If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late
Hard-hitting divorce lawyer James Sexton shares his insights and wisdom from the front lines of divorce to keep you out of his office and improve your relationship.If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late. James Sexton knows this. After dealing with more than a thousand clients whose marriages have dissolved over everything from an ill-advised threesome with the nanny to the uneven division of carpool duties, he also knows all of the what-not-to-dos for couples who want to build--and consistently work to preserve--a lasting, fulfilling relationship. Described by former clients as a "courtroom gunslinger" and "the sociopath you want on your side," Sexton tells the unvarnished truth about relationships, diving straight into the most common marital problems. These usually derive from dishonest--or nonexistent--communication. Even when the alleged reason for separation is one spouse's new "personal trainer," there's likely a communication problem that predates the fitness kick. Symptom and root cause get confused all the time.Sexton has spent his career working with spouses-to-be-no-longer. Reverse engineering a relationship can help to identify and fix what does not work. Ever feel like you're holding back criticism of your spouse because you just can't have that fight right now? Sexton will tell you to "Hit Send Now." Maybe you aren't as adventurous as you used to be, or need some "you time," but for some reason it seems weird or exhausting to change up the routine now. Sexton knows where that mentality leads and offers viable alternative paths to take. Though he deals constantly with the heartbreak of others, he still believes in romance and the transformative power of love. This book is his opportunity to use what he has learned to help couples that aren't so far gone get back on track.

If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late Details

TitleIf You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherHenry Holt & Company
ISBN-139781250130778
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Favorites

If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late Review

  • Janelle
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was a terrifying read. I can see why the author says he doesn't get invited to cocktail parties. (He does, however, point out that he still gets invited to weddings. So there's that.)James Sexton has litigated over twelve hundred divorces in his career. He's seen the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats. The acrimonious and amicable. He's represented the ones blind-sided by the divorce papers, he's represented an actual pimp in a custody hearing. He's been described as a ruthless sociopa Well, this was a terrifying read. I can see why the author says he doesn't get invited to cocktail parties. (He does, however, point out that he still gets invited to weddings. So there's that.)James Sexton has litigated over twelve hundred divorces in his career. He's seen the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats. The acrimonious and amicable. He's represented the ones blind-sided by the divorce papers, he's represented an actual pimp in a custody hearing. He's been described as a ruthless sociopath, and I might believe that on some level. He also may be a bit of a romantic. In this book, Sexton addresses various recurring themes he has noticed over the years in the hopes that couples might learn from the mistakes of others.In sum: a marital advice book written in reverse.You're not going to come out of this book with newfound respect for lawyers. Sexton may certainly be a sociopath, as a past client has described him. But that may be part and parcel of being an attorney what with the rules about providing fair representation. Even so, Sexton possesses a modicum of charm, like all the best sociopaths. His writing is casual--lots of f-bombs, for those who care about that sort of thing--and his stories are engaging. It's a good read, full of humor, charm, and a great deal of blunt talk about the real challenges of maintaining a good enough marriage.The book does not traffic in unexpected advice. I suspect very little of it would surprise any reader. (Except for the chapter "Hit Send Now" when he recommends that you let your spouse know what's troubling you right away, before it has a chance to fester. I feel comfortable saying that would be a disaster in my marriage. I already pick at every little thing, and I don't give voice to even half the things that I want to.) What's useful about it is how Sexton frames marriage. He is a romantic who eschews rose-colored glasses....marriage is not an end. It is a means to an end. It's about getting you to the destination; the destination is connection and companionship, comfort and trust. Getting you to the destination is an ongoing process that requires alertness, energy, and consistency.In discussing the marital bed, Sexton points out the obvious: marriage is an exclusive contract for sex with a specific partner. This will not go well if you aren't honest with your partner about what you need and what you're willing to do. If your/your partner's needs aren't met, then someone will have to choose between going without or going outside the marriage. The simplicity of that realization belies the difficulty of execution. As I worked my way through the book, I found myself really wishing that I could talk to my husband about it, that we were reading it together. Some of the traps Sexton points out are ones that are a regular feature of our marriage, and I wanted his perspective. For example, Sexton suggests that couples discuss what divorce would look like, just as they ought to discuss end of life matters. That sounds maybe more mature than I could manage, but the idea is interesting. I have quite a few thoughts on this book, but most of them are ones that I'd prefer to share with my spouse. For everyone else, I recommend this book, ideally as a couple read if you're one of those couples who likes to talk. (No judgment. Not all couples talk over every little thing.) I'm rushing this review a bit because there's a Goodreads giveaway on this book that closes March 6th. The book itself comes out on April 10. I was given a complimentary copy of this review via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review. This review also appears at Cannonballread.com.
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  • Carin
    January 1, 1970
    Come for the entertaining stories about divorcing partners, stay for the simple, practical advice for staying together and working things out.James is a divorce lawyer in New York City. He's one of the rare divorce lawyers who wanted to go into that field from day one (most wannabee lawyers are more idealistic and change their minds partway through or after law school.) He doesn't relish destroying relationships but they're already destroyed before they get to him. And he himself is divorced. At Come for the entertaining stories about divorcing partners, stay for the simple, practical advice for staying together and working things out.James is a divorce lawyer in New York City. He's one of the rare divorce lawyers who wanted to go into that field from day one (most wannabee lawyers are more idealistic and change their minds partway through or after law school.) He doesn't relish destroying relationships but they're already destroyed before they get to him. And he himself is divorced. At some point it occurred to him that his knowledge of what doesn't work, could be helpful to others. Kind of along the lines of "if you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning."Some of the stories are fascinating in a car-wreck kind of way. Some were a little sad, and a couple were even inspiring (one couple found out while in their lawyers' offices that their child was injured and they immediately put all animosity aside to work together on that problem as a team.) The most practical advice he gives I don't think will work for everyone--which is that when something bothers you, send a brief email about it to your partner right away. Don't let it fester, don't let it grow. He doesn't address the volume of these or choosing your battles, so I can foresee some issues with that particular advice, but I'm sure it would work for some people.I think this book would be best for people thinking of getting married, or even in the first few years, as being forewarned is forearmed.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I liked that this book had a very different perspective than most marriage advice books. The stories were funny and there was some interesting advice.
  • Naeemah Huggins
    January 1, 1970
    Finally someone who speaks my language. "The romance in the move the Titanic is bullshit. I feel the same way about Romeo and Juliet and other such tragic love stories. At least one of the parties dies before they get to see and live for a while with the yet unexpressed more annoying parts of their partner, which is when real love kicks in, or doesn't.""Marriage isn't hard work, as long as you don't consider paying attention hard work" I'm forever interested in the psychology of relationship and Finally someone who speaks my language. "The romance in the move the Titanic is bullshit. I feel the same way about Romeo and Juliet and other such tragic love stories. At least one of the parties dies before they get to see and live for a while with the yet unexpressed more annoying parts of their partner, which is when real love kicks in, or doesn't.""Marriage isn't hard work, as long as you don't consider paying attention hard work" I'm forever interested in the psychology of relationship and the mechanics of how they work. This book was insightful and funny as hell! Everyone loves a good divorce story and this book has some doozies. Interspersed among the stories, James explores the real deal no-no's that caused the breakdown. It was revelatory and very enjoyable. My favorite story 'the breakfast case' reminds us that our mates cannot read our minds, we need to state our intentions clearly and often, just hit send. "Too many of us want love a la carte, we want the good parts the marriage, of commitment but not the tougher ones, the nuts and bolts. Love is a verb, its about rolling your sleeves up and giving the effort but this culture is premised on doing what you want. 'Why should I have to do that?' Well technically, you don't have to. But then, technically, you probably don't get to enjoy the really deep enriching stuff that comes only with marriages or loving relationships of long standing.... To love, to really love, is to love the whole person. If you don't love the mundane or generic or less obviously lovable side, even the sometimes hateful side, then you don't love him or her. You love a person who doesn't exist."I read lots of self-help and relationship books but I've never read a what not to do guide this in-depth. This should be helpful to everyone in relationships. And it sure is hilariously entertaining.
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  • vaderbird
    January 1, 1970
    I thought there would be more stories and examples to enjoy.Ended up skimming through most of the book.
  • Anna John
    January 1, 1970
    This book is more of a what not to do. The author is divorced himself and has a very “divorce is usually the answer” approach to relationships. But this book is very entertaining and the stories of his various clients are a fun addition. I don’t personally see this book as a self help book but more of a “these are the various causes of divorce I come across, try to avoid this”.
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  • A.J.
    January 1, 1970
    The book contains several examples of things people do or don't do that causes a rift in the relationship, how to avoid them, how to address them, etc. Communication, sex, and money are highlighted since they are common problems. The author makes things humorous through his presentation style and even some firsthand stories from his cases. Honestly I think any married couple would benefit from reading the book. If you're divorcing or divorced then this will likely point out the errors both parti The book contains several examples of things people do or don't do that causes a rift in the relationship, how to avoid them, how to address them, etc. Communication, sex, and money are highlighted since they are common problems. The author makes things humorous through his presentation style and even some firsthand stories from his cases. Honestly I think any married couple would benefit from reading the book. If you're divorcing or divorced then this will likely point out the errors both parties made and may help with a future marriage. I listened to the audiobook which is read by the author.
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