Tag Archives: Divorce

FOR WOMEN: Why Men Stray And How to Prevent Cheating

It is estimated that 65% of divorces occur  because of an extra martial affair. And, despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the “double standard,” more men still cheat than women. Now science shows us why this gender imbalance might exist.

First, there could be a genetic link. Swedish researchers recently identified an infidelity gene, which is present in four of 10 men. This gene can explain why some men are more prone to stormy relationships and bond less to their wives or girlfriends. However, it’s important to remember that biology is not destiny. People born with genetic predispositions to say, heart disease or obesity, make lifestyle adjustments that compensate for the negative gene.

Secondly, men may find it easier to cheat because they feel less than woman. A Spanish study recently revealed that the interpersonal sensitivity of men (especially those aged between 25-33) is low compared to women. This clearly could affect a man’s ability to empathize with his partner. The study also showed that men feel less intense guilt and this difference is particularly stark in the 40-50-year-old age group, a group particularly vulnerable to the mid-life crisis affair.

Finally, more men fear emotional intimacy and more than do women. Believe it or not, some men find lovers so they can  avoid any real intimacy. Emotional closeness and the expression of vulnerability that goes with it scares many men, so they distance themselves from their wives by cheating on them. At the same time,  they don’t get too emotionally involved with their lovers. This kind of “watering down of the milk” feels safer to some men.

As always, my solution to bullet-proof relationships is to grow a bond through emotional intimacy. To make a relationship  rock-solid, one must move a step or two closer to the bone, and hone some relationship skills. Compassion can be learned. Fair-fighting is a skill. And stonewalling is a killer of all connection. Intimacy is not easy nor pain free. Extreme emotional intimacy and mutual care may involve squeamish feelings of shame, the forced expression of awkward words, an ability to see the ugly in others and still love them, and worse,  the ability to glaringly see the ugly in ourselves and still feel lovable. But the pay-back is pure kryptonite. An I’ve-got-your-back-if-you’ve-got-mine emotional contract that can make your relationship affair-proof.

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FOR WOMEN: Is Your Spouse Being Financially Unfaithful?

Man taking euros banknotes with stealthy expression.Does your spouse keep a separate safe deposit box? Do the family’s financial statements get mailed to an office address, not the home? Is he or she an ATM junkie? If so, there’s a chance your spouse could be stepping out on you with the family money. And this behavior is far more common with men than women.

It’s one thing to fear that your husband might stray with his heart and/or his body, but what most women don’t realize is that the risk of financial infidelity is far more dangerous and could lead to longer term consequences for women and their children.

“Most divorces are not impulsive decisions. One party or another checks out emotionally three to five years before they file for divorce,” says, Stacey Napp the CEO of Balance Point Funding, an investment firm that invests in women who have become financially disabled during a divorce proceeding. “Long before a man leaves, he begins to squirrel away assets so that he’ll hold the power in divorce court.” The behavior is more common with affluent husbands because, as a family’s net worth rises, couples tend to move into traditional gender roles, with the woman working less and handling more child rearing and household management chores. And if divorce happens these women are left unprotected. Since it is illegal in most states for a family attorney to work on a contingency (taking a percentage of the final settlement) the exit game becomes one where divorcing husbands strive to leave their wives with no assets to hire a good divorce lawyer — who may demand as much as $20,000 on the first visit.

“Divorce isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be dirty,” says Napp, who founded her company after her own divorce and the financial infidelity she experienced that nearly cost her her entire lifestyle. According to Stacey Napp, there are six red flags that women should be on the alert for:

Is he being financially unfaithful?

1)      Your bank, brokerage or financial statements are sent to his office, and not to your  house
2)      You’re not the beneficiary of his life insurance policy
3)      Like clock work, the same amount of money is  being withdrawn from your joint account every month
4)      He has a separate safe deposit box
5)      Significant repeated cash withdrawals on your joint credit cards
6)      Does your husband own his own business and have his family as employees and/or partners in that business?  That alone isn’t a red flag, but if any of the above are also present- watch out!

So, if you do suspect trouble, is there anything you can do to stop the leakage? Yes, according to Napp, you have to act like your own forensic accountant and gather intelligence before he hides evidence from a real court. That may mean photocopying every document he ever brings home — including his entire wallet and briefcase. Since people stay in contact with their money, photocopy cell phone records, check frequent flyer miles, even the home telephone bill. Ever the financial sleuth, Napp says that calling fast food delivery restaurants in areas where phone calls have been made, can reveal what address goes with what number. And always, wives should request a once yearly free credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus. This report can contain information regarding financial institutions that he may have established relationships with that you were unaware of. It would also show any aliases and/or alternate social security numbers being used by your spouse.

With the enormous emotional pain that women experience during divorce, financial unfaithfulness adds another layer of injury. Injury that can have tragic consequences for children who might be yanked from school after losing tuition and women who many lose their home and community support system. Stacey suggests that women who are full-time mothers are especially vulnerable to this kind of infidelity.

Watch my Youtube on: Taking Charge of Your Love Life is Real Feminine Power

FOR COUPLES: Three Biggest Causes of Divorce

divorce_signIn these throw-in-the-towel relationship days, you might think that Facebook or infidelity are the most common reasons that couples break up. Certainly they are often quoted in divorce papers. But the truth is a much more complicated one. There are essentially three categories of relationship distress that most often have couples calling the UHaul or marching into divorce court. They are:

1. Great Expectations

2. Conflict Avoidance

3. Toxicity

1. Let’s start with “great expectations.” While it’s wonderful to enter a relationship with great optimism, many people hold the secret belief that their relationship will make them happy in every area of their life. Sometimes, their expectations are so unrealistic they resemble the ending of a Disney princess movie. It’s important that both partners talk out their expectations before they move in together. There are a few things to keep in mind. Your husband will never be your girlfriend. Your wife will never be your guy friend. And happiness is baggage you need to pack and bring with you into a new relationship.


2. On the face, it sounds like “conflict avoidance” isn’t so bad. I mean, who wants to be in a relationship with constant fighting. However, the road to intimacy is paved with ruptures followed by repairs. It is during the repair stage that we grow closer, understand each other’s tender spots, and become more intimate. And intimacy is the glue that keeps people bonded. There are plenty of bad conflict styles, but the worst one is avoidance. If one partner continually dismisses the other, either by changing the subject, staring at the television, or even giving the silent treatment, I promise, the ignored partner will eventually find someone who will listen. And that person will be an attorney or a new lover.

3. There is a lot of talk about “toxic relationships” these days, but the kind that sends one to a family attorney is one that involves one of these things: domestic violence, child abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, or chronic infidelity. These factors make the nest completly unsafe for others who may be residing there. If your relationship has one of these toxic features, you must leave now.

Here’s an appearance on CBS Early Show where I talk about toxic relationships:

FOR SINGLES: First Christmas After A Break Up

Sad-Woman-500648There will be tears. That’s for sure. Surviving the first holiday season after a divorce is a prickly walk through the past into an unknowing future. There will be rituals you’ll have to go alone, people missing from your table, and annual parties you will uninvited from. But this is also the beginning of your new life.

Did you know that some people stay in god-awful relationships just because they cherish these communal holidays so much. These dark days with festivals of light and comforting family rituals make even bad marriages seem worth it. “We are together now. We have food and family. We are happy. Everything will be okay now.” The other reason some people stay too long is the fear that things will be even worse when they are single. Really. Psychologists have even tested battered women and find that they over-estimate their unhappiness post divorce.

But not you.

You did it. You made the giant step toward happiness. And this is your chance to define who you are and how you want to live it. Here are a few suggestions to help you make your first single season merry:

1. Cook for stragglers. Sigmund Freud once said the most healthy defense against psychic pain is sublimation. That means, acknowledging your suffering, and finding others in similar pain and working to heal and soothe them. I promise you, you are not alone this holiday season. There are plenty of imperfect humans banned from family tables for a host of human sins. This may be your year to find them and celebrate love and life together.

2. Celebrate yourself. There’s a reason singles cruises and vacations exist. So people like you can take a moment to bathe in warm water and nurture your body. I suggest your holiday-boycott take place in warm weather, involve a spa, and some meditation. Avoid an alcohol fueled party designed to avoid your pain. Instead, do something healthful and give the give of nurturing to your body and soul.

3. Plan Your Best Year Ever. Think of the downtime during the holidays as a time to go underground and plan your next act. Do your year end taxes and make a savings and spending strategy for your best life. Create really doable New Years resolutions. Make a list of all the people your haven’t been in touch with for a long while and send them Facebook messages, or better yet, pick up the phone. Clean out your closets and storage units. Holding onto stuff is holding onto memories and attachments that must be set free. Dump all the dead weight so you can soar.

Think of this time as the calm before the perfect storm of the life you’ve always wanted. You are like a famous sculptor, chipping away at what is unnecessary in your life to reveal a master piece called you. You can do this. You can create the life you’ve always wanted. I promise.

FOR PARENTS: The Dangers of Baby Sleep Overs

baby-standing-on-his-bed-and-cryingIn this age where marriage and parenthood are increasingly separated across the social classes, many American babies and toddlers spend at least one night a week sleeping at the home of a non-custodial parent.

While this may be convenient for fathers who want a relationship with their children and single mothers who need a break, new research on attachment shows that young children who sleep away from their primary caregiver have an insecure attachment style with their mothers.

Attachment is a critical aspect of personality development and mental health. Having a close, enduring, bond with at least one primary attachment figure creates a blue print for love that a child will carry into their adult romantic relationships. And the younger the child, the more susceptible they are to attachment injuries that could lead to anxiety, depression, and mistrust of relationships.

This new research from the University of Virginia and printed in the journal Marriage and Family Health, shines a light on the dangers of even single overnights. Sleeping away from a consistent, familiar environment and mom, can cause a baby or toddler to have feelings of insecurity and have an insecure attachment with their mother. It also opens up the debate about how family courts dole out child custody arrangements. In deference to fathers rights, if both unwed parents want to be involved in the lives of their child, courts are increasing dividing custody of younger and younger children between two homes. But this research demonstrates that babies and toddlers would be better off seeing their father during day time hours and returning to a consistent environment for the night time routine.

It is important for adults to put the psychological needs of children above the needs of parents. Sigh. Parenting isn’t ever convenient.