If you’re in a troubled marriage, permanent separation might seem like the only solution. But the emotional upheaval of divorce, and its financial implications, can have a lasting impact, warns the acclaimed author and self-help guru Paul McQueen, who urges warring couples to invest in their relationship – not divorce lawyers.
By Paul McQueen
The holidays are over and the bitter aftertaste of incessant arguments with your spouse still linger. You’re not listened to or given any respect and feel you’re just taken for granted. It’s the same routine, every time you spend considerable time together and you have decided something has to change. A harmonious relationship with your partner is certainly part of living a Hotlifestyle but have you grown apart?
People change. Experiences, expectations and relationships will all have an influence on our personal development. The teenager you dated at school will not be the same person 10 years later. We all grow and mature and change our point of view. If you have grown apart it is most likely that you have stopped listening to one another. A significant part of the communication process especially with a loved one is the ability to pay full attention to their emotions, body language and facial expressions while talking to one another. If you have both stopped listening to one another maybe you should set an example and sit down for a real heart-to-heart about how you both feel about your relationship before you make the final decision.
Should I stay, or should I go now? The dramatics of slamming the door behind you with suitcase in hand might leave a lasting impression on your ex-to-be. But half way down the street it will dawn on you as you come to the realisation, “Whose couch will I be sleeping on tonight?” Leaving in pursuit of your Hotlifestyle needs preparation. The most important item besides finding a place to live will be getting ready for single life again. If the relationship has become intolerable or your other half is violent or abusive then leaving sooner rather than later should clearly be a priority.
Any change of this nature can be a daunting prospect though. Take time out to re-evaluate some aspects of your life and get it back on track. Do you want to push your career, get a diploma or re-enter the dating scene? Give some serious thought about what you want and devise a plan and budget. Set yourself realistic goals including a timeline by which you want to achieve certain things. Whatever you decide to do, here are some essential basics for you to consider before making your move.
Start feeling good again. It’s that time of the year when all of us are thinking how we can lose those extra pounds gained during the Christmas holidays. It’s not just about eating less but about eating right. We have created a list of foods that make it easy to start eating healthy again. Print out your free copy of the Hotlifestyle Healthy Shopping List. Here you will find a list of foods that when included as part of your normal diet will help boost your overall vitality.
If you’re not already exercising, then start. Begin at a pace that is suitable for your level of fitness. It can be as simple as using the stairs more often or walking more briskly than usual.
Start looking good again. When you’re settled in a permanent relationship it can happen that you let your appearance go a little. Is your wardrobe letting you down? The sales are on, so get out and try something new. A day out shopping with your best friend even if you don’t buy much can be very motivating and may give you ideas how to mix and match items you already have. New clothes can do wonders for boosting your confidence.
Start building confidence again. Confidence is the ability to step out of your comfort zone and face the fears that absolutely everyone has. One small step each day is all it takes. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you.
Start living again. Before you take the step to leave, go out with your friends more without your partner. Good personal relationships can be a buffer against the damaging effects of many setbacks. After you separate, some of your friends may be divided as to where their loyalties lie. Go out to simply enjoy yourself, dress up, and have a laugh. A break from your partner might just put your feelings about your situation in perspective. If you have a close friend, you can confide in, you might consider telling them about your plans and see what they think. Don’t go it alone.
Any change in your life should start with you rising up to the challenge becoming a better person. If you feel you have simply grown apart consider the energy and money that you will spend leaving might be better invested to see if there is a chance of reconciliation. All relationships need constant work on them.
If you are truly miserable and determined to move on and get divorced it’s always better to part without animosity especially when children are involved. Staying friends and working out an amicable settlement could see considerable cost savings on solicitors bills alone. No matter how much you are hurt, revenge will only cost you. It is reckoned that it takes most people about two years to get over a marriage. I would suggest investing your energy on your long-term relationship and see what happens. The result might create a happier outcome.
Paul McQueen is a celebrated entrepreneur and self-help expert who has worked across Europe in publishing and broadcast advertising. His new book, Hotlifestyle: Essential Basics (Graystone LA Ltd), aims to address personal change and inspire readers to pursue a ‘hot life style’ of their own through new life skills and perspectives. It also offers practical advice about all areas of personal development including wealth, careers, communication, relationships, fitness and wellbeing. Hotlifestyle: Essential Basics is out now on Amazon UK, priced £12.99 in paperback and £8.99 in eBook format. For further information visit www.hotlifestyle.info.
Q&A with Author and Self-Help Guru, Paul McQueen
We sit down with the brainchild of Hotlifestyle to chat personal development, the importance of marriage and UK divorce rates.
Q: The divorce rate between opposite-sex couples in England and Wales is 42 per cent, according to the latest figures. Whilst that’s lower than previous years, it’s still a shocking statistic. Why do you think so many people are divorcing in today’s society?
A: Let me start by saying that the book Hotlifestyle is for people who want to prepare for a life-changing event or get their lives on track. Most of the reasons cited for divorce (money problems, appearance, communication, social shifts, loss of self-esteem due to abuse) are actually covered in the book. It’s not a book to help you get divorced but is recommended if you’re considering divorce to help create a healthier, happier, richer you.
People’s expectations have changed, and the internet has given a forum allowing us to see what others are doing. Society as a whole is becoming less loyal: to brands, to employers and to spouses. Our tolerance levels and patience in general has diminished, and people expect more from life. We all want to pursue a Hotlifestyle! For some of us, that will involve getting a divorce.
Q: Is marriage still really that important?
A: I have been married to my wonderful wife for 24 years after divorcing my first wife. The gap between marriages was roughly three years. So, you can imagine, I am a huge advocate for marriage. Besides the contractual status of marriage, I find it offers a sense of commitment and stability. A good marriage doesn’t happen by itself; it’s something that has to be worked on every day. We, as people, evolve and grow. You can either choose to embrace it, supporting one another on your journey, or fight against it, stifling the hopes and dreams of the one you love.
Q: The age of divorcing couples has been rising consistently for the last 30 years (with the average ages for men and women being 44.7 and 42.2 respectively). If you’re in an unhappy marriage that has broken down irretrievably, is there a ‘good’ – or at least more favourable – time to divorce?
A: There are many considerations to take into account, especially when children are involved. It’s important that you have control of the situation as much as possible and prepare for the future. If this means biding your time, then so be it. Even an amicable divorce is tough for all parties involved and ranks as the second most stressful life-changing event that you can have. Be certain that this is what you want because once the ‘D’ word is on the table it will irreversibly change your relationship. Living together in a state of divorce can only lead to resentment and arguments. There is no good time to announce divorce —
there is only the time after announcement and actually leaving. Keep it short.
Q: At what point should couples decide to permanently separate? What are the key factors to consider before making that decision?
A: This is really not for me to say. The point at which a relationship has become so intolerable that it has to change depends on someone’s tolerance level. Before any separation, it’s important that you prepare yourself both mentally and physically. You’ll be carting your own boxes to the car.
Q: Your book highlights the importance of personal development and the practical steps that we can all make to improve our overall lives. Is marriage generally a positive thing for lifelong happiness or should it perhaps be avoided altogether?
A: Statistics say that people who are married tend to live longer than singles. We all have a natural longing to find our sole mate but judging by the rate of divorce it seems to indicate that most of us don’t. Marriage, besides a way of showing commitment to one another, has far-reaching legal consequences ranging from power of attorney to executing a will. I personally like being married but it might not be for everyone. Personal development together with your spouse can be an opportunity to grow together. Understanding the different types of intimacy you can have with your partner, for example, requires that both have the same knowledge for it to really work. Sharing knowledge, being open with one another, can only make a marriage stronger. Living a Hotlifestyle is also about understanding and showing empathy. Maybe after reading the book, and sharing it with your partner, divorce might be the last thing on your minds.