*Not their real name
Patricia* come home early one day and was shocked to find that her husband, Larry*, cheating on her with their helper. She feels betrayed, angry, and confused. She fired the helper and the couple began couple therapy.
*Not their real name
Divorce is always stressful. In this article, we look at what are some of the unique stresses and challenges that expats face when they are going through a divorce.
Tricia* just realized that her husband, Kent*, doesn't want children, and she does. Emotionally it's hard for her to accept. Doubt start creeping into her mind: should spell the end of the marriage? While they did not have clear plan about having children, but Kent had made some indication that gave her the impression that he wanted children too. Why have he changed his mind?
*Not their real name
For those who had divorced, parenting will have its challenges. However, may be even more difficult is co-parenting your child with other involved adults in the child’s life (be it your ex, new partner, grandparents, etc). Relationship stress often occurs when one or both people can’t agree on who is responsible for fulfilling what needs the child may have. Conflicting co-parents are often unable to nurture the child successfully. Effective co-parenting is required to help your child develop to be holistically-healthy, balanced, socially productive, and reasonably content (happy).
To nurture well, the co-parents need to evolve from their conflicts to having clear goals, plans, priorities, “job description” (roles), and rules based on consensus. Although individual co-parents will have unique goals, most parents will strive for some general, basic long-term co-parenting outcomes.
“For better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Extra-marital affair, without a doubt, would be categorized under the “worse” part in the marital vow. Its damaging effects are due to the fact that it shakes the very foundations of the relationship: Trust and Commitment. The discovery of an affair in a marriage often leads to a crisis full of emotional struggles for all parties involved. Eventually, should a couple decide to continue their marriage, some of the questions that would surface are “Where do we go from here?”, “Will things ever get back to normal?”, etc.
Whether a marriage would survive an affair is dependent on the strength of the couple’s emotional bond, as well as the efforts both put in the recovery process. The tasks facing the couple are two: rebuilding the marriage and personal healing. Here are some tips on rebuilding a marriage after an affair:
Sometimes Love is Not Enough???
Many of us enter into marriage with this fog of love, passion, and dream. One day we wake up from this fog and start wondering where did our love go? This is often a crisis point for some individuals, and in turn their marriages, where doubts and despair start setting in. The fears that grip them are “Am I able to stay married if I don’t feel love?” and “Must I remain unhappy forever?”
Hollywood movies and romantic novels are culprits in contributing to this crisis, where all these love stories depict the hero/prince and the heroine/princess getting married and hence live “happily ever after”, communicating that just feeling “in-love” is enough to conquer all. What they fail to show is what happens afterward where reality, routine, chores, mundane day-to-day tasks, and other people’s (in-law, children) presence set in.
Love is Not a Feeling!
“I’ve fallen out of love, is there any hope for the marriage?” or “I was never in love with my wife in the first place, I can’t see how I can start now.” These are common comments that I hear in my work with couples in therapy. Couples often react in surprise when they learnt that they can rekindle their love for their partner, or, for those who was never in love in the first place, they can grow to love their partner.
Stages of Love
All of us have our own ideas of what love is. These ideas may be shaped by examples from our parents, friends, books, magazines, and especially Hollywood romance movies! A large number of couple ended up in my counseling room fearing the doom of their relationship because they no longer feel “love”. “Not feeling ‘love’” for their partner is one of the many excuses for people to justify their affairs and/or decide to end their relationship. Couples tend not to understand that a love relationship is not just a “state”, it is a process of never-ending opportunity to love once again, forgive once again, to commit to one another and to the relationship, over and over, again and again.
Let’s look at the stages of development in a love relationship and where potential point of “divorce” or leaving the relationship for couple who couldn’t successfully transit to the next stage:
Ms Ho Shee Wai