Long Term Marriage and Divorce

 

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Statistics show that most divorces happen within the first ten years of marriage, so we often have the impression that long term marriages are “divorce proof.”  Even though divorce after 40 years of marriage is a rare occurrence statistically, recent trends suggest that the number of couples getting divorced after 20, 30 and even 40 years of marriage is on the rise.

There isn’t anywhere near the amount of data for long term marriages that end in divorce as there is for couples who divorce in the early years of marriage.   However, there is some data emerging  based on interviews with couples divorcing after more than 25 years of marriage.  Here are three of the major findings that are emerging from this research  to help explain why the number of couples who are divorcing after more than 25 years of marriage is steadily increasing.

Staying Together for the Children - It is certainly not a new concept to avoid divorce for the sake of a couple’s children, but it does present a difficult situation once these children are grown.  Marriage researchers report that even couples who claim to have been happy throughout their marriage need to put forth extra effort to rediscover each other once their children grow up and leave home.  For those couples who were merely hanging in there for the children, divorce is usually the next step rather than embarking on this path of rediscovery.

Redefining the Golden Years - It used to be that when people were in their late 50’s and early 60’s they were expected to start planning for a relaxing retirement.  These days, people in this age group are more active than ever.  Some have no plans to retire, some are embarking on second careers, while others enjoy hobbies like riding motorcycles or rock climbing that they would have been considered “too old to do” a generation ago.

Changing Expectations of Marriage - Going hand in hand with our redefining of these so called golden years, are the personal expectations that people have regarding their relationships and their happiness.  Love and intimacy are now viewed as crucial aspects of a marriage at any stage of life, not just in the younger years.  Those that no longer find their marriages providing the happiness that they have come to expect, are more likely to leave a marriage than couples in the past who did not have these same expectations.

So at this point, the research is still coming in as to why couples are getting divorced later in life than they ever have in the past.  Some people have merely chalked up the increase in these divorces to increasing life spans, but there seems to be a lot more at work than that.  The findings listed here were based on studies conducted on hundreds of couples divorcing after many years.  As these numbers increase and more couples are interviewed, there will be more information to shed some light on this growing trend of divorcing after many years of marriage.

What do you think about couples divorcing after so many years of marriage?  What are your theories on why this trend is on the rise?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Types of Women That Men Should Avoid

 

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The Gold Digger - This is the women who sees the man she is dating as a blank check.  She is similar to the male “freeloader,” but the freeloader is often easier to spot because he is usually looking for a women who works so that he doesn’t have to work.  The Gold Digger will usually have a job,  but she has expensive taste that exceeds her means and she evaluates her man by what he can buy her.  The poor guys who date these women find that once the Gold Digger drains his wallet she has lost all interest in him and is ready to find a new man to finance her expensive habits.  If a women asks you for expensive gifts or only wants to go to very expensive restaurants and orders the most expensive items, then run, you have just met the Gold Digger.

Wants to Change You - This one was mentioned by nearly every man who responded to this question on Twitter.  Now quite a few men felt strongly that all women want to change at least one thing about their man, and I much as I’d like to say that they’re wrong, I can’t quite say it with a straight face.  The women in this category are different than the woman who simply hopes to get her man to dress a little better or hopes he’ll learn to appreciate the subtle humor that is found in a romantic comedy.

The women in this category are the ones who either want to change something major about a man or they have a laundry list of “small changes” that they would like to see you make.  In either case, it will be much simpler if the woman who wishes to see all these changes will just find a different man.  Let’s face it, if you make all of the changes she wants, you will not recognize yourself any more.  Interestingly, this was the only item that appeared consistently in the lists from men about women and not once in the lists that women had about men.  Mark Twain once said that women marry a man hoping to change him, while men marry a woman hoping that she will never change, so I guess this great writer knew what he was talking about.

Can’t Give You Space - In some ways, this women resembles the male stalker, but unlike the stalker, most men felt that these women acted out of insecurity rather than a need to be controlling.  These women are not likely to stop you from going somewhere without them, but you are likely be pressed with inquisition style questions about why she can’t join you before you finally make it out the door.  You may think that you’ve achieved freedom once you get out on your own,  but it is not that simple.  Be prepared for your phone to start ringing as soon as you leave, and when you do get home, get ready for the guilt trip.

The problem with these women is self esteem.  They take it personally when you want to spend time without them and they view it as a threat to your relationship when you are apart.  Many men fall into the trap of thinking that at some point these women will naturally adjust to his need to have some space as the relationship continues.  Unfortunately, the fact that the relationship has continued is not reassuring to women with this level of insecurity.  Over time she is much more likely to put more effort into restricting his time without her rather than reducing these efforts.  If you enjoy your space and this type of women sounds like the woman that you are dating, then it is time to walk (or run) away.

So there is our top 3 list of types of women to run from based on feedback from all our wonderful male Twitter followers.  We know that there are many more types, but these do seem to cover the complaints that we hear most often.  If you find yourself dating one of these women, then consider yourself warned.

What do you think? Do you know women like the ones we’ve listed here?  Do you have more types to add?  Please share you thoughts in the comments section.

Can Your Relationship Survive His Children?

 

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As I’ve been preparing to write about the relationship concerns of stepmothers and those contemplating if they should become stepmothers, it was hard to come up with a title that captured the main concern of these women.  I decided to focus on whether or not the relationship could survive his children, because this seems to be at the heart of the doubts that these women share with us on Loveawake.com.  I felt bad referring to step children and future step children as “his children” because we like to view these children as “their children” once the woman becomes their stepmother.

The situation is nowhere near that simple though, since in most cases the natural mother plays the main role or a major role in the lives of these children.  I found that many stepmothers did indeed refer to their step children as “his children” despite the large role that many of them play in raising their stepchildren.  These women do not refer to their partner’s children as “his children” because they in any way resemble the “wicked stepmothers” of fairy tales fame.  Instead, they refer to the children this way because experience has shown them that their role is filled with parenting responsibilities but is lacking the full authority that both natural parents have.

So just what are the problems that women grapple with when deciding whether or not their relationship can survive being a stepmother to his children?  Here are the top issues these women have posted on Loveawake.com:

Disney Dad –  The Disney Dad is the dad who just wants to deal with the “fun part” of parenting.  These are often the men who get a limited amount of time with their children.  When they do get time with them, they often have no desire to be a disciplinarian.  As much as these dads may want to focus on having fun with their kids, there is no such thing as a hiatus from enforcing the rules.

What is especially bad for the women involved with these dads is that while dad is having fun with the kids, the women are often the target of these badly behaved kids.  Everything from disrespectful behavior to a total lack of appreciation is often dealt with by the stepmothers.  If the woman has children of her own, the situation can quickly be out of control as she fears that her children will pick up these bad behaviors or may merely question why the house rules that apply to them don’t apply to the step children.

Infringing Ex -  When a man’s ex-wife is still part of his life, it is always stressful for the new wife to understand where she fits into his life.  When that ex-wife is the mother of his children, the amount of interaction with the ex-wife is much more frequent and has the potential to create a steady stream of awkward situations.  If there are disputes about shared custody or visitation schedules, the stepmother often finds herself right in the middle of constant disputes that are supposedly only disputes between both parents.

No Bonding - One of the most common situations that we hear about is from women who just can’t bond with their stepchildren.  Most women enter these  marriages assuming that stepchildren that don’t like them will warm up to them over time.  Sometimes this happens, but like everything that has to do with parenting, there are no guarantees.

The women who never bond with their stepchildren or who don’t bond to the degree that view as “healthy” often feel bad about themselves and their marriage.  It can put a lot of stress on a marriage when a woman feels this way.  Sometimes the children are still healing from the parents’ divorce, and sometimes they just can’t seem to share their father’s time and love with his new wife.  The balance for the stepmother is really trying to improve the aspects that can be improved, while learning to accept the parts of the relationship that they have no control over.

So there are the most common scenarios that are submitted to us by stepmothers and women who are thinking of becoming stepmothers.  If these situations sound familiar to you, you can find a place devoted to the ups and downs of being a stepmother at StepsForStepMothers.com.  The site is run by therapist, author and stepmother, Dr. Rachelle Katz.  In her new book, The Happy Stepmother, Dr. Katz outlines 10 steps that women can use to take action in improving their quality of life as a stepmother  rather than feeling helpless.  This is especially important for stepmothers and stepmothers to be, because a sense of helplessness is every bit as prominent as a sense of doubt in the stories that we receive from these women.

What do you think? What special challenges do you think that stepmothers face?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Why Won’t He Marry Me?

 

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One of the most frequent questions that women ask on Loveawake.com he marry me?”  The thing that puzzles me most is that these women who have been hinting to their boyfriends for years that they want to get married are women that wouldn’t put up with being given the runaround in any other situation.   These women make smart decisions in every other aspect of their lives, yet they stay in a situation where they seem to be the only ones that are unaware that these men will never marry them.

So why are these men so opposed to tying the knot?   Although there are always specific details that vary among the stories of these couples, there are really only 2 main reasons why these men will not marry these women:  1) The man just does not want to get married  2) The man doesn’t want to marry that particular woman.  I know this seems like an over simplification, but I think that delving into all the details of why a man is not marrying her, is what often causes women to get caught up in trying to turn these relationships into marriages.

Men Who Just Don’t Want To Get Married –  There are some men who just have no intention of getting married.  It’s easy to get caught up in the reasons why he doesn’t want to get married and to view them as barriers that can be overcome.  If he has sworn off marriage because he went through an ugly divorce you may be tempted to prove that with you it can be different.  If he thinks he is not the type of person who can be faithful, you may feel tempted to see the challenge as making sure that you prove to him that you can be  exciting and desirable enough to make him never want to look at another woman again.

The problem is that not wanting to get married is about him, not about you.  I’ve known women who date men who have told them for years that they never want to get married, yet they seem to think that if they wait it out he’ll change his mind.  If a man tells you that he has no intention of getting married and backs that up by dating you for years without marrying, then take him at his word.  He won’t be marrying you now matter how hard you try to change this.

Men Who Don’t Want to Marry a Particular Woman –  This is a difficult scenario for a woman to accept.  When a woman who has waited years for a proposal that never came watches that same man walk down the aisle with another woman, it’s hard not to have doubts about what was wrong with you and why he feels that this other women is so right for him.  There are many reasons why a man may not want to marry a particular woman, and it doesn’t mean that anything was “wrong” with the first woman or that he didn’t love her enough to marry her.

It just means that the men weren’t sure that they were compatible enough for marriage.  For example, I’ve known women who had careers that made their man think that work would keep them from being the kind of wife that they envisioned.  On the flip side, I also knew a woman whose boyfriend felt that he could never be the dependable husband that she dreamed of having because he was a freelancer and never had a job with a steady paycheck.  At the time, these women were heartbroken to see the men they had waited for walk down the aisle with someone else.  It wasn’t until they met men that were compatible enough to marry that they realized that it truly wasn’t a strike against them that these other men had not wanted to marry them.

So there you have it, the two main reasons behind all the little reasons of why he won’t marry you.  No matter which reason it is, the important thing is to move on from a relationship if you’ve reached the point where you want to marry him and he has shown that he doesn’t want to marry you.  It’s hard to walk away from a relationship when you love someone and thought that they were “the one,” but ultimately it is much better than getting married to the wrong person.

What do you think? Why would a man date a woman for years without marrying her even after she makes it clear how badly she wants to get married?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

P.S. For a humorous look at men who won’t tie the knot visit 25 Reasons Why He Won’t Marry You by Mike The Master Dater.