The Sex Starved Wife: Husband Not Interested in Sex?

Is your husband not interested in sex?

Low sexual desire in men is America’s best kept secret. Millions of men don’t want sex with their wives. The problem is, men simply don’t want to discuss this matter with their wives, health care professionals or anyone else for that matter. This leaves women feeling alone and lonely.  If you’re not having the average amount of sex in your marriage, and the disparity of your libidos is a reoccurring problem, pay attention.  This video will help with the lack of sex in your marriage, and to bridge the sexual desire gap between you and your husband.

Talk to a Divorce Busting Coach Today.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events. Continue reading

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Not Enough Sex in Your Marriage: The Sex Starved Marriage [Video]

For those who are not getting enough sex in their marriage, Michele Weiner-Davis discusses some of the principles from her best selling book, “The Sex Starved Marriage.”

It’s been estimated that one-third of couples face issues of low libido, the impact of which is felt beyond the bedroom.  Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of infidelity and divorce.  Michele Weiner-Davis explains what to do if your spouse is not interested in sex, if your sex life is below average, or you’re worried that your intimate life is going downhill.

It’s been estimated that one-third of couples face issues of low libidos, the impact of which is felt beyond the bedroom: Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of infidelity and divorce. Michele Weiner-Davis explains what to do if your spouse is not interested in sex, if your sex life is below average, or you’re worried that your intimate life is going downhill. Continue reading

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12 Talking Tips For Getting Through To Your Man (Part II)

Continued from Part 1

12 Talking Tips For Getting Through To Your Man

Continued from Part 1

Talking Tip #7: Heed his effort to make amends.

John Gottman also noticed that in healthy relationships, one person often reverses the flow of negative communication by attempting to say something conciliatory.  Then the other person acknowledges it and becomes more conciliatory in return.  For instance, after fighting for a while, one person might say, “Well, I suppose there’s something to what you’re saying” or “I think we both do that [admitting culpability].  Hearing the attempt to diffuse anger, the other person might make a U-turn and be more positive in kind.  In unhealthy relationships, if one person says, “I admit it, you’re right about that,” the other person might be so angry he or she will be oblivious to the comment and just keep going.  In other words, repair attempts go unnoticed.

A word to the wise.  If you and your partner are in the midst of a heated conversation and he says something even mildly positive, acknowledge it.  Any effort on his part to get things back on track is effort worth reinforcing.  You want to catch him in the act of getting it right – being conciliatory – and underlining it, remember?  Don’t allow the heat of the moment to deter you from doing what will be more helpful to you in the long run.  The next time you have a fight, listen very carefully to what your partner is saying.  Look for the small signs that he’s trying to make up with you.

Talking Tip #8: Acknowledge his position and feelings.

The premier communication principle is this: Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.  When people feel understood, they’re much more cooperative and conciliatory.  When couples argue, most of the time it’s a debate about who’s right and who’s wrong.  Neither person is really listening.  We’re too intent on making our points.  Little effort is put into trying to make sense of the other person’s point of view.  That’s when conversations get very destructive.

One of the most common things to occur when we don’t acknowledge our partners’ perspectives is that they won’t acknowledge ours.  We all keep repeating ourselves over and over in hopes we’ll finally get through.  Good luck.  When I do seminars, I tell people, “If for some perverted reason you wanted your partner to keep repeating himself over and over, I have the fail-proof formula.  Don’t acknowledge what he’s saying.  Just keep repeating your point over and over.”

If you’re someone who can’t believe how stubbornly your man clings to his way of looking at things, I’m going to tell you something that works like magic during heated confrontations.  If you want your partner to cooperate with you, to understand your point of view, to appreciate how you might be feeling about something, there are two things you need to do.

The first: Really listen to what he’s saying.  Now you might be wondering what I mean by that.  I’m not just saying that you hear the words that are being spoken, I’m saying that you truly try to understand your partner’s point of view.  put yourself into his shoes.  You don’t have to agree with his opinion, but you should make a concerted effort to understand why he might be feeling that way.

The second step: Tell your partner that you understand what he’s saying.  Check out whether he thinks you grasp his point.  Agitated people often become calm, conciliatory, and cooperative when they feel understood.  But there’s another reason that acknowledging your partner’s point of view often leads to more positive outcomes.  There is one all-too-common problem-solving strategy that I see repeated more than any other – doing more of the same.  When we keep stating our position over and over, that’s exactly what we’re doing – more of the same.  But when we acknowledge our partners’ points of view, not only are we demonstrating that we understand them, we’re also stopping a bad habit.  We’re doing something different.

Some time ago, my husband and I were out to dinner and we were having a really pleasant time when I decided to discuss the purchasing of a new car.  Although I felt certain that I had finally decided what kind of car I wanted, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss my decision with him.  I had tentatively decided on a sedan that was a bit more upscale than my usual style.  When I shared my choice with him, he immediately suggested I get a more practical car, like a Jeep.

Oddly enough, although I’m not particularly picky about the kind of car I drive, the more he favored practicality, the more I leaned toward overindulgence.  As our conversation got more heated, I realized we were ruining a perfectly lovely evening together, and I also realized that, down deep, I don’t care all that much about cars, I just like reliable transportation.

So, at the peak of our dialogue I turned to him and said, “You know, I can see your point.  Given my lifestyle and my driving needs, a practical car makes more sense,” and kept right on eating my dinner.  After six seconds of silence, he looked at me and, referring to the car that I had originally picked out for myself, said, “Okay. Did you pick out the color you want?  I’ll go get it for you.”

Once he said that, something mysterious happened.  I didn’t care at all what kind of car I bought.  All I knew was that it felt great that he was considering my feelings.  And I know why he so – he felt good that I had considered his.

If you’ve ever felt your partner is stubborn and that arguments have gotten blow up way out of proportion, it may be because you and your partner have ignored this one little rule: Conflict resolution begins the moment people feel understood.  Listening is an act of loving, and when you give love, you’ll get love in return.

Talking Tip #9: Ignore the zingers.

Unless they’re attorneys, men complain that their women are so much more adept at arguing than they are.  Many men feel women run circles around them verbally.  To even out the score, guys often throw zingers.  Zingers are sarcastic comments that don’t feel very good to say the least.  If you want your conversation to go downhill at lightning speed, throw a zinger right back at him.

But I say, you be the big one.  Know that the main reason he’s hurling a hurtful comment at you is that he feels threatened in some way.  He’s trying to protect himself, and although being mean isn’t a healthy or fair way to protect oneself, for that moment it’s his way.  But regardless of what he does or says, you have a choice.  You can stoop to his level or you can take the high road.  To take the high road, you can do a number of things, the most obvious of which is to just ignore him and keep going.  If you’re new to this ignoring thing, he’ll be surprised that he didn’t push your button, and he might even challenge you again.  Throwing zingers is only one of many ways he tries to derail you.  He has other methods for pushing your buttons.  By now, you should know what they are.  That’s when it takes a great deal of self control to deflect his comments.  But it can be done.  Once he sees he’s not getting you to react, he’ll eventually stop testing you.  Regardless of his method of choice, always remember that ignore him will work in your favor.

When you ignore his zingers, you’ll feel good about yourself.  You’ll feel as if your life is in your control.  This is all really good stuff, but there’s also icing on the cake.  You should notice that by detouring around his zingers, your arguments won’t get destructive.  In fact, they might even be productive.  It may not happen overnight, but if you’re patient, eventually he should come around.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “Michele, that sounds like a good idea, but how in the world do I stop myself from blasting him if he’s nasty to me?”  First of all, you have to feel convinced that it’s your choice.  I already told you that you’re in charge of what you say, no matter what he says to you and no matter how his zingers make you feel.  Even if you’re furious, you still have to decide what you do about it.  Feelings don’t force us to act certain ways.  We decide how we’re going to act and react.

Second, you probably know exactly when he’s about to spout something ridiculous or hurtful.  My guess is that you even know what he’s going to say.  Being able to predict this stuff doesn’t lessen the sting when it happens, but it does prepare you for its occurrence.  And since you know it’s coming, you can take a deep breath, count to three (or one hundred, if you have to), and calmly continue with what you were saying before he interrupted.  Just keep telling yourself, “Don’t react.  It’s not worth it.”  If you really set your mind to it, you can do it.  I know you can.  Remember, you’re changing your steps in the dance of conflict to get better results!

Talking Tip #10: Take a time-out

Have you and your partner ever been in a heated conversation and in the midst of things, your man checks out?  His eyes glaze over.  He stops talking.  He looks away.  He utters, “You’re right, you’re always right.  I’m always wrong.”  All meaningful conversation comes to an abrupt halt.  Or in the middle of an emotionally charged discussion, does he walk out of the room or leave the house?  There’s a name for what your man is doing.  Researchers John Gottman and Robert Levenson call it “stonewalling.”  Lots of men do it.  And when I tell you why, you’ll probably be surprised.

The researchers asked the couples to discuss a major area of disagreement in their marriage.  Throughout their conversations, these couples were videotaped and monitored for physiological arousal.  Heart rate, blood velocity, skin conductance, and gross motor movements were tracked.  The data suggested that during conflict, men become significantly more aroused physiologically than women.  This allows women to tolerate longer, escalating rounds of conflict.  Men need to lower their arousal because if they don’t, they might feel overwhelmed and lose control.  Stonewalling protects both partners from this sort of escalation.  Furthermore, it takes men longer than women to recover from being worked up physiologically.

Even though you now know there are physiological reasons for your man’s tuning you out, you may not feel any better about him when he does it.  But you should know that he’s not doing it to make you angry, he’s trying to soothe himself.  He needs the downtime.  Since many men really do need time to de-escalate, it’s often helpful to build in a time-out period when you have heated discussion.

If you see your partner stonewalling, you can suggest that you stop talking about things for a while.  You may decide to separate or just do something entirely different.  You can have a predetermined time-out period, or you can make it more open-ended.  If it’s open-ended, wait a while and then ask your partner if he’s ready to talk.  Honor his feedback, and if he’s not quite ready, set another appointment to finish your conversation.  Or, if you’d like, decide that you’ve gone as far as you will go on that particular subject and drop it.

You may think that instituting a time-out period during heated debates is too artificial for you.  That’s okay.  The most important thing for you to remember is that if your man walks out of the room or tells you to leave him alone for a while, there’s a good reason for it.  He’s not just being difficult.  He needs to settle down.  Your conversations will not be a good one if you keep going when he’s highly agitated.  So whatever you do, don’t pursue him no matter how angry you are.  A time-out period can give both of you a chance to clear your heads and approach each other in a more level-headed manner.  Give it a shot.

Talking Tip #11: To cry or not to cry, that is the question.

A short but sweet tip.  Some women tell me that when they’re arguing and they become emotional and cry, their partners tune them out, get angry, or leave the room.  Other women say that their tears make their men soften.  So I have a suggestion: Once again, keep your eyes on the cheese.  If your becoming emotional- crying, being sad, looking despondent – triggers your man to be more sensitive to you, then let it all hang out.  If your emotional side makes him become less cooperative and angry, get a grip.  Let your feelings out with a good friend instead.  I’m not saying you should manufacture feelings or pretend you don’t have feelings when you do, but I’m suggesting that you keep your end goal in mind no matter what you’re feeling.

Talking Tip #12: Unless he’s deaf, he heard you.

It took me lots of years to figure this one out, and I want to spare you the exasperation.  Long ago, when Jim and I argued about something, I would keep at it until he either agreed or acknowledged what I was saying.  More often than not, I didn’t get what I was looking for.  I had chronic frustration.  But as I got older and wiser, I noticed something interesting.  Even though Jim didn’t agree with me (in fact, he usually vehemently disagreed with me), in the days that followed, his behavior changed.  He started doing what I asked of him.

That’s when I realized that my microscope was too narrowly focused.  I was looking for understanding and cooperation within the time frame of our conversation only.  If he didn’t verbally commit to pleasing me, I felt I hadn’t gotten through to him and I was angry.  Since I now know that, even if he tells me I’m crazy and that there’s no way in hell he’s going to do something, I don’t jump to any conclusions.  I know from years of experience that when he’s had a chance to cool down, he might just change that stubborn little mind of his.  He often does.

If your man is fanatical about self-determination like Jim, it’s much more likely that he’ll come around after you’ve stopped trying to convince him.  Then if he complies, he’s doing it because he wants to, not because you told him to.  He’s saving face.  So don’t think if you haven’t reached an agreement during your talk with him that he isn’t listening or hasn’t heard.  Unless he’s deaf, he hears you.  Stop pressing your point (and don’t feel bad about it); step back for a few days and watch for signs that he’s mellowing.  Be patient.  Guys are slow learners.  It takes time for good ideas to catch on.

So now you’re armed with lots of tools for influencing the man in your life to be a better partner.  And when he’s less than wonderful and you need to talk with him about it, you can make your life easier by taking the talking tips to heart.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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12 Talking Tips For Getting Through To Your Man (Part I)

12 Talking Tips for Getting Through to Your Man

The tips you’re about to read pertain to conflict-ridden conversations. I don’t think you need assistance making superficial talk or with discussions that are void of emotional content.  Those are no brainers.  Emotion-packed conversations are where we get in trouble.  They bring out the worst in everyone.  In keeping with the “it takes one to tango” spirit, when you change your steps in the dance of conflict between you and your guy, he’ll respond more sanely and your heated talks will become more productive.  So consider this a primer in conflict busting.  Here’s the scoop.

Twelve Tips for Talking to Men

Talking Tip #1: Let him say when.

You already know that men aren’t crazy about talking things out.  That’s why it feels as if you’re infringing upon your man when you say you want to talk.  Consequently, it is extremely helpful to try to catch your man when he’s most amenable to conversing.  I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing your timing wisely when you approach your man with something important.  If your man is otherwise preoccupied or is unprepared emotionally to deal with your issues, it won’t be a productive conversation.  He’ll become defensive, nasty, or shut down.

When you announce that you want to talk about something, you should ask him whether now is a good time for him.  If he says, “No,” respect that and ask him, “When would be a better time?”  Many relationship experts suggest that a twenty-four-hour time frame should be sufficient.  Then honor your man’s request and wait it out patiently.  If he asks what you are going to talk about, briefly describe the subject, but don’t go into too much detail.  If he’s not ready to talk, it behooves you not to get him going.  Some women notice that by giving their partners the power to decide when these confrontations will occur, their men are more willing participants in the conversations.

Talking Tip #2: Be brief and to the point.

Men are not particularly patient with long-winded explanations about things.  In fact, when it comes to verbal communication, they’re not very patient at all.  Please don’t forget this.  You have a very narrow window of opportunity to be heard.  Like kids, they have an extremely short attention span.  So you have to make the most of the time you have.

One thing to avoid at all costs is doing something guys refer to as rambling.  I’ve come to figure out that when guys say “rambling” they generally mean one of two things: that we’re jumping from topic to topic or we’re talking about feelings.  Let’s take jumping from topic to topic first.  Women often briefly discuss one point and quickly move on to another.  This “stream of consciousness” style of relating is very comfortable to us.  We think out loud.  When we talk with our women friends, speaking in half sentences is the rule.  Our friends follow along without blinking an eye.  They fill in the blanks effortlessly.  We expect this sort of understanding with our friends and we’re rarely disappointed.

But here comes the problem.  We talk to our men as if they are our women friends- but they’re not.  Guys can’t fill in the blanks.  If we switch topics midstream, halfway through the second topic, they don’t hear a word we’re saying because they’re trying to figure out what topic one has to do with topic two.  They get lost easily, and when they do, boy, do they get angry.  “You’re so illogical!” they inform us.  “Why can’t you ever stay on one subject at a time?”  Sometimes they say worse things.  Then we think they’re being obstinate because we can’t, for the life of us, understand why they can’t understand…but they cant.

If your man has criticized you for jumping from topic to topic, here’s what you need to do.  Prior to your discussion, plan one or two points you want to make.  It might help for you to write down your points in short sentences.  You might even rehearse your lines before you approach him.  When you start talking, make sure he understands point one before you move on to point two.  Then, prior to switching topics, it’s helpful to say, “I’m changing topics now. I’m on to something different.”  This will make the transition a lot smoother for him.

Okay.  That’s the jumping-around thing.  What about the business of talking about feelings?  Why do guys get off track when we talk about feelings?  When men are unhappy about something, they try to identify the problem and then quickly want to figure out what to do about it.  They’re not interested in “wallowing around” in discussions about feelings.  To them, that’s a waste of time.  Get the issues out on the table and start fixing them.  To us, talking about feelings is anything but a wast of time.

I’ve worked with many couples who have gotten stuck because of this difference between men and women.  She identifies a problem and starts talking about her feelings.  He can handle listening to her discuss the nature of the problem, but when she expounds on her feelings about, she loses him.  And because she senses he’s lost, she keeps explaining her feelings rather than identifying potential solutions.  This makes him crazy.

The point to remember is that if your man keeps telling you that you’re losing him or you’re repeating yourself, it may mean that all he wants is the facts, just the facts, ma’am.  If you want something from him, make an effort to be more succinct.  Describe the issue, tell him what you want, and talk less about your feelings.  It might help.

Talking Tip #3: Notify him if you want to discuss feelings.

Sometimes, you want to share your feelings with your man.  After all, why be in a relationship if you can’t talk about your feelings, right?  Then why is it that every time you talk about negative feelings, even if it has nothing to do with him, it ends up in a fight?  I can tell you why this happens and what you can do about it.

Guys have an incredible need to fix things that are broken.  When you talk about feeling sad or unhappy, he thinks you’re broken and that he needs to do something about it.  So when you start talking about being concerned about your job, the kids, your weight, other family members, he thinks he needs to give you a solution.  He believes that’s what you want from him.  He starts telling you what to do, and you get furious.  You think he’s not listening.  You think he’s not caring.  You believe he just wants the conversation to be over.  Because if he did care, you tell yourself, he would give you empathy, not advice.  You get angry at him.  And he gets even angrier, because from his perspective, he’s helping and you’re not appreciating him.  So you end up mad at each other.  Sound familiar?

Well, the good news is that you can talk about feelings, even negative ones, but you have to give him directions first.  Prior to discussing your emotions, tell him, “I just want to talk to you about something I’m feeling.  It doesn’t have anything to do with us and you don’t need to fix it.  I just want to share my feelings with you.  So just listen.”  Most guys will go along with the program if they know the rules.  And once they know that “just listening” is really doing something, they feel they’ve been helpful.  This will satisfy their urge to fix things, after all.

Talking Tip #4: Start softly

Sometimes the negative feelings you’re experiencing have something to do with your partner.  And, believe it or not, you can talk to him about these feelings, too, if you get off to a good start.  Psychologist John Gottman, Ph.D., has done some very interesting research on couples’ communication patterns.  One of the characteristics of conversations that go well is something he refers to as “a soft start.”  Some say that the outcome of a chess game can be dictated by the first move.  Gottman would probably say that this metaphor also applies to conversations between loved ones.

A soft start simply means that you approach your partner gently.  You don’t want him to feel attacked, even if you’re angry about something.  For example, if your man was insensitive at a party and said some things that embarrassed you, although you might feel like clobbering him verbally, it’s not in your best interests to do so.  You should start your conversation by saying something like “you probably really didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but something you said last night didn’t sit right with me.”  Or “Maybe I’m off base here, but I found something you said last night kind of confusing.  Could you help me out with this?”  If you’ve been going round and round about housework, instead of saying, “I want to talk to you about something.  I’m so sick and tired of doing everything around here,” you might try softening the blow a bit.  Try “You know, I really love you and I can’t stand al this fighting we’ve been doing about the housework.  Let’s find some solution we can both live with.”

Even if your conversation gets more heated as time progresses, research shows that if you start softly, you’ll end up in a better place.  So get yourself into a good frame of mind before you tackle hard issues.  Don’t approach your man until you can genuinely begin your conversation with something he won’t mind hearing.  If he feels attacked from the start, he’ll spend the rest of the time defending himself, and that’s not what you want.  A soft start will lower his defenses and make it more likely that he’ll listen to you and take in what you have to say.

Talking Tip #5: Say what you want.

Two crucial aspects of goal setting include thinking about what you want versus what you’re unhappy about and being concrete.  These principles apply to conversations with your man as well.  If you talk about those things that make you unhappy – “You always ignore me” – you’re bound to have more trouble than if you discuss what you want him to do instead – “I really would like to spend a half hour each evening talking together.”  If you talk in negative terms, as far as he’s concerned, you’re nagging.  He hates that and he’ll tune you out or resist.  Positive statements, ones that say what you want, are not viewed as nagging.  They’re requests for change, and to him that’s a whole lot better than complaints.

In addition to stating what you want in positive terms, it pays to be concrete.  Instead of saying, “I want you to be a better love,” which may be Greek to your man, say, “when we make love, I’d like you to start by kissing me, make eye contact with me, and spend more time touching parts of my body other than my genitals,” and so on.  Men are much more responsive when things are spelled out in black and white.  So before you approach your partner with anything important, do a self-check.  Make sure what you’re about to say is positively worded, specific, and action-oriented.

Talking Tip #6: Say what you mean.

Men need for women to be positive, specific, and have our words accurately reflect what we mean.  That’s because they’re so damn literal.  That’s why when you’re saying, “We don’t spend time together anymore, ” instead of understanding that you’re missing him and you’d like to be together, he’ll dissect your sentence to bits.  “What do you mean that we don’t spend time together anymore? You mean we never spend time together?  You mean we never see each other anymore?  What exactly do you mean?”  Isn’t it frustrating when that happens?  It sure is.  But that’s the way their minds work.  They’re just literal beings.

Jim, our daughter Danielle, and I were out to dinner the other evening.  The waiter came over to our table.  Jim asked him, “Do you ever eat here?”  After inordinately long time, he said, “Yes.”  I didn’t quite understand what was so tough about Jim’s question, but what happened next made his long silence more understandable.  The waiter asked if he could take our order, and we told him that we were ready.  Before making a final decision, Jim asked, “How do you like the veal?” and again, after a few moments, the waiter replied, “Well done.  I’ve served it medium rare-a few times, but it’s too juicy for my taste.”  I had to stop myself from chuckling.  Obviously, Jim wanted to know whether or not the waiter liked the veal, not how thoroughly he liked it cooked.  But the waiter didn’t have a clue because he was so literal.  In fact, I realized why the waiter hesitated when Jim asked, “Do you ever eat here?”  He must have thought that Jim was asking whether he ate at that particular table!  Oh, well, what can you expect.  He’s a guy.

If you don’t want your discussions sidetracked, be careful to say what you mean.  Don’t exaggerate to illustrate your point, or your point will get lost .  Be simple and direct and remember that he is going to take you literally.

Read Part 2 here

Michele Weiner-Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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Win A FREE Signed Copy of Divorce Busting

Free Signed Copy of Divorce Busting

That’s it.  It’s pretty straight forward.  Just hit the “like” button down below, and leave a comment indicating that you’ve entered on the Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and you’re entered for a chance to win a free signed copy of Divorce Busting!  I will select three winners at random within the next 24 hours!  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  (Deadline to enter is 5:30pm E.S.T. on Thursday June 10th)

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What’s Up With Al and Tipper Gore? Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Al Tipper Gore Seperate
Here we go again. We are endlessly fascinated when high profile marriages crash and burn. It offers us opportunities to speculate, criticize, engulf ourselves in smugness, or in humbler moments, recognize the humanity in all of us. But most of all, just like the outrageously popular show, American Idol, it gives us something to talk about and weigh in on.

So, today’s flavor of the month is the Gore marriage. Inquiring minds want to know, “How is it possible that college sweethearts who appeared to be such a loving, connected and supportive duo, could actually be calling it quits? We’re just dying to know what is really going on behind closed doors. America postulates. “It must be infidelity.” Others suggest that accumulated personal stressors have finally taken their toll. Some say the unavoidable pressure of political life and of being in the public eye for so many years has driven a wedge between them. Still others hypothesize that they’ve just grown apart. Perhaps AT&T should create a text number where we could vote on what we think are the real reasons the couple is headed for divorce. Dialing for divorce, anyone?

Call me unruffled, but I’m not at all surprised by the announcement of the Gore’s divorce. It’s not that I saw signs of dissatisfaction brewing on television – my only contact with the Gores- it’s just that I know the facts.. And here they are. Back in the 80′s, when I started my work as the “Divorce Buster,” I was acutely aware of the national divorce statistics. Divorce started to skyrocket in the 60′s and the 70′s. In the 80′s, after two decades of rampant divorce and disposable marriages, things finally leveled off. Since then, the National Center for Health Statistic has indicated that the divorce rate, contrary to popular belief, has actually dropped a bit. However, there is one group in which the divorce rate continues to climb, and that’s the veteran marrieds – the group that has been married for 30- 40 years. Empty nesters are flying the coop.

There are varied theories about this phenomenon including the thought that couples who have stayed together for the sake of the children can’t wait to part ways as soon as the kids leave home. Others assume that many of these couples haven’t nurtured their relationships; they’ve made careers and children their top priorities. When kids leave home and careers lose appeal, there is no glue holding these couples together. They feel estranged from each other, and yearn to have new experiences, meet new partners, and develop new passions. With life’s hour glass running out, they shun the obligatory and pursue personal bliss, which often means leaving marriage behind.

No analysis of the reasons for the Gore’s pending divorce would be complete without mention of the obvious- that political office and matrimony make strange bedfellows. But the truth is, at the end of the day, Tipper and Al, are just people. And when it comes to successfully navigating the trials and tribulations of marriage and the inevitable conflict that goes with the territory, even winning a Nobel Peace Prize doesn’t always do the trick.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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How to Heal From Infidelity

How to Heal from Infidelity picture

Although future posts will include a step-by-step guide for healing from infidelity, I want to jump start you on the process in case you just discovered the betrayal and you’re eager to improve things between you and your spouse. Healing from infidelity involves teamwork; both partners must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriages back on track. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out how the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Although no two people, marriages or paths to recovery are identical, it’s helpful to know that healing typically happens in stages.

If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions- shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal.

Although you might be telling yourself that your marriage will never improve, it will, but not immediately. Healing from infidelity takes a long time. Just when you think things are looking up, something reminds you of the affair and you go downhill rapidly. It’s easy to feel discouraged unless you both keep in mind that intense ups and downs are the norm. Eventually, the setbacks will be fewer and far between.

Although some people are more curious than others, it’s very common to have lots of questions about the affair, especially initially. If you have little interest in the facts, so be it. However, if you need to know what happened, ask. Although the details may be uncomfortable to hear, just knowing your spouse is willing to “come clean” helps people recover. As the unfaithful spouse, you might feel tremendous remorse and guilt, and prefer avoiding the details entirely, but experience shows that this is a formula for disaster. Sweeping negative feelings and lingering questions under the carpet makes genuine healing unlikely.

Once there is closure on what actually happened, there is typically a need to know why it happened. Betrayed spouses often believe that unless they get to the bottom of things, it could happen again. Unfortunately, since the reasons people stray can be quite complex, the “whys” aren’t always crystal clear.

No one “forces” anyone to be unfaithful. Infidelity is a decision, even if doesn’t feel that way. If you were unfaithful, it’s important to examine why you allowed yourself to do something that could threaten your marriage. Were you satisfying a need to feel attractive? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Did you grow up in a family where infidelity was a way of life? Do you have a sexual addiction?

It’s equally important to explore whether your marriage is significantly lacking. Although no marriage is perfect, sometimes people feel so unhappy, they look to others for a stronger emotional or physical connection. They complain of feeling taken for granted, unloved, resentful, or ignored. Sometimes there is a lack of intimacy or sexuality in the marriage.

If unhappiness with your spouse contributed to your decision to have an affair, you need to address your feelings openly and honestly so that together you can make some changes. If open communication is a problem, consider seeking help from a qualified marital therapist or taking a communication skill-building class. There are many available through religious organizations, community colleges and mental health settings.

Another necessary ingredient for rebuilding a marriage involves the willingness of unfaithful spouses to demonstrate sincere regret and remorse. You can’t apologize often enough. You need to tell your spouse that you will never commit adultery again. Although, since you are working diligently to repair your relationship, you might think your intentions to be monogamous are obvious, they aren’t. Tell your spouse of your plans to take your commitment to your marriage to heart. This will be particularly important during the early stages of recovery when mistrust is rampant.

Conversely, talking about the affair can’t be the only thing you do. Couples who successfully rebuild their marriages recognize the importance of both talking about their difficulties and spending time together without discussing painful topics. They intentionally create opportunities to reconnect and nurture their friendship. They take walks, go out to eat or to a movie, develop new mutual interests and so on. Betrayed spouses will be more interested in spending discussion-free time after the initial shock of the affair has dissipated.

Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process. The unfaithful spouse can do everything right- be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act trustworthy, and still, the marriage won’t mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself. Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection.

But forgiveness doesn’t just happen. It is a conscious decision to stop blaming, make peace, and start tomorrow with a clean slate. If the past has had you in its clutches, why not take the next step to having more love in your life? Decide to forgive today.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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Reeling From Infidelity

Every once in a while I step back and think about the messages I give to couples in my practice, seminars, keynotes and in my writing. To be sure, I have been a psychotic optimist about people’s ability to survive whatever comes their way in terms of marital challenges. For example, my mantra when interviewed by media about the impact of infidelity is that it is by no means a marital deal breaker. In fact, I say, that when a couple is willing to do the hard work of healing from infidelity, their marriage can be stronger than ever before. True? Well, yes, but not, I now believe, without considerable hardship and devastation along the way. Suffice it to say, infidelity is not for sissies.

As I have observed the fallout from infidelity from the discovery throughout the lengthy process of healing, I have noticed that, even when couples are devoted to rising above adversity, facing their demons, keeping their hearts open, working through pain, grief, anxiety and loss, the process is incredibly difficult. There are predictable twists and turns. Roller coaster-like days, months and even years take their toll emotionally, spiritually and physically. Forgiveness may come eventually, but forgetting never does. The marriage is changed forever, innocence and dreams lost.

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Marriage Advice: Take a Timeout – How to Stop Fighting [Video]

Michele Weiner-Davis gives insightful marriage advice on how to stop the routine of fighting with your spouse.

Want to be able to stop a fight in its tracks? Take a timeout. In the heat of an argument it’s difficult to keep your relationship goals in sight. By taking an intentional break, the time spent reflecting can help to calm your nerves. Michele Weiner-Davis lays out simple marriage advice to help couples establish a system to lessen the negative effects of their arguments.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

Full Transcript

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Update Your Divorce Busting Blog Bookmark

I just wanted to send out a quick notice to those who are still subscribing to the old Divorce Busting Blog URL and remind them to update to the new blog address, or the direct feed link at  The old blog,, will soon no longer be active.

I also encourage those who are not already, to subscribe to the Divorce Busting Blog.  It’s the easiest way to stay up-to-date with the latest Divorce Busting advice.  Subscribe to Divorce Busting Blog by Email or RSS the feed link.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Your Family

Your marriage is on the rocks. Your husband is emotionally unavailable and you strongly suspect he is having an affair. Your wife never wants to have sex. You are so miserable about your home life, you can’t even concentrate at work. You’re so desperate; divorce starts looking like a reasonable option. But you’re just not sure what to do. So, you turn to your friends and family for a shoulder to lean on. You tell them about the problems in your marriage and how your spouse just doesn’t understand you or your needs. You share the many ways in which your spouse is selfish, insensitive, deceitful, and controlling and how he or she is completely unwilling to change. Support and empathy is what you’re after and you talk about your predicament to any friend or family member with a sympathetic ear. The advice you get feels right, “I can’t believe your husband treats you that way. You shouldn’t put up with it,” or “Your wife doesn’t deserve you. You are so good to her and she is so self-absorbed.” Vindicated and bolstered, you leave these conversations feeling better. You’re right, your spouse is wrong. And that’s all good.

Weeks turn into months or years and nothing changes in your marriage. With each passing day, you grow increasingly unhappy. Now, your marital beefs become your daily mantra; you’ve looped your loved ones in on the on-going saga of a marriage gone wrong. Soon, they start wondering, “What did that jerk do to you today,?” Eventually, you’re being urged to cut your losses and get out of your marriage. Your friends and family can’t stand to see you hurt any longer. They want you to get on with your life. “Enough is enough,” they say, and start offering suggestions about divorce attorneys. And as you’re about to see, while it may feel comforting to know that there are people who love, support and understand you, relying on family and friends in this way can easily backfire.

For starters, when you discuss your marital issues with close friends and family, they hear only your side of the story, which by definition, is incomplete and skewed. But this doesn’t stop your loved ones from diagnosing your spouse as the problem. Their loyalty to you blinds them from seeing or understanding the context in which the marital problems have developed over time. They fail to recognize how maybe, just maybe, your actions may have triggered your spouse to behave in undesirable ways. That’s because YOU might be unaware of your own contribution to your relationship struggles as well. It’s often hard to see the forest for the trees.

But beside the fact that your cronies may be shortsighted and biased in terms of your perspective on things, there is an even more problematic twist when it comes to turning to loved ones for support during marital strife. And here it is. YOU MIGHT CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE. If your spouse starts being kinder, more considerate, loving, involved, sexier, communicative…and so on, you’re encouraged and can’t wait to share your good news with your inner circle. But when you do, lo and behold, they’re not impressed. They’re not happy, far from it. They’re skeptical or filled with contempt. They tell you “Can’t you see that he’s just trying to manipulate you?” “She’s on her best behavior, but it won’t last.” “Once a cheater/liar, always a cheater/liar.” “You’ve been wanting to get out of your marriage and now you are being brainwashed to stay.” They’re frustrated and angry because you’ve leaned on them and basked in their emotional support, and now, you want to stay married and work things out!! It’s simply unacceptable.

So, you try to explain that things are different now. You give examples of all the thoughtful things your spouse is doing to show s/he cares. But they won’t budge. You just don’t understand why they’re so stubbornly clinging to their negative views of your mate. Why aren’t they happy for you that your marriage has turned a corner? Why don’t they see the changes in your spouse? And if they really loved you, regardless of what they think about your spouse, shouldn’t they just want you to be happy- even if they don’t agree with your decisions?

This week in my practice I was deeply saddened by a situation much like the ones I have described above. A couple married for 10 years with two young children sought my help. The wife has been desperately unhappy because her husband, a workaholic, has been emotionally distant, uninvolved with the children, critical and demeaning. Because of her unhappiness, she spent extended periods of time with her parents and siblings who live out of town. Her husband felt neglected, lonely and unappreciated. Rather than discuss their feelings openly and honestly, they argued and retreated to separate quarters. Their relationship, rather than intimate partners, seemed more like toddlers engaging in parallel play.

To satisfy a deep void from within, the husband turned to sex outside the marriage- lots of it. He found himself in a web of sexually compulsive behavior. His wife, though emotionally detached, sensed something was not right and began sleuth work to entrap him. She solicited help from computer-savvy relatives and within a short period of time, got all the information she needed to make a decision about her marriage. She’s wanted out. Her siblings cheered her on and the once adored husband, brother and son-in-law got slapped with the scarlet letter and was ostracized from a family he dearly loves.

The wife sought legal advice and announced her intentions to divorce her husband. He was crushed and begged her to come for a two-day intensive with me. As is often the case with these challenging but productive intensives, this couple decided to tackle the issues that led them astray and recommit to working on their marriage rather than to divorce. Though well aware that the road to recovery would be fraught with challenges and hard work, nonetheless, a feeling of optimism was palpable in my office.

Until they got home, that is.

Upon hearing the news of possible reconciliation, this woman’s family was livid, outraged. Her brothers and sisters have vacillated between refusing to talk to her and non-stop harassing telephone calls. As weeks passed, in spite of the impressive, heartfelt, and profoundly life-transforming work these two individuals have been doing on themselves and their marriage, her family hasn’t been swayed. As if her dealing with complicated and painful marital issues and the detailed disclosure about his sexually compulsive behavior weren’t enough. Now, this.

Although I’m hopeful her family will eventually come around, my heart hurt for them when, through their tears, they told me about her family’s reaction to her decision to try to work things out. But I was not surprised. I’ve seen this dynamic many times.

So, here’s some advice.

If you are someone considering divorce, it’s reasonable to assume that you will want to discuss your situation with people closest to you- good friends and relatives. Understand that when you do, they will naturally take your side. The more information you share about your spouse’s “wrongdoings,” the more your friends and family will object to his or her presence in your life. If you sense that your loved ones are becoming biased, it’s wise to limit complaints about your marriage and consult with a therapist instead. (Make sure you hire a marriage-friendly therapist.) Don’t expect your family to be able to readily switch gears about your spouse’s potential to change just because you have. They may just need more time. And whatever you do, while they catch up to you, don’t allow their pessimism to thwart your marriage-saving plans. As David Ben-Gurion once said, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist. “

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Surviving Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis

It often strikes men between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-something.  You think your marriage is decent.  Oh yes, you realize that there are ups and downs, but you also know that no marriage is perfect so you don’t get too bent out of shape about it.  Then strange things start to happen.  You and your spouse are arguing all the time.  he starts telling you that he’s unhappy in the marriage.  In fact, he’s always been unhappy being with you.  What about all of your fond memories?  It was a sham, he tells you.  He confesses that he loves you, but he’s no longer in love with you.  You’re too fat, too thin, too demanding, too laid back, not sexual enough, too boring, too critical, too unloving.  He wants a divorce.

You’re crushed.  Here’s the man you love, the man you vowed to spend the rest of your life with, and he can find nothing good or right about you and your life together.  You feel hurt and spend days trying to sort out where things went wrong.  Because you love your husband and you want to keep your marriage together, you keep a running list of his complaints and, after you get over your initial shock and defensiveness, you start trying to fix things like a crazy woman.  You lose weight.  You get a new hairstyle,.  You buy new clothes.  You start being nicer and more and more affectionate.  You stop doing things that annoy him.  You bend over backward trying to please him, but his needs seem to be a moving target.  Nothing you do makes a difference.

Then his behavior becomes even stranger.  He spends long hours with his buddies, works out at a gym trying to win an Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike contest, buys a new wardrobe, uses new cologne, dyes his gray hair, trades in his cheap reading glasses for colored contact lenses, and if he’s financially able, buys himself new expensive toys with motors.  If all this weren’t enough, he finds a lover who can convince him that he is immortal, sexy, smart, and successful, and that life would be wonderful if he just rode off into the sunset with her.  What’s going on here?  Hold on to your hat.  You’ve entered Midlife Crisis Land and you are in for quite a ride.  Why do men act as if their minds have been abducted by extraterrestrial beings?  And more important, why didn’t these beings take men’s bodies too so that it wouldn’t be quite so confusing?

Many men wake up one morning and realize for the first time in their lives that they aren’t going to live forever.  They notice their bodies aging.  Their waists are growing, their hair is graying or gone.  Their reading glasses have become an annoying necessity.  Their sex drive isn’t what it used to be.  There are wrinkles on their faces along with sagging skin.  And then there are those little aches and pains in their joints and other body parts that weren’t there the last time they looked.  It all adds up to a very depressing epiphany…”I’m a middle-aged man.”  The old gray man, he ain’t what he used to be.

Suddenly, he’s scared.  Life is passing him by, and the only thing slowing him down, he thinks, is you.  You and all that you have come to symbolize are his emotional shackle.  He’s tired of feeling responsible for putting food on the table, buying name-brand clothes for the kids, sending them to college, and having to show up at work every day.  Because men often define themselves through their work, if he’s been less than successful or less than satisfied with his career, he feels as if he’s a failure.  He becomes depressed.  His only salvation, he convinces himself, is to be free of you.

First, you need to know that you are not the cause of all his unhappiness.  There may be things about your marriage that need to be improved and you, like everyone else, aren’t perfect, but the emotions he’s pinning on you have much, much more to do with him and the way he’s handling things right now.  He feels so bad about himself that he is striking out, and you just happen to be within striking distance.  If you’ve been feeling dumped on, this is why.

Here’s the tricky part.  Part of you desperately wants to save you marriage and do what it takes to make him happy.  Another part of you keeps asking yourself whether you should be putting up with his insanity.  You wonder whether you’ve lost your mind.  “Why in the world,” you ask yourself, “would someone subject herself to this kind of abuse?”  Your friends worry about your husband but they’re even more worried about you.  They think you’ve lost your marbles for considering spending one more day in a thankless marriage.

There are days you agree with them and just when you feel like throwing in the towel (or better yet, throwing it at him) you remember your vows.  You remember your children.  You remember your history together and what your marriage was like before he pulled the rug out from beneath your feet.  You loved him dearly.  In fact, you still love him dearly.  Despite all that he has said and done recently, you find yourself longing for him.  You want him to just snap out of this temporary insanity long enough to put his arms around you and tell you that everything is going to be okay.  You can’t seem to shake the feeling that love is a decision and you made the decision long ago to stay together “till death do us part.”

So you feel desperate to get him to realize that he is going through a phase that will pass. You try to convince him that he’s misjudging, misreading, and overreacting.  You tell him that things aren’t as bad as they seem.  You promise things will change soon and that he will feel better about his life.  But you notice that he’s not buying it.  In fact, the more you try to convince him that he’s overreacting or undervaluing the good things in your marriage, the more he pulls away from you, blaming you loudly as he goes.  You feel abandoned, betrayed, and emotionally empty.  Throw an affair into this mix and you start to feel yourself falling apart.

You’re at a loss, you don’t know what to do.  You want to make your marriage work, but it’s hard to imagine how even the best divorce-busting techniques could be effective in dealing with a person who is in La-La Land.  Despite your frustrations, the bottom line is you want your marriage.  So what’s a woman to do?

Before you decide to take on the project of saving your marriage, you need to realize a few things:

There Are No Guarantees

Although most men do come to their sense eventually, not all do.  You could do all the hard work, and in the end, still get divorced.  At the very least, you’ll be able to honestly say to yourself that you tried everything.  And if you have children, you are teaching them a very, very important lesson: that you must do whatever you can to make your marriage work.  Your children will benefit from watching you, no matter what happens in the end.

This Is Going To Be A Long Haul

Midlife crisis don’t end quickly; they may last months or years, and you need to brace yourself for the journey.  Many of the problems addressed in this marriage-saving guide are somewhat less intractable and easier to resolve.  Wading through a midlife crisis is a process that simply takes time.  You can’t rush it.  You can’t rush it.  You can’t bull your way through it.  You just have to remind yourself constantly that there are no quick fixes.  And, however long it really takes, it seems a whole lot longer.

Expect a Roller-Coaster Ride

The midlife crisis is going to be a full-fledged roller-coasted ride.  You will go up and you will go down.  Just when you think your husband is showing signs of improvement, he lets you know that, as far as he’s concerned, nothing has changed.  It’s all par for the course.  The unpredictability of his moods and his reactions will drive you nuts.  But then there will be those times that keep you going, times when, for just a brief moment, things seem normal again.  If you ask people who have successfully survived a midlife crisis, they will tell you that the roller-coaster ride was the only route to getting there.  So like it or not, fasten your seat belt and invest in a large supply of Dramamine.

Welcome to Limbo Land

One of the worst parts about how long it takes for your spouse to work his way through his existential dilemma – and how rocky the road will be – is that you will feel that your life has been put on hold.  You will feel angry and hurt that you have to wait for him to realize something that he should just have known at the start – that your marriage is worth saving.  You will resent the fact that it will feel as if he is calling all the shots.  You have to wait for him to change his mind about you and your relationship.  You have to wait for him to want to be with you.  You have to wait for him to feel better about himself and his choices.  You just have to wait.  He’s setting the pace right now.  Not knowing about the of all this will be maddening at times, but for now, you will just have to accept this state of uncertainty.

To Say You Will Need Patience is a Big, BIG Understatement

If you are a take-charge person, you are about to learn one of the hardest lessons in your life.  You are not going to be able to control or exert influence on your partner to speed up this process.  You are going to hear and see things that you think are unfair and unjust and you are going to learn very quickly that you are not going to be able to educate your spouse about his wrongdoings.  You are just going to have to let things happen, go with the flow.  The answers to this puzzling midlife crisis must come from him.  You won’t be able to guide him or facilitate the process.  This will require an enormous amount of patience and self-control.  Think about the most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your life in regard to being patient.  now multiply that by a million.  You’re beginning to see what I mean.

Don’t Defend Yourself

The best thing you can do when your spouse shares negative feelings about your marriage, his life, or even you is to be a good listener.  Acknowledge what he is saying.  Tell him that you feel bad that he is so upset about things.  Tell him that you wish things had been different.  Apologize for things that warrant it.  Let him know that you are hearing and taking to heart the things he is unhappy about.  This will be challenging because you will be listening with one ear and thinking about what you’d love to say in response at the same time.  Resist the temptation to say it.  Even if you are “right,” pushing the issue will push him away.  Don’t do it.

Don’t Ask Questions or Make Demands

It’s very important that you give your husband space.  He needs time to think, feel, and experiment, even if part of his experimentation involves another woman.  If you start making demands right away, you will probably lose him.  There may not be much that you can do right now to make things better, but there are a ton of things you can do to make things worse, like interrogation and issuing demands.  You will have to develop many strategies to stop yourself from blowing your stack or nailing him to the wall; this will be unbelievably challenging.  But that’s precisely what you need to do.  Discover what helps to keep you on track, whether it’s taking a walk, going for a run, calling a friend, logging on to your computer, reading a book, or standing on your head.

Focus on Yourself

Although you have read this advice many times, it is here that it is most applicable.  It is absolutely essential that you find ways to make yourself happy during this most difficult time.  “Easy for you to say, Michele,” is what you’re thinking.  I know, I know.  It’s hard to imagine how you could be happy while your life is falling apart, but if you are going to come out the other side of this midlife crisis, you are going to have to do it.  Whether you were an incredibly independent person to begin with, or someone who preferred doing everything with your man, you are going to have to develop and discover ways to find inner peace without him right now.  You need to do this for you, for your husband and for your children, if you have them.

Although your husband can choose to put his decision about your marriage on hold, you cannot and should not put your own life on hold.  Once you get over the shock of what’s happening and grieve, you need to get out a piece of paper and a pen and write down the concrete steps you are going to take to make your life as fulfilling as possible.  You need to restore you sense of self.  You are a wonderful person and you should remind yourself of this whenever possible, because you won’t be getting lots of compliments from your spouse.  You will have to find your goodies somewhere else.  Here are somethings women have done to help them feel good about themselves and their lives during their transitional periods.  This list is by no means comprehensive.  I include it simply to jump-start your imagination.

  • Spend more time with their children
  • Keep a journal
  • Reinvest themselves in spiritual activities
  • Further their education
  • Join a support group
  • Devote themselves to their careers
  • Spend more time with friends
  • Begin a new hobby
  • Join a health club
  • Read self-help books

One more thing to consider.  Even if your husband won’t go – and whatever you do, you shouldn’t press the issue – you might consider going for therapy.  If you find someone you like, s/he can help you sort things out and feel better about yourself.  Find a professional who is trained in solution-oriented methods and who is pro-marriage.  If you go to a therapist who doesn’t understand what you are working toward and the methods you are using to get there, s/he will probably try to discourage you from continuing on your marriage-saving path.  Be very clear from the start that you are determined to save your marriage.  Also, make sure your therapist doesn’t subscribe to the “You should tell him how you feel” methodology.  It won’t work,  I promise you.  If the therapist suggests that you need to disclose your feelings or that therapy won’t work unless your husband joins you in treatment, it should be an immediate red flag for you to find someone else.

I Did it My Way

The one thing you will have to keep in mind throughout this journey is that your husband will have to find his own answers.  No matter how much you want to help him, he will not find comfort in the articles you send him, the therapy appointments you want to make for him, the heart-to-hearts you want to have with him, or anything else you wish to do.  In the same way that you can’t force a baby to walk before he crawls, talk before he babbles, getting through a midlife crisis is a process.

If you have children, you know that there have been times when you’ve needed to stand back and let them fall so they improve their balance and learn how to get up again.  Similarly, you will need to stand back and allow your spouse to find his way.  I realize that I have told you this before, but I’m saying it again because I know you will need to take this to heart.  You might find yourself reading and rereading this.  Letting go is amazingly difficult, but unless you do, your marriage probably won’t work out.  You have to learn how to detach from your husband’s confusion and let him struggle through it until he sees a clearing.

Coming Home

I know you are going to have a hard time believing what I’m about to tell you now, but if your husband does eventually decide to recommit to your marriage, life will not be a bed of roses right away.  For starters, you have just spent a very long time putting aside your emotions and needs.  You’ve had to be incredibly strong.  Perhaps your spouse has had an affair and while you’ve been fighting for your marriage, you’ve had to put your feelings of rage and despair on the back burner.  So, if your husband decides to work on your marriage, although you’ll be very relieved, you should expect to be flooded with many other intense emotions.  This is normal.  It doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake.  It just means you’re human.

The way to move beyond these intense feelings is to make your marriage better than it ever was to begin with.  This means that you and your husband have lots of issues to work out.  You need to identify which parts of your marriage need to be improved.  You will need to change, but your husband will need to change too.  He will need to show you that he wants to invest his heart into your relationship.  He needs to show empathy for what you’ve been through all these months.  But don’t expect these changes to happen immediately; it will take time.  You will need to continue to remain patient.

Furthermore, if your spouse had an affair that he’s decided to end, as much as you’d like him to be thrilled about the fact that the other woman is no longer in his life, it’s unlikely that this will happen.  Even if his intentions to work on your marriage are good, he will probably be feeling a sense of withdrawal just as someone would if they were giving up a drug.  He might feel sad.  He might be depressed or irritable.  Don’t assume he’s second-guessing himself.  Don’t assume he thinks he wants to go back to her.  Let him be.  He will come out of his funk much more quickly if you, in a sense give him “permission” to feel that way for a while.  This shows him that you know that feeling sad when you end something is normal.  It is.  don’t make anything more out of it than it is.

But don’t lose sight of the fact that you have come such a very, very long way.  Think about how things were when he first hit his midlife crisis.  Remember how devastated you were and how impossible he was.  Things really have changed, haven’t they?  You should be very proud of yourself.  And you should give yourself permission to feel the whole range of feelings you are experiencing right now.  Just don’t blow all the hard work by slipping back into old ways.  You will feel better soon.  You and your spouse need to work as a team to get your marriage back on track.  You’ve gotten this far, you can reach your end goal…a loving marriage.  Just hang in there.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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Divorce Busting 101 – Save Your Marriage – Relationship Goals

In this Divorce Busting 101 video, I  explain the value of setting relationship goals. By having a greater vision for the direction you’d like your relationship to go, you lay the foundation to save your marriage.


Do you want a better relationship? If you do you have to set relationship goals. Why? Because if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. When i talk to couples about setting relationship goals, they think about new years eve and they say I set goals on new years eve. But what are those goals for? They’re for eating less, exercising more, quitting drinking or quitting smoking. Think about it, what do all of those goals have in common? They’re personal goals, they’re not relationship goals. And so today I’m going to help you really identify what you need to do differently to set solution oriented relationship goals- goals that contain within them the seeds for solution.

There are 3 criteria.

The first one is that you have to state your goals positively. People generally don’t do that. When I ask couples in my practice, “what are you hoping to change about your relationship? What do you want to improve?” Generally they want to talk about they’re unhappy about. They’ll say, “I wish my husband wasn’t so critical. I wish my wife weren’t such a nag.” Those are not goals those are complaints. Let’s turn them into positively stated goals.

Back to the wife who says I wish my husband weren’t so critical. I would ask her, when he stops being so critical, what will he be doing differently? And she’ll say something like, “I wish he would compliment me more,”, “if he just thanked me once in a while for making great meals” or, “if he told me I looked really hot, I’d really know we’re on the right track.” That’s a great difference because if she thinks that her goal is I wish my husband were less critical, she’ll go home, looking for him to be critical, counting it, and hoping it’s fewer times. On the other hand if she goes home saying “I hope that he’s more complimentary” and she looks for him being more complimentary, saying nicer things, that’s going to instantly change the dynamics of their relationship. Get it?

Criteria number two: your goals need to be action oriented. Too often when I speak to people about goals, they’ll say things like, “I wish my husband were more loving or more affectionate,” “I wish my wife were more respectful or more caring.” What does that mean? Well it probably means one thing to you and another to your spouse, so you have to unpack the meaning. I’m going to give you an example.

When I ask women what is it you’d like to change about your relationship, they often say things like, “I wish my husband were a better communicator.” So I ask her, what will he be doing differently when he is a better communicator. She’ll say things like “I’d love it if he made eye contact with me, because too often he’s watching television when we’re having a conversation,” or, “I’d love it if he made a comment after I’m talking about something because he has the glazed over look in his eye, if he asked me a question or made a comment then I’d really know he was listening.” or, “when I come home from work my husband would ask me, ‘how was your day,’ ‘what are you thinking about,’ ‘how are you feeling?’ Then I’d know that he’s interested in who I am and he really wants to talk to me.” So remember, action oriented goals will get you to where you need to be.

Criteria number three: your goals need to be broken down into small doable steps. Things that you can accomplish in about a week or two. Too many people make grandiose goals that they don’t accomplish for six months or a year and that’s discouraging. So if you break them down into something you can do in a week or two, there’s nothing that breeds success like success. Let me give you an example.

I was working with a woman who discovered that her husband had been unfaithful and she wanted to stay married. I asked her about her goal, she said she wanted to have complete faith and trust in her husband again. Well, hello – that might happen a year from now or two years from now. So I asked her, what would be the very first sign that things are moving in the right direction. She told me that they weren’t even talking to each other, so the first sign would be that they would sit down and and begin to discuss what happened. Even if the conversation didn’t go very well and there were hurt feelings, she would be able to tell they’re moving in the right direction because they were communicating again. So make sure that your goals are broken down into small doable steps.

So here’s a quick review, criteria number one, your goals need to be positively stated, number two, they need to be action oriented, number three, break them down into small doable steps. Hopefully I’ve given you enough information to really get you started but if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself “I need some more help,”, don’t hesitate to call a Divorce Busting Coach. My coaches are fantastic! And if you’re wondering, “how in the world do I set relationship goals when I’m the only one working on the relationship,” don’t worry about that. Ninety five percent of the people who call a Divorce Busting Coach have spouses that are half way out the door. So make a call, get your relationships on track, have a vision of where you want to go, and we can help you get there.

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10 Steps for Avoiding Divorce

Steps for Avoiding Divorce

Although relationships often seem daunting, by following these ten simple steps, you can build the foundation for a strong, happy marriage.

1) Spend time together

The number one cause for the breakdown in marriage today is that couples aren’t spending enough time together or making the relationship a priority. Everything else seems to take precedence- work, children, hobbies, relatives, community commitments.  And when include children on this list,  most people say, “But Michele, we both work, so on weekends or evenings, we don’t want to be away from our children.”  To that I say, “The best thing you can do for your kids is to put your marriage first.”  Marriages that are time-starved are at risk of divorce because partners stop being friends.  This leads to a lack of connection which leads to a multitude of problems.  Avoid this by planning time together…alone!

2) Have sex

Sex is one of the most important connections in marriage. Do whatever it takes to keep passion alive.  Desire is a decision.  Even if you are feeling turned off and tuned out, with what we now know about boosting libido, there is no reason anyone wanting a more vibrant sex life can’t have one.  Whether the causes for a ho-hum sex life are biological, relational or personal, help is available.  Sex-lite marriages often lead to infidelity or divorce.

3) Touch

It’s not just about sex. Affectionate touch is important too. Hold hands. Sit together on the couch. Cuddle in bed.  If you happen to be married to someone whose “love language” is touch, you can say, “I love you,” make delicious meals, work your butt off at the office,  or buy expensive gifts and nothing will say, “I adore you,” as well as a good hug or kiss.  Stay in touch.

4) Flirt

Recall how you and your spouse flirted in the early days? Do that throughout your marriage and it will stay exciting.  Did you have pet names?  Did you tell your spouse s/he looked hot?  Were you more playful?  Did you surprise each other once in a while?  How about x-rated emails or texts?  Do what you did when the fires were burning and watch how that heats things up.

5) Talk frequently

Check in with each other daily. Talk about important feelings and issues. Don’t shut down when you are hurt. Keep the lines of communication open.  This goes for you too, even if you’re a guy.  While it’s true that most guys prefer doing over talking, it’s also true that meaningful , heartfelt conversations are truly important when it comes to intimacy.  Don’t let a day go by without asking about your spouse’s day.

6) Give compliments

Everyone likes to be appreciated. Make sure you give your spouse compliments EVERY DAY.  It’s amazing how resilient relationships are when spouses feel appreciated.  They can weather most storms together if they feel that their partners really appreciate who they are.

7) Take a marriage class

Staying in love requires skills that many people don’t have. The good news is that there are marriage education classes. Take them together and learn to stay in love.  In most marriage seminars, you don’t have to talk about your personal problems in public.  It’s a class, not therapy.  You can learn everything you need to know about making marriage work.

So, if you’re having problems, don’t wait for them to fester, learn how to resolve problems and build connection.  And then remember, practice makes perfect.

8 ) Learn skills to handle conflict constructively

All couples have conflict. It’s how you handle it that makes or breaks the relationship.  The goal is for both people to really make an effort to understand and develop empathy for your partner’s views.  Feeling understood is incredibly important to most people.  Many arguments escalate because both partners feel misunderstood and unvalidated. If you can’t talk about things without fighting, get some coaching. It works!

9) Focus on the positives

Every marriage has good things about it and not so good things. In many marriages, people focus more on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right.  That’s wrong. :-) It leads to contempt, defensiveness and distance.

Even if you’re unhappy, the best way to get your spouse to be more responsive to your needs is to compliment him or her when s/he is hitting the mark rather than criticizing when things aren’t going well.  Remember, what you focus on expands.

10) Do real giving

People tend to show love in the way they like to receive love. But that’s not really giving. Real giving is when you give to your partner the things your partner wants and needs whether you understand it or not! For example, if you like to be asked, “What’s wrong,?” when you are down in the dumps, you might think that your spouse likes it when you ask that question when s/he is upset.  But you might be married to someone who likes to be left alone to sort things out when s/he is down in the dumps.  So, in that case, giving your spouse space to reflect- even if you feel the urge to ask, “What’s wrong,?” is an example of real giving.

If  you’re someone whose spouse likes alone time to sort things out, but you’re a “talker,” it might feel unnatural to be silent when you see your spouse hurting.  I tell couples that you know you are doing real giving when your actions feel unnatural or when it’s challenging.  That’s because you are caring for your partner’s needs, not your own and that often requires personal stretching!

Do real giving and you’ll be surprised how much more giving your spouse will be in return.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.


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Sex Addictions: The Master deBate

Wow! I just watched a colleague’s interview on NBC on the topic of whether sex addiction is real or not. Although I have tremendous respect for this particular individual and love their work, I couldn’t disagree more with their response during the interview.

Yes, it’s true that the DSM IV and many mental health professionals do not recognize sexual addiction as a valid diagnosis.  I am convinced after several decades of working with couples where betrayal is the rule rather than the exception, that sexual addiction is alive and well and destroying lives, marriages and families in its wake.  For starters, my colleague said that the way you can tell that someone has an addiction is if that is the only thing they can think about and because of this obsession, it gets in the way of work and other facets of life.  I have worked with countless couples where one partner- usually the man, but not always- is so focused on hunting down the next sexual partner and engaging in that relationship, despite continual promises to oneself to stop, that the rest of their lives become unimportant. I have worked with men who masturbate for hours- at work- until their penises actually bleed. How much fun do you think that is?

So many of the folks who have sexual addictions hate themselves, wish they could stop but don’t know how. They need help. Does this sound familiar? Does this sound, let’s say, like alcohol addiction? Or are people just making it up when they say alcohol addiction is truly an addiction? Although I am not an expert on the biology of addiction, suffice it to say that hunting down sexual partners, having sex, experiencing orgasms creates powerfully reinforcing biochemicals in our brains and bodies. This could account for some of the obsessive behavior engaged in by people who have addictions. This is not to say that every person who is unfaithful once or even multiple times is addicted to sex. It is possible to simply be unfaithful without the component of addiction.

Having said that, in light of our not really knowing the truth about addiction, I think it is hurtful to couples dealing with this issue and incorrect to say that this sort of behavior is simply a matter of taking advantage of opportunities and feeling entitled. That is far too simplistic. I have walked the path with couples whose lives have been shattered by addiction and have attempted to help them heal and learn the skills they need to overcome this very real and very painful problem.

Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.

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