Bul­let­proof Your Re­la­tion­ship

(a di­vorce lawyer tells you how) Who bet­ter to get re­la­tion­ship ad­vice from than those who deal with the worst end of re­la­tion­ship woes?

No. 1 Magazine - - CONTENTS -

How best to avoid us­ing the D word when you are in the darkest depths of re­la­tion­ship woe? Fam­ily law spe­cial­ist, Cath Kar­lin, from Ed­in­burgh law firm BTO, lifts the lid on the re­la­tion­ship ad­vice you need to make your re­la­tion­ship rock solid. 1. COM­MU­NI­CA­TION IS THE KEY TO A SUC­CESS­FUL RE­LA­TION­SHIP “This sounds like an ob­vi­ous point but of­ten when deal­ing with war­ring cou­ples it usu­ally be­comes ap­par­ent that so many is­sues could be cleared up with bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As part of the di­vorce pro­ceed­ings we will sit down with our client’s spouse and it usu­ally be­comes ob­vi­ous that many of the is­sues they are fac­ing are based on as­sump­tions or have been mis­in­ter­preted. Of­ten at this point com­mu­ni­ca­tion im­proves be­tween the cou­ple be­cause it’s be­ing fa­cil­i­tated by a third party.” 2. WORK TO EACH OTHER’S STRENGTHS “If you know your part­ner is hope­less at house­work, don’t put your­self in line for a con­flict by in­sist­ing they do it. In­stead agree jobs that play to their strengths. It could be that they are re­spon­si­ble for cer­tain jobs such as tak­ing out the bins or emp­ty­ing the dish­washer. Or pos­si­bly they can take the chil­dren swim­ming ev­ery Satur­day to give you peace to do some­thing you en­joy!” 3. TRY NOT TO LOSE YOUR IDEN­TITY “It’s im­por­tant not to lose your­self. We of­ten rep­re­sent clients in their 50s or 60s who made the de­ci­sion that the wife would stay at home and raise the chil­dren whilst the hus­band went to work. The wife ded­i­cated her whole life to bring­ing up their kids putting her fam­ily’s needs be­fore her own and now her chil­dren are grown up and flown the nest. She dis­cov­ers that as she has con­cen­trated all her ef­forts on her fam­ily, she doesn’t have hob­bies or a even cir­cle of friends. Over the years she has slowly lost her iden­tity. Don’t lose sight of who you are and what you en­joy. Think about what you loved do­ing be­fore your part­ner, make time for your­self, whether it’s a fit­ness class or a weekly din­ner with friends. Re­mem­ber, your part­ner fell in love with who you were at the start.” 4. IDEN­TIFY YOUR NO-GO AR­EAS “It’s cru­cial in a re­la­tion­ship to work out what are your no-go ar­eas. We of­ten see cou­ples who are con­fronted with a sit­u­a­tion that is sim­ply a none ne­go­tiable for one per­son. It could be some­thing like hav­ing step-chil­dren liv­ing with you, or el­derly and in­firm par­ents. Have those dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions about what is ac­cept­able and not ac­cept­able so you both know where you stand.”

5. THE TRIG­GERS = RE­LA­TION­SHIP TRIPWIRE “One piece of ad­vice we give to cou­ples is to avoid each other’s trig­gers. If you know your spouse loses the plot when you bring up an ex-part­ner be­cause it makes him feel in­se­cure, be aware of it. Any ‘light-hearted’ barbs that dis­guise a loaded taunt are only go­ing to lead to a con­flict.” 6. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM LIFE? “We of­ten see cou­ple at log­ger­heads be­cause they’ve never dis­cussed life de­ci­sions. It could be one wants kids and the other doesn’t. Or wealth is im­por­tant to one, how­ever the other val­ues qual­ity of life. Be clear on what you want and who you want to be part of your life – do you want your par­ents to have a key to your house? Do you see el­derly par­ents liv­ing with you?” 7. DON’T LET AM­BI­TIONS FALL BY THE WAY­SIDE “An­other type of cou­ple we see on a reg­u­lar ba­sis is am­bi­tious col­lege or univer­sity ed­u­cated cou­ples with young kids. Both hus­band and wife have had suc­cess­ful careers un­til the chil­dren came along and at that point they have agreed the hus­band will be the bread­win­ner, mean­while the wife gives up her job to raise the chil­dren. On one hand we have the hus­band who thinks he’s do­ing the right thing – he works long hours to climb the ca­reer lad­der and sup­port his fam­ily, but on the down­side he spends less and less time at home. On the other side we have the wife who parked her ca­reer am­bi­tions to raise their chil­dren, she hardly sees her hus­band and feels like a sin­gle par­ent. Over time she may be­gin to re­sent the sac­ri­fices she’s made which seem to go un­no­ticed. Be­cause she’s ef­fec­tively had to park her ca­reer pro­gres­sion, some­thing she’s prob­a­bly been work­ing to­wards for years, she be­gins to lose con­fi­dence in her abil­i­ties. The 8. BE CARE­FUL WHO YOU CON­FIDE IN “When we speak to a client who wants a di­vorce we can usu­ally iden­tify up to six other peo­ple’s opin­ions when they speak. Choose your con­fi­dante care­fully – avoid can­vass­ing the opin­ions of groups of friends, or any­one who is prone to drama or likes a gos­sip. The peo­ple you should NOT con­fide in are your chil­dren and par­ents. Firstly, they are never go­ing to be in a po­si­tion to pro­vide im­par­tial ad­vice, and se­condly it will colour their opin­ion of your spouse for­ever, re­gard­less of how things pan out. Se­lect one per­son you think will be able to give you ad­vice on an im­par­tial level, or even con­sider see­ing a coun­sel­lor.” 9. DON’T BE AFRAID OF COUN­SELLING “There is a stigma at­tached to coun­selling, how­ever we ac­tu­ally rec­om­mend di­vorc­ing cou­ples em­bark on coun­selling ses­sions. Of­ten, hav­ing an im­par­tial me­di­a­tor in­volved in the con­ver­sa­tion helps to re­solve con­flict am­i­ca­bly.” thought of try­ing to re-en­ter the job mar­ket is now too daunt­ing and over­whelm­ing. It’s im­por­tant cou­ples have a con­ver­sa­tion when it comes to child­care and re-visit their de­ci­sion on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Have an agreed plan in place with your part­ner. Will you go back to work? If so when? Of­ten our oc­cu­pa­tions are linked to our iden­tity – if your job is (or was) im­por­tant to you then it’s im­por­tant to work out a com­pro­mise.” 10. TAKE THE BLAME OUT OF IT “It’s im­por­tant that you learn to air griev­ances (in a healthy way). You should both be able to talk about how feel. But re­mem­ber not to make it a per­sonal at­tack. We of­ten meet a spouse that is non­plussed as to how their be­hav­iour has made the other party feel. If you are hav­ing a dis­agree­ment, then agree at the out­set that you will park the con­ver­sa­tion if ei­ther side raises their voice. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing in anger is never go­ing to lead to a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion.” For more in­for­ma­tion on the ser­vices BTO pro­vide visit www.bto.co.uk

“Any sort of light­hearted barbs that dis­guise a loaded taunt are only go­ing to lead to a con­flict.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.