Relationship Coaching & Divorce Support

I probably won’t dress this nice in our Zoom video meetings. But if we’re both lucky, maybe I’ll look better. (Image/Angelo Merendino Photography)

What if something as simple as asking the right questions could change everything?

Coaching is not the same as counseling or therapy. There are many great counselors and therapists, and I, Matthew Fray, am not one of them.

Coaching is not the act of analyzing problems and offering solutions, though we will no doubt analyze problems and—collaboratively—discover new ways of doing things and new possibilities that can improve ourselves and our relationships.

Coaching is about support, encouragement and companionship. A method of discovering more about yourself, your relationships, and your relationship patterns.

A coach is a resource. A support system. A trusted confidant. A friend.

Tomorrow CAN be better than today. Tomorrow, we can be more than we are today. That happens by choice. Having the support of others can help us make good choices. And that’s what coaches provide—support, motivation and encouragement.

And if you want, that’s what I’ll provide to you.

The Programs

Marriage & Long-Term Relationship Coaching

Who It’s For

  • People struggling to connect with, understand, or communicate effectively with their partners. We feel the distance growing between us and the people we love. We feel the wheels coming off, and it sometimes feels as if the harder we try to make things better, our plans and conversations backfire, and everything seems to get worse. Everything makes sense in our own minds, but when we try to express it to our partners, it seems like they’re not hearing us. Like we’re speaking two different languages. When you work with me as your coach, we get intentional about mindset, about habits, about personality types, about deciphering the words and actions of our spouse/romantic partners, about empathy, and about finding new ways to communicate effectively and reduce instances of conflict within our homes and relationships.

What You Get

  • You and me, working together to find improvement opportunities, if not solutions, to your life’s most painful and frustrating relationship problems.
  • With luck, you will learn new things about yourself and about your spouse/romantic partner, develop more clarity about what she or he is asking for during your frustrating conversations and arguments, and emerge stronger and confident that you can navigate your relationship more effectively.
  • If you prefer a set schedule, we will schedule weekly or bi-weekly coaching calls for 30, 60, or 90 days (or whatever). But we know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. If you prefer a more fluid, flexible schedule where you request calls as more urgent, emotionally difficult issues arise, we can handle it that way.
  • In addition to our scheduled calls, clients have access to me in the event of—for lack of a better term—an emotional emergency, or a particularly difficult or stressful personal situation. If you feel alone or as if you don’t know who to talk to, I’ll make every effort to be there, and together we’ll get through whatever it is.

How It Works

  • You will decide whether you would prefer to talk by phone or by video conference (which would take place on the Zoom platform. You can create a free Zoom account here.)
  • I accept both PayPal and credit card payments (via an online invoice I will email upon request). Our calls will be scheduled after its corresponding invoice is processed.

How To Apply

  • Email me at MBTTTR@gmail.com with “Coaching Request” in the subject line.
  • I will send you a questionnaire within 24-48 business hours.
  • Please fill out the questionnaire and return it to schedule a short, introductory on-boarding call that we will use to collaboratively discuss whether my coaching support is really something you want, and whether it’s something that can truly provide value for you in a potentially difficult time. The purpose of the questionnaire is for you to explain your personal story in your own words, and to share with me what you hope to achieve from a coaching relationship.

Relationship Coaching Client Testimonials

“If I can be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from our initial call, and because I’m kind of an elitist asshole, there was a part of me that was skeptical. But I felt so much better after we spoke. You’re great at empathizing. It’s important. But where you stepped up was when you checked in. And you were prepared for calls. And you had a game plan. And you asked questions—GOOD ones.

“My takeaway from the time we’ve worked together is that you know way more than you give yourself credit for. Because it’s not just about the health of the relationship. It’s about the health of the individuals who are in it too. You’re a pleasure to talk to. You’re humble and you’re human. You’re super-relatable. That’s something that was not marketed to me. That’s not something you were trying to sell. But it’s what I got, and it’s damn valuable.” – Kym P., United States

“We were on the verge of divorce, both of us, her threatening divorce and me thinking it might be the best way out. I told myself that if she wouldn’t change, I would let her go, leave and abandon the best thing that had ever happened to me. She read about Matt in the NY Times and said I had to go to him for three sessions or she would file for divorce, so I read his website, thought about what he’d written, and scheduled three telephone sessions. 

“It took me maybe a week to understand what this person I’d lived with for so many years was experiencing, my wife, whom I thought I knew so well. I learned how she felt, how hurt she was by little things that I didn’t even consider important. I started to make small changes, because I didn’t want to hurt her, things that were for me even trivial but for her important, and I learned to honor those little differences. It was an easy change for me, and she changed with it, I would not have to leave her, a lifelong benefit for just minor cost. We became friends again. And I stayed with her, and she with me.” – Robert P., United States

Divorce & Divorce Recovery Coaching

Who It’s For

  • People going through divorce frequently say that it’s much more difficult than they’d imagined. And that’s because we never know what we don’t know. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is the #2 most stressful life event we can ever experience, second only to the death of a spouse. And that’s because divorce isn’t only something that affects us emotionally in the same way breaking up with our girlfriend or boyfriend might have felt in our youth. Divorce typically generates a dramatic change in our everyday lives. It usually involves moving to a new home, or losing your adult partner that was always there, providing companionship, conversation, financial support, parenting support, and the logistics of managing daily life and a household in an increasingly busy world. Divorce can affect our social networks, our work performance, our extended families, the time we have with our children, and sometimes the sense of control we used to feel regarding their health and well being. It can be a terrifying time, because sometimes we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore. I’ve lived that nightmare. And I want to help you get through it with as much comfort, courage and confidence as possible.

What You Get

  • You and me, working together to find improvement opportunities, if not solutions, to your life’s most painful and frustrating problems following divorce or a bad breakup.
  • With luck, you will learn new things about yourself and about your relationships past and present. You will develop more clarity about what you can do moving forward to feel like your old self again, and what you can do to make sure that any future romantic partners are a positive choice for you and any children you might have. Among our many goals will be for you to emerge with greater confidence and focus as you move forward on your life journey.
  • If you prefer a set schedule, we will schedule weekly or bi-weekly coaching calls for 30, 60, or 90 days (or whatever). But we know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. If you prefer a more fluid, flexible schedule where you request calls as more urgent, emotionally difficult issues arise, we can handle it that way.
  • In addition to our scheduled calls, clients have access to me in the event of—for lack of a better term—an emotional emergency, or a particularly difficult or stressful personal situation. If you feel alone or as if you don’t know who to talk to, I’ll make every effort to be there, and together we’ll get through whatever it is.

How It Works

  • You will decide whether you would prefer to talk by phone or by video conference (which would take place on the Zoom platform. You can create a free Zoom account here.)
  • We would schedule calls with whatever frequency and cadence works best for you.
  • I accept both PayPal and credit card payments (via an online invoice I will email upon request). Our calls will be scheduled after its corresponding invoice is processed.

How To Apply

  • Email me at MBTTTR@gmail.com with “Coaching Request” in the subject line.
  • I will send you a questionnaire within 24-48 business hours.
  • Please fill out the questionnaire and return it to schedule a short, introductory on-boarding call that we will use to collaboratively discuss whether my coaching support is really something you want, and whether it’s something that can truly provide value for you in a potentially difficult time. The purpose of the questionnaire is for you to explain your personal story in your own words, and to share with me what you hope to achieve from a coaching relationship.

Client Testimonials

“I’ve had the honour of talking with Matthew for just over a month. I began our conversations broken, post-divorce, and completely unable to make sense of the pieces of life shattered around me. Matthew poses questions that cut straight to the heart of matters, which is already evident in his blog articles. Incredibly sensitive, but honest beyond fault, Matthew has helped me to navigate my way out of a darkness I wasn’t sure I could survive. Thanks to Matt, I now carry with me two weapons of incredible wisdom: First, breathe. And second, we can do hard things.” – Kirsty C., South Africa

19 thoughts on “Relationship Coaching & Divorce Support

  1. Margaret M Cavallo says:

    How much is each call? What prices do you charge?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carla Costa says:

    Hi Matt,
    This article really helped me as a wife to be able to validate my feelings that I am not crazy bitch. That yes, my husband have issues to deal with.

    Like

  3. KK says:

    How much does it cost?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alice says:

    This is fantastic! Congratulations 🎉🎈🍾🎊If I am still married when we can afford you, I will be referring my husband.

    Congratulations again Matt!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lesley ury says:

    What are your credentials? Are you a licensed therapist? Or just naturally insightful post divorce and sharing what you have learned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      No credentials, Lesley. Either I say things in ways that make sense to people, or I don’t. The only way anyone finds me is by reading things I write. Sometimes, the way I tell stories and think about relationships makes sense to people in ways previous books or articles did not.

      I try to help because sometimes I can. No one should ever choose to invest their time talking to me unless my way of thinking and communicating ends up breaking through the most.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Priscilla says:

    I read your articles because it gives me hope that there are men in the world that have the ability and desire to listen instead just “hear”. There is nothing worse than feeling invisible to the one you love most and want to be loved most by. I stand corrected, maybe feeling blamed for all the relationship problems comes in at a close first. Either way, it’s not the life I want to live. This is my second marriage. I want it to be my last. I have 5 children and one on the way. I just feel too old to be going through this bullshit. Does anyone hear me?!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane says:

    How does your ex-wife feel that you’ve turned all the lessons she taught you at her own expense into a profitable business? And what ratio of your clients are women vs men?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Men are 90 percent. Unless the wife/woman in the relationship is showing up in her partnership in the ways I was (and statistically, in the ways men do more frequently than women), I am much more useful to a man trying to figure out what’s going on his relationship and taking responsibility for growth, mindfulness, empathy, and behaving in ways that restore trust in relationships.

      As opposed to the wife in the most common scenario who is experiencing invalidation, and various versions of emotional neglect/abuse (that I believe are mostly happening in unintentional ways, but are still very much painful and damaging to marriage/committed relationships.)

      How does my ex-wife feel? I’m not 100% sure how she feels about the coaching thing. She’s never mentioned it.

      I have a better sense of how she feels about me getting a book contract to share these ideas on an infinitely larger scale than I do now. What will become my full-time job in precisely two weeks.

      I’m not inclined to offer details on private conversations she and I have, and I’m not sure how much the truth would even matter, because how could you know whether I’m being honest?

      But I’ll be honest anyway: She is a fabulous mother, a lovely person, and someone I treat with as much care, mindfulness, and respect RE: co-parenting as possible for the purposes of NOT being the way I was during the marriage I inadvertently destroyed one “invisible” paper cut after another.

      My highest personal value as a father, is to raise a healthy son who can grow up to be whatever he wants to be, and to be armed with knowledge and skills and nuanced understandings of interpersonal relationships that might help him avoid treating any future partners/spouses the way I did his mother.

      I treat her, minus romance, with as much love, honor, and respect as is appropriate for our divorced, co-parenting relationship.

      To whatever extent is appropriate and healthy, what’s mine is hers. Always. Until such a time as that would be weird or some violation of a relationship I might be in. Whatever.

      I’m sure she resents the hell of the fact that I’m some guy people come to for help on the very subjects she had to suffer through. I’m sure it’s a little bit upsetting each and every day that it crosses her mind. I’m sure she’s almost offended by the idea.

      But I think she’s probably also feeling more validated, more respected, more supported, more confident in my ability to co-raise our son, and perhaps grateful that I’m trying to do something positive in the world instead of just take from it.

      I am not her. And I lost the right and opportunity to know the deepest, most vulnerable, most honest thoughts and feelings she has. I don’t have access to those anymore.

      So. I may never fully know what she thinks and feels about anything. And unlike a decade ago, I’m fully aware of how things I did and didn’t do eroded her trust so much, that it wasn’t safe to grant me access to those things.

      We’re not here because of things she did or didn’t do. We’re here because of things I did and didn’t do.

      I hope the people I’m blessed enough to reach adopt the same mindset about it, because I believe it’s the only viable path to healing and trust restoration.

      Like

  8. greensea0928 says:

    Do you coach couples together?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      If it’s what can help the most, I do. But I try to avoid everyone being in on the same conversation. I don’t like what happens emotionally to husbands and wives while they tell strangers about the most painful and frustrating parts of their personal lives. I don’t believe it helps much.

      So long as conversations are healthy and cooperative, I do work with couples, yes. Thank you for asking.

      Like

  9. JEANNIE L says:

    Hey Matt, my current husband was NEVER taught about partnership. He is an ass. We have been through 3 counselors, one of which was at a marriage intensive boot camp. They called him out of everything “gently” so it wouldn’t be pointing fingers. If you spoke with a man like that do you pussyfoot around or tell him quit being an asshole or he’ll die alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Husband has come to counselling with me under duress as he does not feel he has a problem, I am the one who has the issue. I try to use “I”statements when talking to express my feelings and he just gets defensive and wonders why we are always arguing. I so relate to all you write about, how can I convince him to talk with you?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I don’t know how to answer that, Elizabeth. If your husband refuses to give you something you really want or need, I’d argue there’s a finite amount of times you’ll accept that answer.

      To be fair to him, I don’t believe he thinks he’s doing anything wrong or harmful or hurtful. Which is why defensiveness comes so easily. He really believes he’s in the right and that suggestions to the contrary are an unfair attack on his character.

      I suppose what I’d encourage you to consider most is using language that more specifically removes the need for defensiveness. Even if you’re using “I” statements, he’s still (correctly, I imagine) interpreting what you’re saying as some sort of grievance or complaint about a condition in your marriage. Not something petty. Something painful. Something that fails to respect or consider your needs and feelings and experiences.

      Most of the time when things like this are communicated, it sounds DANGEROUSLY close to “You’re a bad man,” or “You’re doing a bad thing,” or “You’re hurting me and you’re mean to me,” or “You’re not good enough and I question why I’m even in this relationship.”

      When a person of decent character has successful relationships with most people he knows and interacts with, and the only person registering complaints or criticizing him or asking him to change is the person he loves the most and who he feels as if he’s sacrificed most for, I think it makes sense (even though it invalidates you and damages your marriage, and I’m so sorry) for him to feel compelled to defend his intentions/character.

      Unless you believe him to be a bad person, I would encourage you to ask him to consider that it’s not HIM who you take issue with, and it’s not your belief that he’s intentionally trying to hurt you or sabotage your marriage, but that you understand he feels defensive because he honestly, legitimately, doesn’t understand what he’s doing or not doing that hurts you.

      These actions live in his habits. In his blind spots.

      And they’re not “bad.” Doing them doesn’t make him “bad.”

      But. Doing them erodes trust in your marriage. Doing them hurts you a little bit each time even if he doesn’t realize it.

      And then what ends up being the problem in the relationship isn’t that he’s a bad man doing bad things but rather that to you, it doesn’t seem that he values you enough—doesn’t love you enough—to make the mindful effort to eliminate these so-called “little” or “invisible” behaviors that incrementally harm you and your marriage.

      You begin to wonder, even if he doesn’t feel the same kind of hurt, why he doesn’t seem to care enough about you to want to take the hurt away on your behalf.

      It’s a vicious cycle.

      He thinks that solution is for you to stop feeling upset about “silly” or “unimportant” things.

      You KNOW the solution is him deciding you matter enough to treat your things as being NOT silly. As being important.

      And I agree with you. But I wouldn’t have when I was married.

      This is the work of developing empathy and emotional intelligence. It seems ridiculous both to the people who are already good at it as well as the people who think it’s a bunch of hippy-dippy bullshit.

      But this is how we slowly destroy trust. This is how millions of people’s relationships fall apart and no one saw it coming when they first got together.

      No one is doing anything “bad” or “wrong.”

      He’s simply failing to calculate for the harm that’s caused even when he’s busy and comfortable and not trying to hurt anyone.

      It’s the great blindness. The great miscalculation that ends marriages. Not with one incident. But with hundreds. Thousands. Until the paper cuts have simply cut the wound too deep.

      My work focuses on telling that story to as many people as possible.

      How can you convince him to talk to me? I don’t know that you can.

      He needs to want to either because he loves you enough, or he needs to want to because he’s hurt and afraid and trying to figure out what went wrong.

      But in between those two things? There are millions of people who know they’re not trying to hurt anyone so they take offense and feel defensive whenever people seem to be suggesting they being hurtful.

      I wish it was simpler.

      People have to WANT to stop hurting people in their blind spots before they’ll do the work.

      They problem is, when the pain exists in the blind spots, so many of the people who need to do the work legitimately don’t realize it.

      Not because they’re bad. They, just, honestly don’t know.

      It’s the saddest story in the world.

      Like

  11. Pghmom says:

    Do you have any tips on how to survive if you can’t get out of an emotionally abusive marriage?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      This might not seem very helpful, because I think I have a sense of how difficult what I’m about to say is, especially if you share children.

      But the math is pretty simple. When every day hurts, and your partner is either the person causing the pain, or at best, refusing to support you or try to help you in any meaningful way, then the process of leaving is a simple, but uncomfortable math decision.

      When you calculate that every day moving forward will be as bad or worse than now? You decide to love yourself enough to remove yourself from a fundamentally unhealthy situation.

      The healthy alternative — a more hopeful one — would be (if my theory’s correct that you’re not with someone who would intentionally hurt you every day) for him to learn how to see and navigate the situations you experience as abuse and neglect as adeptly as you can.

      More than likely, he’s not abusive because he’s an abuser. But because he fundamentally doesn’t see, hear, feel, or understand that the situations you experience as abusive are as painful or damaging as you say. It’s because when he experiences those things, they don’t hurt as you say, and probably also because you might be the only person in his life who is ever critical of him, or who would suggest that things he says and does cause harm.

      You tell him things are wrong. He indicates you’re mistaken, or that you’re overreacting, or he simply defends himself or justifies his actions.

      His perpetual invalidating response patterns hurt you. You don’t trust him anymore. The relationship doesn’t feel safe.

      He must either cooperate in rebuilding it to something safe, or you’ll eventually choose to leave and find something/somewhere/someone who does feel safe.

      I hope he chooses you. And if he doesn’t, I hope you’ll choose you. You deserve it.

      Liked by 1 person

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