Tolucan Times December 11, 2003
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 As therapists, attorneys and coaches know, the holidays are our “busy season”. It isn't only Santa who looks at who is being naughty or nice because the holidays trigger a large percentage of each year's divorce statistics. Couples who can hold it together from March to November often find that the stress from Thanksgiving through the New Year is overwhelming. When is a “working relationship” just too much work? What are the new expectations that arise during the holidays and what can you do to insulate your relationship so that it weathers these storms?

For some couples, the financial stress of gift-giving and socializing is insurmountable while for others, it is the emotional needs of one partner that create overwhelming stress. However, when there exists the ability to understand one another and to see “reality” through one's partner's eyes, then strategies are easily discovered. Can you do this with your husband or wife?


Dear Divorce Coach,

Last Xmas, we had a big physical fight and he denied he hit me, and it's our 1st yr of living together after we married cuz I am from overseas. We always have verbal fights and that physical fight scared me; my being 5'1 he 6'1" . Later, I was seeing a guy who seems understanding but we both hold back our feelings cuz I am married and we never had sex. But my husband never believes our innocence and has been jealous and hurt for 9 months. One day, my hubby changed the lock of our house and don't let me go in, he has his sister inside the house and I was puzzled why I couldn't go back to my house and I banged the door with the hammer(suddenly outside the porch)then his sis called the police and I was in custody and I had to go through not being allowed to communicate with him nor approach my house. He's very cold and mean now and he also wants to sell the house secretly. I still love him and want him back but he told my lawyer that the marriage is over. What should I do? Can I still win him back or should I wait? I am total lost by myself. Can u please help me? He blamed me for everything.


Starting Over or Under

Dear Starting,

It sounds as if you would be better suited by a calmer, more peaceful man who can offer you the love and understanding that you need. When I hear you describe the anger and hurt that your husband is expressing and the fear that you have to create a new life for yourself, it does not sound as it a reconciliation would be easy to accomplish. If you can learn Nonviolent Communication ™ which would allow you to learn how to stay peaceful instead of reacting to what others say and don't say; do and don't do, you may find much more peace in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Ask The Divorce Coach, Susan Allan

Dear Divorce Coach,

My sister is going through a divorce.  Her husband has called and told her he is ready to go to court.  Does she have to appear, or can her attorney complete the process without her?  She is the one who has filed. 


Assist-her Sister

Dear Assist-her,

There are a few problems associated with her not appearing which are that she will have to completely trust that her attorney is doing a perfect job which I do not advise. She will also not be present to agree to any settlement which will then cost her additional money in additional attorney time. I am not aware of her situation and why she wishes to avoid appearing; is it to protect herself emotionally or are there other considerations?

Sincerely yours,

Ask The Divorce Coach, Susan Allan

If your holidays last year did not provide for your own need for fun, peace or religious observation, have you a plan for this year? Instead of begging or cajoling or even threatening your partner, could you consider finding a friend who has the same idea of holiday enjoyment? Can you find a friend who's appearance in your life would not threaten your marriage? Are you aware of holiday strategies which include fun and still retains monogamy?

The day-to-day decisions that work in most relationships are often turned upside down during December because children, parties, family and spending become top priorities in every family group. If any aspect of empathy, compromise, autonomy or trust is an area of vulnerability, the family environment will feel the impact. If savings are key, what happens to celebration? If “joy to the world” is your MO, or if peace is your priority, what happens to the bank account? Often, the first step towards divorce is the assumption that our partner wants “out”. Frequently, a new client comes to discuss divorce strategies and reveals at the end of the free session that there is grief or rage associated with unfulfilled needs. Yet, instead of seeking training in having those needs met within the relationship, the request is for the escape clause. Which clause would you prefer, Santa Clause or the escape clause?

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Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™