free upgrade from 3.0 last revised in 1952. While 3.0 was much better than the older version of leaving the folded up clothes outside of the teepee, the required resources to carry on a lifetime of avoiding each other were too burdensome.

Still, look how far we’ve come since Version 1.0, first launched by Henry the VIII. Most would agree that those beheadings and trials were costly and brutal.

 In announcing his upcoming divorce a great guy I know asked what’s it mean when she said “ I don’t want to be divorced from you. I want to be divorced to you”?

Designer Divorce.  Increasingly people are finding that divorce doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. It was so much easier when less people we doing it, say in the1750’s or 1950’s. A divorce meant a lifelong estrangement. We weren’t going to talk, visit, go to the same places to eat, share family holidays and events. Nope, we were divorcing and that was the end of the relationship. Just talk through the lawyers and handle the custody and money issues by mail or notes.

Some people are still using that older version of divorce.
unknownThere are times when that is a great idea. Not talking can reduce the toxic level of conflict that led to a divorce. I worked with one divorced couple where he was willing to be cordial and claimed he was over it. She, however, just had a hard time being in the same room with a guy who beat her with a rifle butt before leaving. That one is very clear. The old way makes sense and the post-divorce situation may never get better. Trauma like that is hard to put aside.

Others have begun structuring their divorce the way they want it. 4.0 a kind of Designer Divorce. Some of these folks continue to date and be sexual, just not exclusively. They help each other move and periodically  to check in. They show up at kids’ school conferences and events together. I have seen levels of cordiality and closeness in divorced people that would stun previous generations. My favorite is when they both remarry and everyone gets along well enough to work together to benefit the shared children. I once had a family session with two parents, two step-parents and one child. It went marvelously as the adults acted as one team.

So what does it mean to be divorced TO someone. In Version 4.0, you get to decide. How about a  handy dandy checklist like the one I have put in this article. Look at it and let me know your thoughts or suggestions for making it better. Write me at swlitt@gmail.com.

Checklist to a SmarterDivorce (Choose any or all of the options)

  1. Be polite and cordial, even if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Let the past go and focus on the future and the interests of the children
  3. Accept the new partners of your former spouse
  4. Never Talk badly of your former spouse
  5. Always take the High Road
  6. Forgive and move forward
  7. Accept that divorce is 49% your fault
  8. Speak in kind tones and avoid derision and sarcasm
  9. Be generous in spirit and actions
  10. Smile
  11. Take notes at that Parenting After Divorce Class

Let us know how you like 4.0. Our thousands of contributors and users are raving about it. We hope you love it as well.

PEACE OUT.

September 29, 2016

 

By Steve Litt LCSW

Gof Thrones couple

 

Start softly and be gentle. Sounds good doesn’t it? Cue the Barry White music…on 3.

Just teasing. I am not talking about sex this time. Sorry.

This piece is about how to begin a conversation with someone you love when there is a complaint. First think about what you want to accomplish by bringing up this complaint. It should almost always be that you want something to change, but not at the expense of hurting your partner.

Starting softly sets the tone.

Try it the next time you have a complaint. A gentle beginning might sound like, “Hey, Babe, is this a good time to talk? If it is, I would love to have a few minutes with you to work on something.”

Follow that with, ” I was listening to the radio the other day and some financial guru was saying we all need to put more money in savings. I would like us to talk about that because I like the idea.” That’s so much better than, “You must think money grows on trees”, or, “The way you spend money, I will never be able to retire”, or, “You are just so irresponsible with money”, or some other poorly thought through rant.

Remember that the goal of bringing up a complaint is not to get your  feelings out or to punish your partner for their behavior.

No, the purpose of a complaint is to work together to reach an agreement and to change things. Change is the goal, not venting. By the way that “Venting ” thing is all wrong. We are not going to blow up if we don’t vent a little. The boiler metaphor doesn’t resemble the way our brains really work.

If we blow off steam (another 19th century metaphor) we are going to hurt someone and train ourselves to dump anger on others. It might feel better, but the damage it does isn’t worth it.

Let me be the first therapist to tell you that its OK to stuff anger. This idea of always getting your feelings out is a psychological myth. Treating people well and communicating in effective ways doesn’t have to be done in anger. There is no reason to blow up at people.

Start Softly And Be Gentle. Anger’s purpose is to inform us that something needs to be changed. Work on that change and channel the energy from the anger into something that is constructive, softer and gentler.

Replacing rage or sarcastic behavior with effective communication can become addictive and you may reach the point where acting angry seems so useless.

You can’t stop feelings, but you can be informed by them and then behave in effective ways. You get to choose your response.

Really!!

May 20, 2015

Power Off (and On) to Empower Your Relationship
By Rebecca Moravec, LPC

“Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it” Rollo May, The Cry for Myth

It is 8:00 p.m. My husband and I are settled in on the couch with the TV on. He is searching e-bay for who knows what on his Mac Book and I am scrolling through instagram on my smart phone. We are connected to so many devices and yet, we are obviously not connected to one another in this moment.

This isn’t a new revelation—the idea that technology is causing us to walk around like zombies as we live in a virtual world. We know it…and yet we stay glued to our screens. So what do we do? When is it time to power off? And can we use technology to connect with our partners? Here are some ideas:

Power OFF:

1.) Power off at meal times. Sharing a meal together is a great time to catch up on each others day. Put all devices away—sit at a table if you can—and tell each other the highs and lows of the day. It is important for you to know what is going on in your partners every day life!
2.) Power off when you get into bed. You don’t need to scroll through facebook or check your email that one last time. Put your devices away and spend some time cuddling….who knows where it might lead!
3.) Power off while you are watching a movie. Allow yourself to fully engage in a movie (or show) so that you aren’t asking your partner “what just happened? Who is that? Why did they do that?”
4.) Power off when you get home from work. Don’t walk in the door browsing emails from work or reading buzzfeed quizzes. Take 10 minutes to greet each other and connect.
5.) Power off on date night. Leave your phone at home – all of your apps will still be there when you get home!

Power ON:

1.) Power on to send a sweet (or steamy) text to your partner in the middle of the day (“Every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay- John Gottman)
2.) Power on to Pinterest and make a Pinterest board dedicated to your partner with funny and sweet things to share with them.
3.) Power on to send a love note on a site like Paperless Post
4.) Power on to send a cute photo of your kids, your pet, or yourself to let your sweetie know you miss them!
5.) Power on to call your partner to say “I love you” when you are apart. Yes…the phone still works for actual phone calls! (Queue Stevie Wonder music…)

Let’s embrace the world we live in and use our smart devices to be smart about connecting with our partners. I’m signing off to go cuddle…

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