Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is Your Marriage Ripe for an Affair?
Why Spouses Stray

Quick, answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind: If you were worried that your spouse might stray, what would you do to prevent it? Maybe your knee-jerk response is: "I'd lose 20 pounds and upgrade my wardrobe." Or, "I would shower my spouse with expensive gifts." Or, "I would be extra attentive to my spouse so she would realize how good she has it." If your answer resembled any of those above, bad news: you're on the wrong track. According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist Morrie Shechtman, you've bought into a common misconception about what causes affairs in the first place.

"Most people assume that people have affairs with someone more attractive, sexier, or richer than their spouse," says Shechtman, coauthor along with his wife and business partner, Arleah, of Love in the Present Tense: How to Have a High Intimacy, Low Maintenance Marriage (Bull Publishing Company, 2004). "Despite the cliches -- the midlife crisis situation where the husband runs off with his much younger secretary, for instance -- that's not what infidelity is about. People who cheat generally choose someone busier and more goal-oriented than their current partner. Someone more interesting, in other words."

"You have to keep reminding him how lucky he is to have you," says Sherry Argov, author of Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl: A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship (Adams Media Corporation, 2002). "All the propaganda in the world tells us 'keep your man,' 'hold on to your man,' 'jump through hoops for your man,' but your attitude should be 'If you want to go, I'll help you pack'...Healthy mutual respect is the best immune system in a relationship."

"That's right," adds Shechtman. He says that the harsh truth is that when one spouse strays, it's probably because the other spouse has become, well...boring. So, focusing on your appearance or attempting to please your partner completely misses the point.

5 Warning Signs

Shechtman offers the following warning signs that your marriage may be ripe for an affair:

1. You don't challenge each other. Unconditional acceptance is a myth. Healthy marriages require a mutual willingness to challenge and be challenged. An "Oh, I'll let the little woman do whatever makes her happy" attitude can be condescending and harmful. If your partner lounges around in her bathrobe watching TV every day and you say nothing, then you're not invested in her well-being. Maybe she's depressed. Maybe she's sick. Maybe she's succumbing to laziness. Regardless, the message that she gets loud and clear from your silence is that you don't care. Not only do you have the right to make reasonable demands on your partner, you have the obligation to do so.

2. You and your partner have become an amoeba. Getting married does not mean morphing into a single person with the same interests, hobbies, and friends. If you and your spouse do everything together, something's wrong. "If your partner is not allowed to have a life of her own, she will eventually become resentful," says Shechtman. "Similarly, if you're over-interested in her life, wanting to know or be involved in every detail, she will feel intruded upon and smothered. True intimacy requires two people having independent lives, not two people living through each other. The best marriages are low-maintenance marriages."

3. One person selflessly lives for the other. Shechtman likes to tell the story of Bernard, a heart surgeon, and Stacy, the wife who selflessly devoted herself to him. She supported him through medical school. She stayed home and raised his kids. She prepared gourmet meals for him, often complete with heart-shaped ice cubes. And one day Bernard left Stacy for a disheveled photojournalist, two years his senior, who chastised him for stealing a cab she'd just hailed. Why? Because the photojournalist was interesting. "Selfless devotion is boring," says Shechtman. "Bernard could have hired a housekeeper and a caterer. Gratitude for services rendered is no replacement for a stimulating partner. And by failing to cultivate a life of her own, Stacy deprived Bernard of that."

"Having a life of your own is important," says Argov. "When you have your own sense of income and independence, and feel that you can be with or without him, he will smell it and he'll treat you differently."

4. Everything centers on your children. It's easy to succumb to the temptation to make your kids the center of the universe. Don't. For too many parents, running kids to and from soccer practice, dance lessons, and weekend parties becomes an insidious dance of intimacy avoidance.

"Even with young kids, a couple must take private time for themselves," says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, author of five books on love and relationships, and professor of sociology at the University of Washington. "Make a rule that you don't talk about the kids until you download your adult issues and experiences for the day together. Keep kid talk out of the bedroom."

5. You don't have meaningful conversations with your spouse. Does the question, "How was your day?" unleash a monologue, a laundry list of activities, or a cacophony of complaints from you or your partner? If so, you're missing the point of communication.

"Talk to him in a playful way," says Argov. "Banter with him. Be a little sassy and keep it short and sweet. Save the emotional talk for things that are very important to you, and let the rest go -- because when you do raise hell, he has to believe there's merit to it."

Quality communication is the heart of intimacy. (And you thought it was sex!) If you're confused about what constitutes a high-intimacy dialogue, here's a clue: it centers on feelings, not information. "Instead of merely reporting to your partner what happened to you that day, tell her how it made you feel," says Shechtman. "Even if you have only 10 minutes a day to talk to her, make those 10 minutes count."

Affair-Proof Your Marriage

Most of these warning signs are variations on a common theme: abandonment. If you don't care enough to become an interesting partner, if you don't challenge your spouse to be all he or she can be, if you fail to connect with your partner emotionally, you might as well be an uninterested roommate. Abandoning your spouse is the first step to checking out of the relationship.

So what can you do to affair-proof your marriage? The answer can be summed up in three little words, says Shechtman: Get a life.
"Have your own friends," says Dr. Schwartz. "Have a job and hobbies you really care about. Don't cancel everything on the spot just because your partner wants you for something -- show that you have boundaries, commitments, and don't just exist for him. Read, read, read! And then talk about books, articles, movies, and news together. Develop an adventurous relationship based on trips, projects, and hobbies."
"Set goals and work toward them," Shechtman urges. "Immerse yourself in a career or activity that interests you. Don't just hop from one random activity to another. Have a vision of what you want your life to be and do something every day in pursuit of that vision. Take some risks. And challenge your spouse to do the same. Even if it causes some temporary discomfort, remember that a healthy marriage isn't about comfort zones and status quos. If you settle for comfort, your marriage will die."
"This is not the '50s anymore," says Argov. "Men tend to view women who don't have goals and objectives as being deadbeat. When they're going to work everyday and pulling all the weight in the relationship, they really begin to resent it when you don't make a contribution."
"There's one other point I would make," Shechtman adds. "Create a rich, rewarding life for yourself and if your spouse did have an affair and ultimately leave you, you would be well-equipped to cope. Interesting people just have more resources, be they money, social connections, or potential new romantic partners. There are no guarantees in marriage. The only person you can count on to always be there is you. Being abandoned by a spouse is far preferable to abandoning yourself."

--Additional reporting by Chandni Jhunjhunwala
from: Ladie's Home Journal (

(a note from the site owner: of course if you are involved with or married to an abuser, narcissist, player, etc - all of the above is moot. Why? because to them you are an OBJECT - everyone is. They don't want you to HAVE or GET a life, as this article suggests. Everything to them is play acting, because they FEEL nothing. Read the last paragraph of this article and nurture yourself. BC)
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Monday, December 18, 2006


What is Agunot?: A Jewish marriage is terminated by the granting of a get, a document of divorce. If the husband is unwilling or unable to give a get to the wife, the wife is an agunah (a chained woman) and may not remarry. This situation is considered one of the greatest crises in the Orthodox world today.

Things you can do personally to help agunot:

Learn all you can about agunot through articles about agunot on this web site.

Organize a discussion group in your synagogue about the agunah issue. Become a resource person. Many women suffer but are afraid to speak out, so others must speak for them.

Speak to your Rabbi, Sisterhood, Men’s Club, and other organizations you belong to about the need for Jews to stand behind agunot by ensuring that our synagogues and communal institutions do not harbor recalcitrant spouses.

Welcome an agunah and her children to your home for Shabbat, holidays and other celebrations.

Inform yourself and your young adult children about prenuptial agreements. Such agreements can deter a recalcitrant spouse from withholding a get.

As a parent, be sure your children’s high school is giving them the information they need to make thoughtful decisions before they marry.

Organize a group in your community that can be called upon to carry out sanctions against a recalcitrant husband when a seruv (contempt of court citation) has been issued. These may include picketing, denying synagogue honors and calling upon employers and members of the congregation to uphold community sanctions.

Support rabbis and batei din that are pro-active on behalf of agunot. Help an agunah in your community find a beit din that is sensitive to her situation and able to deal fairly with her in all matters related to Jewish divorce.

Ask your Rabbi to be involved: educate the community about the laws and process of gittin; counsel recalcitrant husbands to give a get; provide resources to agunot

Support the Rabbinical Council of America recommendation: make a Jewish pre-nuptial agreement a requirement for every marriage

Encourage men from all branches of Judaism, when divorcing, to give a get



G.E.T (Getting Equitable Treatment)

GET Assistance Project (New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG))
212-750-0800 x613



ORA (The Organization For the Resolution of Agunot, Inc.)


Montreal, Canada
Toronto, Canada

Jerusalem Israel
For street address, contact organization
Tel. 02-6721401
Educational WEBSITE in Hebrew:

Jerusalem Israel

Jerusalem Israel
Tanya Zion, Director Education Projects
Shula Wittenster, Social Work Director
Telephone: 02-671-2286

WEBSITE (Under Construction):

Jerusalem Israel
Yad L'isha Hotline (free call within Israel) 1-800-200-380
Telephone in Jerusalem: 02-678-0876
Telephone in Tel Aviv: 03-695-1899



Telephone: 020-8202-5551
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Saturday, December 16, 2006

How can you tell if they are lying?
CyberDater's Three Top Questions Answered Now!
By Kathryn B. Lord, L.C.S.W.

Did you know that Online Dating is the top moneymaker on the Web? Chances are good that you have joined a site or two yourself. If so, you've probably asked the top three questions my CyberRomance clients all do:

"Why don't they answer my emails?"
"How do I tell them about ___?" - you fill in the blank.
"How can you tell if they are lying?"

"Why don't they answer my emails?" You'll never know, but rudeness is a pretty good guess. Say "Thank you" to cyberspace for weeding out inconsiderate candidates so quickly!

"How do I tell them about ___?" Jus everyone has something they are ashamed of others knowing and worried about how to break the news. This question takes time and finesse for the best solution -- and usually there IS a good solution! A Romance Coach could help if you are really stumped.

Much of the problem of Internet lying is media over hype. What kind of interest would there be in a story about all the honest people who are on the Net?

But of course some people do lie, and being concerned about who is and who isn't lying makes a heck of a lot of sense.

"How can you tell if they are lying?" Count the ways:

Reasons people lie:

To avoid conflict.
To avoid the consequences of their behavior.
To postpone having to make changes in lifestyle.
To hide something they did or did not do.
To avoid rejection.
To be in control of a situation.
To avoid being embarrassed.
To make themselves appear more successful, good, or talented than they really are.
All make terrific reasons for people to lie online.

How to detect lying:

A truthful person will be "congruent." That means that all the information they give out -- their words, body language, they way they live and dress, everything -- fits together and contains no contradictions. People who lie will be incongruent in some way.

Here's what to watch out for:

1. How they use words, written, on the phone, or in person:
Talking faster or slower.
Changes in voice pitch.
Taking charge of conversation, attempts to distract you.
Continual denying of accusations.
Unusual voice fluctuations, word choice, sentence structure.
Stalling the conversation by repetitive use of pauses and comments like "um" or "you know."
Lack of use of contractions.
Prefers emphasizing "not" when talking.
Being extremely defensive.
Saying "Trust me."

2. How they behave or the attitudes they exhibit:
Being hesitant.
Nervous laughter.
Uncommon calmness.
Providing more information and specifics than is necessary or was asked for.
Inconsistencies in what is being shared.

3. In-person behavior clues:
Touching chin, covering the mouth, or rubbing brows.
Crossed arms or legs.
Pupils narrow.
Playing with hair.
Body language and facial expressions don't match what is being said such as saying "no", but nodding head up and down.
Avoidance of eye contact, eyes glancing to the right, staring past you or down, or turning away from you while they are talking.
Rigid or fidgeting.
Slouching posture.
Unnatural or limited arm and hand movements.
Partial shrug.
Lack of finger pointing.
May place a barrier such as a desk or chair in front of self.
Sweating, even if it isn't a warm day.
Saying "no" several times.

4. Your own inner cues:
You sense something is not right.
Explanations do not feel enough for you.
You feel confused, you find yourself squinting or angling your head.
You feel a block or a wall between you and the other.

In Internet dating, or any kind of dating for that matter, keep your anxiety down, your head attached, and LISTEN to everything your date tells you in every way. People tell you about themselves constantly, from the very first second of contact. You just have to be willing to hear it. Not only do they tell you by what they do say, they tell you by what they don't say.

Many of these cues can come from simple distraction or nervousness, not deceit. New daters have plenty of reasons to be anxious. Signs of lying differ from one person to another. Don't let your own nervousness force a jump to wrong conclusions. Give your date a break and take some time.

Often, Cyber daters move too quickly to the phone and/or a face to face meeting. Gone is the golden opportunity to safely ask questions and study answers slowly and over time. Moving to face-to-face or skin-to-skin vastly increases tension and anxiety, which complicate clear thinking and judgment.

With online dating, you have a tremendous advantage over meeting immediately flesh-to-flesh: You have a written record of what the other tells you. Make use of it!
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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are You Abused? Or a Victim of Domestic Violence?

The Extensive Domestic Violence Checklist Revised Aug. 1999 This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse come from the batterer's desire for power and control.

The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship. Check off those behaviors that apply to the relationship.

The more checks on the page, the more dangerous the situation may be.

1. Blames me for everything that goes wrong in our relationship, blames me for his mistakes most of which are the most preposterous things.

2. Threatens to kill me or have others kill me.

3. Threatens to leave me all the time

4. Has threatened to commit suicide.

5. Threatens to report me to welfare authorities.

6. Is using my immigration status against me and I fear deportation.

7. Makes me afraid by looks, actions or gestures.

8. Displays weapon, shows weapons to make me afraid.

9. Limits my freedom, tells me what to do, where to go, and when to come back.

10. Makes all the decisions.

11. Won't let you have friends, or judges your friends and family harshly, says bad things about your friends or family to others.

12. Becomes angry for no apparent reason. I feel any action on my behalf can cause him to erupt.

13. Blames me when I am mistreated. Says, "I provoked it!"

14. Threatens to harm my children, family, or friends.

15. Takes my car keys or prevents me from using the car.

16. Insists I dress in a more sexual way than I want to or just the opposite, that I wear clothes that make me look ugly so no one will look at me.

17. He publicly shows interest in other women.

18. Insults my most valued beliefs, religion, race, heritage or ethical background.

19. Punishs or deprives the children when he is angry with me.

20. Tells me about his affairs in order to destroy my emotional well being.

21. Monitors my phone calls, or mail, or the odometer mileage.

22. Refuses to give me money or takes my money.

23. Interferes with my work or will not let me work.

24. Has exclusive control over our money and the household finances.

25. Uses pressure tactics to rush me into making decisions through guilt-tripping and other forms of intimidation.

26. Calls me a cunt, whore, slut, bitch or other sexual demeaning names.

27. He tells me that I am not worth having as a mate, yet will not consider breaking it off.

28. He has raped me.

29. Exposed me to venereal disease, STD's, or AIDS

30. Forced prostitution or strip dancing. Or uses prostitutes and strippers.

31. Forced me to look at pornography or be apart of it when I did not want to.

32. We have hurtful or uncomfortable sex.

33. He pressures me for sex.

34. He withholds sex as a measure to make me feel asexual, or tells me what a lousy lover I am.

35. He will not let me use contraception.

36. He cheats on me...(Cyber-sex on the computer counts!)

37. Our sex is humiliating/or at times sadistic that I am fearful.

38. When I ask him questions about things that are legitimately my business ...I get no answers or the run-around.

39. He demands that I obey him.

40. Becomes angry when I tell him, he is drinking or drugging to much.

41. Becomes upset if dinner, housework, or laundry was not done exactly the way he thinks it should be.

42. Overreacts to little things like the toilet paper is going the wrong way, and retaliates by doing or saying something hurtful to me.

43. Tells me I really cannot manage without him or take care of myself.

44. He acts like I am his personal servant.

45. Says bad things about me to friends, family or coworkers.

46. Twist my words around and will not let me explain the correct thing that I was I saying.

47. Tells me that all my problems are because I am worthless, and can't manage to do anything right.

48. Shows disrespect by interrupting and changing the topic.

49. Abuses authority by always claiming to be right.

50. Manipulates the children.

51. Shoved me

52. Pushed me.

53. Restrained me so I could not move.

54. Hit me.

55. Slap me around.

56. Bit me.

57. Choked me.

58. Kicked me.

59. Tripped me.

60. Pulled my hair.

61. Punched me with his fist.

62. Acted like a bully toward me.

63. Treated me like I was stupid.

64. Pinched me.

65. Squeezed me until there was pain.

66. Jerked me around.

67. Shook me.

68. Burned me.

69. Choked/or suffocated me.

70. Thrown objects or food at me.

71. Abused drugs or alcohol and pressures me to take them.

72. Abused the children.

73. Abused the pets.

74. Throws things at me.

75. Punches our walls.

76. There are qualities about myself that I like but he disapproves of or ridicules me.

77. Criticizes my body parts, for example, tell me I am ugly, or fat, or unattractive.

78. Calls me names, swears or makes humiliating gestures.

79. Makes me feel guilty.

80. He makes me think I am going crazy at times.

81. Plays mind games with my head.

82. Humiliates or makes fun of me in front of other people.

83. Says that I belong to him, that he can't live without me, no one else can ever have me.

84. Ignores me, withholds approval.

85. Lies, withholds information form me.

86. Breaks promises, does not follow through on agreements.

87. Completely isolates himself from me.

88. Keeps me away from my family or friends or he must come with me all the time.

89. He thinks I am with another man if I am not at home or when he calls.

90. Checked up on me.

91. I was not allowed to make family decisions or settle conflicts by talking things out.

92. He sulked a lot.

93. Does not take fair share of responsibilities.

94. Said the abuse did not happen, denies it.

95. Demanded I stay home/or won't let me go back to school, work and, etc.,

96. Became angry if I disagree with his point of view.

97. Beaten me so badly that I needed medical help.

98. Screamed and yelled at me.

99. Made me feel guilty about the children.

100. I always had to yield to my partners needs.

101. My family and friends are concerned about my safety.

102. Cut or stabbed me.

103. Broke my teeth.

104. Abused my stomach when pregnant.

105. Used weapons on me.

106. Hit me with an object.

107. Ripped my clothes off.

108. Abandoned me in dangerous places.

109. Used the children to relay his messages.

110. Threatened to take the children away.

111. He defined the roles of men and women, what they do within a relationship.

112. He thought he was master of the castle and that he could do anything he wants.

113. Did not let me know our income, properties we own, or money problems.

114. Has mood swing behavior patterns, one minute my mate is sweet and caring then will do a complete about face and be angry about things that were totally O.K. before. Switches back and forth between behavior for no apparent reasons.

115. Makes me think I am responsible for making this relationship work.

116. I fear he will track me down and kill me if I leave.

117. He has threatened to put me in a mental hospital, or insists that I am unstable or crazy.

118. Stands in the doorway during an argument as if to say you are staying her and not leaving.

119. He buys things in my name and not his.

120. He digs in my purse, my computer and in my private things.

121. His acts of irresponsibility threaten my credit.

122. He explains his abusive actions by blaming his violence or his temper because of his stress at work, or external factors.

This list may be used for public order to help those in need. Check the Is He Lethal? Checklist if you have many checks to assess your safety. This Checklist was based on the fact that 97% of all Domestic Abuse Cases are Women.

Copyright By Di Murowski. Aug. 1999
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