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Early Intervention May Help Avoid Divorce

by Norris Law Group on March 24, 2014

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In an article in the Lynchburg, VA News & Advance, psychologist Ken West writes about the work of Robert Sternberg. Sternberg, who has been the president of the American Psychological Association, the president of the University of Wyoming, is one of the country’s most renowned researchers on the topic of love. His books on love include The New Psychology of Love, Love is a Story, and The Triangle of Love.

The Stages of Divorce

Sternberg’s research led him to discover a series of steps that led often lead to divorce. While, of course, not all marriages go through this series of steps, Sternberg found that a surprisingly high number do. Step 1: A secret. One spouse may think, “This marriage is not what I expected it to be,” and tries to share this with the other spouse—to no avail. Step 2: Withdrawal. The negative feelings of the concerned spouse “go underground,” and he or she withdraws from the other spouse. Eventually, both spouses become dissatisfied with the marriage, and share their concerns with a third party—not a professional therapist, but a friend or colleague. This third party very often just makes things worse, and more and more secrets come between the married couple. Professional therapy can be extremely helpful at this point. Step 3: Disappointment. When the married couple first met, “love was blind,” and each thought that the other could simply do no wrong. Now, it is difficult to find anything that the other spouse has done right, and love has been replaced with irritation. Sadly, the true history of the marriage is often rewritten in keeping with the spouses’ new views of the marriage. Step 4: Placing blame. As time goes on, the “happier” partner may not take his or her spouse’s dissatisfaction with the marriage seriously enough, and may blame the “unhappy” partner’s complaints on other factors, such as a midlife crisis, stress , etc. At this point, many dissatisfied partners find a transitional person to help them move toward divorce. In some cases, the unhappy spouse may even have an affair. Step 5: Therapy. Surprisingly, Sternberg found that many couples eventually consult with a therapist who actually encourages them to act on their feelings by seeking a divorce. At this point, dissatisfied partners may perform some action to convey their intent to leave, such as taking of his or her wedding ring, sleeping apart from his or her spouse or moving out altogether. Unfortunately, couples too frequently wait too long to ask for help. Sternberg writes that therapy works best when difficulties first arise. While some couples do save their marriages, most do not. If you find yourself in any of these “stages,” seek help now. Early intervention brings about the best results. Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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