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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

How Do You Know You Are Having a Nonsexual Affair?

posted by Linda Mintle

AffairKim and Jack have worked together now for the past five years. Sometimes, in a joke, Jack refers to her as his “work wife.” They spend most of their day together, work on projects and go to lunch everyday. They know each other very well and lately have shared intimate talk about their marriages. Even they admit, they are probably closer to each other than their spouses.

In fact, last weekend, at a work barbecue, Kim talked to Jack’s wife about their kids. Jack’s wife was a little taken aback that Kim knew such intimate details of their family life. She confronted Jack on the closeness.

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When Jack and his wife came for marital therapy, Jack was very defensive, insisting he had not betrayed his wife and she was making a big deal over nothing, that is…until I asked this question.

Is there anything you are telling Kim, or doing with Kim, that would make your wife uncomfortable to watch or know? 

Jack stopped. He knew there were moments with Kim that would make his wife uncomfortable. He kept those from her because the closeness was becoming dangerous in terms of an affair. The barbecue conversation brought this closeness out of secrecy.

Jack was having a nonsexual affair with Kim. Instead of turning to his wife for emotional support, Jack had his work wife, Kim.

How do you know when a relationship turns from friendship to a sexless affair? Ask yourself these questions:

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1) Do you share your friend conversations with your intimate partner?

2) Have you tried to pull back from that friendship only to find it difficult?

3) Has your spouse asked you to pull back and you have not?

4) Do you fantasize what could be in the friend relationship when things are difficult with your partner?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, time to pull back from the friendship. The two of you have crossed the line and have created an intimacy that is hurting your marriage.

 

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The Kids Are Gone! Are You More At Risk for Divorce?

posted by Linda Mintle

older coupleThe last child has now left the nest. The house is quiet. You look at that person you’ve been married to for so many years and yet, he/she feels like a stranger. There isn’t much to talk about except to catch up on news of the kids.

You spend the night reading. He’s watching TV. You get up before him and are out the door. He sleeps in and misses you for breakfast. Suddenly you realize that your lives were all involved with the kids. As a couple, you’ve lost touch and no longer talk or do things together. You feel alone and begin to think about divorce.

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This scenario speaks to the “Gray Divorce Revolution” we see that is on the rise by empty nesters. Many don’t see it coming because it isn’t prompted by some big fall out, explosive event or trauma. It creeps up in a couple’s relationship because they’ve become emotionally distant with one another. And emotional distance is a major predictor of divorce.

Through the years, raising children, it is easy to revolve your lives around the kids and ignore the warning signs of losing touch with one another. Family time and hobbies can fill the gap and child-rearing, friendships and elderly care can occupy time.  When the kids are gone, the lack of connection stares you in the face. You’ve lost the romance and your relationship is built on roles of mother and father, not husband and wife.

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So what can do–divorce? I hope not. Instead, it is time to reconnect and build that marital friendship once again.

One solution I read about was for a husband and wife to live apart and see each other often. Stay married, but create their own lives and see each other regularly. This is ridiculous. If you stay married, then work on the relationship and be all in and honor the covenant you made.

Talk about the sadness you may feel with the kids gone. Simply sharing your emotions can bring you closer together. Then learn about your partner’s inner world. What does he or she like to do? How can you do some of those things together? What kind of life would you like to build together? Share dreams, ideas about the future. Come up with new things to try–a cooking class, a new hobby or engage in things you used to find fun.

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This is a time you can turn towards each other and build a satisfying relationship, but you have to approach it in a positive way. Instead of being empty  without the kids, there is time for yourself, time to contribute in ministry and time to enjoy each other and be together. Something drew you to that person initially. See if you can find that again.

The key is to turn towards each other not away. To see your partner as a person to get to know on a more intimate basis now that you have the time and no distractions from daily parenting. This can be a good thing and doesn’t have to result in Gray Divorce and giving up on that person you once thought you loved.

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Talk on How to Handle Disagreements and Arguments. Listen In!

posted by Linda Mintle

Faith Radio and I talked this week about disagreements and arguments. What are the secrets to keeping things calm and actually coming up with solutions. Listen to the 20 minute interview. Click here.

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A Possible Divorce Prevention?

posted by Linda Mintle

Fun coupleWhen you think of preventing divorce, you usually think about improving communication, strengthening the marital friendship and dealing with conflict. What you probably do not think about is how many children were in your family growing up.

Yet, one new study says, based on their findings, maybe you should think about how many siblings you have.

Sociologist, Doug Downey at Ohio State University, co-authored a study that looked at the number of siblings in your family growing up and how that relates to divorce. What they found was that the more siblings, the less chance you have to divorce. In fact, each sibling lowered your chances by 2%. The thinking here is that more siblings help your social skills development. You basically get more practice negotiating conflict and working with other people.

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But before you decide to add more kids to the family, not all researchers are convinced that having lots of siblings is a preventative factor for divorce. The criticism is that this is one study, and one study doesn’t constitute a definitive finding. Others feel that in today’s age, children have many opportunities to practice their social skills away from the home in places like school. Thus, the playing field evens out and sibling count isn’t all that significant.

Whatever the case, it is an interesting finding.

Could it be that having lots of siblings helps you get along better in your marriage? Certainly the need to share comes up more often!

Since we only have one study, you’ll have to let me know if this rings true in your case! Maybe their is some truth to the say, “The more, the merrier!”

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