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Ask Judge Lynn: “He Won’t Give Me His Address”

March 18, 2015 Ask Judge Lynn 2 Comments

FOX_DivorceCourt 55483_f2

QUESTION:

Good evening Judge Toler,

I met a young man lately who expressed that he would like us to build a relationship with me.  When we met he said he is married, but separated and there is no chance of reconciliation.  The state requires separation for one year before they can file for divorce.  I explained to him that I never want to get involved with a married man.  He continued to explain that the marriage is over.  The problem I have is that, he visits me at least once a week, we talk by phone regularly, but he does not want me to know where he lives.  I confront him about it, wondering if he is still with his wife and children.  He continues saying that he is not, but wants to know that I am the one to have a serious relationship with before he does.  He says it is also because his children are still young.  I don’t understand what one has to do with the other if they don’t live together.  I really don’t feel comfortable having him visit if he doesn’t feel that I am worthy of having his address.  I do not want to do check on him or show up unannounced, but I feel I have a right to know where he lives, how he lives and if he is living with someone.  What should I do.

ANSWER:

I can’t tell you want to do because I don’t know this guy. I most certainly don’t have feelings for him so I have nothing to weigh the absurdity of his position against.

But hear and see what you told me:

He can’t trust you with his address! That’s a huge blustering, blowing red flag right there. He doesn’t want you to know where he lives. How can you trust a guy that can’t trust you with that?

His marriage is over BUT he has to wait until he’s sure your relationship is serious before he really makes his move. If his marriage is over it’s over whether you two are serious or not. Can you hear the alarm bells?

HIS CHILDREN ARE YOUNG! …. And there’s the fire alarm. That will be true for a while. That’s his trump card. “I have to put my kids first!” he can say that for years.

What’s the point in checking up on him? If he doesn’t trust you with his address, there’s no reason to know why. The fact that he doesn’t want you to know where he lives tells you everything you need to know.

You answered your own question when you said:

“I really don’t feel comfortable having him visit if he doesn’t feel that I am worthy of having his address”

I think your head already knows what your heart doesn’t want to believe. Besides if you move on and he really cares he’ll do what you need to trust him. If he doesn’t you haven’t missed a thing.

Forgiveness

March 17, 2015 Uncategorized 4 Comments

I received a question on Ask Judge Lynn that I thought would be good to share with everyone. Someone had a question about one of my tweets my tweet which was

#Forgiveness is a peaceful thing. It neither excuses nor rationalizes. It just frees you from the emotional baggage of other’s wrongs. 

She asked me how to forgive someone who hasn’t asked for it.

Here’s the thing. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person acknowledging their wrong. It’s all about how the person who has been wronged decides to feel about it. You forgive someone when you decide to let go of the hurt feelings the offense caused and no longer hold it against the other person.

The beauty of it is the other person isn’t involved. Forgiveness is YOUR POWER to take not theirs to give.

I know it is neither an easy nor instinctual thing to do but it’s a decision that you make about how you want to live. Do you want to hold on to an emotion that is doing you harm or are you going to let it go and be peaceful? It doesn’t mean you let people run over you but it does mean that you no longer volunteer to carry around the hurt caused by something that already occurred.

If you need to say your piece to that person before you let it go that’s cool. But if saying your piece will do more harm than good write it down on a piece of paper then tear it up. Let your feelings out and move on.

Doesn’t mean you have to keep taking stuff off that person. If someone is toxic to you or keeps doing you wrong you have to draw your line with that person even if it’s a matter of cutting them out of your life so they won’t continue to hurt you. But once you’ve made your move let it go ….

As my mother used to say “You can stay mad if you want to but I don’t let people I don’t like mess up my day.”

Life by the Numbers

March 15, 2015 The Blog 11 Comments

The other day I was talking to my friend about all of the numbers that crowd our lives. Cell phone numbers,  land line number (although I hear that last one makes me a bit of a dinosaur) pin numbers, pass codes, followers, ratings (that’s job specific though LOL!) anyway …

It made me think about my life in numbers and I found myself being surprised by the numbers and what they said about me. Many made me feel a bit silly.  I love to laugh so I though I’d share:

 

Me By the Numbers

Age: 55

Height 5’1”

Weight: 5 pounds more than I’d like. 10 pounds more than my mother would like.

Kids: 6 (4 that came pre-assembled with husband. 2 we made from scratch.)

Number of years on Divorce Court: 8

Number of years on the bench before Divorce Court: 8

Number of years Married: 26

Number of years Happily Married: less than 26  more than 15. (Not bad I’d say.)

Number of Siblings: 1

Number of Siblings that I am taller than: 1 (My short behind is proud of that)

Shoe size: 5

Shoe Count: 25, (which isn’t bad for a woman)

Number of Twitter Followers: 19,000

Number of Facebook Fans: 340,000

Number of Instagram Followers: 427

Number of names I go by in my e-life: 5 (yes, I know. I need to be more consistent)

Number of iGadgets I gave: 5

Number of things I know how to do on them: Less than 5% of what they’re capable of.

Number of Books Published: 3

Number of Unfinished Books looming on my hard drive: 5

Number of hours a day I say I’m going to write but end up fooling around doing other things: 3

Average time spent in the grocery store: 15 minutes

Number of times I go to grocery store each week: 6 (I think I see the problem now)

Number of minutes I can talk on the phone before I start getting cranky: 7

Number or days a week I play tennis: 2

Number of days I would like to play tennis: 7

Number of Jobs I have: More than 3 less than 10 (Frankly, I’m unsure)

Number of things I am grateful for: Too many to count.

You guys have a great day.

JLT

Ask Judge Lynn: “You Are NOT The Grandmother”

March 14, 2015 Ask Judge Lynn 2 Comments

Question:

“I an 54yrs old and my son is 29..he and his girlfriend had been living together for about 6 months when she became pregnant. I know it was backwards but nevertheless he was ecstatic…I could tell that his girl’s feelings weren’t as strong as his but I was going to stay out of it and give her the benefit of the doubt…well after the baby arrived I suspected that she wasn’t his.. after a couple of months..I convinced him to do a DNA and my suspicions were right..he was devastated to the core..I was even worried about him for a while..he and the girl went there separate ways, but he says he cannot let go of the love he has for her daughter..she was 3 months when we found out and she’s 18 months now and he has her EVERY weekn..the biological father is not involved in her life at all..I can’t figure that one out..he refused to take his name off the birth certificate, consumes his weekends with her(his only free time to be available to find a real woman because he work nights), and has taken on being a father for her in every way..I have not wanted this to come between us..he’s my only child..we divorced when he was 13 and he and his father are estranged. I thought he would be ok seeing her sometimes and eventually move on..I never thought he would take on the total father role..I don’t like what was done to him and I don’t want to play grandmother when I know that I’m not..but it seems that the reality is that he is not changing his mind..I mean, I care about her, I just know how it all went down and I’m not down with it… but it continues to be a rift in our relationship..do you have any advice for me?..I’m open..thank you” — Bonita

Answer:

“You know what they say: God grant me the peace to change the things I cannot accept, accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.
So you have to ask yourself is your son’s love for this little girl something you can change? I don’t see that happening based on what you said.

So then you have to ask yourself what’s so awful about his love for that girl? You say it keeps him from dating. That may be true, but he’s a grown man, when he’s ready to date he will.

In the interim he loves that child and she loves him. That is deeply satisfying to both. She has a caring father in her life. That is an wonderful and beneficial thing. That love and care is huge. If either lost that they would both be devastated.

Let’s take a look at that in comparison to the manner in which the relationship affects you. What does staying angry about “how things went down” do for you? It doesn’t appear to be changing his mind, correct? So what IS it doing? It is straining your relationship with your son, your shared DNA notwithstanding.

Making peace with the way things are is easier when you decide to concentrate on the positive aspects of the way things are. You could have a very fulfilling grandmother role. Personally I think that’s a great job. I enjoy being one.

I can’t tell you what to do I can only tell you how I see it. Me, I’d choose to love in abundance as opposed to harboring a grudge alone. He’s happy. The child’s happy. You could be happy too if you chose to.” — JLT

When The Spouse Who Makes the Gold Makes Dinner Too

March 14, 2015 Uncategorized 12 Comments

Cretia Springs asked me for my opinion on what happens when a woman is the primary breadwinner in the home.

As one might imagine difficulties can arise. In order to address them we have to make sure we know what kind of problems such arrangements inspire and why.

1. “Traditional Male – Female roles in a marriage” (now almost an anachronism) were scripted as follows, the man brings home the money and the woman takes care of the house. Or, if both work, the man typically out earned the woman.  I must say that this is the mainstream model. Historically, women of color have always worked in larger numbers and have more often been primary breadwinners as a function of a number of societal constraints on the ability to earn.

2. Next we have a gross generalization that doesn’t always hold true but tends to be the case. Men and women are different (no news there) but they feel differently about work and relationships. There are a number of reasons for that – some societal – some biological – Our brains are structured a bit differently and we have different levels of hormones – Not just estrogen and testosterone but things like oxytocin and vasopressin … They make us feel differently about things.

Women tend to be more concerned about how our actions effect relationships. Men tend to define themselves more by what they do. I always say:

Women need love when they are the least lovable and men need applause when they least deserve it.

It highlights how we prioritize things.

So what happens when a woman is in a relationship and is the primary breadwinner? In some socioeconomic groups thats tends to be very common. In neighborhoods where men have been plucked out or marginalized, in large numbers, in part, as a function of lack of opportunity and  draconian drug laws (don’t get me started) women often hold down households. It’s not unusual nor is it deemed so. The issues there are so complex and infused with greater social ills it deserves several volumes of their own.

What I believe Cretia is talking about is the situation where middle class folks end up in a situation in which they exist in main stream America and the woman is the primary breadwinner.

Difficulties can arise because it can mess with a man’s ego to have his wife out earn him in a community in which things are typically the other way around. It messes with their sense of being the Head of the Household. Not too long ago it was embarrassing to have a wife holding it down while the husband’s income is ancillary or nonexistent.

I am sure some of that remains. I was with a group of people once in which  a husband and wife (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) were meeting the group for the first time.  One guy asked Mrs. Smith what she did and she had a job as an executive. Someone asked Mr. Smith what he did and he said in a very round about, convoluted way, “I don’t work” One of the members of the group then said, “That makes you pimp then …” oooohhhhh Everybody got quiet.

Problems can arise in several areas. 1.Decision making: how you decide to spend the money. 2. Household duties 3. His negative feeling about himself as a function of the situation.

THIS BLOG IS ABOUT THE HOUSEHOLD DUTY DISCUSSION – because it is the one I had to deal with the most and am the most familiar with. Should people be interesting in having a conversation about the rest we can do that.

The problems women most often have in the arrangement is what happens on the home front. Many complain that though they work and are the primary breadwinner, they are still expected to do all of the tradition rolls as a wife – cook, clean, chief medical officer, grocery shop, laundry, childcare …the list goes on.

In the 70’s (I think) someone wrote a book about it called “The Second Shift.” It recounted the resentment and exhaustion many women are dealing with as a function of taking working full time outside of the home and inside as well.

Simply shifting roles is not easy. Those tasks in the home don’t carry the esteem and value of outside work (They should) but they don’t.  A man may already have his ego stung by his wife’s making more and then to ask that he pick up a mop and make a meal (women’s work – demeaning stuff) just adds salt on an open wound.

Some respond by not doing it. Others’ dismay surface as anger or controlling actions. To feel powerful again they exercise whatever means available.  (This is not a dig at men it is an acknowledgment of people’s humanity. When people feel bad they  do things that make them feel better, usually without analyzation or a real understanding of why.)

Here’s the thing. You have to be able to talk about it honestly and with an understanding of what nature makes us do. It doesn’t mean a woman has to put up with doing it all because men feel the way they do, it just means you have to approach the problem in a more targeted way with all of the information at hand.

1. Decide to have a discussion about what everyone is contributing on a good day. Don’t discuss it when you are frustrated or overwhelmed (That applies to all difficult conversations).

2. Raise your concerns in a manner that does not condemn him but explains your concerns.

3. Remember anyone who doesn’t normally do all the household stuff typically don’t realize how much household stuff there really is not to mention what it is and how to get it done. Lay out all of the things you are doing and say that you need some help because you’re getting crushed.

3, Make specific asks as opposed to saying “I need help” or “You don’t do enough.”

4. Be willing to work the edges of the problem. Get help here then there. No one changes what they do and how they feel all at once.  Tell him how much you appreciate those things he does take over.

5. Don’t be critical of a job poorly done. Be helpful in your commentary. Never comment when you’re angry.

6. Acknowledge how he feels about it. Tell him you don’t take his feelings lightly.

7. Be willing to let things go. I m a sister who can leave a dish in the sink.  If this is his part I’m not going to let the fact he doesn’t get to it when i would like get me to do it.

8. Continue to address the inequities …Time your requests … Make them specific …. Always talk about the why… Never forget the ego

I think I will stop now. There is more I could say but this is a lot for now.

So what do all of you think? Care to share a story or a solution?

Remember men are weird and women are odd. We are trying to accommodate the other gender not indict them.

 

JLT

 

 

 

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