Tag Archives: divorce

Jittery January

separation photo

Jittery January

January is a tough month for many people. After Christmas and at the beginning of a new year, many couples decide to cal it quits. It is well known, especially by counsellors and lawyers that January is one of the busiest months for separations and the beginning of divorce proceedings.

Clients who have commenced divorce proceedings have often told me that they had decided they wanted to leave many months before but often wait until Christmas is out of the way, especially if there are children involved. The festive period also means that couples tend to spend more time together and this can exacerbate pre-existing problems in the relationship.

I  see more clients trying to deal with divorce and separation in January than any other time of the year. It also highlights how we are all far more similar and following the same patterns of life than we realise. We often feel alone in our experiences but the reality is that there is normally a plethora of people in the world going through a similar experience to you.

Dealing with divorce and separation is tough – is is a life changing event and one the most stressful experiences a person can go through.

The best way to get through a divorce/separation is to try look at it philosophically. Remind yourself of the things you didn’t like about the other person/the relationship and use this to fuel your motivation to move forward. Healing takes time and some of the hurt will dissipate over time. Keep busy and don’t obsess about the other person. Don’t blame yourself and watch the thinking that tells you that the divorce occurred because you aren’t good enough. This is normal thinking but it is very likely that it is incorrect thinking.

Pamper yourself, repeatedly think about your strengths and achievements and try to see the new chapter that has emerged in your life in a positive way.

Mandy X

Signs your wife is going to divorce you


unhappy relationship photo

Signs your wife is going to divorce you

I have noticed that the lead up to many divorces takes a specific pattern. I am focusing on the emotional and mental journey that the female goes on in the lead up to divorce. There can be many signs of an impending divorce.

Not enough quality time together

One of the most common reasons for divorce seems to happen when a husband and wife spend less quality time together. Often the husband will work long hours and the wife will feel neglected.

At first the wife will express her dissatisfaction at the situation. Men seem to hear but do not listen. They look for outward signs of unhappiness and do not make the effort to really investigate how their wives feel emotionally. I have seen many husbands bury their heads in the sand and hope the situation will correct itself without any effort.

No more nagging/requests

After a while the wife gets sick and tired of nagging. She does not want to make and dislikes the fact that her repeated attempts have not led to any changes. This is where internal changes begin to occur. A wife will pull back from the marriage and will begin to distance herself emotionally from her husband. Outward appearances will remain the same but there will be a change in her emotional responses. It is almost as if she goes through a grieving process-a realisation that her husband will never change and become the attentive person she had hoped he would be.  The nagging will stop and most men will breathe a sigh of relief when in fact this is the time to really worry. Men place so much emphasis on providing for their families and many think that this is enough to secure a happy marriage. Many husbands mistakenly believe that the external provisions of money and status will satisfy his wife.

Lack of in depth conversations

The truth is that many wives miss the emotional connection with their husbands, it’s all about balance. After months or possibly years of emotional grieving, the wife has ‘checked out’of the relationship. She will go through the motions and do what is expected of her as a wife (and/or mother) but she will no longer be invested in the relationship and will be looking for a way out.

Lack of sex and more time spent apart

For some women, a way out involves divorce. For others it involves an affair.

This is a warning to all the men out there: if you love your girlfriend/spouse make an effort to connect with her on a mental, emotional and physical level. The more you connect on a mental and emotional level the more inclined she will be to want to have sex with you. Woman needs all three levels in order to feel connected to the man in their life. She enjoys talking about her feelings and she wants you to open up too. Don’t become a stranger.

Mandy X

Photo by symphony of love

Trapped in an unhappy relationship?


couple fighting photo

Trapped in an unhappy relationship?

It seems illogical to stay in a relationship that leaves you miserable more often that not yet many of us do just that. There are so many complicated reasons behind why we stay in situations that bring us down. They range from financial loss to preferring the familiar to the unknown. The common denominator though is fear. Fear of being lonely, fear that we won’t find anyone else, fear of regret and fear of loss.

It is common to catatstrophise (think of the worst possible outcomes) as well as try to predict the future when thinking about leaving an unhappy relationship. By default, we tend to focus on all that could go wrong instead of all that could go right. We use a negative filter when envisioning our future life alone.

It’s important to stay as balanced as possible when thinking about your current situation and your possible future. Ask yourself questions such as, “What will the cost be to me if I give up on a future that might be happier and decide to stay in this unhappy relationship?”.

Life involves risk. Do a risk assessment. Decide how unhappy you are in your relationship from 0 to 10. If you are completely miserable give yourself ‘0’. If you are ecstatically happy, give yourself a ’10’. Then decide how often you feel miserable. If you score below 5 on both then you should seriously consider your options.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. One of the main regrets people have when looking back over their lives is that they didn’t try more things or take more risks. Life doesn’t have to be that black and white either as there are many ways to get our needs met. It doesn’t always have to be between two choices of ‘stay’ or ‘leave’. Perhaps you can identify what needs are not being met in your relationship and find other ways to get these needs met?

Of course, the first port of call is your partner. Tell them why you are unhappy and see whether you can work through your issues – perhaps try couple counselling. If that doesn’t work, branch out a little. Take up hobbies, make new friends. This might breathe new life into your relationship. If this doesn’t work you owe it to yourself to seriously consider a different future – one where you can spread your wings and become what you were meant to be. I see so many clients who have stayed too long and are trapped in an unhappy relationship. They have become ‘shells’ of their former selves. They are cynical and don’t trust the world. They believe there is no protection outside the relationship.

The more we love ourselves the less likely we are to accept misery and bad treatment from others. Unfortunately there is no such thing as guaranteed security anyhow. Your partner whom does not bring out the best in you may leave you one day or may develop an illness leaving you alone later in life. I don’t mean to scare you but I do want to get you to think from a different perspective. Self reliance is a wonderful thing – you can do anything you put your mind to. Watch the self limiting beliefs (and these will be huge if you have lived in an unhappy relationship where you are criticised or have lost self confidence) as they are beliefs that can be changed – they are not facts.

See life as an adventure and tell yourself regularly that you have come this far and that you will find a way to handle whatever comes your way. This is far more empowering. Focus on how strong you have been in the past, you are more resilient than you give yourself credit for!

Mandy X

For more information on couple counselling (Skype sessions also available) email Mandy: mandyjkloppers@live.co.uk



Photo by Instant Vantage

Staying in an unhappy relationship


unhappy relationship photo

Staying in an unhappy relationship

Why is it that so many of us stay in an unhappy relationship? I am guilty of this and I have met numerous people, personally and professionally, who stay in a relationship that leaves them feeling miserable most of the time. Why do we do it to ourselves and is there a way to break this unhealthy attachment to someone who isn’t good for us?

 Common reasons for staying in an unhappy relationship

During my many sessions with clients, here are the main reasons that have surfaced for staying in an unhappy relationship:

1) Fear of the unknown

It seems that many of us fear what might happen if we abandon the safety of our current relationship. Even if the relationship doesn’t meet our expectations, at least we know what we’re getting. Fear of the unknown is a huge motivating factor for staying in an unhappy relationship.

2) Fear of being alone

We often mistakenly believe that we will end up alone and have no one to support and comfort us. However, looking at the statistics, it would appear that this is rarely the case. Most people go on to find someone else, or realise that being on their own isn’t half as scary as they thought it would be. For those that have braved it and gone it alone, they have reported that they began to blossom again and make the most of themselves, whereas when they were staying in an unhappy relationship, that part of themselves was stifled and under nourished. I was in a similar situation, fearing that I could not make it alone. When I did make the break, I had to push myself to learn new skills – household finances, driving to new places I wouldn’t have done in the past, learning DIY and other skills that I never really practised in a relationship. I realised how capable I actually was – it was a real eye opener and helped me flourish in many more ways than I would’ve done had I stayed in my unhappy relationship.

3) Denial

Denial is an effective defense mechanism because if you do not acknowledge that there is a problem, there is no need to confront it and deal with it. This is another common reason for staying in an unhappy relationship. I see clients who put up with regular emotional and psychological abuse yet they have managed to find ways to ‘normalise’ what they are experiencing. They find ways to justify the state of the relationship and often blame themselves for the awful behaviour of their partners. This situation is one that I find incredibly sad – the great lengths that people will go to in order to live with their horrendous situations. Unfortunately, therapy is not usually very effective until a person accepts what they are experiencing is unacceptable and stops denying the reality.

4) Staying for the sake of the children

This is a misguided reason for staying in a relationship and it is a very convenient excuse to avoid having to take responsibility for an unhappy relationship. It puts the onus of responsibility into a sphere of martyrdom, one that I do not believe is healthy. Children are incredibly perceptive and they will undoubtedly pick up on the negative atmosphere at home. They might grow up thinking it is normal to stay in an unhappy relationship and might settle for second best when they are adults because that it was Mum and Dad did. They will grow up in an environment where there is little love, support and affection shown between their parents and this affects children negatively. It is far better to have two separate homes where the environment is happy and light-hearted than an environment where both parents struggle to keep it together and put on a show for the children.

5) Fear of financial deprivation

On a practical level, no one wants to give up their cushy life that they are accustomed to. I have met many spouses who are aware that their other half is having an affair yet they turn a blind eye to it as they do not want to lose their comfortable home, nice car and jet-set lifestyle. Fear of having to start over and struggle financially makes many people staying in an unhappy relationship think twice about leaving. As a result, many couples live a lie in effect, doing their own thing, connecting less and less whilst still enjoying the combined ‘material fruits’ of their union.

6) Fear of what others may think

Some see separation as a sign of failure. Their thinking is so rigid on this that they would rather end up staying in an unhappy relationship than experience the pity and the gossip surrounding a split. Really? In my opinion, failure means staying in a relationship that crushes your spirit and erodes your self esteem and confidence.

There are so many reasons why people end up staying in an unhappy relationship – most of them are fear based. Fear based decision making is usually a mistake yet relationships can be complicated each one needs to be assessed individually. If you think that you are staying in an unhappy relationship out of fear, try to work out whether these fears are actually founded or whether you have allowed irrational thinking to take over. We can’t tell the future but don’t you own it to yourself to live a life that is the best possible experience? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal and every day that you remain unhappy leads to a loss of time when you could potentially have been happier than you are. See a counsellor if necessary to discuss your options and your reasoning. You may just find that leaving allows you to bring out your potential and live a life that involves living, not just surviving.

Mandy X



Photo by mikecogh