Is There Anything You Can Do When You Face Marital Struggles Just Two Months In?

Is There Anything You Can Do When You Face Marital Struggles Just Two Months In?

Danielle Staub and Marty Caffrey are facing problems already. 

By Marianne Garvey

Danielle Staub and Marty Caffrey are facing marital problems just two months after tying the knot.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey mom's rep released a statement to People on the status of their relationship, saying, “Danielle is having some difficulties with her marriage right now and is hoping everything will work out."

Danielle wed Marty on Bimini Island in the Bahamas on May 5. Teresa Giudice served as Danielle's matron of honor, while Melissa Gorga and Margaret Josephs were also a part of the bridal party, along with Danielle's daughters Christine and Jillian Staub

It seemed like she had finally found the one after two previous marriages — she split from her last husband, businessman Thomas N. Staub, after 14 years together, and her first marriage to former FBI informant Kevin Maher ended in 1987. 

What happens when all is OK ... until after the wedding? How do things fall apart so quickly? Can a marriage be saved when there's trouble so early on?

Relationship expert April Masini, who runs RelationshipAdviceForum, tells Personal Space that the stats for divorce in second, third and fourth marriages is exponentially greater than in first marriages.

It's not their first time at the rodeo.

"Danielle and Marty married in a whirlwind and this was not their first marriage. The reasons for these statistics are a little more mysterious because each break up has specific factors, but some of them are: People who have been divorced need to do their homework. If they have not processed the reasons for the divorce, and taken responsibility for their part in the divorce, and made changes to prevent another divorce, they are more likely to repeat divorce than are those who have taken these steps," Masini says. "Divorce is not just a failure in the relationship — it’s also a symptom of other problems in your choices and your behavior. Check yourself or repeat history." 

Second and subsequent marriages with children are very difficult.

"Step-kids in second and third relationships are the new mothers-in-law. They’re the reasons that a lot of marriages break up. The kids cause strain on relationships, as do their other parents and the other parents new partners. There are a lot of relationships weighing on second, third and fourth marriages," Masini explains.

Divorced people sometimes try to replace their exes.

"It’s almost like getting a prosthesis when you’ve lost a limb," Masini says. "There’s a real need to get back to normal again. This often results in problems because the rush to replace a partner prevents smart dating that leads to find Mr. or Ms. Right. Whirlwind romance is dreamy — and prevents couples from taking the time to really get to know each other and each others’ friends and family."

If things do go south early:

It takes two people to fight, and one to apologize," Masini says. "Someone has to break the stress by backing off, backing down and saying sorry. When both parties refuse, you’re headed for the nuclear option — a break up. So try to give yourself a time out so you can cool off. This cooling off can lead you to see things differently and to choose communication and problem solving.

Make deals.

"One of the biggest tools a couple has at it’s disposal is deal making...Tell your partner you don’t agree, but you’re going to throw in the towel in exchange for remodeling the bathrooms or making the next vacation somewhere you want to go. When you adopt a relationship tool like deal making, you’ll be changing the relationship dynamic and the outcome of a fight."

Accept you may just be with the wrong person.

"If you are someone who never fights, and your fighting in this relationship is epic, you may be with the wrong person. Compatibility is more important than love in the long run of a relationship. If you’re not compatible because you rushed into a relationship without properly getting to know each other, or one or both of you has changed over time, your compatibility may be at dealbreaker level, and the fighting is a symptom of this problem. Or, if you’re with someone who fights all the time, normally, and you didn’t realize it until now, recite, 'Better late than never,' as you learn about their temper late in the game."

Ask yourself 'is it another problem?'

"People fight for many reasons and they usually take out their anger on someone they’re close to. Like you. Try not to react and instead, find out if they’re having problems at work, with parents, health, money or some other aspect of their lives that is causing them to fight with you about the garbage, or something similar," says Masini. "Many times fighting with a partner is because someone is fatigued, had an argument at work, or a fender bender on the road. When you can address the real problem, you’re more likely to stop things from going south."

Allow for differences.

"If you move in together or get married and quickly find things going south, allow for different styles. You may be a neat freak and your partner is a slob. Skip the fighting and hire a cleaning crew. You may be a spender and your partner is a saver. Sit down and hash out  the way you’re going to compromise on handling money, and hire a business manager if that helps. You may be a night owl and your partner is an early bird. Stop trying to keep up with their schedule, losing sleep and fighting fatigue … and fighting, and come up with a sleep compromise." 

Prioritize what does work.

"When things start to go south, instead of focusing on the problems, focus on what does work. If your sex life is great, focus on that. If you’re great when you get out of the house and away from the kids, prioritize date night and hotel weekends away. If you’re happiest together when you’re playing sports, running or biking — but fight when you walk in the house, exercise together more. This isn’t a fix-it-all solution, but it gives you breathing space to get a perspective on the entire relationship, not just what’s not working."

If your marriage is having major trouble early on, and none of the above is working, it's time for an audit, says Florida-based therapist Jason Eric Ross.

"An intervention of sorts is necessary," he says. "When it comes to love, let's be honest, people are impulsive. Reality is sometimes different than what you expected. 

"If you are facing these difficulties so early you need to verbalize what is truly bothering you. If there is trouble in paradise and you do not talk about it openly and constructively (preferably with a licensed professional), it'll be lost. With short romances we don't really see the true person. The more time people spend together the more they notice idiosyncrasies and habits. Sometimes it's a dealbreaker."

Ignoring the problem, however, will backfire every time, he adds.

"Some individual therapy would be critical and then couples counseling if you want to resolve the issues. Some people go to individual counseling and then realize the marriage can't be salvaged and move on."

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