Friday, July 15, 2011

Love Boat Sinking

She is sinking fast and the hand she normally reaches out to...
the hand that has almost always been there to grasp hers...
is no longer there, except to provide a shove deeper into the abyss.
I am watching this.
I watch this all the time on domestic cases.

It's been a year since I've done as many domestic dispute cases as I am doing now -- being infidelity, divorce, custody crises that often occur with the coupling/uniting and then disengaging of two people.
In matters of relationships and marriage, I expect a certain self-destruct rate.
However, I never expected the failure rate to run so high.
Statistically I hear it quoted now that 50% of all first marriages end in divorce.
75% of second marriages end in divorce.
And I know a load of people going on marriage three.
I just did a background on a woman going into her fifth  marriage. She is only in her 50's.

Yes, sometimes it works out.
My second marriage has lasted a decade and we are as happy as the first day we met, if not happier.
And three of my closest friends' third marriages are going on well over a couple decades.
However, when you marry someone who has been married four or five times, I think your chances of success are slim.
In successful remarriages, it is because the families blended well, the people who married dated a long time.... endured several conflicts, fights and challenges.
Many second, third, fourth divorces need not have happened had a couple lived through one year of life's cycles, seasons and holidays and realized,  once  the hormones worn off, they were/are incompatible.

These divorce statistics may be fairly startling to some... yet lucrative to others, like attorneys, P.I.'s, DSHS, courts and those who earn a living doing the battle of finding chinks in domestic armor.
Even though Washington is a no-fault divorce state, and whether someone cheats or not doesn't really matter except to expose one person to a partner's betrayal.
it's a whole different story when or someone brings a venereal disease into the equation.
And it's even more complex... when funds are co-mingled.
Especially in this economy, when houses aren't selling, people own lots of property and those property values have declined while  property taxes continue to increase.
More mature couples marry a second or third or even fourth time, co-mingle their debts and assets and all hell breaks loose.
During the lovey-dovey period, people hide their dark financial sides and emotional secrets.
That's what I am paid to uncover.

You work domestics long enough and you can see the trouble coming, see the damages before the hit.
When no children are involved, I tend not to get involved.
I say "get a divorce and get over it."

However, where there are kids involved, who I consider the innocent party -- my antenna goes up automatically.
I do everything I can to deescalate any conflict between the sparring couple by emphasizing the "put the needs of the children first" equation.
Because what is especially dangerous to kids..... besides a divorce or separation... and the children being used as pawns by the parents...
are the later weeks, months, years.... when new partners are found.
Sometimes the new partners blend with your kids. Sometimes they don't.
I have a case now where a new spouse hates her new husband's children.
She already got his only son moved out in under a few months even though dad had custody.

It's the bad seeds... the bad lovers, fiancees, spouses that P.I'.s deal with when things go horribly bad.
That said, let me say something to all you folks out there looking for love.
Be careful.
Very very careful.
It is much better to live alone happily than to live with someone miserably.

In the old days, people lived together after marriage.
Not so anymore.
And truth be told, I think that's wise.
Live together. Times have changed,
I believe people should live together as long as humanly possible before getting married.
It is my know the true nature and direction of a committed relationship until after the estimated 9-12 months for the hormones the body/mind produces to wear off.

Once a baby enters the arena it's a whole different equation, so I won't go there.
I believe a marriage is the best thing for couple who conceive a child together and truly love each other.
However, for many of us, the blush of youth has faded... one marriage came and went...
and then another arrived.
I am on my second.
The best part of my first marriage was the wonderful children they produced.
It is those children and the children of my new husband, besides the integrity of the man I am with,  that have brought my second marriage the greatest joy.
My first marriage was no fun.
This  second marriage is the light in my life and the real thing.
So the big question is this:
How do you know?
How do you know if the person you just fell in love with is baiting you...
or planning to try to change you?
How do you know if the alleged new love of your life is after your money, or a servant,  or fancy house that they have no clue could be mortgaged, or refinanced, to the hilt?
How do you know if the person you are dating is a narcissist, control freak, talks about you behind your back?
Beyond running court records for past divorces, liens, judgments, warrants, multiple marriages and reading through divorce files, county assessor records regarding the financing behind properties owned or acquired through prior are some signs to looks for:

1. Quickie Wedding: You or the other person you just started dating.... or dated once and just reunited with after years... is pushing for a fast marriage (4 months or under) unless someone's pregnant. If you dated years and years earlier, like one of those reunions, and you count the time together in your time of knowing each other.... forgertaboutit. The clock starts ticking on the date you start dating again.... because something broke you up in the first place.
If you are pushing for a fast marriage, it's probably because you are desperate to marry.
Or they have something you want or think will "complete" you --friends, a life, a job, assets.
If the other person is pushing for a hasty marriage, the same applies. They want something from you they are unwilling to wait for. 
2. Employment: When one person works, the other doesn't, the one who works will inevitably resent, nag and detest the non worker. No way around it.
3. Family Dynamics: Look at the family relationships of the person you are marrying. How tight are they with their children?  How tight is your new honey with their soon-to-be step children? Since your new love has entered your life,  has that love alienated any of  your family or friends?  If so why?
4. Alcohol or Drug Use -- if you both drink, every evening, often, whatever, it won't work.
As people age, they absorb alcohol differently. Especially women who really do not process alcohol well in later years. Add menopause or "malepause" to the equation and you've got combustion.
5. Social Circle Limits -- if one person has a group of friends the you are excluded from, warning sign.If one person takes a social trip you are not invited on, warning sign.  If one person thinks he or she knows everything, warning sign.
6. Isolation -- another a key warning sign. What I mean by that is if you are consumed by your new partner  to the exclusion of others in your home or life you have known a long time. That is, I suppose, to be expected. However, very often the new partner gets drunk, yells at, or says bad  stuff to your own kids about you behind their backs, and the kids are too scared to tell you, so they won't. That's because kids know you will believe your lying girlfriend or boyfriend and call them... your own kids... liars. Your new boyfriend or girlfriend will make your kid out to be crazy.
7. Judgmental personalities -- People who think they are better than you, smarter than you, work harder than you, judge your kids, your friends... are to be avoided at all costs. Google narcissist. That says it all. Have your two best friends spend an evening or weekend with your soon to be spouse. Listen to their feedback. I have yet to meet one person I have known all my life who does not like my husband.
8. Screamers-- do not marry one. If you are both screamers, forgetaboutit. Life is dramatic enough. Love is all about love and compromise. Not control. Not changing the other person.
The best a relationship will EVER be is in the very beginning 1-9 month hormonal dating period.
From there, it is all downhill. The question is, can you handle the inevitable downhill slope?
If your fights end up in screaming matches, slammed doors, major drama, step away. If the person you are with never apologizes for a mistake in judgment towards you, or others, step away. Apologies are important successful marriages. Every story has three sides -- yours, mine and the truth.
9. Money Spenders -- Money is the number one cause of divorce besides problems with the kids/step-kids. If you are hemorrhaging money during your dating/marrying period, buying expensive new items to accommodate your controlling partner's desires, wanderlust, hobbies.... close the money tap now.  If you have money, get a pre-nup.
10. Drama -- true love is seamless, simple. It flows beautifully.  Friends and family join in one loving sacred embrace. If one person controls the other, takes the leads, calls the shots and creates drama in your world rather than enhancing your family life... get premarital counseling. It's short term and a whole lot cheaper than a divorce which, at the low end, can run each party well over 10 grand.

All of this, every bit of it, is happening in four cases I am working now.
Two couples getting married. And two divorces.
It is neither pretty or pleasant.
And it all could be or could have been avoided if everyone slowed down, chilled, and looked closely behind the masks we put on everyday before we marry, co-mingle lives and funds... and then destroy family and life long relationships.

All it takes is one good winter of discontent to reveal what happens when your new love tweeks out.

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