Online Solutions for Partnership Problems © Martyn Carruthers
Dissolve emotional problems and mood swings after betrayal, affairs and
during separation, divorce, bereavement and other family situations.
Separation and Divorce are Major Life Events
Have you been considering separation or divorce? For weeks, months or even years? Or is your partner leaving you? If you are considering separation or divorce, or ending an affair, you will likely experience emotional conflicts and you may find yourself behaving strangely. But you need not feel alone – we can help you.
A 1985 study in Australia showed that partnership separation was as traumatic as a death in the family for over 80% of people. A mutual (emotionally mature) decision to separate comprised less than 20% of all divorces.
Divorce often seems to follow a lack of shared values, interests or responsibilities. Starting in 1972, Dr. John Gottman (a University of Washington professor ) studied married couples, focusing on: 1) couples that divorced, 2) couples that stayed together and were unhappy, and 3) couples that remained together and were happy.
Dr. Gottman said that it’s important to understand why certain actions increase the risk of divorce rather and cited two main reasons (and times) for divorce:
- Divorce after 5 to 7 years is often due to high conflict
- Divorce after 10 to 12 years is often due to lost intimacy
Which behaviors predict separation and divorce? Dr. Gottman described four corrosive behaviors – withdrawal, defensiveness, contempt and criticism.
- Withdrawal: avoiding contact, not listening or not paying attention.
- Defensiveness: claiming innocence, e.g.: “It’s not my fault that I’m late.”
- Contempt from assumed superiority, e.g. “Everybody knows that you’re bad.”
- Criticism: complaining about a partner’s personality, e.g.: “You are so selfish.”
Criticism, contempt and defensiveness each predict divorce at an average of 5.6 years after a wedding. Emotional withdrawal (by itself) predicts a divorce after about 16 years of marriage.
From First Indications to Decision Time
The first cracks in a committed partnership are often ignored. Later, signs of discontent often surface as inappropriate anger over details. Shaving stubble in the bathroom sink. Lipstick on a washed cup. A wet towel left on the floor … again.
Yet even when life together is unpleasant, making a decision to leave or separate may be difficult. Perhaps you have children. Maybe you own property together. You may feel torn between conflicting loyalties, and between your feelings and your thoughts. We help people assess what’s going on and make decisions. See Partnership Breakdown.
If you or your partner separate, your life will change. You may feel lost, perhaps haunted by broken dreams and guilt. You may ask, “What did I do wrong?” and “What else could I have done?” You may feel guilty for any deception or betrayal that you have made. And some people, including your ex-partner, may try to increase your suffering.
Separation, Divorce & Emotions
Separation and divorce are usually accompanied by intense yet childish emotions. We find that emotional divorce may precede legal divorce by years and that dissolving emotional bonds can be as exhausting as dissolving legal bonds. We help people stay healthy and stay sane.
Logic rarely changes emotions. Many people blame themselves for their partner’s bad states. Attempts to explain their bad feelings can result in partners perceiving each other as judgmental or critical – or even as deliberately provoking their bad feelings.
I don’t want or need to change … I just want my partner to change!
(We hear this destructive phrase a lot.)
Slowly your home becomes just another building and your possessions may seem to lose value. Married friends and neighbors may avoid you as if you have an infectious disease. They may ostracize the partner that they consider to be most guilty and support the partner they consider to be most victim.
You may receive hints and invitations for affairs from lonely or hurting people … or from predators. It is wise to refuse or at least postpone those invitations, unless you want more confusion. Examine and grieve your partnership, and learn from it, rather than to distract yourself with sexual or intimate affairs.
Separation & Divorce
Increasing divorce rates may reflect the anti-family distractions that fill the Western world. I have helped many people through divorce who were unwilling to tolerate disappointing partnerships. While factors that affect divorce differ around the world, the following apply in Europe and America:
- Increased lifespan: Some partners separate late in life
- Laws: Westerners can divorce and remarry relatively easily
- Coping: Aging and drugs can influence a couple’s ability to cope
- Parenting: Couples may separate when their children are mature
- Fewer children: Child-raising may be completed by the couples’ 50’s
- Dual careers: A partner may care for a career more than a partnership
- Expectations: A partner or a partnership doesn’t meet a partner’s ideals
- Public perception: Affairs, separation and divorce are increasingly normal
Until Therapy Does Us Part
We help people solve emotional issues and find solutions in all stages of partnership – from preparing for partnership to bereavement. We also coach people through the emotional steps of separation. We help people:
- protect and shelter any children
- avoid pitfalls while they accomplish their goals
- anticipate and defuse potential emotional explosions
- manage their emotions and remain as peaceful as possible
- prepare for the reactions of their family, friends and colleagues
You can request our divorce counseling for as long as you need help. People report that our separation coaching was valuable for staying sane during a divorce.
You may have never perceived yourself as your ex-partner does.
- How well will you adjust to life as a single?
- Does persistent anger, guilt, grief or doubt hold you back?
- Are some areas in your life OK, while you’re stuck in others?
Are you are ready to move on with your life? We can help you manage whatever holds you back. You can learn from your past instead of repeating it!
We can help you:
Contact us to lighten the burden of betrayal, affairs, separation or divorce.