My Loneliness Has A First Name

Over drinks with a friend who happens to be going through the same situation as I the other night, the conversation naturally centered around what we are both reluctantly trudging through; Divorce. With Children. And all the intense suckiness that tags along with the process. Inevitably, as the conversation evolved, we came to a topic that I have become accustomed to arising in these types of discussions; my attitude. My incessant optimism and prevailing positive attitude, despite the negative circumstances.

I was venting about how shitty my week had been; how I was pissed-off at everyone around me and found myself crying in my car in the parking lot every single day. She naturally understood the emotional extremes I was describing and had recently experienced several weeks like that herself.

I then mentioned that in the midst of my anger and despair and grief and frustration filled Week-From-Hell, that I had written a couple of blog posts expressing just exactly how crappy I was feeling. But that I just couldn’t bring myself to publish them.

“I couldn’t put all of my negativity vomit out there – no one wants to read about how pissed off I am – I would just seem like an ungrateful asshole complaining about how terrible my life is. So many people have it worse.”

“True.” She agreed. “But it would be authentic. I would read about you having a crappy week and think, ‘See – she really is human. She has shitty weeks just like me, when I just want to shut the world out’.”

Hmm…. This got the wheels turning. And it made me realize that perhaps I haven’t been as authentic as I’ve been preaching. I filter out the bad days, the ones where I’m certain that I’m destroying my children and that life is simply never going to be okay again. I wait until those days have passed, then reflect on what I’ve learned, and bring you my optimistic conclusions.

But the reality is, I am human. And I am going through something really fricken hard. And the truth is that being human means that some days I don’t have a SINGLE OUNCE of perspective. Some days I am fighting back tears more often than not, and some days I drive like a complete ASSHOLE because I feel like the world owes me something. Being human means that some days I lose my cool and scream bloody murder when I’m trying to corral an 11 month old and a 4 year old to get out the door on time, on my own, for the fourth day in a row, and both the dog and the baby have blowouts, causing me to be late, once again, because of (quite literally) shit. Being human means that some days I might excuse myself to go cry in my car because people are complaining, to my face, about their husbands…again. You know, husbands… those guys who marry you and stand by your side and help you with the kids and sometimes take the garbage out and if nothing else, are there to give you a hug at the end of a shitty day. That thing that, in case you forgot, I no longer have. Call it jealousy, bitterness or whatever you want, some things are just a little too salty right now for my freshly cut wound.

So in the spirit of authenticity, yes – I have shitty days that DON’T end with a silver lining. But here’s the kicker – I have learned to let myself have shitty days. I allow the sadness to surface and invite it right on in because I’ve learned that through it is the only way out. There is simply no point in suppressing the sadness or the grief or the anger and frustration, because it’s there. It’s there for a reason. And it’s not going anywhere until it’s served its purpose. So I sit and I ask it what the hell it wants from me and tell it to just go ahead and take it. Sometimes it’s a good scream. Sometimes it’s the longest, most brutal, ugliest cry you’ve ever seen. Sometimes it just wants me to sit outside and not do a single thing but listen to the birds for hours. Sometimes after giving it what it wants and letting it surface and marinate for a while, I find that it identifies itself as something completely unexpected… like loneliness. And the cool thing is that in identifying it and bringing it to light, it somehow reduces its power over me.

During a therapy session in the midst of Week-From-Hell, my therapist suggested I go a step further while sitting with these painful emotions and give them a name. I raised my eyebrows, tilted my head forward and looked at her as though maybe she was the one who should be sitting on the couch.

“By giving it a name” she explained, “You are identifying the pain as something outside of yourself. It helps you recognize that it’s something separate from you.”

Kay… this was starting to make a little bit of sense. I asked her to continue.

“Naming the painful emotion helps you realize that you are not your loneliness, for instance. And that it is something that comes and goes, but doesn’t define you. You can choose whether to let it in or shut it out. Without identifying as something outside of you, it can feel like it has all the power over and consumes you.”

She was damn right. So we named the crappiest emotion, the loneliness, Gary. Yup, I named my loneliness, Gary. Dear God.

So when Gary, or Steve (anger) or Rick (fear) knock on my door, I can say:

Oh hey there, Steve. Come on in, it’s been a while. What’s that? You want me to slam this door and punch that person in the face? Yeah, that’s cool. How about we go for a run and you can tell me all about why you are here, and then when we’re done you can go ahead and show yourself out.

But… the nice part is that, because I really am an optimistic person by nature, I really do know it will get better. I know that the visits from these nasty fellas will become fewer and farther between, as long as I continue to invite them in and sit with whatever it is they are bringing. And then maybe, once those nasty fellas have served their purpose and their visits are far less frequent, I will be in a place where I’m ready to invite in a nice fella who comes knock’n at my door. Maybe.

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Plan For A Successful Divorce Before Your Wedding Day!

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for Huffington Post questioning why it’s so easy to marry, but so difficult to get divorced. The global divorce industry is thriving with some benefiting from the complicated process.

It’s easy to blame the entire divorce industry, but that leaves us where we started: frustrated and broke! Finding solutions to messy divorce is much more challenging — but it is a challenge that I live for. In my article “It’s So Easy to Marry” I mentioned the value of premarital counseling. Youngsters sometimes decide to marry quickly based solely on their emotions and impulses, not taking into account the full extent of a legally binding commitment. Pre-marital counseling allows couples to fully consider the financial and personal stakes, revealing possible incompatibilities that are better learned before walking down the aisle. But even the most carefully laid plans sometimes fall apart and that’s why I believe that people should be able to settle a divorce in a relatively uncomplicated way. That’s is one of the reasons why I started with Divorce Hotel — to spare people unnecessarily messy separations. Even thought my reasons are logical, the process can still be complicated.

The good news is that there is a solution. The bad news is that you have to start thinking about divorce before you marry — I am talking about a prenuptial agreements or premarital agreements, more commonly known as a prenup.

A prenup is a contract that is drafted before marriage, basically outlining the terms for separation. Many people recoil at the mere mention of the word, as it blows romance out the window in a split second. Let’s face it: nobody who has met the love of her life wants to start thinking about divorce! But with the rates as high as they are, it’s important to face the facts and protect ourselves. Frankly, I believe that making prenups obligatory before marriage would save a lot of time stuck in really painful process.

I have prepared the most FAQs to help you better understand prenups:

Why a prenuptial agreement?

I can give you dozens of reasons why you should have a prenuptial agreement before marriage, but one of the most important reasons is that it forces a couple to think a bit further about all consequences of marriage. Too often couples only think about the emotional relationship, but marriage is also the start of a business relationship.

For example community property does not just refer to a couples shared property, but also debts. With a prenuptial agreement you can assess these areas and assert some terms and conditions beforehand, which saves a lot of headaches, should the marriage not work.

Is a prenup only for celebrity couples?

Not at all — in fact I firmly believe that prenups should be for everyone. We often see them with celebrities because there are more assets at stake. Prenups are of great value for people whose partners might huge debts, or in situations where one partner earns much more than the other. Bottom line — it is important to at least consider a prenup before marriage!

Can you list anything you want in a prenup?

Yes, you can list nearly everything what you want. For example adding a clause that states that you will try mediation if you decide to divorce, where you indicate that both spouses will commit to attending at least 3 sessions. Even a settlement about the dog can be included! But of course there are also limits. Legally you cannot excluded things like child support or predetermine child custody arrangements.

It’s worth hiring a good legal professional to help you list your terms and conditions so that you have a good prenup that satisfies both spouses.

Does a prenup need to be updated?

Yes definitely! From the beginning you should aim to make your prenup as clear as possible. After 20 years it still needs to be crystal clear and contain no nuances. We all know that life situations such as wealth, jobs, houses and feelings can suddenly change. For that reason alone, it’s wise to update a prenup every five years.

For a successful divorce, think carefully before the marriage. Prenups allow both partners to exercise control over their futures and help to make divorces much less painful. It’s important to remember that when everything goes well in a relationship, partners are willing to share and give each other everything, often overlooking obvious areas of conflict. However, when facing a divorce that good spirit disappears quickly, often brining defense and meanness. That’s why it’s better of to arrange the terms divorce while love is still in the air and you are both able to think logically and reasonably.

I sincerely hope that you never have to go through a divorce, but if you do, it’s better to be prepared!

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What To Do When You’re Bored With Your Sex Life, According To Sexperts

When you’ve been in a relationship for years, it’s all too easy to grow comfortable and slip into a sexual rut. The problem with comfortable is it oftentimes leads to boring ― and no couple should settle for boring sex. 

To help you bring excitement back to your sex life, we asked sex experts to share their best tips for couples in long-term relationships. See what they had to say below. 

1. Take the lead. 

Be honest with yourself: Who tends to initiate sex more often, you or your partner? If you’re the less sexually assertive partner, flip the script and take the lead on getting things started tonight, advised Jenny Block, a sex expert and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex

“Change things up: Don’t allow yourself to dance the familiar and instead choose the steps you have yet to take for a spin,” she said. “Do you always do things in a certain order, in a certain way? Well, forget all of that. Let go, let loose and let yourselves be free, new and unfettered again.” 

2. Make a sex date once a week. 

You never thought you and your partner would become one of those couples that has to schedule in sex. But the reality is, hot, spontaneous sex doesn’t always happen on the regular for long-term couples, said Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist and the author of The New Monogamy. If you’re more inclined to get busy Saturday afternoon, when you’re well-rested and relaxed, more power to you for acknowledging it. 

“With a sex date on the calendar, you are more likely to plan out what you can do to make it fun, different and exciting,” she said. “You can be as spontaneous and impulsive as you want ― but sometimes you have to plan it.” 

3. Talk about what turns you on now.

At this point, you know how to turn your partner on ― or at least you think you do. Chances are, the sex script you’ve been using to get your partner off for years needs some updating, said Celeste Hirschman, a sex therapist and the co-author of Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion

“The best way to put an end to boring sex is to have a really honest, detailed conversation about what turns you on with instructions, examples and a PowerPoint ― just kidding about the PowerPoint,” she joked. 

Approach the conversation without judgement and be very explicit about what you want. Show don’t tell, Hirschman said.

“Don’t just say, ‘I need you to be more passionate,’ show your S.O. exactly what being more passionate would look like by doing it to them,” she explained.

As Hirschman notes, this approach means you’ll have to get over the idea that your partner should “just know” what you want.  

“That’s a horrible myth that gets in the way of steamy, hot sex,” she said.  

4. Take intercourse off the menu for a while. 

Sex is about more than just intercourse, said Chris Rose, a sex educator at To revive your sex life, take a one- or two-month break from intercourse. 

“In the interim, commit to getting naked and touching one another more frequently. Explore full body contact, your hands and mouths, erotic talk and all the other ways you can pleasure one another,” she said. “You may just discover a new favorite path to arousal.” 

5. Have vacation sex ― or staycation sex. 

There’s nothing better than a vacation ― except maybe vacation sex. If you can’t financially swing a weekend getaway, turn your bedroom into a little escape by sprucing it up a bit, Block said. 

“Create something new that will inspire you to play just like when your surroundings are fresh and foreign,” she said. “Clear the clutter. Splurge on new sheets. Pick up some fresh flowers. Drown out the outside world with music that puts you both in the mood. Switch out your bulbs to create a more inviting lighting design ― whatever it takes.” 

6. Go ahead: Press send on that sexy mid-day text.

Sex is all about the buildup. Sending a sexually charged text to your partner will get the message across that you’re in the mood and create what Nelson likes to call “erotic anticipation.” (Let no eggplant or peach emoji go unused!) 

“The more provocative the better ― but try not to be too blatantly sexual,” she said. “Texting is like teasing: you can use it to connect and give just a taste of what is to come.” 

7. Discuss your sexual highlight reel. 

When you think back on your sexual encounters as a couple, what really got you going? Mull that over, then share your thoughts with your S.O., sparing no detail, Rose said. 

“Talk about your best sexual encounters together and explore the details. Where were you? What happened? What were you both feeling?” she advised. “Dig deep into your best shared sexual memories and you’ll likely open up your erotic future.” 

8. Make your S.O. feel wanted. 

Don’t idly assume that your partner knows how much you appreciate them, said Danielle Harel, a sex therapist and the co-author of Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Tell them. Ultimately, feeling emotionally connected is what keeps partners feeling safe and turned on, she explained. 

“This means talking about how beautiful, handsome or sexy you still are to each other and how much you appreciate each other,” Harel said. “It also means empathetically listening to each other.”  

She added: “It might be scary, but having deep conversations can make you see each other as new, exciting and sexy again.” 

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Advice Not To Follow When It Comes To Getting Over Your Ex

One of the hardest aspects of ending a romantic relationship or marriage is the voiced opinions of other people about what you need to do. Many don’t know what to say, or how to comfort, or they take on excessive responsibility to “fix” you and your situation. In reality, all you really want (and need) is a kind and supportive ear. With the shock and heartache that the loss of a relationship brings, you may find yourself with mixed feelings about what you actually should or should not be doing to cope. Relieve yourself of the burden of what others tell you that you “should” or “should not” do. Here are five well-meaning pieces of advice that deserve skepticism.

1. “Move On:” When grieving the loss of a relationship and feeling intense heartache, it is predictable that some close to you will convey that you should more quickly be moving on. They may seem to want this of you almost immediately. Perhaps you hear–“You’ve just got to move on.” “Get over it.” “It is what it is.” “Stop thinking about him.” Or perhaps you are telling yourself these same statements. It’s a completely unrealistic expectation that you are going to move on immediately. You need time and the more you beat yourself up telling yourself you should be moving on at a quicker pace, the longer it will actually take. This is because your brain and your body need time to come to terms with the loss. Some never do this work and jump quickly back into dating or make other major life changes in an effort to wipe the slate clean and avoid the pain. They may move across the country, buy a new home, get a new job, make large purchases–almost as a way to will themselves to move on. I have found over and over again that those who accept, right at the beginning, that the process of letting go is going to take some time, end up moving through the process more smoothly. You will recover. You will move on. Instead of forcing this, allow it to happen naturally–at your own pace.

2. “Don’t Sulk:” Then there are those you care about and who care about you who tell you to push your feelings aside– “Don’t dwell on your ex.” “Don’t think about the past.” “Some people have it worst than you.” “Snap out of it!” In fact the opposite is true. You have to feel and talk about the hurt, anger and despair to truly, eventually, let go. Just let yourself feel the sadness and hurt without also being critical about what you can’t help but to feel. There is nothing abnormal about having a range of emotions as you process the loss of your marriage or relationship. One way to cope with emotions, without pushing them away or becoming overwhelmed, is to set aside a period of time each day to feel and concentrate on them. Then when the time elapses, move to other tasks or distractions.

3. “Don’t Contact Your Ex:” It is common advice–“Whatever you do, don’t call him and immediately delete him/her from all of your social media.” However, and this is important, processing with your ex what happened in the relationship or what led up to the demise can be very helpful in some cases. You just have to assess if you and your partner are actually capable of doing this. And too, sometimes contacting your ex is a reminder that there is nothing left between you and that you really do need to stop contact. If you delete every bit of connection too soon, you may have regrets that lead you to obsess and self-criticize for being too hasty. When it’s time to take a step back, you will know. Recognize how you feel when you are viewing your ex’s social media updates, or when you talk or see them in person. If you feel worse after contact, take these feelings seriously they may be telling you it’s time to pull back. If you feel better or as if you have received something valuable from the interaction, it may not be time. (I describe how to stop contact and manage the feelings this engenders in Breaking Up and Divorce 5 Steps: How to Heal and Be Comfortable Alone).

4. “He Didn’t Really Love You:” Well-meaning friends and family may get angry on your behalf when you are recalling incidents of mistreatment and experiencing intense heartache and pain. They love you; they don’t want you to be mistreated. They may get to a point where they tell you, or you even tell yourself, that he never really loved you in the first place. This opinion just adds to your list of reasons to feel badly. The elusive question, “Did he ever love me?” invites a downward tailspin. Even if at the end you didn’t feel so loved, that doesn’t mean there was never something meaningful between you and your ex. Why else would people commit to someone for the long term? Love is complicated, people are complicated, but that doesn’t mean that your ex never saw anything special in you.

5. “You Need To Forgive:” It’s so common when angry or recounting difficult moments to a close friend or family member to hear something like– “You really need to work on forgiving him/her” or “You’ve got to let the anger go.” This may or may not be true, but hearing it only adds to the load of things you need to do and things you are doing wrong. Forgiveness is something that years later you just sort of naturally reflect upon and recognize as present. It is NOT something you can will yourself to do. And it’s precisely through processing the anger and feeling open with and unconditionally supported by others that we eventually let that anger and resentment go. If you feel embarrassed to talk about it or believe you should be better than all that, the anger will stick and possibly hinder you in other destructive ways.

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7 Things Resilient People Always Do After Heartbreak

Breakups make even the strongest people feel small, helpless and even hopeless at times. But if you stay optimistic and embrace some positive, healthy approaches to healing, you can emerge from the breakup stronger than ever.

Below, therapists share seven things resilient people do when dealing with heartbreak. (Chances are, you’re probably already doing many of them!) 

1. They don’t try to get back together with their ex.

Don’t expect someone who’s serious about moving on to send a 2 a.m. text to their ex. Sure, they get the urge just like the rest of us but they resist the temptation to press send, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist in Denver, Colorado.

“They know that there was a reason the relationship didn’t work out. And instead of giving it one more try, they accept their losses and resist the urge to get back together with their ex,” he said. 

2. They don’t blame themselves or fall into the victim role. 

People who remain positive post-split try to maintain some perspective while working through their feelings, said Olga Bloch, a marriage and family therapist in Rockville, Maryland. They recognize that they made mistakes that led to the breakup but instead of falling into a cycle of self-blame, they take responsibility for those mistakes and focus on becoming a stronger, smarter person. 

“Blaming yourself feels different because it comes from a place of little self-worth and a gnawing feeling of beating yourself up,” Bloch said. “This approach leaves you feeling powerless, unlovable and longing to return to a relationship. Taking responsibility is the only way to heal your heart and emerge stronger.”

3. They don’t allow the loss to define them. 

In I Remember Nothing, the late Nora Ephron reflects on how far she had come since her divorce from journalist Carl Bernstein:

The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over. Enough about that. The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me. And now it’s not.

It’s not that resilient people don’t give themselves time to mourn their loss; they do, but like Ephron, at some point they refuse to allow the heartbreak to define them.

Marriage therapist Susan Krauss Whitbourne puts it this way: “They don’t allow a breakup to pervade their sense of identity,” she said. “Even though the experience is, of course, incredibly painful at the time, they learn from it and grow more resilient.” 

4. They recognize the need for closure. 

Resilient people don’t allow themselves to mentally replay details of the breakup over and over again and they certainly don’t waste time Facebook stalking their ex. They recognize there’s a need for closure and try to get on with their lives, Whitbourne said. 

“They recognize what happened can’t be denied, but that they don’t benefit from becoming preoccupied with the breakup or their ex,” she said. 

5. They don’t consider themselves unloveable just because their ex doesn’t love them anymore.

Your value as a person is in no way tied to how desirable one person finds you ― especially if that one person is your ex. When a confident person is left, they recognize that they’re still a major catch, even if their ex fails to recognize it, Bloch said. 

“People who have a clear sense of who they are and what they contribute to a relationship understand that if someone doesn’t see or appreciate that, it’s their loss,” she said. “They don’t internalize the rejection or assume something is wrong with them. Instead, they look at the breakup as an opportunity to find someone who will truly see and love them for who they are even with their shortcomings.”

6. They aren’t trying to “win” the breakup. 

People who eventually get closure stay above the fray and focus on being the best version of themselves for themselves, Whitbourne said. 

“People who stay strong throughout a split are able to ‘save face.’ They don’t let their new single status get to them,” she explained.

7. They don’t take baggage into their next relationship. 

Everyone has skeletons in their closet from relationships past. What sets tough people from others is their willingness to “face their demons and iron things out so they’ll eventually end up in a stronger relationship,” Anderson said. 

“They go to work trying to fix those things that caused the breakup,” Anderson explained. “The breakup wasn’t all their fault but they’re not afraid to recognize things they did wrong and try to fix it so they don’t bring the same problems into the next relationship.”

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Gwen Stefani Gets Teary-Eyed While Chatting About Her Love Life Struggles

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We can always count on Howard Stern to get celebrities to reveal their most personal details ― Tina Fey spilled on all the behind-the-scenes Oscars secrets, Mila Kunis revealed that she and Ashton Kutcher were friends with benefits before they got married and on Wednesday, Gwen Stefani broke into tears while discussing her love life

While speaking about her relationship with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale, with whom she has three sons, the singer couldn’t hold back her emotions. 

Stefani met Rossdale shortly after her breakup with No Doubt bass player Tony Kanal, who she said she was “obsessed” with. But when she met Rossdale, things were different. 

“When I met him and looked up at him, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It was different,” she said. “I was in quite a rebellious place because I was feeling really rejected, but I also had this newfound power of songwriting … I was in a crazy place.” 

“Somehow he got my phone number, and that was that. He stalked me, I think,” she joked. 

Stern then brought up the divorce, apologizing to Stefani for what she went through. (Rossdale reportedly cheated on Stefani, a claim which she basically confirmed in Harper’s Bazaar earlier this month.)

“Its been an unbelievable journey … My parents were totally helping me through the whole thing,” she said before tearing up. “I always wondered, why did I get so unlucky in love? I have so much love in me. [Howard,] you are making me cry.”

But as we all know, Stefani is now dating country star Blake Shelton, a fellow judge and mentor on “The Voice.” 

The singer explained that their relationship started out platonically, but as she’s said before, they both bonded over the fact that they were going through divorces (Shelton had split from Miranda Lambert). 

When Stefani found out about Shelton’s divorce, she admitted, “I might have gone white.” 

“I was in shock,” she said, “because I felt like he was exposing me. I just couldn’t even wrap my head around it.”

As the two continued getting to know each other, their relationship grew. 

“[It’s] unbelievable that God would put us [together] at that moment, like at the same moment. His thing was going on since January and mine in February.”

Of course, the couple have been very public with their romance, often posting photos of each other and sharing loving exchanges on social media. But when asked if there was a wedding on the way for the them, Stefani simply said, “Literally not answering that.” 

Guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Marriage, According To Divorcees

There are some things you can’t possibly know about marriage until you’ve been there.

Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers and readers on Facebook reflect on what they wish they had known about marriage before saying “I do.”

1. You need more than love to keep your marriage alive.

“Love is not enough. You must like your partner and have a deep respect for them. You need someone who is your best friend. You need a rock and a place that is not just a house, but a home. You need a partner in life. The best marriages I’ve been blessed to know have had that at their foundation.” ― Jessica Kahan

2. The annoying habits that drive you nuts before you’re married won’t go away once you’re wed. 

“Your spouse’s annoying habits multiply exponentially after you’ve tied the knot. I’m talking about little things that gain annoying momentum as years go by. For me, it was abrasive quirks like these: tailgating at rush hour, interrupting me to correct me, calling every woman he met ‘sweetheart’ and twisting his napkin into a knot after every meal. Shallow and petty, I admit, but day after day took its toll. While dating, I wrote them off as changeable and cute. When the adrenaline wore off, those pesky habits became a problem.” ― Kat Forsythe

3. It’s not necessary to spend every waking minute together.

“Growing up, my dad was a ‘rolling stone‘ so I always thought that in order to prevent that sort of thing, married couples had to like the same things, do the same things and always be in each other’s sight. This is what I carried into my first marriage. Notice I said first marriage. That approach to spending time together ended in divorce. I’m remarried now and I know that it’s healthy for couples to have their own identity and enjoy their own hobbies.”- Tiffany Benyacko

4. If you suspect your spouse is upset about something, find out what it is at any cost. 

“When you’re married to someone who doesn’t want to talk about challenges and concerns in the marriage, push. Push hard. If you can make it happen on your own, great; if you need to seek the services of a counselor, do it. Don’t settle for ‘Things are fine; you’re making something out of nothing.’ If you’re feeling it, it’s not nothing and when you’re not being heard and acknowledged, resentment can’t help but grow. By the time that resentment has taken hold, if you’re not already gone, you will be.” ― Lisa Lavia Ryan

5. A marriage license doesn’t change much.

“A paper will not miraculously change anything about a person.” ― Carrie Rovere-Mundrick

6. You don’t have to stay in a bad marriage

No one should ever feel trapped in a marriage. Marriage shouldn’t be taken lightly and divorce should (almost) never be the first option, but if it isn’t the marriage you want, you desire, you deserve, you have choices. Staying is one of them but so is leaving. That doesn’t mean your marriage failed. It just means that it ended.” ― Aubrey Keefer

7. Your spouse will change. 

“You will change, too, so make damn sure that you can grow together and that you agree on the things that you consider dealbreakers.” ― Carol Schaffer

8. Meddling in-laws will test your marriage. 

“It’s your marriage and your life but issues within the immediate family can cause a huge problem in your marriage. It can chip away at your trust and your respect for one another. I wish I would have known that certain family dynamics can intensely interfere with a marriage. If your spouse doesn’t act like your backbone or help you feel supported through communication and establishing healthy boundaries, your marriage will fall apart.” ― Shelley Cameron 

9. One person’s love cannot sustain a marriage. 

“One person loving extra doesn’t make up for the other person loving less.” ― Jen Cooper Atkinson

10. It’s OK to be done. 

“At some point in the last seven years of my 15-year marriage ― the seven where I read every book, went to every counselor and ran myself into the ground trying to fix it ― I wish someone had told me, ‘It’s OK to be done.’” ― Kami Sayre

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