Monday, April 9, 2012
The grey marriage leaves people saying,"Is this how it's supposed to be?" "S/he is not meeting my needs, but what am I to do?" "S/he is not an alcoholic, a substance abuser, abusive, takes care of the kids/finances......a decent wo/man.....but we don't seem to have anything in common anymore." "I can't be sure I will be happier if I leave, I just know that this doesn't seem right." "There must be more to life..." "While we don't fight, our kids don't see love and passion." "I could stay and I could go, how am I to know?"
The spouse whose marriage is being played out in painful brush strokes of black and white is afforded a more precise lens to assess the viability of their marriage, while the spouse in grey is given a fuzzier lens to look through. Does that make the decision to leave any less justified? I would say, it does not but it may make the decision harder to arrive at, more difficult to rationalize and more of a challenge to come to terms with. In fact, I would suggest the decision to leave a grey marriage requires that the decision-maker come to terms with the possibility that they could have decided to stay or to go and that either choice may have been viable. That does not mean that staying would have been the right decision, but rather it means living with the wonder that comes with grey.
Leaving a grey marriage means coming to terms and accepting one's ability to make a decision and to live with it comfortably. It means embracing that a decision was made. It does not mean that one has to know that the alternative was not acceptable. It is about making a choice and giving oneself permission to live peacefully and guilt-free with the choice. One never gets to live the unwritten chapter but somehow, when the unwritten chapters seem clearer or like ink would have been in black on white, living with the unwritten grey makes it harder to know if one should leave or stay.
Some words of advice to the spouses who find themselves assessing their grey house:
1. Don't expect an epiphany - the point of the grey marriage is that it is tolerable and there is no cataclysmic event in the grey marriage that will leave you with a D-Day.
2. The grey marriage often has one spouse who can tolerate the grey and one who cannot. Leaving the spouse who chooses to live in grey is not for the faint-of-heart.
3. You don't need to come up with really awful material about the grey marriage to justify leaving - you just need to be able to live with the fact that there isn't really awful material.
3. Get help in determining which path to take and how to move forward.
If you live in a world of grey but dream in technicolor the journey to end your marriage is complicated but no less justified. The emotional terrain is painful and challenging and the importance of self awareness is critical. Do the work on the front end so your decision is one that is lived in a state of peace.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I am quoted in an article in The National Post on Divorce and Social Media
Friday, March 12, 2010
You are entering a new dimension, an alien world where the regular rules of the road do not apply. It is the world of STEP FAMILY. No - not "Blended Family", because it is critical that you understand this sooner than later, Step Families do NOT blend, they collide. So hang on to your hat for the ride and prepare yourself for a more realistic approach to your merger or acquisition.
As a Master Certified Step Family Coach with The Step Family Foundation of New York, I would encourage you to do away with all myths and fantasies connected to dating when either you or your new partner have children from a former relationship. It is essential that couples relinquish any preconceived ideas of what remarriage with children from former relationships might look like.
Do not allow love, passion, excitement or hope to catapult you into any form of "blended family delusion." Love Me, Love My Children is not the motto that works. Wishful thinking, fantasies or idealized visions will get in the way of creating a map that will lead you to your intended destination - a thriving step family.
Instead, put on a set of clear lenses, roll up your sleeves and get ready to prepare, as you attempt one of the biggest challenges you have ever tackled. The more realistic, informed and mindful your are - the greater the likelihood that you will be successful as you move to connect two complex family systems in a meaningful way.
It is highly recommended that anyone attempting to forge healthy and positive step family relationships first develop an understanding about the unique behaviors and dynamics endemic of step families. Once understood, it is essential that couples work together as a team to create roles, rules and a concrete road map. As CEOS of your respective corporations, you will be well-poised to deal with your intended merger and acquisition in a proactive way.
Deborah L. Mecklinger, LL.B., M.S.W, A.T.C
Professional Coach, Mediator and Therapist
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Divorcee on Board: A New Form of Road Rage?
As Posted on FIRSTWIVESWORLD.COM by Deborah Mecklinger on Sun, 06/28/2009 - 11:57pm
Should there be a "Duty to Declare Divorce" to the Department of Motor Vehicles? Are the newly separated a danger to themselves and others when driving under the influence of divorce and its associated trauma? No doubt the onset of divorce is often akin to flying head-on into a Mack Truck, but does that mean you need to actually drive into one?
On a daily basis, clients share stories of their most recent fender benders, collisions and sometimes major accidents — all noted as a direct consequence of overwhelming distraction and their distraught state. In particular, men and women report that in the early stages of separation they encounter an out-of-body experience and have little recollection of how they got through their day, managed their children or performed their job.
They say that driving when fatigued is like driving while intoxicated. While it is difficult to attribute sleepiness to car accidents as there is no standardized test for fatigue like there is for intoxication, data shows that fatigue slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. The newly separated not only report inability to sleep and the ensuing fatigue but an overall feeling of emotional and physical exhaustion in the early stages of divorce or periods of extreme conflict.
So how do the newly separated get from point A to point B in their cars? Many have no idea. In fact, it is not uncommon for those in the throws of divorce to report locking keys in their car, driving in circles, passing their destination, forgetting where they are headed and getting lost on their way. Divorcing drivers have even commented that it was luck not presence of mind that allowed them to drive without incident.
If you or a loved one are driving under the influence of divorce consider the following strategies before getting behind the wheel:
1. Call a friend and ask for a ride. Finally, a way for someone waiting in the wings to be helpful.
2. Take a cab, public transit, or walk. Not only will you be safe, but you will have the opportunity to clear your head.
3. If you are going to drive, put your cell phone in the back seat. Resist all temptation to call your lawyer while driving, vent to a friend while at light or call your EX and rage. Eliminate an additional distraction.
4. Write down directions, get a map and put an extra set of car keys in your purse, pocket, office or other convenient location.
5. When you park the car, write down on a piece of paper the exact location of where you parked. Take the paper with you and pay attention to where you put it. Leave a pack of POST IT notes in the car to make this easy.
6. Make sure you are well rested and take a coffee, tea, or bottle of water along for the ride.
7. Never drive yourself to court. You are sure to be stressed to max on your way there only to be trumped by how you may feel on your way home. Follow 1 or 2.
8. The same can be said for driving to meetings with your lawyer.
9. If you feel like you are driving recklessly and cannot resist, give your car keys to a friend.
10. Slow down. Turn the music down. Turn the noise down. Turn the DVD player down and drive with extreme caution and care. Be aware of your distraction and focus.
If driving under the influence of divorce is on your radar, remember that it is not a chronic condition but rather a phase that can be navigated strategically and safely. At the very least, shake hands with your divorce distractions and your distress and drive with caution and care.
For more information visit: www.walkthetalkcoaching.com
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Lois Frankel on Taking the Lead at Work
Books to Boost Your Career
Women lead households, fundraising committees and the PTA. We plan weddings, surprise parties and family vacations. We can even lead our "school-phobic" children to the classroom with the precision, inspiration and conviction of a world class leader. In her latest bookSee Jane Lead, The New York Times best selling author teaches women how to utilize their innate ability to influence people to achieve their full potential in the workplace.
Author of Nice Girls Don't Get Rich, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office and Stop Sabotaging Your Career, Dr. Frankel gets to the core of what holds women back from reaching their potential. Filled with advice, tools and strategies from positive female role models and successful business leaders, Frankel offers a blueprint consisting of 99 strategies to help women unleash their natural leadership skills.
Frankel explores the dated male model of "command-control" style of leadership, and contrasts it with the transformative and collaborative approach that comes naturally to women. Frankel explores how womens' relationship building skills, ability to motivate, and their EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) equips them to be ideal leaders in today's world.
Frankel shows women how to let go of the "self-sabotaging" behaviors that get in their way and use the resources, skills and traits they already possess in order to succeed. Read See Jane Lead and ignite your inner leader. Whether you to take your "inner leader" to the soccer field, the bedroom or the boardroom, Frankel will ensure that you use and improve the talents you didn't know had.
SEE JANE LEAD
99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work
By Lois P. Frankel, PhD
By Deborah Mecklinger, LL.B., M.S.W, A.T.C
Saturday, May 16, 2009
SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2009 POSTED IN LOVE - LOVE & SEX AS FIRST PUBLISHED IN WOMAN.CA
If your 6th sense is screaming that your spouse is cheating ask yourself if you really want to know. If you have been walking around riddled with anxiety and suspicion that your spouse has broken with tradition and is committing adultery it is no coincidence that you may be the last to know. The anxiety, pain and fear of the truth, is the only thing keeping you from being a sleuth.
When you get to the place where you can no longer manage to ignore the signs with a marital bandage it may be time to take control and get in the know. If you fear the city is talking and the neighbors all know you can be sure the Blackberry is the host of the show. The compelling desire to stay connected is fueled and supported by the technology Blackberry’s effected. The number of calls and texts most lovers send is enough to put their secret to an end.
Once you decide to turn signs into proof the following tips will turn you into super-sleuth:
Go For The Oscar: Do not tell your partner you are suspicious. If you already have – take a break and act like you believe them. They will be more likely to slip up if they don’t feel “watched".
Repeat Performance: Pay attention to patterns. Most cheating spouses meet at the same place and at the same time each week. Cheaters find it easier to create routines. It makes it easier to “get away.” From the standing Wednesday evening “Board Meeting” to the Thursday Pilates class, the “standing” excuse goes along way.
Black and White: Take written notes regarding warning signs. The patterns will appear before your very eyes. If you don’t put pen to paper you will ignore the details and it won’t seem real.
Ask The Audience or Call A Friend: If you dare, they will bare. Get ready for the truth. Everyone else always knows.
Record Keeper Catches Cheater: Check phone bills and credit card statements. The bad news and the good news is that they talk on the phone, buy one and other gifts, stay in hotels and eat out.
Spring Cleaning: Empty pockets, check wallets and search drawers. Lingerie, condoms and receipts will be there to prove they are a cheat.
Computer/Digital Spyware: Voice-activated digital recorders left in the car and spyware on computers will tell you who and where they are. The technology is evolving faster than the cheaters can run.
GPS: Get Philandering Spouse: No need to wonder where your spouse wanders. You can follow their every move and receive email notifications the second they get in their car. Your Global Positioning System will enable you to log in and follow the cheater.
Bug Cheating Spouse: FlexiSpy for Blackberry or iPhones is software you download on the Blackberry or phone and it will collect data (SMS texts, emails and telephone calls – even deleted ones) and send it to a web account you set up. Even remote listening is possible.
I Spy: Hire a Private Investigator. The last place to go if you really want to know or the first place to start to catch someone breaking your heart
Getting to the truth will save your mind so you can move forward no matter what you find. The facts and the proof that you obtain will give you the strength to determine how you want to proceed. The information is a place to start talking about what is true without anyone telling you that you have no clue. The bottom line is that everything you need to know is probably as close as the buzzing Blackberry that is vibrating in front of you.
By Deborah Mecklinger, LL.B., M.S.W, A.T.C