Signs of Divorce: How to Spot These 4 Indicators… and How to Overcome Them


John Gottman, author and psychologist, is well known for conducting many studies surrounding the predictability of divorce. After a 15-minute conversation with a couple, followed by questions about satisfaction and relationship behaviours, Gottman and his team discovered they could predict whether or not a marriage would result in divorce with 93% accuracy. 93% accuracy. That’s both impressive and incredibly saddening. The reality, more in this modern day than ever before, is that nearly half of relationships end in a break up, separation or divorce. What I want to share with you, my friend, is how to equip you and your partner to beat the odds and live in a truly satisfying, successful partnership. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to train yourself to identify the three strongest indicators and work to overcome those behaviours.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Criticism

Have you ever found yourself picking up after your partner, only to wind up making a comment to them about so much more than leaving a towel on the floor or a dirty dish on the counter? Criticism without the genuine aim of being constructive and positive will only ever lead to hurt feelings and a moment in time you really can’t undo. Seemingly small things like calling your partner “stupid” or reminding them that you’re the smarter one in the duo can have irreparable effects on your relationship.

When you feel yourself about to criticize your partner (and especially in heated circumstances, as mentioned), take a deep breath and count to ten. The simple “calm down” trick that you likely learned as a child will honestly do wonders even in many adult situations. If you have to, leave the room until you calm down and know you won't say something you regret. Remind yourself that your partnership is more important and more valuable than this one moment, this one dirty dish, and this one unfolded towel. Once you are feeling much more calm, take a moment to think about the positives in your partner, even if you don't want to. When you work to replace your criticism habit with thoughts of praise, even in small bits, you will see the tension between the two of you lessen.

2. Defensiveness

I was reading an article recently and the author mentioned something about how allowing negativity into your mind and heart is like stepping into quicksand. It’s real easy to get sucked down inside of it and really, really hard to get back out. The saying reminded me of a time that a client was telling me about how she had accidentally broken a wine glass and it turned into a full on argument between her and her spouse – about just about everything except the wine glass.

Jumping to defend yourself by saying, “It was an accident!” or “It wasn’t my fault!” implies, before your partner even speaks, that you expect them to attack you. This, in turns, puts the both of you on the defensive and builds a big, fat, metaphorical wall between the two of you.

You have several options for combatting defensiveness, but the most powerful is practicing accountability and recognition. Are you late to your dinner reservation because you lost track of time? Own up to it and avoid turning things around and saying something like, "oh, you're late sometimes too!" Did your partner break a vase while cleaning? Brush it off, they didn't do it on purpose and focus on appreciating you have someone who’s willingly putting in effort to share household duties.

3. Checking Out

There are a couple of terms for this particular behaviour, such as “stonewalling,” but I prefer the term “checking out.” This is what happens when you’re in mid argument with your partner and one – or both – of you whips out your phone and goes dead silent. A partner can also “check out” by simply walking away from a conversation, leaving the space or even leaving the home for a walk or drive. (this is different then briefly leaving the room to calm yourself down before re-entering, as mentioned in the Criticism piece). The problem with this type of behaviour is that it demonstrates you are either not invested in reaching a resolution or healing your relationship, or that what you were arguing about doesn’t mean that much to you in the first place. Both, as you can probably see, are super problematic.

The next time you go to bring something up with your partner, don’t do it half way. If it truly means enough to you, and has affected you deeply enough, to bring up – then do it right. Ditch all distractions and truly talk it out with the intention of reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution. If your partner asks to speak with you, dedicate your full attention to them. This means that your phone is down, the TV’s off and you’re listening full on.

Friend, if you work to identify these behaviours on an ongoing basis and make conscious, intentional decisions to replace the behaviours with positive ones – you will substantially increase the odds of enjoying a successful partnership.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?

Truths, Topics and Break Ups


Blame it on the millennial generation, or the technology that sometimes creates more space between people than it does bring them together, but there’s a problem with the way that people are breaking up. This one problem has led to a lot of cut and dry separations, unresolved relationship issues and even the new break up phenomenon, “ghosting.” Ghosting, for those of you who don’t already know, is the act of essentially disappearing from someone’s life. Instead of breaking up or discussing the reasons the relationship (or friendship) isn’t working, one or both people disappear out of the other’s life. The problem that I want to talk to you about today is how many people work to avoid certain truths, or entire topics, as a break up approaches – and even during the break up.

Recently I wrote about the idea of closure. More specifically, I wrote about how sometimes you’re forced to create your own closure because the other person isn’t willing, or sometimes able, to give it to you. Today’s blog post goes hand-in-hand with closure in a way. If more people felt more compelled to honour their relationship for what it was, even during a separation, I believe a whole lot more men and women would have a much easier time finding the closure they seek. Here are three critical steps to making that happen.

1. Know That There’s Power in Truth

People often avoid the truth to spare the feelings of the other person or themselves. Sometimes, it’s to avoid feelings of guilt. Other times, it’s simply to speed things up or keep things simple. For the most part, I understand why people fib, but, when this happens during very important times – such as a relationship argument or break up – it has major repercussions. Neither partner may truly get what they need to get out of the break up. Closure may become a lost cause. There could be ongoing hurt feelings. You get the idea.

I encourage you to acknowledge the power that exists in truth. Whether you seek it or share it, it’s a crucial element in closing one chapter of your life and beginning another. It can be difficult and trying, so I also encourage you to enter into all conversations with an open heart, empathy and a willingness to listen. Some opening words can be, "this is difficult for me to say (reveal truth)" or "It's not my intention to hurt you but (reveal truth)".

2. Keep all Topics on the Table

The specific topics people tend to avoid during break ups depend on the individual relationship. However, they all have one thing in common.That, my friend, is that the topic (or topics) of avoidance is usually the driving force behind the relationship’s failure. For some relationships, it’s the motivation – or lack thereof – that one or bother partners feels in life. Other times it’s fidelity, sex, money, family or a host of others.

While it can feel as though there’s no point in diving into the details as to why the relationship’s failing, since you intend on ending it anyways, it’s important to address the issue. If you don’t both understand why things are the way they are, or at least try to understand, you are more likely to wind up in the same situation again further down the road. It can be painful, difficult, uncomfortable and trying – but it’s absolutely worth it and necessary to truly process this major life decision. Keep all topics on the table.

3. Act With Your Future Self in Mind

We’re often told to live more in the moment, to seize the day and to not get so caught up in the “what will be” that we forget about the “what is.” While I absolutely agree with this way of thinking, often times the two versions of yourself intertwine themselves in life. A break up is a prime example of when this happens, because who you are now and the relationship you’re in will impact who you become and your future relationships – it’s up to you to decide if that impact will be positive or negative.

If you’re tempted to simply cut and run from your current relationship without seeking truth or discussing the driving issues, I urge you to think of your future self.  Ask yourself; will that version of you end up wishing you had talked it through? Allowing yourself to feel compassion for your soon-to-be former partner is another helpful tip I can offer you. Though at times, it can really be tough, the effect that compassion has on your mind and body is worth it. Even when it’s incredibly difficult, dig down and try to find empathy and compassion for the person you once loved. It’s an invaluable ability and strong way to move towards closure.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?

What Exactly Is Conscious Uncoupling and Where Did it Come From?


In the spring of 2014, Gwenyth Paltrow published a blog post to her website, Goop, that started the divorce discussion of a decade. As media picked up her announcement, and the unusual term, millions of people thought, “What is conscious uncoupling?” And, moreover, how is it different than a regular old divorce? To answer these questions, we have to look back at the creator of the now famous two words, Katherine Woodward Thomas.

Katherine created the concept of getting “un-married” when her very own marriage of ten years began to unfold. Her then husband, who she’s now amicably dubbed her “wasband,” was not only her partner in life for ten years but also the star subject of her relationship book. The subject matter of which was all about attracting true love and building a solid relationship.

Not only was she floored by her marriage heading to divorce (this would be her second divorce), but she couldn’t imagine going through the judgment of friends and family, people taking sides, one partner attacking the other or the overall shameful feelings that come with the idea of failure. She decided that this would not be a “traditional divorce” in the sense that society has grown accustomed to. It would be something more meaningful, loving and serene.

If you think of how most relationships end, it’s generally because one or both partners are at fault. They’re blamed with having done something – or not done something. Our instinct, as humans, is to identify the problem. When in a relationship nearing its end, partners tend to try to find the problem in the other. Katherine’s concept, on the other hand, encourages partners to acknowledge the larger issues and focus on moving forward. If it’s been decided that a relationship’s over, there’s no point in overanalyzing every action or word ever said in order to assign blame. What’s important is moving forward in the least damaging way, to both parties, possible.

Fundamentally, consciously uncoupling comes down to authentically appreciating the good in the relationship and working to ensure both partners are happy, ready and able to move forward in life and love. Where extended families or children are involved, it’s about continuing to foster a sense of family – even if there is no longer a relationship status or binding tie in the eyes of the law.

For most, the idea of witnessing – and actively taking part – in the undoing of a union is tragic. Even Katherine herself admits to being devastated and has been quick to acknowledge that she wouldn’t have considered her husband a “friend” during the divorce proceedings. Instead, she refers to their relationship as having had a “friendly atmosphere.”

If you’ve been through a divorce, are currently divorcing or are recently separated, it’s not too late to consciously uncouple. It can be done with both partners actively participating, or just one partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you feel about and approach the situation. Only you can control your feelings and actions, and you do have the power to begin again without anger, resentment and pain.

As it turns out, while Gwenyth was following the principles set forth by Woodward Thomas, it was Goop’s editor who titled the blog post “Conscious Uncoupling.” So while, in reality, Gwenyth was unfamiliar with Katherine’s work at the time that she wrote her blog post, her celebrity power has shed an incredibly bright light on the fundamental problems with divorce and, now, an increasingly more widely adapted alternative.

If you’re wondering how it could ever be possible to face divorce, and particularly the more difficult aspects, with such a positive mindset, you might find this quote enlightening:

“So much that was beautiful and so much that was hard to bear. Yet whenever I showed myself ready to bear it, the hard was directly transformed into the beautiful.” - Katherine Woodward Thomas, Consciously Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?