Emotionally Unavailable

Emotionally Unavailable

Emotionally Unavailable

People divorce for all sorts of reasons.

Some are in truly intolerable situations, like abuse, addiction, or infidelity. Others feel a disconnect between the relationship they have today and the one they entered into many years ago.

That could be because the relationship ran its course and both people evolved into individuals who are no longer compatible, or it could be because they were never truly compatible in the first place.

When a client tells me their partner was “emotionally unavailable,” chances are good that he or she always was like that; they just may not have recognized it early on. Being emotionally unavailable is a real thing and it’s common.
emotionally unavailable
It’s the kind relationship where you feel empty and alone, even though your partner is right there. It’s where you go to therapy, alone or together, to try to come closer, to try to understand the disconnects, to try to repair the rifts between you, and nothing seems to work.

Many couples stay together out of stubbornness – a desire to make this thing work, no matter what. Others stay because they want to keep their family unit together. And still others decide to end the relationship and move on to brighter horizons.

Emotional unavailability is not a lack in you. It’s that your partner simply cannot get as close or open as you would like. They just can’t do it. And then you have to decide what your next step is.

Being with an emotionally unavailable partner often feels like being alone. You can decide to accept your partner’s nature and find that emotional connection with a friend. That works for some.

Relationships, especially ones that last for years and decades, evolve and change, as do the people in them. I believe marriage is a commitment every single day to stay with the person you’re married to – with all of their faults and oddities.

Many people in relationships like these simply need to find different ways to communicate. Scratch the accusatory tone and adopt a way to speak your truth in a loving and non-confrontational way.

Some emotionally unavailable people have spent their lives being attacked and told their ideas or essence are not worthy. Why, then, would they open up? Showing the love you have for them in a way that is safe and welcoming can be just what your partner needs to change the habit.

I’m not saying it’s always possible. But it’s worth a try.

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Conscious Uncoupling, Conscious Dating, Conscious Living

Conscious Uncoupling, Conscious Dating, Conscious Living

Conscious Uncoupling, Conscious Dating, Conscious Living


Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

A few years ago, the phrase “conscious uncoupling” fell into vogue when Gwyneth Paltrow and her ex-husband, Chris Martin, coined the term to refer to their amicable divorce.

Now, I’m seeing the phrase “conscious dating” come up a lot. When I was single, I think I consciously dated. It’s just what many people do, right?

So I began to wonder why we have to put a catchy label on just being a good person?
Being kind, considerate, respectful – these are not fads. They’re universal, evergreen ways-to-be, right?

Recently, I read an article on DailyOm about how the act of dating doesn’t have a great reputation. The article referenced stereotypical situations like dull conversation, awkward silences, and ghosting (unreturned texts or calls), which unfortunately do happen – but does that mean dating is overall a negative act?

It got me thinking that common human kindness should be the rule for any personal interaction – even if the person turns out to not be your dream-come-true. Why isn’t this the automatic state for all of us? Truly, ghosting should never happen. If we have any shred of character, why not send a quick text saying, “It was nice to meet you, but I don’t think I’m interested in going out again.” It’s clean, to-the-point, and honest.

That’s what I’m going to call Conscious Living. Making a decision to approach each day with mindfulness, pledging to be kind to every person who crosses my path, sharing my honest intentions in a transparent manner.

With dating, especially after a divorce, that means being forthright with your age and who you are. Not trying to create a bravado or facade on a dating app to snare more interest.


Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

Because in the end, who we are shines through, no matter what masks we don or false profiles we create.

True love comes from being vulnerable and honest. The DailyOm article described conscious dating as “becoming curious – about who you are, what motivates you and what your soul most deeply desires.”

That feeds right into my definition of Conscious Living. We get one chance at this life; why not make the most of it? 

Deciding to divorce and put yourself out there again, with the hope of finding a partner you’re better suited for, does not signify failure. Divorce is a transition from one stage of life to another. The marriage you end was not a failure; it served its purpose for as long as it survived. Once we change our perspectives, and stop being so hard on ourselves, we will have a better chance of finding happiness, and success.

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What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

What I Learned About Relationships From the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It’s not often you get sucked into a TV show set in the 1950s where the main character leaves her husband and children to focus on her own career. But that’s one of the main story lines in the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Prime Video’s wildly popular show that premiered March 17, 2017 and recently released its third season.

I like so many things about this show.

First, the quirky main character, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is funny and original. In the way that she’s not so into parenting, I kind of want to dislike her, but I can’t. And then I play tug-of-war with my own emotions about whether I think she should stay with her husband Joel, with whom she continues to have great chemistry and friendship, or leave him and make room for her great new self.

As a family law attorney, I applaud the brazenness of the story, which does not apologize for a 1950s divorce. But as a woman in the middle of my life, I know that was probably unrealistic for the times.

In season two, Midge does experience some backlash at the Catskills resort they always spent summers, when she can no longer lead the swimsuit competition because she’s no longer married. It’s a humiliating, but realistic, situation.


Rachel Brosnahan | Greg2600 [CC BY-SA]

Still, viewers can’t help but admire her, like her, want to be her. And by the end of season three (SPOILER!), she remains very much alone – reconciling the idea that she might have to be alone in order to fulfill her career dreams.
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Cast of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel | Peabody Awards [CC BY-SA]

I have a hard time accepting that talented women can’t have both successful relationships and successful careers. But is there a truth lurking beneath this assertion?

What I love most about this show and its commentary on the complicated nature of all marriages, is the fluidity it accepts and demands from a relationship. In season three, we see Midge and Joel in court to finalize their divorce – and they get along so surprisingly well, that the judge does not want to grant it. It’s as if the judge expects a divorce to come from utter hatred and an inability to be civil to one another.

Because I am such a champion of Collaborative Divorce, I know this is not the only way. It’s reassuring to see such a popular show depict divorce in an amicable and, dare I say it, human way.

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Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

Who You Know Always Matters

The value of networking cannot be underestimated.

Whether you’re working for someone else, trying to grow in an area of your career or industry, or contemplating going out on your own, networking is very valuable. First, because networking leads to building new relationships. And relationships are everything.

There is always something that somebody else can help provide to you and you can provide to somebody else. 

travel work

3D Social Networking” by Chris Potter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s important to know what you bring to the table – and to realize that you can’t possibly know everything. Listening to others, learning from them, is how we expand our intellectual capabilities and move forward.
travel work

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Of course, I’m the first to admit that I get nervous walking into a networking event. All those people circulating, shoving their business cards in my face. Not my favorite setting.

But, once there, it can be very confidence-building.

And, it’s not an immediate gratification, so it builds patience, and the long view. You might meet somebody in May and wait two years before that person pops into your mind because their service or offer or talent is valuable to you in a new way. Or vice versa.

I firmly believe that no meeting is ever in vain. There is always a next step, even if you don’t see it immediately. You just never know where one interaction will lead, or the long chain of connections that weaves through our lives.

For me, it’s important to network within my legal community, but opportunities outside of my industry are also important.

One of my favorite legal community networking opportunities brings professionals involved in family law together monthly for lunch and a speaker through the Michigan Interprofessional Association – attorneys, judges, Friend of the Court referees, mental health professionals, financial people, and more. It’s low-key and you can talk one-on-one with people at your table, at a leisurely pace.

Sometimes I go to events because I know it’s good to be seen. I tell my Collaborative friends, you have to show up at meetings if you want to get more cases, to show that you’re interested in working on relationships. Simply put, you have to put in the effort to reap the reward. Always. In every situation, be it personal or professional.

travel work

I also network through the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. I participate in the Chamber’s Business Pioneers Action Group, where I am the only family law attorney. Sometimes I feel like I can’t take that hour out of my day but I do it anyway because I’m building long-term powerful relationships.

Finally, networking has to happen in areas where you are passionate. I get involved in political campaigns, and I am dedicated to my spiritual community.

I am involved with Hazon and AIPAC, growing my reach in areas of great interest to me. Maybe it will help my career, and maybe it won’t. But it helps me as a person, which always boosts every realm of your life.

To be successful in your work, you basically have to know who you are and what matters to you – and share that with others. Where are you going to start?

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Letting Go of Perfection

Letting Go of Perfection

Letting Go of Perfection

No marriage is perfect. That’s the honest truth. And so, by transitive deduction, we must admit that no divorce is perfect, either.

So if you’re trying to decide whether to divorce or stay together, don’t base it on the fact that your marriage isn’t perfect.

Marriage – or any relationship, really – is about deciding to choose this person today, tomorrow and the next day. It’s a choice you make every morning when you wake up.

It’s wanting to be married to this person as they are today, and not hoping for them to improve or reach their potential.

This is so important to remember!

Any relationship is about the work and the process and the journey. Ups and downs, highs and lows, happinesses and disappointments. If you do decide to divorce, know going in that every divorce is different, and yours likely won’t go entirely the way you want it to.

A divorce that is perfect for you is going to be different for someone else. The process, the outcome, all those things will unfold differently.

It will help you if, going through the process, you can let go of what you thought might be the perfect divorce, or how you envisioned splitting up, co-parenting, or other future states once you part ways.

Especially never having gone through it before, at least not with this mate, these children, at this time, accept that what is best for everybody might look different than what you envisioned.

I’ve found that in every part of life, it’s important to let go of some imagined ideal – unless we want to live in a state of perpetual disappointment.

Most people divorcing want to settle as amicably as possible rather than beat it out in court during a long and winding trial. If you let go of expectations, engage in reasonable negotiations, and try to forgive – yourself and your partner – you have a good chance of achieving that. Aim for the reasonable resolution, not a perfect one.

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