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Dividing Financial Responsibilities

So if you’ve spent some time thinking about it, in an organized fashion, you’ll probably realize that there are fundamentally only four different permutations of ways to divide financial responsibilities. You’ll also probably be intimately familiar with one of them.… Continue Reading

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The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

Molly* is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning.… Continue Reading

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Campaigning For Attention in the Blended Family: New Spouse vs. Children

Let’s address what happens when the ones campaigning for attention of a certain parent are a child–and the new spouse. Look, let’s face it. Your child has very little cause to be invested in your new marriage. Either he’d like… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: High Conflict Marriages and Their Impact on Children #1

In the last five posts I addressed several different kinds of problem marriages, where often the basic underpinnings of the marriage are weak, and thus one or more partners often ends up asking if they should stay or go. Let… Continue Reading

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How In the WORLD Could This Work?: The Possibilities of Mediation

Julie* came from a wealthy family–grew up with that proverbial silver spoon practically shoved down her throat. Were her parents thrilled when she met Jim,* who was in and out of jobs and who had never owned or rented his… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #3: “I Changed My Mind,” ct’d

Well, your spouse pulled that old Mitt Romney, “I changed my mind” on you, and now you don’t even recognize your own marital territory. It’s hard–and my heart goes out to you. But before you make any decisions, I think… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules: Some Suggestions

What do you do when faced with a situation like Trish’s, where your partner loses a career and becomes a mere shadow of him or herself? Or one like Timothy’s, where your life’s mate morphs into someone you don’t know… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #3: “I Changed My Mind”

Betty and Brian* were confirmed atheists, and had been since they were teenagers. So when her Catholic family and his Jewish family protested about their marriage, they laughed at the small-mindedness of their parents and threw themselves a huge wedding… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #2: Illness and Disability

Tamika* and Timothy* had an unusual arrangement, but it worked for them. Tamika, an open-heart surgeon, became quite successful, to the point where she was able to take only private pay patients. She surely brought home the bacon. And Timothy did… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Problem Marriages #2–Rescue Marriages

It probably seemed pretty clear how the first problem marriage structure, of the over- and under-functioning spouses, could lead to marital stress–although  many of these couples stay together for the long-term. The second ‘problem marriage,’ in my view, though, is that… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #1: Losing a Career

Before I leave the topic of issues to consider when you’re thinking of leaving your marriage, I wanted to bring up a few situations that make the decision to stay or go vastly more complicated. What happens in a marriage,… Continue Reading

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Low Conflict Marriages #2: So What’s Wrong?

Here’s a statistic from Dr. Paul Amato, sociologist at Penn State University, that I find staggering:  Around 55-60 percent of divorces occur in low-conflict marriages, where hollering is at a minimum, and arguments might even be quite rare. Dr. Amato calls these… Continue Reading