Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your Future Ex-Husband.....

The best way to avoid divorce,
even before you get married, is
to understand the power of the
"R" word, i.e., rationalization.
This is the process of trying to
create a sense of logic for
something that we know is wrong.
Oftentimes it is the quicksand
that devours our ability to
reason in the first few weeks
and months of dating.
When someone asks me to describe
my new book, How to Recognize
Your Future Ex-Husband in two
sentences or less, this is what
I tell them. The essence of the
book is about understanding the
rationalization process and how
it obstructs our ability to
identify the early warning signs
of trouble ahead.
Here are three of the numerous
"domains" of dating where
rationalization shows up most
Anger: A man who is too angry
too often (and too early in the
relationship) may be emotionally
unstable. Anger can make us feel
less vulnerable and will often
impersonate intimacy. Genuine
intimacy is about trust and
feeling safe, and it is
impossible to experience either
with someone who is angry most
of the time. Rage should never
be a first-line response. So
don't try to spin it like his
ease in expressing anger is
indicative of how he feels close
enough to be authentic. In fact,
if he says something like this
to you--run--he is definitely a
future ex-husband!

Boundaries: While the nature of
romance is about the blurring of
boundaries (two become one,
etc.), it is very important to
establish boundaries early on
because they ultimately provide
a solid foundation in which to
cultivate a deeper commitment.

One time a friend of mine was
dating a man who constantly ate
off of her plate and sipped her
wine whenever they went out to
eat. On the first date she
politely told him that she was a
bit germ-phobic and didn't like
to share her food or drink. This
admission made him feel hurt and
put-off, so instead of
respecting her request, he
continued to sip her Pinot Noir
and munch on her pickles and
coleslaw. Don't rationalize that
this isn't a big deal in
relation to all of the other
wonderful things he does for
you. What is most important here
is his response to your stated
preference. If he doesn't
respect it, he is definitely a
future ex-husband.

Money: In our culture, money is
the code word for love and
power, and we often worship
wealth with complete disregard
to character. Rich people can be
stingy, and often cannot give
easily of themselves
emotionally. What seems
tolerable in the beginning
becomes a source of conflict
later on. The other side the
coin is buying gifts and
showing-off. An expensive piece
of jewelry on the third date
should trigger an alarm. Again,
don't rationalize that he is
simply a generous person who
shouldn't be demonized for
having affluent tastes. His
showering you with baubles or
pricey dinners is more about
him, and what he needs to do to
feel good about him. This is a
signal that there may be a huge
amount of narcissism looming--a
definite marker of future "ex-

There are many more examples of
how this process and the
destruction that it leaves in
its path. However, it can be
averted. If you have been
divorced or repeatedly
disappointed in love, it is
important to understand how and
why you succumb to the
rationalization process so
easily. Here, awareness is
everything and can quickly halt
unproductive behavior patterns.

Let's practice. If on the first
date he says something like
"will the children have your
nose or mine?"--excuse yourself
politely, call your best friend,
and say "I think I've just
recognized my future ex-huband!"

Debra Weiner is the author of
How to Recognize Your Future Ex
-Husband, and is a Managing
Partner of Aventine Co., which
produces the annual PAINWeek®
national conference.

Follow Debra Weiner on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/DebraWF and
visit her on the Web at

No comments: