Tag Archive | Men

A Holistic Divorce

This past week I attended a two-day training on collaborative law that I would like to share because it is important to be informed of all your choices when considering a #divorce. Disclaimer – this is for #Ohio residents though there are about 18 states and about a dozen countries who practice collaborative law, so please check in your area to find out what applies to you.

If you are considering a divorce, there are four ways to go about this.

A. Collaborative Law

B. Litigation

C. Dissolution

D. Mediation

I’ll start with litigation which everyone knows about and this is your traditional way of going about getting a divorce. The judge may require mediation as a result of this and this is to try and cut down on court time.

Dissolution is where both parties agree on everything and they have an attorney write up their agreement and present to the court. A very inexpensive way to get a divorce however, as mentioned, both parties must agree. Usually this can happen when there are no children involved.

Mediation is where the couple hires a mediator to discuss what needs to happen and they present their agreement to their attorneys who files it in court. This can be done at the onset, you don’t have to wait for the judge to decide on this.

Then there is collaborative law which I call a #holistic divorce. This is where all parties (professionals and spouses) come to a table and discuss the business of getting a divorce. There is *no court involvement in Columbus, Ohio because the judge comes to the attorneys office to sign off on the divorce (*not the same with other major cities in Ohio, check with your state or country). If court involvement it would be once everything has been settled and then there is a filing of paperwork to approve the divorce.

Collaborative law includes two attorneys, a mental health coach or neutral (not in the capacity of a therapist, nor are they providing therapy but, the service is provided by a licensed therapist), a financial coach or neutral and in some cases other specialists are brought in, if need be, for consultation. All professionals meet with the spouse/spouses individually or as a couple upfront to explain the services and begin to assess the couple. Then all parties and professionals come to the table to begin a discussion of what is to take place. This can involve several sessions but there is no court involvement so the schedules are based on everyone at the table rather than dealing with court being in session. Therefore appointments can be more flexible.

What captivated me by this process is that a mental health coach is involved as well as a financial coach. This means two things. One, the mental health coach is there to help determine what is in the best interests of the children and the family. Someone who understands #psychology vs. a Guardian Ad Litem (aka GAL) who, most often, is not a therapist and does not understand mental health. The mental health coach is also doing an assessment to determine if the couple is going to be a good fit for the collaborative law process. In some instances, i.e., domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness might not be a good fit for the collaborative law process. Two, the financial coach presents the facts of the figures. Then the parties say whose side of the page the items go on and talk about what they see. Eventually, how things will be divided up occurs with much discussion from the team.

In collaborative law, even the attorneys are in a relationship with one another that is not antagonistic as it would be in litigation. While they clearly will represent the spouse who has hired them, at the table they are not in a defensive position but in an empathic position for both parties. This means the spouse who hired them pays for them under the knowledge that their attorney will be listening and be prepared to be concerned for the opposite spouse as well. This is important because the process will not be about “winning” for their side but about the family gaining a supportive outcome.

The divorce process is an uncomfortable position for two people to be in. It is a major transition in someone’s life and how it is dealt with will determine the health and well-being of children involved (as well as the spouses) going forward. When the egos of two people can be mediated by a group of professionals who are helping them to see what is in the best interests of their family, it is more likely that a good outcome can be assured. This is not an inexpensive process yet compared to the time, energy and money that would be spent in litigation, it will most likely be less costly than litigation. The results will most assuredly be less costly on the emotional well-being of both parties and the children involved.

Please note this is NOT legal advice as I am not an attorney. This was presented merely for informational purposes. You should consult with your attorney to find out more information on these options. Also, please take a look at the links provided to gain more knowledge for  yourself. Thank you, Jeannine Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T.

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Choose Chastity Because You Have Self-Respect

The idea of remaining a virgin has always had religious connotations with it because this is where the concept has the strongest need. In our modern society many people are ashamed to associate with a faith, which is very sad because it is important to value spirituality as well as mind and body. Parents are refusing to provide religious instruction through some avenue of persuasion, opting to “let them choose,” which is about as ignorant as allowing a child to vote. So by writing about chastity here, I want to put it in the context of self-respect.  For some reason modern women writers tend to focus on making sex acceptable and I think it is more important to make self-respect acceptable and a priority. This is not a conversation about religion but it is about being a feminist and it is not about hating men.

Not having sex before you are married is a very beautiful step toward choosing the right partner. It takes a certain amount of maturity, wisdom and focus to make this decision. I am always so proud of my female clients when they tell me they have opted to go in this direction. Some make the decision because of religion and some because they are smart enough to know they are not ready. When my female clients have chosen to embark on the path of sex before marriage, I am proud of them for choosing birth control and safe sex (a majority of young women refuse to use birth control). I know these women are not getting any support from their girlfriends because the “in” crowd is focused on their sexual appetites and what brand of sex they choose. The latter is ridiculous because you cannot be sure of your identity until you are an adult and even then, it takes time to adjust to being in the real world. Many people, I believe, are going to rue the day they made drastic changes to their sex and persona as a young person – wait and see. We have already gone through the plastic surgery guilt and the sudden surge in sex changes and sexual confusion is next. We, as psychology professionals cannot even give certain diagnoses to minors and this is because they are going through identity confusion.  So this is my main argument for chastity. Teenagers are going through an identity crisis and it is best to wait until they are an adult to make any sexual decisions. Regret is a painful feeling to deal with throughout your life.

With chastity before marriage so many benefits come with this decision. You are free to focus on your future without any inhibitions or “responsibilities,” [to someone]. In the meantime, it is important to date and befriend lots of people but be very open about your boundary of not having sex. By doing so, you will get rid of the bad people immediately who are only about pulling down your drawers. You don’t have to worry about disease or babies that “accidentally” occur because you have chosen not to use birth control. You can think about college or career aspirations. You can focus on building a financial portfolio so that you can buy a house and a nice car. You can enjoy having fun with friends and dates because you are not tied down to anyone. When you are dating, you are taking the time to get to know one another and finding out what it is you want in a relationship. When you finally do choose to marry, you are wearing a white wedding dress with pride and because you respect the meaning of the color. The long term benefits are that you will have a lot more happiness by choosing to respect yourself and you will be more successful in life.

The cons that come with sex before marriage are that once you have gone down this road, it is hard to turn back. You can with perseverance and strength and a willingness to start over though. Sex at a young age often becomes a place to perform. Young people get caught up in size, quantity, positions, acting, what they are able to do, and how great they are. This is a very shallow path toward a future because you become focused on your statistics and performance rather than your life. Many people, I have spoken with, who start out at a young age get so lost that they forget who they are. I spend time in sessions coaching them on how to find the human being that rests within. Of course because our society has decided it is not politically correct to discipline a young woman or the young man, for not using birth control, so many women have determined they can take the chances. They see these hideous reality shows where women have multiple partners, have babies before marriage and men see that it is practically acceptable to abandon a woman once she is pregnant. Our society is more focused on feeling sorry for than teaching values. Celebrities have no sense of their role in society and how they are ruining our young people by setting poor examples. It is great for a wealthy person to have a baby at 16 because they have nannies to take care of the unwanted child. The average person has nothing financially to contribute and this can end up leading to social services intervention and/or the public welfare system.

Sex is not a bad thing; it is a very wonderful way to be with a person that you love. It is icing on the cake but much more worthwhile when you have taken the time to get to know someone. Building a friendship and having trust and respect with your partner is foreplay. Foreplay is not a conversation on a first or second or so on date that you end with sex. It takes time to build this emotional connection and once you have a commitment, don’t end this by having sex. Wait to get married to do this, you’ve gone this far so why not? Young people are not able to make a decision that they are in love with someone when their friendship is about sex.

Emotional instability is often the very reason that women end up being unfaithful to their partners because we have “emotional infidelity” (before the act is performed of having sex) whereas men have physical infidelity upfront. When women don’t have a strong emotional connection to their partner, they seek someone else to fulfill this wish. You can’t love someone just because you have had sex together. That is infatuation. You can’t expect to build a relationship on a one night stand or a fling. Most women try to do this and they fall short or end up pregnant hoping to force the issue. Obviously none of this works. To quick to jump in bed is behind so many failed marriages.

The degradation of our current society is at an all-time low that I often wonder if it will ever be possible to repair it. So many inappropriate messages are being thrown out into our culture which unfortunately is witnessed by everyone, including the very young. When I grew up these topics needed to wait until after the nine o’clock hour which was reserved for adults. Even then, the topics were hardly an issue of concern to young people, not when you compare this with our world today. The focus on death by suicide and suicidal ideation is really missing the point. It is not about encouraging people to be sexually open; it is about encouraging self-esteem and abstinence as a way toward a happier and more successful life. I wonder if the rate would be so high if minors were not so focused on coming out or having sex in general? If we made the priority in schools about academia and goal planning for the future rather than passing a test and getting out of school. The idea of focusing on bathrooms rather than education when a person should not be choosing their sexuality as a minor (especially changing the gender) is so harmful to the young psyche whose brain doesn’t even stop developing until they are an adult. Young people won’t need to worry about bathrooms and sexuality if they are focused on their academic future. When they are out in the real world and beginning to see what life is all about, than they can make choices with a clear mind that is not intimidated by peer pressure, family, or religion.

Young people, often, do know what their sexuality is at a very young age but it is more important that they behave like a child and have fun. It is more important that they are groomed for adulthood and are taught principles to grow on. This means learning about religion – with their parents there to instruct as well as the religious sector. It means getting a good education – with their parents taking this seriously and being involved with the school. It means the parents need to teach values, i.e., work ethics and family beliefs. The only thing a young person should be choosing is which sport or type of dance to be in or which school club to join or which elective they want to take. Even then, this should be a decision agreed upon with the parents based on finances of course.

By not focusing on sex a child will have a much stronger and healthier sense of self. Being chaste will more than likely cause a child to be better educated in the long run and this will help them to make better choices in life. It is time for us to take a step back and reflect on the values we, as older adults, were taught growing up and realize how great we had it. Then we need to re-think the messages we are sending out on the Internet and how it is affecting the young minds. A young woman is more of a feminist by respecting her mind, body and spirit and a young man respecting feminist ideals when it is not about getting her in bed. Wait to have sex or to determine your sex and focus on your future. You will thank me one day.

Why do Pre-Marital Counseling?

Watching this video is the most compelling reason for adding a psychotherapist to your wedding budget. Women are still being raised with their mothers speeding them down the aisle with visions of white dresses and doves flying through the air. We play with Barbies before we have hit puberty, already merging the dolls with Ken or GI Joe. We are focused on boys in high school, which often causes young girls (and boys) to do poorly in their subjects. Marriage is an investment not a fashion show and if you don’t want to be one of the 40-50% who goes through a divorce, then you need to treat this contract as an investment not a day to play Cinderella. The woman and man who plan consciously and patiently on the big day have better chances for success then the one’s who are only focused on looking good. Wouldn’t you rather be the couple who people gush over rather than taking bets to see how long you’ll last? Your family and friends will respect you more when they see the respect you have for each other. I highly recommend a psychotherapist trained in the Gottman method as they are teaching you communication skills and this includes how to argue without tearing each other apart.

A wedding day is meant to be a beautiful time in your life. Not the day you rue in the years to come. It is not his fault nor is it her fault; when you are a couple, you both have a responsibility to your self, your marriage, your future children and to your family as a whole.

Before You Say I Do

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Benjamin Franklin

Weddings cost an average of $26,720, according to costofawedding.com. The average cost of a divorce is $15,000-$30,000 according to a 2006 Forbes.com article. In my experience the latter figure will vary based on children, assets and EGO. The American Psychological Association reports that 40-50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Many couples wait until they are very married and very upset before they come into therapy. When there has been an affair, when there is about to be an affair, or when they are so over this person that it would take a fairy Godmother to make any difference in the relationship. With all this negativity why say I do in the first place?

On the heels of the Benjamin Franklin quote above, which I absolutely love because it sums up what I am about to say right here. Pre-Marital counseling is a must to add to that wedding budget as you will get a greater return on your investment. In fact, pre-marital counseling can be the most important money you will spend before you say I do.  Yes, it is possible that you will realize you made a mistake (but this is $15-$30,000 saved). It is also possible that you will save yourself a lot of heartache in the days after the “big day.” Here are some tips for making pre-marital counseling work.

  1. Schedule the onset of counseling at the same time you are sending your “Save the Date,” cards (six to eight months) prior to the big day. You need time to do the work and it may involve individual as well.
  2. Communicate with your therapist what your specific needs are. Even when the therapist has an agenda, make sure to let them know if they are missing something or a new issue has popped up (I always do a check-in before we begin the session). If you don’t tell the therapist, how are they supposed to know?
  3. Self-Awareness – Therapy doesn’t work if one person thinks it is the other persons fault. It takes two to tango and you have to be willing to be held accountable in counseling.
  4. Respect for the therapist and for yourself – paying for sessions on time, showing up on time, being committed to your partner and your future. Psychotherapy is a business first and a healing profession second. This is why you are coming: to get the advice, coaching, and support of a professional – not from a friend or family member.
  5. Homework is there for a reason.  To practice this new way of communicating. Don’t expect results if you are going home and behaving in the same manner.
  6. Be open to recommendations of the therapist – If there are addictions with one or both parties, couples counseling is not ready yet. If there is domestic violence a domestic violence agency should be consulted first for batterers work and counseling for the victim. If there is a history of abuse, there may be a need for individual work for that person before they are ready to begin couples. Your therapist will assess your situation and let you know what is necessary to begin.

Unmet needs from childhood are the majority of couple conflicts. Think about what you didn’t get from your parents growing up – love, nurturance, listening, guidance, a father/a mother, validation, whatever it was this is what you will look for in a partner. Unfortunately, since you aren’t really sure what this looks like, you often get exactly what you don’t want. This is because we are more comfortable with what we know and so this is what we attract. For example: someone to take care of (rather than being taking care of), or someone who just doesn’t give you the love you wish for and you are constantly struggling to attain this. Couples come in talking about small things but what is behind it is something so much larger. This has to do with expectations that have been mulling around in their head but no one has ever spoken of.

Effective communication is the key to a successful marriage. Each time I have attended one of those 50 years + type anniversary parties, they have all said the cliché phrase “communication,” when asked what made their marriage work. I have listened to couples tell me their grandparents or aunt/uncles have said the same. What this means is something that often takes people many years of mistakes to figure out. For older couples I can tell you it also means a lot of compromising along the way because they were married in a time when there was no acceptance of pre-marital counseling other than a few sessions with their spiritual leader.

When I work with couples, I am using the training I took at certified Gottman.com led seminars. These are the principles of Dr. John Gottman which are based on his years of research with couples. If you just “google search” his name you will find loads of articles, videos, interviews, photos and of course their website. His work was introduced to me long before I began my studies as a therapist and after becoming a therapist, his name came across my path once again and off I went to the advanced trainings.

In my personal background, I was 17 years old when I married and I was six months pregnant at the time. I was divorced a couple of years later because of abuse and addictions on their part. I later learned, while doing my thesis and again from Dr. John Gottman with his partner Dr. Neil Jacobson that I was in a marriage with a Pit Bull (When Men Batter Women: New Insights Into Ending Abusive Relationships, 1998). I have never remarried but I have been in several long-term relationships that did not last. It was a long time before it finally hit me in the head what I had been missing all along. Fortunately for you, who might be working with me, you won’t have to wait at all. The reason why I love doing work with couples is so that I may give them the advantages I never had. Experience, Education, Intuition, Insight, Holistic thought process and continuing education post-graduate school is what you will get when you come into my office.

A therapist cannot promise you miracles because it is up to you two and what you are willing to commit to working on. When my coupleS work as hard in session as they do out of session – on practicing these principles I am teaching them, I do see success. My belief is that a couple should not be married without some form of pre-marital counseling (see paragraph one).

 

Tips for Online Dating

I’ve recently utilized one of the online dating services and have learned quite a bit about what goes on in this modern society and the world of singles. Firstly, you want to make sure you are on the right website. Since dating, hook-up and sex sites just want your money, they are not taking any time whatsoever to explain their format, give examples or basically provide you with a reason why you should want to pay them money. They all say they are free and none of them are except a couple. But who wants to be on a free website when this tells you how much the other is willing to invest in their future? Dating websites JUST want your money, they don’t care what happens after that. Be conscious of this and the choices you make. Click on Top 10 list below:

Ask Men has a really good list of Top 10 dating websites which explains the costs, what the site is really for and gives you the pros/cons. Once you read their article, click on the numbers below it to start learning about each of their picks that they chose based on their research.

TIPS

1. If you are just trying to hook-up, or have sex, don’t go on a “Dating” website. Look at the Top 10 list above and find the right one for you.

2. If you have a sexual perversion, again, don’t go to a “Dating” website. Look at the Top 10 list above and find the right one for you. A decent woman is not interested in looking at your Cross-Dressing YouTube videos.

3. Beware of Scammers – yes, they have now taken over dating websites. Look for someone who appears to be American White/Black but the text they write has tons of grammar/content mistakes that someone would not talk like if they were born here. Of course if they are honest and say “I here from Belgium,” okay but if they don’t, be leery.  I’ve heard women say they are usually living in a very small town and often mention being a Widow. If they seem to want you to Text – DO NOT. They scam you through Texting.

4. Players – Beware of men who have two email conversations with you and then say they want to meet you and DON’T or you never hear from them again. I have read Elizabeth Stone’s article “5 Sketchy Reasons Why Your Online Match Won’t Meet You In Person and What to Do About it.” You should read this too.

5. Photos – There is a lot to say so I will break it down. 

            a. Don’t take photos of yourself as a selfie – it looks ridiculous, especially when the camera is right there in the photo. I have seen people where their heads are up in the air and you mostly see their neck, a profile, their mirror, selfie’s are for kids not grown-ups looking to find a person to have a relationship with. Get a friend to take the photo and look into the camera.

            b. Don’t have a woman/man in your profile photo if you are the opposite and looking for a partner. I have seen some photos with only a woman in the photo, which at first made me think the wrong sex was sent to me. No, the guy was heavyset and too afraid to put his photo on his profile.

            c. If you have photos with kids or women/men please identify that these are your kids, grandkids, niece, etc… so that someone doesn’t think it is your young date, ex-girlfriend, or your kids when they are your grandkids.

            d. Don’t do goofy photos because it makes you look like a moron. It is one of those “you had to be there,” moments and well, we don’t get it. Present yourself in a mature manner or try-out for a comedy club instead.

            e. Men love to do “I am a man” photos which show them popping wheelies, running in Ironman, working out in their basement etc…  This makes me think of a little boy looking for a mommy who will allow them to play. Think how you would feel if you saw a woman turning a cartwheel  or doing the splits, in a ballet pose or bouncing on a trampoline. There are pictures that say “Looking for a fellow skier, skydiver, rock climber,” and photos that say “My main priority in life is playing.”

           f. Photos of Nature??? Even if you are a photographer, women are interested in seeing you, not what you see in life. My first thought is, why are they afraid to show me themselves? Showing a photo of your home or backyard isn’t really that great either unless you are an interior decorator or landscape artist. You can say in your profile that you own a home.  If you were gay and knew how to make a stunning looking house, that is showcase ready, that is one thing but if you were gay you wouldn’t be on a heterosexual dating site. Looking at a dull house or a brown colored grass yard isn’t what a woman is going to get psyched about.

             g. Multiple photos of the same. It is not very clever to show two-three of the exact same photo.  Also, if you aren’t capable of posting them right side up, then don’t.

             h. Sexualized photos – If you have these types of photos, you really need to be on a sex/hook-up site not a dating website.

            i. Dress like a man who wants to find a woman – Don’t expect if you show photos of yourself dressed like a slob or in a rock concert T-shirt that you are going to get a sexy lady wanting to go out with you. If you don’t know how to dress nicely, pick up GQ magazine or another stylish men’s magazine  to see how you can upgrade your style a bit. Birds of a feather flock together. You want a decent person, act like a decent person.

             j. Don’t put a photo on there that has your text attached to it. SCAMMER!! If you can’t afford the dating service go to a free website that really is free.           

6. I am out of your league! Don’t see a pretty girl and go crazy sending emails to every single one to see who will bite. Emails that start out “Hey Beautiful,” or ” Hi Princess,” or “Hi Sexy,” don’t get a woman excited. This is bar room talk and meant for the bar and a beer, not a serious person looking for a man.

7. Read the profile – If it says “Looking for a God Fearing man,” then don’t send an email if you are an Atheist or some other thought process. Religion is important to people, especially when they say this. I saw quite a few profiles that said “If you voted for Trump, we aren’t a match.”  These are pretty strong words but weed people out that will waste their time. So pay attention. People take time to write profiles for a reason.

8. Be honest – Seriously. When someone meets you in person, it will be obvious that you are not “Athletic and Toned.” If you are a cheap skate and have no intentions of paying for the woman, don’t wait to go on a date to suddenly look up in the sky when it is time to buy the tickets for the movie. Put on your profile – I only do Dutch on dates. Please don’t insult women by saying you are a feminist. That is such a low blow and it only means you are cheap, not a feminist. If a woman is a feminist and big on doing Dutch, this will be made clear by her, so you need to be honest too.

9. Steer clear of online dating websites that don’t let you see photos immediately or make you pay extra after you have paid the bill to see them (very dishonest). A mutual attraction begins when you look into someone’s face. I live in Ohio, lots and lots of really, really, nice, great, men here. Unfortunately, I am not attracted to every single one of them. It is not what a person looks like either but the energy that is emitted from their photo. You are attracted to it or you are not.

10. If you say “let’s meet in person,” then you are expected to do just that. It is called integrity. Don’t brag about being a professional on your profile and then say one thing and mean another.

11. Coffee Meetings – these are meant to be a way to single out if there is chemistry, conversation, begin to build if there is. It is not a marriage proposal so don’t get so egotistical about this and fear the first date.

Guys, you are the reason why dating websites get a bad name – for the most part. I have talked to many women who have been on these websites, read articles, etc… Don’t ruin it for the good guys. Don’t ruin it for us women. No one who is on a serious dating website wants to be played, spend money on your Nigerian adventure, or be told “Lets meet” and then your never heard from again. It wastes everyone’s time and energy. Don’t be so egotistical to think a woman is dying to meet you, she is afraid too. We are all on dating websites because we are tired of trying to meet a person live, the old fashioned way. No one wants to meet at bars, except if they are an alcoholic. So be mature, have some integrity and be a real man who embodies these rules. A real man wouldn’t show photos of himself popping wheelies or in a baseball cap w/a beer bottle (unless you are looking for an alcoholic). A real man would show a professional, well-groomed, clean appearance that would make a woman get excited. No one gets excited to see a man in a t-shirt, beer belly, baseball cap, sunglasses, hoodie, pants pulled down, gold teeth, etc… you get the picture. Women are looking for a responsible, well-behaved, mature professional man. I have talked to women in the inner city and even they are not looking for gold teeth and pants pulled down. They are too smart for that!

Keep it simple and sweet. Don’t go into long monologues because the more you put on there the easier it is to weed you out. If you say too much, it is easy for a woman to see things she won’t have in common with you.

Dating websites are meant to be ways to meet people and it is hoped that someone will take their time to get to know you and if you seem interesting ask to meet you somewhere in public and then see what happens next. Act like a responsible, mature, professional man with integrity and you will find the right person to share your life with (since that is what you keep stating in your profile). Otherwise save your money and sit at home watching football.