RELATIONSHIP ADVICE: WILL MY NEXT RELATIONSHIP LAST?

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It used to be that half of marriages would end in divorce. The divorce rate for first marriages has gone down to 46% which is encouraging to me and couples counselors everywhere. Between 52% (women) and 64% (men) will remarry after a divorce. The statistics for 2nd marriages hovers right around 67 %. That’s very high, and one of the reasons for this is unresolved issues from the first marriage/divorce. If you don’t fix the cause, you’re likely to continue along the same path, with the same problems that ended your prior relationship. No one person is going to magically fix you, or be a cure for your problems. Even if you think you’re “trading up” with a new partner, the odds are stacked against you. Failing to do the work you need on yourself is one of the main reasons that second marriages fail. I know that sounds negative, but the news isn’t all bad. This is the advice I give when my clients ask me “Will my rebound relationship last”?

It’s good to get your head straight without distractions of a new lover while you work out the details of divorce/custody/alimony etc. A divorce /breakup is a kind of a death and you need to let your heart heal and deal with the grief and emotions that go along with the death of your relationship. Then I recommend that you do that thing that I like to call the autopsy on the relationship. Ask yourself the important questions about the whys and what happened. Where did things go wrong? Getting some time and distance (and some professional counseling) can help you to get some perspective and take a more objective look at what really happened as your marriage came to an end and what part you may have played in it not working.

Once you clarify those things and take ownership of your part in the failure of the marriage or relationship you can find and hopefully learn the lessons that are presenting themselves to you.

When you’re at peace with your divorce, when you’re clear in your own mind and heart, you’ve identified those things that you maybe could have done different with your relationship . You’ve stopped blaming and guilting yourself and your ex and are settled into your new normal (whatever that means to you) as a single person. Then you may be ready to have a healthy love relationship with a new partner.

AA and other 12 step programs advise that you wait a year when you’re in recovery from addiction or alcoholism before getting together with a new partner. I don’t necessarily advocate for that, but I see the logic and sound thinking behind that advice. Mine is to get clear about what you want and don’t want in a marriage; to clarify what your particular attachment needs are , what it takes for you to feel loved and important, and you’ve come to terms and taken responsibility for your part in the breakup. Only then do I feel like you’re ready to have another serious relationship. There’s not a time limit on this , it has to do with your timeframe of getting yourself and your feelings on an even keel and an understanding of what is needed to have a healthy relationship.

You can have a lasting relationship whether it’s your 2nd,3rd or 4th marriage IF you are willing to put in the work on your relationship every day. Your rebound relationship can last as long as you are doing what it takes to make each other feel loved and important. Both of your needs are being met by the other and you’re aware of what these needs are and how to communicate them to your partner.  Your next relationship can be the most loving, connected, vulnerable and authentic relationship of your lifetime.

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2017-10-07T12:25:19+00:00

About the Author:

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Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.

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