Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Coping With a Difficult Ex-Spouse

These 10 tips will help you in your discouragement.

Wouldn’t it be nice if adults could remember that parenting is not about them, and that it is about the children? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the pain of the broken personal relationships of the past could be kept separate from the practical parental concerns of the present? 
Wouldn’t it be nice ...

Yes, it would. But sometimes people aren’t nice.

Dealing with a difficult ex-spouse can be very discouraging and defeating. Yet we are called to continue trying to pursue good, to “turn the other cheek,” and “walk the extra mile.” Hopefully the following tips can aid you in your efforts to cope:

1. Be sure to notice your own part of the ongoing conflict. Christian ex-spouses, for example, often feel justified in their anger toward their irresponsible ex-spouses. It’s easy, then, to also feel justified in your efforts to change him or her in whatever ways you feel are morally or practically necessary. Unfortunately, this sense of “rightness” often blinds good-hearted Christians from seeing just how their own behavior contributes to the ongoing cycle of conflict. Any time you try to change a difficult ex-spouse—even if for understandable moral reasons—you inadvertently invite hostility or a lack of cooperation in return. Learn to let go of what you can’t change so you don’t unknowingly keep the between-home power struggles alive.

2. Stepparents should communicate a non-threatening posture to the same-gender ex-spouse. An ex-wife, for example, may continue negativity because she is threatened by the presence of the new stepmother. It is helpful if the stepmother will communicate the following either by phone or e-mail: “I just want you to know that I value your role with your children and I will never try to replace you. You are their mother and I’m not. I will support your decisions with the children, have them to your house on time, and never talk badly about you to the children. You have my word on that.” This helps to alleviate the need of the biological mother to bad-mouth the stepparent or the new marriage in order to keep her children’s loyalties.

3. Keep your “business meetings” impersonal to avoid excessive conflict. Face-to-face interaction has the most potential for conflict. Use the phone when possible or even talk to the ex-spouse’s answering machine if personal communication erupts into arguments. Use e-mail or faxes when possible. Keep children from being exposed to negative interaction when it’s within your power.

4. Use a script to help you through negotiations. This strategy has helped thousands of parents. Before making a phone call, take the time to write out your thoughts including what you’ll say and not say. Also, anticipate what the other might say that will hurt or anger you. Stick to the business at hand and don’t get hooked into old arguments that won’t be solved with another fight. (For more on how to do this, see the “Be Prepared by Borrowing a Script and Sticking to It” section of the free Common Steps for Co-Parents e-booklet.)

5. Whenever possible, agree with some aspect of what your ex-spouse is suggesting. This good business principle applies in parenting as well. Even if you disagree with the main point, find some common ground.

6. Manage conversations by staying on matters of parenting. It is common for the conversations of “angry associate” co-parents to gravitate back toward negative personal matters of the past. Actively work to keep conversations focused on the children. If the conversation digresses to old marital junk, say something like, “I’d rather we discuss the schedule for this weekend. Where would you like to meet?” If the other continues to shift the conversation back to hurtful matters assertively say, “I’m sorry. I’m not interested in discussing us again. Let’s try this again later when we can focus on the weekend schedule.” Then, politely hang up the phone or walk away. Come back later and try again to stay on the parenting subject at hand.

7. When children have confusing or angry feelings toward your ex, don’t capitalize on their hurt and berate the other parent. Listen and help them explore their hurt feelings. If you can’t make positive statements about the other parent, strive for neutral ones. Let God’s statutes offer any necessary indictments on a parent’s behaviour.

8. Remember that for children, choosing sides stinks! Children don’t want to compare their parents or choose one over the other. They simply want your permission to love each of you. This is especially important when the two of you can’t get along.

9. Wrestle with forgiveness. Hurt feelings from the past are the number one reason your ex—and you—overreact with one another. Do your part by striving to forgive your ex-spouse for the offenses of the past (and present). This will help you manage your emotions when dealing with him or her in the present.

10. Work hard to respect the other parent and his or her household. For your kids’ sake, find ways of being respectful even if you honestly can’t respect your ex-spouse’s lifestyle or choices. Do not personally criticize the ex-spouse, but don’t make excuses for the behavior either.

Source: http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/divorce/recovering-from-divorce/coping-with-a-difficult-ex-spouse

Monday, 19 February 2018

5 Common Post Divorce Parenting Mistakes

Co-parenting is fraught with problems. After divorce or separation, emotions can run high which can make it hard for parents to cooperate with each other and focus on what is best for their children. You will make mistakes. We all do. What’s really important is having the ability to recognize when you’ve made a mistake and take the necessary steps to make amends. Not only does this give your kids a positive role model to follow when they face difficult situations in life, but it shows them that you will do everything possible to be the best parent you can.

There are many things that can go wrong when co-parenting. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes parents make and some suggestions of what you can do when you make these mistakes:

1) Losing your temper
One of the hardest parts of co-parenting after divorce is learning how to put aside your own emotions and focus solely on your children, their needs and what’s best for them. As a co-parent there will be times when you lose your temper. Aside from your children, your co-parent knows how to push your buttons like no other person. There will be times when they say and do things that set off your triggers, cloud your judgement and your ability to be mindful of your behavior and emotions. Sometimes this will be your fault, sometimes theirs.

What can you do? When you’re the one in the wrong, say so. Always apologize, even if the other parent doesn’t reciprocate when they are in the wrong. Not only will this take the fuel out of the fire, you will be showing your children how to deal with conflict and the importance of being able to admit when you are in the wrong. An added bonus is that you might start building some bridges and your co-parent might model similar behavior. Try to avoid conflict by keeping conversations limited to parenting and try to avoid being pulled into an emotionally charged conversation about past wrongs. Try to really listen to the other parent’s point of view and if you still disagree, then work to find a compromise that works for both of you.

2) Making it more about the power struggle than the children
After divorce or separation, emotions are charged. There are times when even the most well-intentioned parent will inadvertently use their child as a way of getting back at their ex. Often parents compete to be the “fun” parent by breaking rules or buying gifts. We all want to make our children happy and staying up late to eat ice cream or a taking trip to the toy store are both quick and easy ways to achieve this. Another common mistake is refusing to compromise when it comes to requested changes to the parenting schedule. Parents often justify these special requests as “unreasonable” or complain that they weren’t given enough notice. Point scoring between parents is an easy trap to fall into and sometimes it can be hard to recognize this behavior in yourself.

What can you do? New toys or possessions are not a very good replacement for your time, love or attention. Kids will see through this very quickly and either judge you for it or manipulate you (or both). What kids really need from you is love, stability and consistency and a positive parenting relationship between you and the other parent. Try to be flexible wherever possible if the other parent needs to change the schedule or wants to see the kids on their birthday, for example. Always try to put yourself in their position and think about what you would want if the tables were turned.

3) Using your child as a messenger or asking your child to choose sides
A common mistake by divorced parents is to communicate through your children. After your divorce or separation is finalized, you might want to have as little contact with your ex as possible. But your parenting relationship will continue for some time and there are still things you need to communicate about. It’s easy to see your child as a way to pass messages between you and the other parent and it can seem harmless enough to ask them to pass a note or tell them you are going to be late for pick up today. But you are literally putting your child in the middle and asking them to be mature enough to deal with the emotional response from the other parent. It’s also showing them that there is still conflict between the two of you and your child will inevitably feel torn. Another trap parents fall into is asking your child to choose a side when there is a scheduling conflict or who to spend Christmas with this year. You may think you are being fair by giving them the choice but you are putting the responsibility on your children to make your grown up decisions.

What can you do? This is a simple rule to follow: never ask your children to convey a message to the other parent or to communicate on your behalf. Find a way to communicate that works for you: if you can’t face speaking to your ex face-to-face or over the phone, then use a co-parenting communication tool so that you can communicate effectively and in a child-centered way. And don’t put your kids in a position where you are asking them to pick a side. It is inappropriate and simply not fair.

4) Fighting in front of your children or criticizing the other parent to your children
Bad habits are hard to break. Before your divorce or separation, it’s likely that you argued in front of your kids. This can be a hard pattern to get out of and it’s all too easy to fall straight back into the trap of blame and anger if the other parent consistently picks up late or forgets to bring your child’s backpack on a Sunday evening. You may also find yourself making comments like “that’s just like your father” or “That’s typical! Your mom’s late again! Now I’m going to be late”. However it’s important to know that these bad habits are amongst the most damaging for kids of divorce so it’s important to minimize this behavior as much as you possibly can. And ideally, stop it completely.

What can you do? Find an outlet where you can process your feelings and express yourself freely - your friends, a therapist, a divorce coach or support group. Develop some coping mechanisms so that when you interact with the other parent, you are able to do so in a calm and rational way without letting your emotions get the better of you. Also keep in mind that your kids identify character traits in themselves from both parents so when you are leveling criticisms at your co-parent, you are leveling at your children too.

5) Avoiding communication with the other parent
If your divorce was difficult or contentious, chances are you did most of your communicating with each other through Family Law Professionals. It can be hard to break this cycle and start communicating directly with each other again about schedules, school, homework, shared expenses, doctors appointments and everything else that comes along with parenting on a daily basis. Parents who have got used to communicating via a third party can find it a real struggle to turn the page and start communicating one-to-one again as co-parents.

What can you do? Children do best when parents are able to establish a respectful and cooperative relationship. To achieve this, you will need to find a way to transition from your spousal relationship to a more business-like relationship, focused solely on your children and their needs. Be respectful and communicate in the same way as you would with a colleague. If you feel that you are unable to communicate effectively with your co-parent face-to-face, then using a tool such as coparently can really help to facilitate a business-like relationship and help to keep things child-focused and on topic.

How can you avoid making these co-parenting mistakes?

Know your triggers
Spend some time understanding your triggers. Are you annoyed by late pick-ups? Do you get angry about a lack of discipline in the other parent’s house? Fed up with clothes and belongings being lost or frustrated by the eye roll? Once you have worked out what sets you off, you can be mindful of your response when faced with these triggers and make a conscious and positive choice to respond in a calm and measured way.

Set ground rules that you can both fully commit to
Work together to create a set of ground rules that cannot be broken, like a business contract between the two of you. Be sure to do this at a time when neither parent is upset or angry. These ground rules may include things like, don’t use the children as messengers, don’t argue in front of the kids and don’t bad mouth the other parent in front of the children.
Have a strategy for when things don’t go to plan

Once you have agreed on the ground rules, work out a plan of action for when one parent breaks the rules. Basically you need to give each other permission to hold the other parent accountable and to state when a parent breeches your agreement. You might agree to say something like “let’s try to keep within our ground rules.” It’s helpful if you have a contingency plan if one parent is too upset. Perhaps you can agree that the best course of action in this circumstance is to stop the discussion and pick it up again when both parents are feeling calm. We all have bad days - make sure you have a plan in place to deal with them when they happen.

When you’re in the wrong and you feel sorry about something, make sure you apologize sincerely. Apologizing can really turn your co-parenting relationship around and help to move you to a more business-like and civil relationship, rather than an adversarial one.

Parenting after divorce or separation is rarely easy. There will be times when your anger or emotions get the better of you. When this happens, remember your commitment to your children, take ownership of your own actions and do the best you can to put your children first and to learn from the mistakes you make.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hanif-virani/5-common-post-divorce-parenting-mistakes_b_9267426.html

Saturday, 17 February 2018

How To Stop Settling And Have A Great Life After Divorce

In order to surround yourself with what you love you have to stop settling for what you don’t.
One of the realizations you’ve probably had as you’ve been healing from your divorce is that you learned to accept less than you wanted during your marriage.

Obviously, you accepted less honest communication, less meaningful connection and less unconditional love than you wanted and deserved or else you’d still be married. But in the name of compromise (or keeping the peace) you also accepted other things that you didn’t really want or like: the nagging, the yelling, the strained relationship with your in-laws, or even the color of your bedroom.

So here’s the great news. Now you can stop settling! But not just on the things that you settled for for the sake of your marriage. Now you can stop settling for everything. You can create your life after divorce full of things, relationships, behaviors and experiences that you love.

However, before you can fully create a life you love you need to learn how to stop settling.

Whenever you ignore your preferences and choose something just because it’s what’s available now and not because you love it, you’re settling. Whenever you do something because it’s easy and not because it’s what you really want to do, you’re settling. Whenever you accept someone’s poor behavior without saying something about it, you’re settling.

It’s important to recognize what settling is because it’s an insidious habit. It’s easy to put your preferences or feelings to the side for the sake of someone else. And why do you do that? So those other people can have what they want!

Well, it’s time for you to have what you want out of life. Since no one is going to just hand it to you on a silver platter, it’s time for you to stop settling and create the great life after divorce that you deserve.

When you stop to think about it, settling feels bad. You feel diminished and less than the person you’re allowing to have their way. If it goes on too long, you wind up feeling victimized and unworthy of what you really want out of life.

Now that you know how settling feels and what its impact is in your life, you can begin to eliminate settling from your life.

Start by taking a good look at your possessions. Are there things you need to purge because you feel bad just looking at them or you feel bad when you use them? Those are the things you’ve allowed into your life that you don’t really want. Those are the things you’re settling for.

But don’t think you have to purge or replace all of that stuff at the same time. You can do it in phases (and as your budget allows). Maybe you’ll start by getting rid of all the pens you have that don’t write well. Maybe you’ll start by throwing out all the underwear that you’d never want someone else to see you in.

The important thing here isn’t how quickly you eliminate all the things you’ve been settling for, but that you begin purging them and have a plan for how to replace (or live without) all of them.

After you’ve cut your teeth with getting rid of the things that you’ve settled for, you can start looking at how you’re settling in other areas of your life. Some of the other areas for you to consider are your relationships, your behaviors and habits as well as your job.

What you’ll quickly discover as you eliminate more and more of the things, relatio
nships, behaviors, and experiences you’ll feel lighter. Your world will seem happier and more comforting because you’re only surrounding yourself with people, places, things and experiences that you want. And THAT will guarantee that your life after divorce is way better than it was before you divorced.

Source: https://drkarenfinn.com/divorce-blog/life-after-divorce/357-how-to-stop-settling-and-have-a-great-life-after-divorce

Friday, 16 February 2018

Dealing With a High Conflict Ex-Wife in 5 Easy Steps: A Guide for Stepmoms

As you float down the isle on your wedding day you smile radiantly at your knight in shining armor. You feel glorious and that absolutely nothing can ruin this moment. Except the ex-wife.

As you look lovingly at your groom, you remember the 55 text messages his ex-wife sent that morning outlining exactly how she was going to make his life (and therefore your life) a living hell if he had the audacity to marry you. Never mind that their divorce was 10 years ago. You quickly glance around the church to make sure his ex-wife isn't camped out behind the nearest flower arrangement with a bazooka pointed at your head. Then you wonder if you really can survive that much drama. Not to worry. With a little effort and some strong boundaries you can.

Sound Familiar?

Being married to a man with a high-conflict ex-wife is not for the faint of heart. I know because I am married to a man who's ex-wife is bat shit crazy. I met him years after his divorce and could not fathom that there was still this much animosity and abuse from his ex. I have dealt with everything from the ex trying to punch my husband at an exchange to her beating on my door at 6 am to see if my husband was at home. (He was by the way.)

I've been yelled at, received unsolicited phone calls to tell me what a loser I have married, been blamed for things I've never heard of, and called a horrible human being. For the longest time she only referred to me as the "chick around your dick." The ex-wife threatened to keep my husband and his son apart for the rest of the kid's life if the kid was ever going to be around me for even 5 seconds because she was not going to have "her" son around another woman. Odd, since I think all I've ever said to her is "Hello." and eventually "Stop knocking on my door at 6:00 am."

Sound familiar? If yes, keep reading to learn how to minimize the stress caused by a high-conflict ex-wife, maximize your own sanity, and keep your focus where it should be; on your marriage and your children.

Step 1: Recognize the Crazy

If your husband frequently receives 10 to 15 ranting and abusive emails (manifestos) from the ex-wife in a 24 hour period, this is not normal. If the ex-wife has ever texted your husband to the point that his phone battery dies, this is not normal. If you have ever accompanied your husband when he exchanges the children, and the ex-wife starts beating on his car. Yep, you guessed it. Not normal!

The first step is to recognize who and what you are dealing with. Any time two people with children get divorced there are going to be some squabbles over the years. Minor, and even a few major, disagreements are completely normal. Do not expect your husband and his ex to co-parent in perfect harmony all the time. Do, however, expect that there will be no cussing, name calling, threats, withholding the children, or banging on your door at 6 am for no apparent reason. If any of the latter are occurring in your life, keep reading.

Step 2: Get On The Same Page As Your Husband

High conflict ex-wives intrude into every last fiber of your being and into every last corner of your home. If you have a high-conflict ex-wife in your life, then you are all too familiar with that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when your husband lets you know she is at it again. If you let it, the drama will consume you and bury you in a big pile of steaming high-conflict poo.

Tell your husband the constant drama stresses you out and tell him you need it to end. Some men take an exceptionally long time to understand the havoc an ex-wife is wreaking on the current marriage. I don't care if you have to use smoke signals, get your husband to understand what the drama is doing to your well-being, to his well-being and to the marriage. Most importantly, get your husband to understand the negative effects the drama is having on the children. Children are very aware, even from a young age, when Mom and Dad do not get along. If your husband is a sane one, its up to him to end the drama for his children. He has to stop waiting on the other party to calm down and he must take action now.

Step 3: Find Some Like-Minded Stepmoms

We are out there! In droves! I had no idea that there were so many other women who were in exactly the same position: married to a man with an ex-wife who had vowed to make his life a living hell. If you have attempted to vent or sob about the crazy in your life, and the other person has backed away from you slowly, then you are talking to the wrong people. Adults who have not been stepparents or who do not deal with a high-conflict ex will not understand what you are going through (lucky ducks!).

Spend some time searching for online support forums. Try out a few until you find a group of like-minded women who are a good fit for you. After spending a year lurking online, I started reaching out to some of the women I had met and now they are real friends. These women are my saviors! When the ex decided to dance on my front porch at 6:30am, they were there for me. When the ex-wife started mailing packages the week after my wedding of her on her wedding day to my husband and her wearing...well, less than I ever wanted to see in the honeymoon suite, these stepmoms knew exactly what I was going through. I cannot over emphasize the importance of finding some stepmom friends who really get it and get you.

Step 4: End The Drama

The cycle-o-drama will continue as long as you and your husband let it continue. It took my husband and me almost 4 years to figure out how to break the cycle and end the drama. Although these measures may seem drastic or difficult they can all be implemented quickly and they are very effective. Remember, the point is not to "win" when it comes to the ex, the point is to minimize the conflict so the children are not exposed to the fighting.

If you are personally communicating with the ex, stop. Like stop yesterday. Do not email her, text her, talk to her on the phone, or speak to her in person. In all likelihood it is not you that she hates. She would hate whatever woman was in your shoes. Remove yourself from her cross hairs. This is easy. Simply quit doing these things this very second. There are no excuses for communicating with someone who wants to blow your head off with a bazooka on your wedding day.

Your husband should only communicate in email or in a program like Our Family Wizard if he can get that ordered through a court. Your husband should not text her, talk to her on the phone, or have a conversation with her at exchanges. This is also easy. Simply stop. What will the ex do? Nothing. She can call all day long, but that does not mean your husband has to answer the phone. Let her leave messages and then email a response if one is needed.
Follow the custody agreement exactly as it is written. Do not deviate. Do not switch weekends. Do not do anything not written down on that piece of paper. (See this article for examples of how to create a more specific custody agreement.) If everything is followed 100% that removes much of the back and forth. If your husband has a horrible and vague court order, then it is time to head back to court. As long as there is wiggle room, a high-conflict ex will use it to stir up trouble and continue the conflict. In our house we have a motto or two that get us through: 1) we don't do favors for assholes and 2) we don't negotiate with terrorists.

Go "low contact." At this point my husband can get by on as few as 4 emails per month. Do not respond to anything that does not require a response per the custody agreement or unless it directly relates to the health or safety of the children. Do not write more than 4 short and direct sentences per email or response.

A word of warning: There will be an extinction burst. The high-conflict ex will use any means necessary to engage and continue the conflict. She will call, text, email, and likely call your husband every name under the sun plus a few made up names. Ignore.

Step 5: Learn To Love Frozen and Let It Go

Channel your inner zen place whether it's the beach, the mountains, or on top of a fluffy cloud.

I can hear the outcries now: "But the children! If we do not switch weekends they will miss a birthday party or a family reunion! We have to be the bigger people and try to work with their mother! If we keep trying, she will be reasonable." Or (my favorite): "But sometimes she is so reasonable!" Yeah, well, the ex in my life called to offer an extra overnight and then two weeks later punched my husband in front of their son at an exchange. Being reasonable sometimes isn't good enough.

I do not advocate following these steps because I think they will work I suggest them because I know they will work. My husband and I are living proof! Now that we have minimized the intrusion of the high-conflict ex-wife in our life my husband and I can have normal married people squabbles over things like who left the milk on the counter or why the toilet seat is up. We also see a world of difference in the children which was the goal of eliminating the crazy in the first place.

Source: https://wehavekids.com/family-relationships/Dealing-with-a-High-Conflict-Ex-Wife-In-5-Easy-Steps-A-Guide-for-Stepmoms

Thursday, 15 February 2018

3 Reasons Infidelity Often Leads To Divorce

Will Infidelity Break Your Marriage Beyond Repair?

Infidelity leads to divorce and is probably the single most damaging thing that can happen to a marriage. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common problems a married couple will face. Statistics vary on this subject, but it's widely reported that 60% of men and 40% of women will participate in an extramarital affair at some point during their married life.
If you are experiencing infidelity in your marriage, all the statistics in the world probably mean nothing. Right now, all you can think about is the way infidelity has and is affecting you. If you are normal, you are experiencing a wide range of emotions and, you might fear that you are loosing your sanity because of the deep, negative, emotional impact of infidelity.
It’s the depth of betrayal and emotional pain that often leads to divorce after infidelity. Such negative emotions are hard to put behind you and many people feel there is no way to rebuild trust in the marriage.
If you have found yourself in this situation, take heart, your negative emotions will eventually fade and your life will become normal again. If, for that to happen, you need to divorce, then you are among the majority. That is exactly how most people deal with infidelity in their marriages.
Below Are 3 Reasons Infidelity Leads To Divorce:
1. Denial of The Problem:
This is a very normal first reaction, and most of people will spend some time simply refusing to believe that their spouse is involved with someone else, no matter how compelling the evidence may be. However, try to be honest with yourself, accept what has happened. Only through honesty and clarity can you get through this, no matter what ultimately happens with your marriage.
Infidelity is usually the result of problems in the marriage. If you can't accept your spouse's infidelity, you are left with more problems that you started with. You have to be able to deal, in a healthy manner, the cheating and the problems that lead to the cheating. 
2. Inappropriately Expressed Anger:
You will find yourself experiencing anger you didn’t know you were capable of feeling. An affair attacks the very foundation of our day to day life, robbing us of our security, violating the vows we took when we married, and stripping away all the peace of mind we get from being married.
It is normal to feel mad at your spouse and at the affair partner who has invaded your marriage. Nevertheless, this is also one of the more destructive emotions you'll be working through, so it is important to try and keep it under control. Whether you want to save your marriage or, move on via divorce, anger expressed in a negative manner will keep you from doing either. 
Learn how to use the anger you feel in a constructive manner.
3. Feelings of Rejection:
It's impossible to not feel personally rejected when you find that your spouse has replaced you with another. Your self-esteem will hit an all time low at some point before you recover.
Turn to your friends and family for strength. And, without a doubt, you should not define your desirability based on the fact your spouse cheated. 
Try to surround yourself with those people who love and respect you, draw strength from their feelings towards you, and try not to allow yourself to believe you are unworthy of love just because of the actions of your spouse. Try to understand that your spouse took the actions they did because they are struggling to solve their own personal problems. It is not necessarily your fault, and you are no less a person because your spouse committed adultery
Everyone will experience the unfaithfulness of a spouse differently. This list, though it isn’t complete, is a starting place and will help you understand some of the emotions you are feeling. It’s important to know that your reaction to infidelity is normal and to understand that you may feel different emotions at different times.
If you decide to divorce, the range of emotions you feel will become wider. Therefore, it is imperative that you develop good coping skills to get you through, not only the infidelity but also the divorce process.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

5 Things I Learned From Falling In Love After Divorce

It’s been just over two years since my divorce was finalized. Everything about my life has changed, and I’ll be brutally honest: There were times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. Divorce may be common, but that doesn’t make it any less sad or difficult. I’ve seen rock bottom, and it’s not a pretty place.

My heart goes out to anyone going through divorce right now.

But oh, my heart...

She’s happy these days, and falling in love post-divorce has filled me with a hope I need to share.

I promise, it’s well worth hanging in there through the darkness.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. You can be 17 again.
In the wake of my divorce, I felt certain I would never fall in love again. (Hell, I swore to it before many a bartender!) For so long, every molecule of me ached with the pain of being discarded, considered less of an asset than the material things the ex and I divvied up in a court of law. My love for that guy seemed a girlish folly I’d best never repeat. But in time, after lots (lots!) of awkward attempts at dating, things so easily clicked into place with a wonderful new someone, my fears slipped away. I found myself tumbling head over heels with all the fervor and bliss of a teenager. Puppy love — at 40-something and post-divorce — is possible. Who knew?

2. Swimming in the shallows is a thing of the past.
Okay, okay — I called it “puppy love,” but there’s a deep dive that happened after that giddy initial fall. Maybe people who’ve suffered failed marriages appreciate the little things more. Maybe they just appreciate being appreciated. Whatever the case, I’ve enjoyed a whole new level of connection and affection in my relationship, and my unofficial poll of divorced-and-re-partnered friends suggests this is an actual thing. One friend said it best, “We treasure each other — and we let each other know.”

3. The sins of the ex must not be visited upon the new love.

Oh, this one’s a doozy! It’s a delicate balance, learning the lessons of a failed marriage, while keeping the heart open to a new and unique relationship. The red flags you missed before can leave you seeing them waving wildly all over the place — trust me, I know. The trick is to remember that you are dealing with an entirely different person. No one deserves to pay for others’ mistakes. And you’re not even the same person you were. You’ve grown, changed, and need to let the past remain where it belongs: in the past.

4. Communication is key — and it’s more readily available than ever post-divorce.
Here’s a silver lining I found in dating after divorce: most divorced folks have learned the hard way that silence is deadly. Talk to any of them for more than five minutes, and odds are you’ll find out that what killed their marriage wasn’t necessarily the underlying issues, but their inability to discuss them peacefully and productively as a couple. That’s a tough truth with a lesson that sticks.

5. The song is correct. You really can’t hurry love.
Some things take time. Healing from the pain of divorce and being ready for new love is one of those things. If, like me, you’re used to making things happen, this is a tough pill to swallow. Worse, there’s no way of knowing if it will take two years or 10 to regroup and find another kindred spirit. But once you get there, to that wonderful place of feeling genuine love for someone new, you’ll know in your soul there was no other path you could have taken, no way to speed things up.

You’ll realize you’ve arrived in just the right arms at just the right time.

And your heart?

You’ll know she’s a brave, resilient thing, happily entrusted to loving hands.

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/kc-wilder/5-things-i-learned-from-falling-in-love-after-divorce_b_11870150.html

What do you love about your life?

Valentines Day, a day typically associated with love and romance can be among those difficult days if we're working through Divorce or Separation. Negativity and upset can be triggered by the day.

Even if we're not in a romantic relationship, it's a good prompt to have a think about what we love about our life anyway, and to feel grateful for those things. It helps to keep us grounded in the present, and to appreciate the things we have going for us in the here and now without becoming bogged down in the past or the future.

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