Ask a Therapist: Divorce - What Went Wrong, with Barry Tigay, PhD

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Dating was great, the first few years were marital bliss, but now, after some time has passed, you feel anger, resentment and maybe even hatred for the same person you couldn't live without. To find out what went wrong, join Barry Tigay, PhD, as he answers your questions about divorce.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome everyone! Today's guest is Barry Tigay, PhD. He will be answering your questions about divorce.

BeBe_CH asks: When parents are separated, which parent should the child stay with?

Barry Tigay, PhD: Child custody is often a complicated legal process. The guiding principles begin with doing what is in the best interest of the child. Physical custody is generally granted to one parent, although it can be shared on a rotating basis. Often parents are not able to communicate very well during a time of the divorce and bitter fights can ensue over issues of child custody. The courts often request the input of mental health professionals in determining child custody.

tinacasey asks: What can I do about my husband taking me for granted? I'm really starting to resent him.

Barry Tigay, PhD: The resolution of marital problems generally begins with improving communication. It is important to let him know your feelings before the resentment becomes so strong that you express yourself with anger and blame. It might be interesting to find out if he realizes that he is taking you for granted. Does he know what kind of attention you want? How does he feel about getting his needs met? Try to begin the communication, and if you are not successful on your own, consider getting a therapist to help you.

sunshine_69n asks: My husband had an affair but says it won't happen again. I have a 15-month old son and am pregnant. Should I stay with him and try to work it out for the kids, or should I leave him anyway? He also started using pot while he was with her. He says he quit that too, but how do I know for sure?

Barry Tigay, PhD: You are struggling with issues of trust. I cannot answer whether you should stay or leave, but everyone should explore every opportunity to improve their marriage before leaving. Communication is key to improvement. Take a look at the article "Making Marriage Work" at www.planetpsych.com.

emma_i_am asks: How does a child deal with their parents' divorce?

Barry Tigay, PhD: Dealing with divorce for a child is usually very difficult. Parents should reassure children about the child's security after the divorce. Let them know what their living arrangements will be like. Let them know that their parents still love them and that the divorce is not their fault but a difficulty between the two adults.

skcoh asks: Is it wrong to still love your ex-husband?

Barry Tigay, PhD: Of course it is not wrong to love anyone, especially an ex husband. However, if the love is not returned and you find yourself unable to move forward in your life, this can become a problem for you. Often, the best remedy for unrequited love is to find a new partner. We sometimes believe that no one will love us again after our marriage ends. Try to find ways to meet people and make new friends, and don't be afraid of loving your ex, but make sure you live in the present and pursue the future rather than hanging onto the past.

easymonie_2000 asks: I?ve been married for 23 years and it seems we argue even more than before. We fight everyday now. What can I do? I don't want this to continue.

Barry Tigay, PhD: Try to begin communicating with your spouse about this issue. Try to stay calm and not lapse into your pattern of arguing. If it does not work this way, find a therapist. If your spouse won't go, then begin yourself. You can find a therapist anywhere in the U.S. at the therapist directory at www.planetpsych.com.

babyg5_2000 asks: What do you think is the principle reason for people divorcing?

Barry Tigay, PhD: There are a number of reasons. People divorce because of financial problems, interference from in-laws, inability to share, and basic incompatibility. It might be interesting to take the brief compatibility quiz at www.planetpsych.com. This will give you an idea of some of the most common areas of incompatibilities in relationships.

shichic asks: Do you think it is reasonable to expect monogamy in a marriage? I just don't think it's feasible after 15 years of marriage.