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6 Ways to Guarantee a Date in Divorce Court

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If you haven't noticed, I am quite the opinionista when it comes to love. Mix my smarty pants side with my penchant for Polyanna (the annoying eternal optimist who chooses to only see the good), and I earned a swift kick in the a$$ in divorce court.

Divorce has been one of my least favorite teachers about love, life, and, most importantly, myself. In retrospect, some of the decisions I made with the heart were... How can I properly phrase this? ... beyond idiotic. Like I hemmorhaged IQ points and lost all five senses simultaneously stupid. But they are mine, and I own them.

HuffPost Divorce recently asked me this question: What's one thing you wish someone had told you about marriage before you said "I do"? Choosing a lesson was like choosing children. To turn my emotional and financial grief into good, I want to share all my failed wedding wisdom. Here are 6 ways to guarantee a date in divorce court:

1. If someone shows you who they really are, believe them. And believe them the first time. If I listened to my own logic, I would have never been married. Resist the temptation to ignore major character flaws, misdeeds, inconsistencies. Don't justify, pacify, or nullify your partner's actions, your feelings, or your intuition.

2. No one ever changes! See #1. Don't fall for the psychobabble, the "I am so sorry" flowers, the relationship band-aids. If you're a romantic, a "fixer," or a do-gooder, you are a prime target for promises of change. The fundamental truths of a human being are not easily rectified. Find someone who doesn't need you to don a cape to save him from himself.

3. Don't be blinded by the relentless pursuit of life milestones (i.e., friends are getting married or you want to get pregnant). I ignored blaringly obvious signs before I got married because I had baby on the brain. I forgave my ex for things that were unforgivable. I will never do that again.

4. If a relationship is problematic before marriage, it will be problematic on steroids after marriage. You're at your best when you're dating--before real stressors like health issues, finances, kids, stepkids, and in-laws take hold. If your relationship is tenuous during the "honeymoon phase" it will implode shortly after saying "I do."

5. Relationships shouldn't constantly be the equivalent of a "before picture." When two people are truly compatible, there should be a natural synergy; shared passion, values, and goals; a thorough understanding of the essence of your partner; and, above all, crazy, can't-live-without-you love. It shouldn't be forced. If you're constantly fighting and/or breaking up, if you keep shushing doubts that surface in your mind, if you aren't truly happy, you need to be honest with yourself and move on before you enter into a mistake marriage.

6. Be you! Don't mold yourself to someone else's ideals. Don't compromise who you are or what you want when it comes to love. Be selfish. The right person will adore you for sticking to your convictions.

What would you add to this list?

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