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What Beyoncé’s Lemonade Teaches Us About Infidelity and Divorce

You may not have her amazing voice or sexy dance moves, but after the release of Beyoncé’s sixth album, Lemonade, many women have realized they may have something in common with the artist, after all—the experience of being cheated on.

Is Beyoncé’s new album a thinly veiled discussion of her troubled marriage? The release of the singer’s sixth solo record late last month generated speculation about her relationship with Jay Z, but there’s no indication the pop star is looking for a divorce.

It’s clear, though, that the 12 tracks on Lemonade, which were released along with a short film that knits all the songs together, tackles the themes of infidelity and the strength that emerges when one goes through it. The first song, “Pray You Catch Me,” starts with the lyric, “You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath.” In another song, “Sorry,” Beyoncé makes it even more clear that she’s addressing a cheating partner: “He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair.”

Throughout the album, while she explores a variety of musical genres and pays tribute to black women who have experienced trauma, Beyoncé focuses in on emotions. What does a woman feel when she discovers her partner has been unfaithful? If you’ve gone through it, you may recognize the intense emotions that Beyoncé’s music touches on. Betrayal, jealousy, revenge, and anger all come into play.

What Are Your Options After Infidelity?

Infidelity generally has one of two outcomes: reconciliation and forgiveness, or separation and divorce. Neither answer is the perfect one, but from the sound of Beyoncé’s songs, she’s chosen the first.

Lemonade finishes with songs of forgiveness, most notably “Sandcastles,” an emotional ballad that wraps up the angst and reflection of the earlier tracks and “All Night,” a song about healing and resilience through love that clearly shows she’s giving her relationship another chance. The knowledge that beautiful Beyoncé went through the pain of being cheated on and emerged with her relationship intact may help you find the strength to work through your own troubled marriage.

On the other hand, if you think you may choose to end the relationship with your unfaithful partner, rather than reconcile, the tracks on Lemonade may make you upset or uncertain because you don’t feel like taking another chance. That’s okay too. You have every right to leave after your trust has been betrayed, especially if you feel like you could never recover enough to rebuild the relationship. What one person does or is able to do in his or her marriage should provide things to consider, not a blueprint of how you should react in your own struggle.

Why You Need Support—No Matter What You Choose

When you go through a trial like Beyoncé describes in Lemonade, it’s important to find sources for support. You’ll experience emotions similar to the stages of grief you would feel after the death of a loved one, and indeed, the death of a marriage is something to grieve.

You’re not alone as you go though this; 22 percent of married men have committed adultery at least once, and 17 percent of divorces in the U.S. are directly tied to infidelity. My guess is a much higher percentage is tied to infidelity without the other partner even knowing it!

However, it may be a struggle to find sources of support. That’s often because you and your partner share friends, who may not want to take sides or, worse yet, may emotionally distance themselves from you in this tough time. Even family members may not provide the type of unconditional support and assistance that you need.

Your other options? A divorce support group, even if you’re not sure that divorce is the right option yet, can connect you with other people who understand what you’re going through. Although, sometimes surrounding yourself with the bitterness of others who have been cheated on can negatively impact you. Instead, a one-on-one relationship with a divorce coach or therapist who can focus on your individual needs—both practical and emotional—can help you work through your feelings, find resources for support, and help you discover a solution that is right for you.

For help in coping with divorce and finding the resources you need to move through the pain of a troubled marriage, contact us. We can help you navigate through the process and move forward with more confidence into the next phase of your life.

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Surviving Valentine’s Day; During and After Divorce

If you’re divorced, contemplating divorce or going through divorce, the pink and red decorations, candy and cards that have overtaken an entire aisle in the grocery store (and the airwaves) as soon as the Christmas decorations disappeared could be enough to make you want to tell Cupid and his minions to shove it. But before you get caught up in all of that, take a moment to reflect on past Valentine’s Days; were they really that great? As my marriage was in its final chapters,  I remember standing in that dreaded card aisle trying to pick the perfect one that defined my marriage or relationship with my now ex-husband… I sure wasn’t feeling the cards that said “you’re the love of my life” or “I can’t wait to tear your clothes off”. I’d shuffle through my options, becoming more and more depressed, until I found a card that was blank inside with a cute dog on the front. There. That would work for now. Sound familiar? I’m sure I’m not alone in this one!

So, it’s quite possible that your past Valentine’s Days as a couple weren’t all that great either. Instead of succumbing to this overly commercialized quasi-holiday, and wallowing in misery because Hallmark thinks you should be spending the day on a bed of roses, serenaded by verses of original poetry, followed up by an extravagant dinner and jewelry that costs more than three month’s salary, do what makes you happy. As the saying goes, being alone for the right reasons is far better than being with someone for the wrong reasons. Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to love yourself. If you have kids, arrange a dinner date with them at their favorite restaurant or celebrate with another fun activity you all love to do. If you’re on your own, embrace the positives of that. Sleep in and pamper yourself with a massage or pedicure. Buy yourself a present. Get a workout in. Grab some friends and have an anti-Valentine’s Day dinner or brunch. All of this applies to men going through divorce as well. Declare your independence from Hallmark (and that dreaded card aisle), grab some buddies and hit the slopes or the links, or enjoy a night out on the town.

Whatever you decide to do (and it’s completely within your right to do absolutely nothing or wallow just a teeny tiny little bit), use this day as an opportunity to treat yourself right—to truly love yourself and the person you have become. Visit Untangle the Knot’s Physical and Spirit sections for ways you can get active and nourish your body and soul– all are excellent ways to pamper yourself from the inside out. You can also treat yourself to a session with our Life Coach, for guidance on how you can live your best post-divorce life.

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5 Types of Unhappy Marriages – Which One is You?

If you are living in an unhappy marriage, you are not alone. Millions of people are right there with you. Everything may look picture perfect on the outside, but the story is very different behind closed doors. It could be only one of you who wants out, or it may be both of you. Nobody is moving forward for any number of reasons, but most probably come down to fear. It could be fear of the effect of divorce on the children, hurting your spouse, what your parents will think, what your friends will think, money, your sense of security, your feelings of responsibility, your identity, and the list goes on. It’s completely understandable, although I’d challenge you to question how much weight you want to give the opinions of others in your quest for your personal happiness and fulfillment.

The last chapters of an unhappy marriage can look many different ways, but the descriptions below covers most. Does one of them describe you?

  1. Living in Limbo – You’re unhappy and have been for a long time, for months or even years. Something is keeping you stuck. Maybe you are waiting for an event to making leaving okay, to keep you from being the bad guy. This is a time to dig deep and do some self-exploration to figure out what is preventing you from making the decision.
  2. Living in Mutual Misery – You’re both openly unhappy. There is little to no emotional or physical intimacy. You may fight often and the “D” word is thrown around. You may not fight much at all anymore because you just don’t care. It’s an unhappy and non-functioning relationship, but it’s so hard to know when to divorce. If you are staying together for the kids, chances are good that you are doing more harm than good by staying together in this situation.
  3. You are Blindsided – You thought everything was fine. Then, BAM! Your world was shattered. He is unhappy and wants out. She had an affair. Something happened that just shook your world to its core. Now you are trying to figure out what to do next.
  4. It Wasn’t Your Decision – You may have openly discussed problems with your spouse, or maybe just knew something was wrong. Regardless, yesterday you were married and today you are starting on the path to divorce. You could be shocked, hurt and angry that you didn’t say it first as to not be the one who was left, or you could even be feeling a bit of relief.
  5. You Decided – You’ve made the decision to divorce. You may or may not have broken the news to your spouse yet. You want to cause as little pain as possible for everyone and have an amicable parting. Doing this the best way possible for the kids is of the utmost importance.

Untangle The Knot does not advocate for divorce. We have a sincere desire for people to choose a happy and fulfilling life, inside or outside of their marriage. We believe people are best served by trying to improve their marriages before opting for divorce. However, sometimes divorce is the right choice. Check out our new Contemplating Divorce section on Untangle The Knot. This is completely free content to guide you through some things to think about while making this incredibly difficult decision. If one of the previous categories described you, sign up for access to Untangle The Knot to receive information on specific steps you can take to move forward and get unstuck. Just one single step forward may open the door to the life you want to life.

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6 Tips to Start Preparing For Divorce

January is known as Divorce Month because more divorces are filed in this month than any other time in the year. If you think you may be going through divorce this year, you are likely overwhelmed and confused, not to mention emotionally distraught. It’s just not as simple as Hollywood makes it sound, where high-powered couples “consciously uncouple” left and right. It can be so hard to know what to do to prepare for divorce, but we have six tips to get you started:

  1. Make the Decision – It’s easy to stay in an unhappy marriage for months and even years. This makes complete sense because the idea of divorce is difficult emotionally, financially and logistically. But these aren’t reasons to stay in a bad marriage. Sometimes an event happens that makes the decision for you, but more often there is nothing specific guiding you in when to divorce, which is why people stay in limbo so long. Determine what you need to make the decision–therapy, understanding your finances, etc.–and begin taking the steps to get there.
  2. Put Your Children First – You need to consciously decide early on that you will put the best interests of your children first. This should be the lens through which your decisions are made. The effect of divorce on children can potentially be negative, but experts agree that it can be largely avoided through shielding your children from arguing, age-appropriate open communication and using an authoritative parenting style, to name a few. If you both commit to putting your children first, they will get through this transition more easily and the potential for long-term negative impacts will be lessened.
  3. Consult with a Lawyer – Untangle The Knot recommends this for everyone. Divorce laws vary by state and can be filled with nuances that can impact your particular situation. A lawyer will help you understand how the state laws impact your finances, support payments and parenting items. A lawyer will also help guide you on how to start a divorce, the process and alert you to potential issues. You don’t need to use a lawyer through the divorce process, but understanding your divorce from a legal point of view up front is very important!
  4. Know Your Numbers – You need to get a grip on your financial situation. It is critically important when you are considering divorce. You’ll need to know your current finances and how much money you’ll have on a monthly basis after divorce. Granted, spousal and child maintenance won’t be known yet, but it’s important to have a solid idea of where you stand without that.
  5. Start Planning – Begin thinking about other big decisions you’ll need to make. Based upon your post-divorce financial picture, will you or your spouse need to start working? How will this affect child care? Will one of you stay in the house? You will need to answer a myriad of questions, which can be absolutely overwhelming. We recommend that you look at your post-divorce financial situation first and determine what changes need to occur based upon that.
  6. Develop Your Support Network – You will need people you can count on through this journey. This could include close friends, family, a therapist, a support group, spiritual or religious leaders or organizations. Not everyone may understand or agree with your divorce, which may show you that people you thought would be in your corner are actually not. That will happen. Cross them off the support list and only include those who really have your best interests at heart.

As you start to gain more clarity around one item, you’ll be able to move to the next and knock that out as well. Little by little, your picture will become clear and you’ll know what you need to do. Sign up now for instant access to additional information about these topics and much more. We have 100+ pages of helpful information to guide you through making the decision to divorce or actually going through a divorce. This can be a lot to process. Take a breath and just go one step at a time. You aren’t alone. Let us guide you through your divorce journey.

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