Posts Tagged ‘UnhappyMarriage’

Huffington Post Article: When Divorcing a Narcissist, Prepare for the Rage

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When Divorcing a Narcissist, Prepare for the Rage

By: Lindsey Ellison at Huffington Post 

When you first met your narcissist, you probably once viewed him as a majesty who could give you the keys to his fairytale kingdom. His charm, wit and charismatic personality won you over, because you so badly craved a prince charming to save you. Conversely, your needing a prince charming is exactly what attracted him to you, as it gave him the opportunity to validate his narcissistic fantasies of himself, that he is, indeed, a fairytale prince.

But now that you’re married, your prince charming has turned into a monster, and his once magical kingdom is now your inescapable cage.

Two things may happen: You will stay in the marriage and endure many more years of abuse, to the point where your low self-esteem tells you there are no other options. Or, you will have had enough and decide to divorce him.

The latter (in which you divorce him) may be the first time in your life where you are setting boundaries. You have come to the conclusion that you deserve better and you refuse to tolerate bad behavior.

But this one victorious act of boundary setting is what makes for a potentially horrific divorce. Few victims are prepared for it, and their lack of preparation can cost them thousands of dollars in attorney fees, leaving them broke and emotionally drained.


Huffington Post Article: 9 Solid Pieces Of Breakup Advice For Anyone With A Broken Heart

Friday, September 26th, 2014

9 Solid Pieces Of Breakup Advice For Anyone With A Broken Heart

By: Taryn Hillin from Huffington Post

We all know that getting over a breakup can sometimes lead to sad, lonely nights buried beneath a pile of tissues while watching “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and lip-syncing along to “All By Myself” with Bridget.

But hey, it doesn’t have to be that way. A recent Reddit thread asked users how they managed to get over their last split and the advice was pretty rock-solid. Below, 10 ways to get past the pain of a broken heart from those who have lived it.

  1. Give yourself some love. You need it. “Treat yourself with love and have patience to ride it out until the next opportunity for love comes around.”
  2. Realize that sometimes a breakup is a blessing in disguise. “In almost every case, I was glad to be done with it. I looked to the future and saw only misery. Or [my exes] looked to the future and saw only misery. Either way, it was for the best that we split. It takes time, but you know, you kind of just move on.”
  3. Find new hobbies and other ways to get your mind off the breakup. “If I slumped into phases of just sitting there wondering about her and feeling sorry for myself, I’d just free-write my thoughts in a journal for about 20 minutes, then I’d go do something completely unrelated like read a book or dive into a mindless video game. It helped to get the emotions out of my system without sitting around for hours feeling sad.”
  4. Learn to focus on the positive. “You need to remind yourself of all the positives of being by yourself and try to avoid thinking about all the negatives as much as possible.” (more…)

Huffington Post Article: 7 Fights All Couples Inevitably Have And How To Resolve Them

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

7 Fights All Couples Inevitably Have And How To Resolve Them

By: Brittany Wong for Huffington Post

Arguing with a significant other is never pretty. You may feel like each petty, overblown disagreement is breaking new ground, but the truth is, countless other couples have been there before.

Below, experts share seven of the most common arguments couples have and how to solve them before the words “split up” start getting thrown around.

  1. The need for attention Everyone wants to feel wanted and desired, but letting your S.O. know that you aren’t feeling those things can be difficult. Whatever you do, don’t keep those feelings bottled up; they could come back to hurt your relationship in serious ways, said Tammy Nelson, author of The New Monogamy: Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity.

“The thing is, we each need our partner to show us attention and when we feel we aren’t getting enough, we can start arguments, act out, and create more problems,” Nelson said. “Most arguments that appear on the surface to be about things like flirting and jealousy are many times about the need for more attention.”

If broaching the subject proves difficult, Nelson recommended a simple exercise: “Try telling your partner three things you appreciate about them every day. And have them tell you the same,” she explained. “The focus on what your partner likes about you and what you like about them brings the attention to the relationship in a positive way, instead of increasing the conflict.”

  1. The in-laws Meddling in-laws have been a problem for couples since the dawn of time. And now that everyone is hyper-connected thanks to social media, your in-laws can take their micromanaging of your marriage to a whole new level.

What’s the fix? Both spouses need to be proactive in addressing the problem, said M. Gary Neuman, author of Connect to Love: The Keys to Transforming Your Relationship.

“The role of mediator ultimately rests with the spouse with the over-involved parent,” he said. “If something needs to be said to parents about changing their behavior, it should come from [their own kid].” (Let’s face it: There’s a greater likelihood your parents will listen up and be less resentful if you’re the one delivering the message.)

If you’re the son- or daughter-law in this equation, try to set realistic expectations for in-law relations. “You may not grow to love them like your own parents, but you do have to endeavor to like them,” Neuman said.

  1. Cellphone use If your spouse has become a tech-crazed monster who hides behind his iPhone at dinner, it might be time to establish some hard-and-fast cell phones rules, said Laura Wasser, a famed Los Angeles-based divorce attorney who has run into this issue in her own relationships. (“My ex actually referred to my cell as my ‘boyfriend.'” she admitted. “He once stormed out of a restaurant because I was texting with a client during our meal.”)

“The fact is, consideration of the person you’ve chosen to spend you some down time with has to be shown,” she said. “Think how you’d feel if you were the one sitting across the dinner table while your date was texting, reading and smirking at the phone?”

She added: “If it’s possible, leave the phone at home, in the car or turn it off during meals or movies or important conversations. If not, limit your use and apologize in advance for what might be an interruption.”

  1. Sex There’s a quote by “The Soup” host Joel McHale we love. He says that the best part about being married is “you get to have sex with your best friend.” The worst part? “When you get denied sex by your best friend.”

It’s true — nothing is more frustrating in a relationship than being on different pages when it comes to sex. To work through your issues, Nelson suggested a little game she calls, “What I make up about this.”

“When you begin to talk about your sex problems, start your discussion with the phrase ‘What I make up about this is…’ and then tell your partner how you feel about the problem,” she explained. “For instance, if the problem is not having enough sex, start off by saying, ‘The story I make up about our sex life is that we only have sex twice a week and I feel that you aren’t really into me anymore.’ When your partner’s turn comes up, you might be surprised to hear how differently he or she is interpreting things.”

Nelson said this kind of open, non-judgmental dialogue ensures that each person has a chance to air their grievances. “The focus is on understanding each person’s perspective and how to compromise, and not who’s wrong,” she said.

  1. Time spent with the kids From soccer meets five cities over to pressing diorama projects for science class, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with your kids’ to-do list. And that much more difficult if your spouse isn’t shouldering some of the responsibility.

If you’re starting to feel like a de facto single parent, it’s time you speak up, said relationship expert Marina Sbrochi, the author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life.

“Sit down with your spouse and go over your schedule and figure out how to divide and conquer,” she said. “Even scheduling 15 minutes of uninterrupted time with your child per day can make a difference. Let dad take over bedtime and read stories. Get the kids to help with breakfast. Carve out time to have family meals together. Schedule time with your family just as you would schedule anything else in your life that is important. “

  1. Money “Marriage is about love, divorce is about money,” the old saying goes. The road to divorce, however, often begins with knock-down-drag-out fights over financial issues. (A recent Money Magazine survey showed that married couples fight over money more than anything else.)

So what should you do get a handle on money-related fights before they sabotage your marriage? Have a heart-to-heart about how each of you approach money, said financial advisor Gabrielle Clemens.

“Money is emotional and fighting can start because individuals in a relationship have different views about money,” she said. “You and your partner need to have a basic discussion about how each of your families handled money while you were growing up, covering everything from how money was spent and which parent made the financial decisions, to questions about whether they were forced to scrimp and save to have the things they needed or wanted.”

Knowing how your spouse relates to money emotionally should help you understand their perspective when fights arise, Clemens said.

  1. “Nothing” at all You know how it begins: Your spouse shouts or passively aggressively mutters, “Why are there so many dirty dishes in the sink? Can’t anyone do the dishes around but me?” Before you know it, the two of you are locked in a screaming match and neither of you willing to cave in and end it.

It’s a fight over “nothing” — where “nothing” is a stand-in for so much more, said Sbrochi.

“It’s likely masking a larger issue,” she said. “When he says, ‘why can’t anyone do the dishes,’ your mind goes back to all the times you’ve felt like nothing but a maid to your family. What’s a few dishes compared to everything you do? You’re pissed off over principles.”

The next time a seemingly insignificant issue triggers an overblown fight, Sbrochi said to pause and consider what really set you off.

“Take note of the times when nothing ends up turning into a big fight and write down what you are really feeling,” she said. “Maybe you’d like more help at home and you feel overwhelmed. Instead of suffering in silence then blowing up over something small, open up and ask for help. A great relationship is a true give and take and it begins with good communication.”

In Huffington Post’s article “7 Fights All Couples Inevitably Have And How To Resolve Them” Ms. Wong lists some areas that can cause tension at home and a few ways to resolve those problems before it becomes larger than it needs to be. The advice is well worth trying with your significant other if you feel you are in a constant battle over trivial issues.
If those concerns are not trivial and you need real help dealing with a difficult situation at home that you feel is beyond your control, please contact our office for assistant.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.


Huffington Post Article: 9 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Headed For Collapse

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

9 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Headed For Collapse

By: Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW for Huffington Post

After decades of being a therapist and lover of self-help books, I’ve come to realize that red flags usually appear fairly early on in a relationship that can signal eventual disaster if they’re not dealt with. For instance, most couples report that their relationship problems didn’t surface suddenly but are the result of buried resentment that can fester for years.

Likewise, when a couple splits, most state that their problems were rarely processed or resolved in a healthy way. As a result, they felt criticized or put down by their partner and say that they argue about the same things over and over (and over) again. In many cases, couples become detached and eventually lose fondness, admiration, and love for one another over time.

Sweeping issues under the rug only works for so long – when couples have deep-seated resentment it can be a challenge to forgive and forget. A healthy intimate relationship is built on trust and vulnerability which involves sharing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and wishes. It’s important to remember that all couples have perpetual problems and can develop tools to deal with them.

Let’s look at Katie and Brett, a couple in their mid-thirties who came to my office ready to throw in the towel because their arguments had escalated recently. Brett reported: “Katie and I fight about everything from who is taking out the trash to money problems – we throw it all into the kitchen sink when we argue. I just can’t seem to please her.” To this Katie responded: “Yeah, and his way of dealing with things is to go out with his friends and to come home late, so I end up feeling alone and hurt.”

Unfortunately, the common theme in Katie and Brett’s remarks is focusing on their mutual resentment rather than ways they can repair the relationship. According to author Claire Hatch, LCSW, “If you’re bottling up feelings of sadness or anger, you end up suppressing your feelings. You’ll find yourself feeling less joy and love, as well.” In other words, if you can’t talk about the hard things, you’ll also feel less warmth and affection; and over time less fondness and admiration for your partner.

9 Warning Signs That Your Marriage Or Relationship Is In Trouble:

  1. You argue about the same things over and over again and never seem to clear the air. You both feel like you’re the loser and that you often have to defend your position.
  2. You feel criticized and put down by your partner frequently and this leaves you feeling less than “good enough.” According to renowned relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, criticism is one of the main reasons why marriages collapse.
  3. You have difficulty being vulnerable with your significant other and when you do your worst fears are actualized – you’re left regretting that you revealed your feelings and desires.
  4. One or both of you put your children or others first. Therapist and author Andrew G. Marshall writes: “If you put your children first, day in and day out, you will exhaust your marriage.” He posits that many parents fall into the trap of putting their children first and the outcome is resentful, alienated parents and demanding, insecure children.
  5. You don’t enjoy each other’s friends or families so begin socializing away from one another. This may start out as an occasional weeknight out. But if not nipped in the bud, it can spill over into weekends – ideally when couples have an opportunity to spend more time together.
  6. You have ghosts from past relationships that surface because they were not dealt with. You may overreact to fairly innocent things your partner says or does because it triggers a memory from a past relationship.
  7. Your needs for sexual intimacy are vastly different and/or you rarely have sex. Relationship expert Cathy Meyer writes, “Whether it is him or you that has lost interest, a lack of regular intimacy in a marriage is a bad sign. Sex is the glue that binds, it is the way us adults play and enjoy each other.”
  8. You and your partner have fallen into a pursuer-distancer pattern – one of the main causes of divorce. Over time, it erodes the love and trust between you because you’ll lack the emotional and sexual intimacy that comes from being in harmony with each other.
  9. When you disagree you seldom resolve your differences. You fall into the trap of blaming each other and fail to compromise or apologize. As a result, you experience less warmth and closeness.

What are the best ways to break the negative pattern of relating that can lead to the demise of your relationship? First of all, it’s important to become conscious of your expectations. Dr. Brené Brown writes, “The fastest way for an expectation to morph into shame or resentment is for it to go unnoticed.” Dr. Brown also recommends that we drop our prerequisites for feeling worthy based on conditions – such as having our partner’s approval or a perfect relationship.

4 Things To Try Before Giving Up On Your Relationship:

  1. Stop criticizing your partner. According to Dr. John Gottman, talking about specific issues will reap better results than attacking your partner. For instance, a complaint is: “I’m upset because you didn’t tell me about the phone call from your ex. We agreed to be open with each other.” Versus a criticism: “You never tell me the truth. How can I trust you?”
  2. Practice resolving conflicts as they arise. Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy your relationship. Experiencing conflict is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at risk of developing stagnant relationships. Take responsibility for your part in a dispute. Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling your eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm, etc.).
  3. Boost up physical affection and sex. According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. Studies show that it’s released during sexual orgasm and affectionate touch as well. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  4. Nurture fondness and admiration for your partner: Remind yourself of your partner’s positive qualities – even as you grapple with their flaws – and express your positive feelings out loud several times each day. Search for common ground rather than insisting on getting your way when you have a disagreement. Listen to their point of view and avoid stonewalling – shutting yourself off from communication.

The best way to create a relationship built on love, trust, and intimacy is to take responsibility for your own actions and to practice acceptance and compassion for your partner. The truth is that all couples have problems, even the ones who seem like a perfect match. The thing to keep in mind is that realistic expectations and damage control can keep resentment from building and causing serious relationship problems.

In Huffington Post’s article “9 Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Headed For Collapse” Terry Gaspard gives serious indications on where your marriage could be headed. The good thing is there are ways to help save your relationship and she gives advice on what to do if you feel as though you or your partner is ready to give up. The information that Ms. Gaspard gives seems easier said than done, but putting forth even just a small amount of effort can go a long way for your relationship.
If you feel backed into a corner and have tried everything listed in her article and still continue to undergo problems in your marriage, please contact our office. We will assist you in finding a solution to your situation.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: When To Divorce: Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage

Friday, June 13th, 2014

When To Divorce: Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage

By: Leigh Newman for Huffington Post

What do you need to think about before calling it quits? The experts weigh in.

1. Do I Have A Hard Or A Soft Problem?
If you have what marital therapists call a “hard” problem, for example, your spouse is abusing you or has untreated addictions, says William Doherty, PhD, lead researcher on the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota, then you need to get out the situation immediately. But let’s say you’re like most people in a tough relationship, and, on thinking about ending things find yourself saying things such as, “We’ve grown apart,” or “We’re just not in love anymore.” That’s code, says Doherty, for another, unrecognized problem. Are you lonely or feeling isolated? Do you feel disliked, criticized or ignored? If you don’t know the specifics of what’s making you unhappy, it’s pretty hard to figure out the specifics of what will make you happy — whether these things have to do with your current partner or anybody else.

2. Am I Already Divorced?
Maybe you’re living this scenario: You stay late at the office (the real office, with desks not beds), then meet with friends for a book club or a new play downtown. Meanwhile, he goes to the gym after work; then, he watches CSI and goes to sleep long before you get home. This goes on for a few years — or 10 or 15. At that point, a divorce feels like just a formality, says Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, author of Make Up, Don’t Break Up . The natural assumption is: well, if we’re already split up emotionally, why not just take the plunge and do it legally? But Weil believes that’s the time to stop and ask, “What’s the rush now?” An official call for a breakup, she feels, is actually a call to fix the marriage, because a divorced relationship (read: a distant relationship) has become your norm and nobody comes into a counseling session looking to do more of what they’re already doing. It’s crucial — and often illuminating — to investigate why the two of you haven’t already ended your relationship. Yes, there may have been obligations, such as the kids or financial security, but was there something else, also? And is it still there?

3. Who’s Changing The Snow Tires?
If you’re in a troubled, miserable marriage, you’re often focused on the miserable part. After yet another long, ugly fight, a future outside that grief seems pretty appealing. But Doherty says that couples make a mistake when they focus on this post-marital-conflict snow globe of bliss. “The husband or wife can’t imagine everything that’s going to occur: breaking up the household; moving; dating.” Couples with children conveniently forget their fellow parent is going to be at the soccer game, the bar mitzvah, the grandchild’s 1st birthday party. He suggests couples write down who will handle the activities of each specific day and occasion exactly one year after the marriage is over, covering the mundane-but-somehow-crucial stuff too, like who will get the Le Creuset, or change the snow tires. These hard realities — which must include the even harder reality that 60 percent of all second marriages also fail — is a litmus test. If, upon consideration, the upheaval still seems worthwhile, you might want to get out. If it doesn’t, it’s time to rethink.

4. How Often Do I Use The Verb Deserve?
By the time couples bring up the d-word, most are pretty convinced they’ve done everything they can to save their relationship. That’s often not so, says Doherty. For example, try asking yourself how frequently you say to yourself, “I deserve to have a partner who earns 50 percent of the household income,” or, “I deserve to have a partner who thinks of me when he goes grocery shopping,” or “I deserve to have a partner who shows up on time,” or “I deserve” anything else on that long list of characteristics and behaviors you long for in a partner. You are worthy of someone who does most of these things. But no one gets a partner who does all these things. The more often you tell yourself what you deserve, the more you create a kind of dream spouse that overshadows the real one — the one you need to really evaluate. Could you find a way to live with some of his most-challenging qualities without, as Doherty says “damaging your human dignity?” Assuming he’s a good person overall who does some things that drive you nuts — and he’s not a big, mean jerk, because big mean jerks do exist–finding a way to co-exist with those very un-dreamy problems is actually what’s involved in doing everything you can to save the marriage.

5. How Afraid Am I Of Not Knowing?
One of most tortuous parts of a failing marriage is the wondering: Are things going to get better? Worse? Are they going to stay the same? Is he (or she) going to change? Are you? Dr. Weil says many couples go right to divorce, because they can’t stand the uncertainty. It’s easier for them to choose to break up — and to endure all that pain — than to stay in the situation without a guarantee that things will work out. (This is sort of like quitting a job because you can’t stand worrying about getting laid off anymore.) Yes, deciding to leave ends the worry. And yes, taking that step provides relief. But it’s a distraction-based decision, one that’s not about the divorce but about the anxiety over the divorce. Confronting the possibility that fear is the prime mover in your decision can save you from possible regret.

6. Can I Feel Even The Tiniest Snippet of Love?
Whether you decide to leave, or to stay in the marriage, you have to be able to love your spouse again, says Dr. Weil. Think about it this way: Leaving when you’re still so angry and upset that you can’t remember the time your husband tickled you silly in order to make you relax before dinner with his parents, or how he used to kiss you in the car at every red light, means that all you’re taking with you into your new life is exactly that — rage and pain. You’ll still be yelling at him in your mind for years, long after he’s gone. Walking away with some kind affection for him — in addition to all those other more tumultuous feelings — can help ensure some peace of mind for you — and for any other family members or children involved. Likewise, if you decide to stay, you’ve also got to remember those very same things to make the relationship work again. Is he funny, as well as irresponsible? Kind, as well as a little arrogant? Hilariously bad at cooking? Superbly talented at comforting? Love for the person — especially at the moment you’re least likely to feel love for him — is a sign that your decision to stay is one of those longed-for, sought-after, impossible-to-fake times in life when you know you’re doing the right thing.

In Huffington Post’s article “When To Divorce: Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage” Ms. Newman lists 6 things to think about before ending your marriage. In the midst of an argument it’s easy to forget all the good things a marriage has to offer and focus in on all the ways you’ve been done wrong. You really want to remember that a bad moment isn’t a bad marriage.
There are circumstances which make it almost impossible to work through in a marriage. If you are in a situation that leaves you in a constant in a battle and there just isn’t any way to stop the fighting, then please call our office and we will assist you. You aren’t alone, we are here to help!
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: 12 Red Flags That Could Spell Doom For Your Relationship

Friday, May 16th, 2014

12 Red Flags That Could Spell Doom For Your Relationship

By: Taryn Hillin for Huffington Post

It’s only natural that you’re overcome with lovey-dovey feelings when in a new relationship. But as time goes on, little red flags may start to rear their ugly heads as you start questioning whether or not this person is really right for you.

Trust us, everyone has doubts at some point — but some doubts are more serious than others. So we turned to the experts to find out which warning signs may actually spell doom for your relationship.

1. One person has all the power.

Relationships are about balance, so if you find yourself in an unbalanced partnership where you feel belittled, worthless or not heard, it’s time to leave. “If one person dictates everything, and the other has to choose between being a doormat or taking the highway, the highway is the better choice,” says marriage and family therapist Virginia Gilbert, who specializes in high-conflict divorce.

2. The relationship is seriously lacking fireworks.

“Lack of a sexual life can be a big source of frustration for one or both of the partners,” says sex therapist Sari Cooper, who tells The Huffington Post that she sees this problem all the time with her clients seeking help.

The truth is that sex matters, and as time goes on, a lack of sex can lead to much bigger problems. As Dr. Phyllis Goldberg, a marriage and family therapist, explains, “The longer a couple goes without being intimate, the more ambivalence they will feel. It’s like a vicious cycle, and this only increases the lack of trust, the awkwardness and the subsequent distancing.”

3. You’re not cheating, but your partner thinks you are.

If your partner is constantly checking your text messages, “accidentally” logging into your email and accusing you of cheating when you’re not, it’s a sign that they have trust issues.

“If you don’t trust your partner, that’s a problem,” says author and relationship expert Rachel Kramer Bussel. “It’s natural to be curious — who isn’t? — but taking that curiosity beyond the bounds of what your partner would be comfortable with crosses a line that could be dangerous for your relationship, not to mention your mental health.”

4. You like your partner, but hate their friends.

If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, it’s important to also like their friends. If you can’t manage to do that, you’re only setting yourself up for battles later on. “We know that couples who have parents, in-laws, and friends who support them as a couple are much more likely to go the distance,” W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project, told the Huffington Post.

Other experts agree. “If socializing continues to be a point of contention, think long and hard about whether you can accept your differences, because neither of you is likely to change,” explains Gilbert.

5. Even worse, you don’t get along with each other’s families.

If your family is not on board with your partner, there may be a good reason for it. “Friends and family often have a more objective view of your partner than you do,” said Wilcox. In other words, your family may be seeing red flags that you’re too blinded by love to pick up on.

On the flip side, if you don’t get along with your partner’s family, it’s a long and painful road ahead. “The truth is that the pressures a person’s family or your family might put on a relationship can be huge,” says life and relationship coach Bonnie Olson. “These people are going to interact with you forever and if you get a major ‘ick’ feeling about them, then do a reality check to determine if you can live with these individuals in your life.”

6. You feel like you’re in a dictatorship, not a relationship.

If you find yourself living someone else’s life — hanging out with their friends, listening to their music, and only doing what they want want to do — it’s time to take a stand. “Start taking ground” says Deverich. “You decide where you will go to dinner, what color to paint the dining room or what car you will buy … if they resist, push back. Most controllers don’t want to lose you and are willing to change.”

That said, if your partner doesn’t change, Deverich says it may be a sign they’re an abuser and you need to “get out!”

7. You don’t spend much time together, and you’re OK with that.

You should want to spend time with your S.O., even if it means just going to the grocery store together. “If that’s not happening, something is very wrong,” says author and life coach Honoree Corder. “Unless you look forward to spending time together no matter what you’re doing (or even if you’re doing nothing), you’re not partnered up right.”

In fact, studies have shown that making date-night a priority is key to successful relationships.

8. You can never just be together without an activity or distraction.

A relationship needs to stand on its own two feet. If you and your partner can’t just “be together” without help — such as alcohol, couples therapy, TV, fancy dinners or even other people — there’s a bigger problem afoot.

“If your second home is in your therapist’s office, and even when you leave, you can’t stop talking about your issues, it may be a sign that you’re more in love with the idea of a relationship than with your partner,” says Gilbert.

9. You seriously disagree on major life choices.

The truth is most people don’t change, so if you entered into the relationship knowing your S.O. doesn’t want kids and you want several, don’t resent him or her five years later when the answer is the same. If you don’t see eye-to-eye on major life decisions now, you’ll end up with major life problems later, says Cooper, explaining that disagreements on monogamy, religion and family are major red flags that pop up over and over again with her clients.

10. Your partner is physically violent.

We shouldn’t have to say it, but we will: violence is a major red flag and should not be tolerated. “Get out right now, do not look back,” says marriage and family therapist Amanda Deverich. “Safety first and hitting must stop.”

11. Communication is seriously lacking in the relationship.

We hear it time and again: communication is the key to a successful relationship. So it’s only logical that poor communication — or lack of communication — is the executioner.

“One of the most common roadblocks couples face occurs when they avoid confrontation and sweep their differences under the proverbial rug again and again,” says Cooper. “I find either couples fight unfairly in a bullying or threatening manner or they avoid conflict at all costs.”

12. You bicker about the small things, while the bigger problems go undiscussed.

Whether it’s picking a restaurant, a movie, or deciding where to spend the holidays, if everything ends in a fight, your relationship is in trouble.

“Bickering and fighting can be a sign of a deeper, more significant issue,” says Corder. “Sometimes what you really want to say is, ‘I’m done’. If that’s the case, take a hard look at saying that, instead of continuing down the path you’re on.”

In Huffington Post‘s article “12 Red Flags That Could Spell Doom For Your Relationship” provides suggestions to look out for if you consider your relationship troubled. Should you read the list and find that you easily fall into 3 or more of the categories call our office for a free consultation and we can assist you in making decisions for your future.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: 11 Habits Of People Who Never Worry

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

11 Habits Of People Who Never Worry

By: Amanda L. Chan for Huffington Post

Worry is, sadly, an inevitability of life. Bad things are bound to happen, and the natural human reaction is to think about the negative consequences that could potentially arise.

However, worry is rarely productive — “it’s something we do over and over again, without much resolution, and it’s typically of the worst-case scenario of the future,” explains Jason Moser, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University, who has conducted studies on worry.

“There’s always an element of uncertainty, always an element of catastrophe,” he tells HuffPost. Unlike fear, which has a more pin-pointable source (like a spider on the wall), people worry over “an amorphous, future uncertain threat — something bad that might happen.”

While the research isn’t clear on the extent to which people are predisposed to worry, it is clear that there are some personality types that are more linked to worrying than others. Neuroticism seems to be tied to worrying, for instance, as is general intolerance of uncertainty, Moser says. And while everyone worries from time to time, it is possible to worry so much that it starts to have a noticeable impact on your daily life.

But even if you are a worrier, you’re not doomed — there are a number of effective strategies that worriers can use to stop the cycle. Moser and Christine Purdon, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, professor and executive director of the Centre for Mental Health Research at the University of Waterloo, shared some of the most effective habits and strategies for squelching worry, as well as some common traits shared by people who aren’t bogged down by it:

They focus on the present.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between worriers and non-worriers is the ability to stay in the present, and not get bogged down by things that have yet to happen. Purdon calls it a “worry chain” — the idea that one worry will spur a “what if,” which spurs another worry and another “what if,” and so on. Non-worriers are able to look at a problem and recognize what solution needs to be implemented, “but a worrier isn’t able to get that kind of distance,” she explains. “The mind goes a lot faster.”

For instance, say your son comes home with a bad grade. If you’re a worrier, you might then worry that this will cause your son to fail the class, which will then impair him from getting into college. However, if you’re a non-worrier, you’ll realize that the immediate issue at hand is just that your son needs to study harder in this particular class — and that’s that. “I’m able to say, ‘He usually does really well, he’s smart, he’s dedicated, he’ll be fine; this is a blip, not a pattern,'” Purdon says. Whereas when worriers become anxious, their “intentional focus narrows to threat cues. They can get themselves very anxious very quickly.”

They practice mindfulness.

Because staying in the present is so fundamental to squashing worry, practicing mindfulness can help you to steer focus away from a hypothetical issue that could develop down the road. “It keeps you in the here and now and it helps you be more aware of your thoughts,” Purdon says.

And therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy, can also help worriers stop the negative cycle, since they focus “on the idea of not wrestling and disconfirming the worries, but getting people to focus on their life and values and focus on the present moment so they can make decisions,” Moser adds.

Their brains actually function differently in a worry-inducing event.

Moser recently had a study come out in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, showing that the brains of worriers and non-worriers actually work differently in a stressful event. For the study, Moser and his colleagues had 71 female study participants answer surveys that indicated whether they were generally positive thinkers or negative thinkers/worriers. Then, the participants looked at negative images — such as a woman having a knife held to her throat by a masked man — as their brain activity was monitored and recorded.

Moser found that the brains of the positive thinkers were less active than those of the negative thinkers/worriers. In fact, “the worriers actually showed a paradoxical backfiring effect in their brains when asked to decrease their negative emotions,” he explained in a statement. “This suggests they have a really hard time putting a positive spin on difficult situations and actually make their negative emotions worse even when they are asked to think positively.”

They’re more willing to take chances.

While worriers have a hard time making decisions — they take a long time because they can become crippled by all the potential negative outcomes — non-worriers are more willing to test out solutions to a problem even if a bad outcome is possible, Moser says. In that same vein, non-worriers are also more flexible in the way they think about things, so they don’t get stuck in a negative thinking rut.

They have a sense of perspective.

Non-worriers are able to distance themselves from a situation in order to gain perspective. However, worriers can increase their perspective, Moser explains. One method for doing this is thinking of all the worst possible scenarios, and then evaluating how likely each of them is to really happen. For example: If a worrier is concerned about losing her job, she may jump to the worst-case scenario, which is that she will end up living under a bridge, homeless and alone. But Moser says that talking a worrier through a scenario like this helps her understand how unlikely that outcome is to happen.

Moser suggests another simple strategy to gain perspective: Using your own name instead of “I” when referring to your emotions. For instance, saying “I’m going to fail” is harsh and doesn’t allow any distance between you and the thing you’re worried about. But “if you talk about yourself in the third person, you can take better perspective,” Moser says.

They get to the root of their worry.

The problem with worrying is that it can spin out of control until the thing you’re worried about is 10 steps removed from your immediate issue. That’s why it’s so important to figure out what the real problem is in order to stop the worry cycle.

“When I work with worriers, I try to work on them with problem identification, and to help them be comfortable doing that,” Purdon says. “Yes, there are some problems that could lead to something else, but [let’s] not worry about that right now because it’s not happening right now.”

It’s important to move from problem-generation, which is what worriers are prone to do, to problem-solving. “Worriers think what they’re doing is constructive — that by anticipating [the future problems], it’s helpful in some way,” Purdon says. “It’s reasonable, to some extent, to do that, but they can’t stop themselves once they get started.”

They don’t stop worrying — they just designate time for it.

“One of the reasons why people engage their worry is they think, ‘This is an issue I must sort out now, I have to anticipate and plan against these outcomes.’ It grabs attention off what they need to be attending to, whether it be job, spouse, kids, whatever,” Purdon explains. So, she recommends using a strategy called the “worry chair.” It works like this — reserve a 15-minute time during the day where you can just think and ponder over your worries on your own. Don’t worry outside those 15 minutes, and make sure that you’re spending your worry session in the same spot (hence the term “worry chair”!) each day.

“What that means is when you’re worried during the day, you can say, ‘I’ll think about that later. I can switch my attention off that and go on to other things,'” Purdon says. “And what they find is, ‘I’m not even worried about that anymore.’ But giving them permission to worry about it, but later, allows them to switch the attention away from the thought.”

They have confidence they can handle whatever comes at them.

“People with high worry not only generate ideas about what could go wrong, they also lack confidence in their ability to cope with what could go wrong,” Purdon explains, adding that this is ironic considering worriers actually perform quite well in a crisis since they’ve spent so much time thinking about the worst-case scenarios and have normal coping abilities. Non-worriers, on the other hand, possess the confidence that if something were to happen, they’ll just … handle it.

They have the ability to see positive outcomes in seemingly bleak situations.

Take the graphic image Moser used in his Journal of Abnormal Psychology study, described earlier. If you were to look at an image of a woman being held at knifepoint by a masked man, what do you think the next immediate outcome would be? A worrier would likely only think of the worst-case scenario, while a non-worrier would have the capacity to think, “That woman is in distress, but maybe she breaks away from her assailant and runs to safety,” Moser explains. Non-worriers are able to see that there could be a positive outcome to a negative event.

They ask themselves the right questions.

Worriers who are trying to tamp down on their worrying tendencies could find it useful to ask themselves a series of questions when they’re going down a negative path. “Ask, ‘Is it my problem?” And secondly, ‘Do I have any control over it?'” Purdon says. “Thirdly, the next question people can ask themselves is, ‘Have I already done everything about it that I can? And is it imminent?’ If it’s not imminent, then there’s no reason to worry about it now.”

They know how to perceive their negative emotions.
“The most severe chronic worriers [are] less accepting of their emotions, which means they’re intolerant of uncertainty and also find negative emotions in particular to not be very acceptable,” Moser explains. Meanwhile, people who have a healthier psychological outlook tend to look at negative emotions as a sign that whatever is causing those emotions — whether it be relationships, or work, or bills — needs attention. They use emotions to make informed decisions.

Huffington Post’s article “11 Habits Of People Who Never Worry” list some key points to stay positive and focused on the present. Negative emotions can change the way you think about a situation and could easily let fear dictate how you handle your circumstances and make it very difficult to make decisions based on fact. Looking on the bright side of things will motivate you into seeing the positives in seemingly negative conditions.
If you are in a place in your life that keeps you in a constant state of worry and would like help to rectify your state of affairs, please contact our office. We are available to help provide guidance and support in all aspects of family law.
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: 6 Signs Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

6 Signs Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce
By: Cathy Meyer for

If you are married, having problems and sticking your head in the sand, where is your marriage headed? Divorce court! I recently worked with a couple who were in year 21 of their marriage. According to both there had been trouble from “day one.”

Twenty-one year’s worth of problems that should have been dealt with starting at “day one.” Not dealing with their problems as the problems came up led to years of built-up resentment for both. Hurt feelings, anger and emotional detachment from each other meant it would take a lot of effort to get the marriage back on track.

If you love your spouse and are committed to your marriage, do not ignore the follow six signs of impending divorce:

1. You fantasize about a life without your spouse.
I have a friend who recently divorced. For years before the marriage fell apart completely she spent a lot of time daydreaming about how much better life would be without her husband. This isn’t unusual, but if it is something you do often and with great abandon, it is time to seek help from a marital therapist.

Talk with your spouse about whatever it is that is causing you to long for the single life. It won’t be a pleasant conversation, but your spouse should be given a heads up and your marriage (especially if you have children) deserves the second chance it might get through counseling.

2. The bad outweighs the good.
Problems in a marriage feed on inactivity. If you have problems and don’t seek solutions, the bad will soon outweigh the good. Marriages can become breeding grounds or a vicious cycle of one problem after another. Do you and your spouse a favor seek help and advice from a trained professional before the scales tip too far and you find yourself with unsolvable problems.

3. You don’t share your thoughts and feelings.
Yes, some things are sacred — you don’t need to share every thought or feeling — but you aren’t doing your marriage a favor if you don’t share marital unhappiness with your spouse. Unless you feel there is a threat of abuse (physical or verbal retaliation), communication is an important way to relieve stress and build a healthier bond with your spouse. And problems can’t be worked through unless you are both aware of the problem.

4. Engaging in negative defense mechanisms.
Does your spouse become overly defensive when you express a concern? Do you dismiss your spouse’s needs? Does your spouse criticize your beliefs, or engage in stonewalling tactics? If so, you are at high risk of divorce. If either of you engage in negative defense mechanisms when attempting to solve a problem, you are building more problems and solving nothing. This can be the kiss of death for your marriage.

5. You feel alone in solving marital problems.
My ex engaged in negative defense mechanisms. He avoided conflict at all cost. He was a master at walking away, refusing to communicate and dismissing my concerns over problems in the marriage. He kept his head so far up his butt he could see his tonsils!

If there were problems, I was responsible for solving those problems…with no help from him. He handed me full responsibility for our relationship on a silver platter and when I failed to solve the problems, as he saw them but failed to share with me, the marriage was over.

It takes two to make problems and two to solve problems. Hopefully you are married to someone who understands this concept.

6. One desires sex and the other doesn’t.
A marriage that lacks sexual intimacy and affection will either end up in divorce or end up being a marriage of convenience. Nothing is more damaging to a marriage or the self-esteem of a spouse than having a partner reject them sexually.

Want your marriage to die on the vine? Ignore the sexual bond with your spouse and stand back and watch it wilt.


If you feel as though your marriage might be destined for divorce, read Huffington Post’s article “6 Signs Your Marriage Is Headed For Divorce” and compare the signs.  If you fit into 3 or more of the groups listed, it may be critical that you seriously evaluate your circumstances.

There are many ways to strengthen the bond of marriage when it feels like its shattering.  Consider counseling to help mediate problems in the relationship, having assistance from a licensed professional with an outside opinion can really become an eye opener for both parties.

If you believe you have already done everything you are able to do to work through the problems in the marriage or if you believe it’s just not working with your spouse and you are contemplating divorce then please call our office.  We can answer any questions you have during your complementary consultation to help guide you in the direction that best suits your needs.

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!

Huffington Post Article: 3 Ways Your Unhappy Marriage May Be Hurting Your Kids

Thursday, March 6th, 2014









3 Ways Your Unhappy Marriage May Be Hurting Your Kids

By Nancy Pina

We’re often warned about the detrimental effects divorce can have on children: It can make them insecure, worried, or harm their ability to have a successful marriage later on in life. But do you really believe all that? Relationship expert and marriage and relationship coach Nancy Pina is looking at things from the flip side. Here are three reasons a divorce may just be the healthiest thing for all of you.

1. Your relationship will be your child’s “norm” in love.
This is the most important reason a couple should not stay together if they have reached an understanding that reconciliation is impossible — and have exhausted every avenue to work through their challenges. By staying together under those conditions, modeling emotionally healthy love is impossible. The dysfunctional behavior displayed toward each other will be your children’s pattern in love as they become adults. In other words, they will attract and have the highest chemistry with those who remind them of your relationship.

In unhappy marriages, the lack of positive displays of marital love is very toxic, and fills the home with stress and tension. The children may be too young to know what is wrong, but they will sense all is not well. Unfortunately, when parents tell children everything is OK when it is not, kids eventually stop trusting their instincts. There is also the strong possibility that your children will fear commitment as adults, and vow never to have the type of relationship you do with your spouse. They can end up attracting a string of short-term relationships, which they sabotage when anyone gets too close and they feel too vulnerable.

2. The facade will break you, emotionally and spiritually.
Putting up an armor of denial creates pretense and that takes a great deal of energy to maintain. You may have told yourself that you are capable of living a lie for the number of years it takes for your children to grow up and then your life can begin. What you have not factored into the equation is the stress — physically, mentally and spiritually — that will happen during those years. When your children turn 18, there is no guarantee that a divorce will not affect them just as much as it would now.

The just below the surface anger you experience from living in a loveless marriage needs an outlet. Generally, that rage will be directed at situations that do not call for such an outburst. You end up taking out those feelings of hopelessness and isolation on those you love most.

3. Inner peace is impossible.
If you stay in a loveless marriage, you will not be able to show emotionally healthy love to your children without receiving nurturance yourself. You cannot continually run on an empty emotional tank year after year.

Staying together for the kids denies yourself chance of working through relational issues and closes the door on the possibility of finding real love. If there is no peace in your heart — if you are living a lie to family and friends alike — you will suffer more from staying in the marriage and cutting off your authenticity than anything you would experience through a divorce.


Ms. Pina explained it well in her article on Huffington Post3 Ways Your Unhappy Marriage May Be Hurting Your Kids”.  If you are in a situation that you feel could be hurting your kids, please call our office for a complimentary consultation.  We are here to help guide you and your family into a healthier lifestyle.  

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!