Tuesday, 31 October 2017

5 Reasons Not to Bad-mouth the ‘Other Parent’

For the kids’ sake, resist the urge to speak ill of your former partner.

Splitting up? No matter what twists and turns highlight your divorce or breakup saga, one truth emerges: The same problems that ultimately killed your relationship will probably continue.

Of course, breakups are infinitely more complicated when kids are involved. Essentially, there’s no “forever breakup,” because – ideally – you’ll always share responsibility for your kids. And while celebrities flout their no-conflict co-parenting arrangements, the rest of us grapple with nasty disputes over schedules, finances and life changes no one anticipated. Think about it. If you and the other parent had been able to negotiate, compromise and communicate about tough issues, it’s fairly certain you’d still be together.

Parenting is the toughest job around, and post breakup, both parents are in a difficult spot. You’re either trying to do the best for your kids cooperatively with someone you no longer want to share your life with. Or your former partner – the other parent – only sporadically accepts or deliberately abandons parental responsibilities.

If the other parent choses the irresponsible low road, you’re left with unexpected and staggering responsibilities. You understandably feel angry and frustrated. But always remember that kids figure out the other parent in their own time and in their own ways. They may not say it directly, but kids know which parent unselfishly loves and protects them and which parent skirts or ignores responsibilities.

Savvy single parents – despite painful breakup drama – recognize that bad-mouthing the other parent is never the right parenting choice. Here’s why:

Change is hard. Every breakup involves change. Your kids struggle with often unwelcome changes, too. Change can mean a new home, a different school or simply getting used to seldom seeing both parents together. Hearing a parent rant about things kids can’t understand or control leaves them feeling helpless and confused.

You’re the role model. We all struggle to manage uncomfortable feelings. If your kids witness you repeatedly venting anger or frustration without regard for their feelings, such experiences won’t be forgotten. Profanity and other careless language are quickly learned when modeled by a parent.

Online counts, too. Online support groups are often helpful. Counting on the privacy of such groups, however, may not be a wise choice. Anyone with sufficient motivation can obtain online information. Think about your own circumstances and possible consequences before you chime in. Finding a well-qualified therapist, keeping a journal or joining an in-person support group may prove better options.

You must heed the facts of life.
All kids eventually realize they’re the biological half of the other parent. If one or both parents have been labeled a liar, cheat or something equally horrid, the damage to your kids’ sense of control can be significant.

Kids are not confidants. Sometimes single parents defend “talking truth” about the other parent because they fear their kids will somehow never make sense of what happened in their lives. So, they feel somehow justified in giving their kids a play-by-play report of what the other parent did or didn’t do. Such parental oversharing burdens your kids. And it doesn’t improve the situation or make you feel better. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek out the adult emotional support you need and deserve.

Source: http://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2017-02-20/5-reasons-not-to-bad-mouth-the-other-parent

Monday, 30 October 2017

What to Do When You Feel Lost After Divorce

Divorce is tough for many reasons. Not only are we dealing with the emotions and logistics and finances, but after the dust has settled, we may feel like our life’s plans have changed direction. The life you planned and your vision of the future may disappear, leaving you with a feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go from here.

But when you feel like this, don’t panic! There is merely one thing you must remember:

You May Feel Lost Because Your Internal GPS is No Longer Working

So many of us had our entire lives invested in our marriage and our families. It was the lens with which we viewed the world. Our concept of being a spouse and a partner was our GPS. Whatever decisions we made through our marriage — whether they were personal or professional — were seen within the context of, “Well, is it good for the marriage and is it good for the family?

When your marriage ends, that GPS and final destination are thrown out the window. But that doesn’t mean that you are destined to wander around in the dark.

We feel like we’re merely surviving and have not yet given ourselves the gift of dreaming again. We are so busy with dealing with the daily roller coaster of emotions and figuring out logistics and finances that we forget to do the one thing we must do.

Identifying that vision becomes our new final destination. And until we identify that vision for ourselves and then take the steps to get there, it is impossible to move forward.

You can go on auto-pilot and go through the daily motions of life, but it will be very hard to move on and reclaim the happiness you deserve unless you figure out your vision, and have a plan to get there. You must do this for yourself.

Need a little help? Here’s an exercise to start on getting rid of your roadblocks. Ask yourself the following questions.

What Do I Want?

If that question seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! Some answers can be as simple as saying, “I want to be happy in my home,” or “I want to feel confident again.”

What is Stopping Me from Getting What I Want?

The things that are stopping us — the obstacles to our vision — are the daily BS things that we face and frustrate us. I want you to list those. Be honest and complete, but don’t spend too much time getting caught up in the obstacles. I know for me, those obstacles included the following:

What’s stopping me?

I am staying in the home although he has left, but I don’t know how to shake the feeling that he is still “here.” There are pictures of us together, some of his books are here, and I feel like everything just seems frozen in time.

What’s stopping me?

I didn’t feel great when we were having marital troubles, but now that I’m alone, I feel like my self-esteem is completely gone. I feel like I don’t have any purpose and it’s awful. How do I rebuild?

Once you have a few of those obstacles in mind, the fun part begins. You are going to learn how to kick those obstacles out of the way by coming up with an easy plan that erases them and gets you closer to your destination.

Start Overcoming Those Obstacles by Writing Down What You Plan to Do

You don’t need some crazy battle plan. It doesn’t need to be a PhD dissertation. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today. If you need some help, look at the quick plans I created for myself when I felt lost after my divorce.

Life After Divorce: An Obstacles-Be-Gone Plan

I am not feeling great about myself right now. There are several things I can do to change that. If I am not already seeing a therapist, or one that I really like, I will start searching and asking for recommendations to find someone who can work through this process with me.

I am also doing to do things for myself for a change. I am going to list things that I like to do – hobbies, physical activities — and will put them on a calendar so I remain accountable and committed to doing the things that I love. It’s time to put myself first.

The Road Ahead

Following this plan means you have done two awesome things for yourself. First, you now have something that sticks — something you can use to help boot out those silly roadblocks that are up in your face.

And second, you now know where you want to be. You have the vision of knowing what you want. You have identified your final destination. When you know your final destination and the steps to get there, nothing can stop you.

Source: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2017/05/31/what-to-do-when-you-feel-lost-after-divorce/

Sunday, 29 October 2017

4 Ways Of Creating Positive Mindset In 2017 Using Mindfulness

Humans are hardwired toward negativity bias. We can get caught up in rumination or thought cycles, imagining and worrying about every potential outcome for our future. This leads to increased stress as well as anxiety.

I asked Katie Krimer, M.A., L.M.S.W., a psychotherapist and social worker at Union Square Practice, for her suggestions on creating a healthier mindset and letting go of the incessant worries. Here are her four practices you can do in 2017 to have fewer worries.

1. Recognize the function of the “checker”

When you have a negative thought or ruminative thought, you can remind yourself that there’s a part of your brain that acts as a “checker” of sorts–it’s there to maintain safety. But often, it’s a bit on the fritz. It’s checking in too frequently–hence the looping negative thoughts that are so hard to let go of.

Acknowledge that your brain is trying to check in to make sure that everything is safe and okay, and let it know that you are indeed alright. Give yourself permission to turn the checker off.

2. Label your thoughts

The most straightforward of mindfulness practices is to label thoughts as thoughts. We don’t tend to stop and realize that our brain is coming up with so many strings of words that it puts together at lightning speeds and that we then believe or engage with or indulge immediately.

We can start to engage with this notion: we are not our thoughts. When we label thoughts as thoughts, we give our brain the opportunity to create a necessary separation between us and that influx of information.

Just because our brain gives us the thought “I am unworthy,” does not mean that we need to believe it. We can simply acknowledge that we are having the thought, without giving it the meaning that we typically do. We can start to notice when we’re having particular thoughts, and label them neutrally and non-judgmentally, instead of immediately thinking “good or bad.”

3. Meditate

Shifting your attention by doing five minutes meditation, body scan or breathing exercise.

4. Shift your attention

Notice what’s okay and good. If your negative thoughts are on a loop, gently acknowledge them, but turn your attention to writing down five things that exist or happened that were good, pleasant or happiness-inducing. Did you have a delicious caffeinated drink? Did you talk to your best friend? Do you have a fun event coming up?

Mindfulness practice is about the “return”–this means noticing when your mind has strayed to thinking and bringing your awareness to the present, to something a little more positive–having the intention to shift your attention.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeenacho/2016/12/28/4-ways-of-creating-positive-mindset-in-2017-using-mindfulness/#5ddc2ca03702

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Divorce may weaken kids' immunity

More and more children come from 'broken homes', and a divorce can raise a child's risk of catching colds in adulthood.

Even though parents do what they can to shield their children against the trauma of divorce, kids often feel as if their world is falling apart.

According to a Health24 article, marital problems can create serious instability in the family and feelings of insecurity in the child.

Adding to the problem of instability in South Africa, fewer people are getting married than 10 years ago, female divorcées are getting older and men are more likely to remarry multiple times.

An unfriendly divorce can raise a child's risk of catching colds in adulthood, a new study suggests.

Poor health and chronic illness

"Early life stressful experiences do something to our physiology and inflammatory processes that increase risk for poorer health and chronic illness," explained researcher Michael Murphy of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This work is a step forward in our understanding of how family stress during childhood may influence a child's susceptibility to disease 20–40 years later," Murphy said in a university news release. He's a psychology postdoctoral research associate.

Common cold virus

The study found that children whose parents separate and don't speak are at increased risk for colds as adults.

Previous research has shown that adults who experience the split of parents during childhood are at increased risk for poorer health. The authors of this new study believe their work may help explain why that's so.

The study included more than 200 healthy adults exposed to a common cold virus. Those whose parents lived apart and didn't talk to each other during the participant's childhood were more than three times more likely to develop a cold than those whose parents remained together.

No cause-and-effect relationship

While the study only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link, one reason suggested by the researchers for the increased risk of a cold was heightened inflammation in response to viral infection.

Meanwhile, the researchers found that adults whose parents separated during childhood but remained in contact were not at increased risk of catching a cold.

"Our results target the immune system as an important carrier of the long-term negative impact of early family conflict," said Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon.

"They also suggest that all divorces are not equal," Cohen said.

Continued communication between parents and support system for the children buffers the harmful effects that separation has on the health of the children, he added.

Source: http://www.health24.com/Parenting/Child/News/divorce-may-weaken-kids-immunity-20170606

Friday, 27 October 2017

Divorce and the Practice of Dating

Growing up, many of us learned to value and naturally imagine our futures. We fantasized about who we would become when we grew up. That included who our future mates may be and what they’d look like, and our role in caring for our imaginary children. Others fantasized about a life partner or a career while children and a family were not on the agenda. For some people, singlehood without parenthood was the path. Either way, we all hoped that when we married, our unions would be happy and perhaps lifelong ones.

Most of us, when we bond or pair with another, especially when exclusive and monogamous, want it to work. However, studies described by the American Psychological Association show that “marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.”

Childhood books, movies, and cartoons promise a certain “happily ever after.” Well-meaning parents and caregivers promise a happy and idyllic future. A stark contrast exists today. But we are adjusting to new rules in today’s world. The options for “happily ever after” have widened. Divorce is more common; therefore, more people are divorced and dating. We have included a rainbow of additional life options beyond traditional heterosexual marriage and divorce. We now accept and embrace gay marriage. We live in a culture where polyamory is a movement and polygamy is displayed on TV as a part of everyday life.

We hope that deep love, hot sex, and youthful idealism will last forever and with one person (in many cases). Even with issues raised from the start, when in a committed relationship, one must do all one can do to save the partnership or try and protect the children (if that applies). After all, when you have love, you have everything, right? No, not right. Love or sharing children is not enough to keep a marriage vital.

Since people grow and their needs change, humanity may possibly need to expand from mating with one person for life to two or more. Once divorce is a reality, we learn to accept relationship termination and lessons learned. The choice to appreciate the positive feelings, experiences, and outgrowths of the relationship (including sharing children) is always within reach.

So what do you do when you find yourself approaching the end of your marriage and welcoming a new way of life, a brand-new beginning? How do you date if you haven’t been in the dating scene for some time? When you do meet someone interesting, what messages you are sending and receiving, whether in person or on online dating? How can you navigate dating as a single person? Here are some dating tips post-divorce:

  • Go at your own pace. You know when you are ready to date.
  • Trust your instincts and how you feel when in the company of someone new.
  • Respect your personal limits and only agree to what you are comfortable with.
  • Be yourself, honestly and unapologetically.
  • Notice your patterns and improve upon them.
  • Learn from past mistakes. Allow your intuition and wisdom to guide you.
  • Be willing to be open and take safe risks in order to try new things.
  • Have fun with the process of dating. It’s a real adventure!
  • Educate yourself on nonverbal language, active listening, and reading between the lines for in-person and online interactions.
  • Trust your inner guidance system when sharing yourself or your story.
  • Learn from each person you meet, date, or relate to. See what they do, more than say.
  • Observe role models who have happy, healthy relationships: What do they do?
  • Remember that dating is the same today as it was when you previously dated.
  • Enjoy going to new places and learning about new people, their differences and similarities.
  • Keep your heart and mind open.
  • Whatever you do, do it well. After all, we are all here to love, be loved, and learn. Love as much as you can and as often as you can. Be sure to love yourself and keep on learning.

Source: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/07/04/divorce-the-practice-of-dating/

Thursday, 26 October 2017

10 Key Tips to Dating After Divorce

Dating after divorce can a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.

Dating after divorce tends to be a deliberate action, entered into consciously and tentatively after years or even decades with the same person. This can be an opportunity for you to clarify your needs and the needs of a relationship before you step out on that first date. The following are my suggestions for your ten commandments of dating after divorce.

One: Your “Must Haves”

Take some time to generate this list; do not assume what it contains. You may be surprised to realize that there are aspects of your ex that you want again or perhaps characteristics that were not important before but are now. For me, my ex was never a match for me physically (I’m not talking about intimacy here; we were an excellent match in the bedroom). I loved to run and lift weights, and enjoyed the social aspect of exercise, whereas he only exercised to lose weight and even then was very private about it. I knew that I wanted someone that would join me on a run or meet me at the gym. I also wanted someone for whom fitness and exercise was a way of life, not just an opportunity to cinch in the belt a bit. As you list your “must haves,” try not to censor them; your subconscious may know more about what you need than your rational mind does at this point.

Two: Your “Must Not Haves”

This list compliments the one above and, in fact, you may find that it is generated at the same time. Like with your “must haves,” you may find that some of these are rather concrete and others are vague and hard to define. That is okay. List them. Even the ambiguous will have meaning to you as you meet people. Two of my items on the “must not have” list were 1) cannot be dishonest (uhmm..great. How do I tell this on a date?) and 2) cannot have kids or want kids (I have pretty strong feelings on this one and it’s not fair to start a relationship with someone who does not match me here). Once you have your lists generated, keep them handy and allow them to be modified or updated as you date and meet new people. They are not set in stone, but they are also not be ignored, especially if you find yourself in the biochemical throes of love lust.

Three: Release Expectations and View Each Encounter as a Lesson

This is a big one. First a reality check. Life is not a romance novel nor a Hollywood movie. That insufferably cute and perfect couple at the park is either in the biochemical throws of lust or has another side to their relationship that you do not see. No one is perfect. No date is perfect. No relationship is perfect. Just let that thought go like a helium balloon in the wind.

Still with me?

Not every date you go one will be good, but every date you go one will teach you something. Try to enter every encounter with an open and curious mind, ready to receive the lessons to come. On some dates, you might learn about someone else, some you may learn about yourself, and yet others you may learn about the intricacies of being a private pilot for a billionaire (yup, true story there). If you enter each date excepting a positive experience, you will be disappointed at least some of the time. If you approach the meeting as a lesson, you will never be let down and you will gain valuable (or at least interesting) information in the meantime.

Four: Be True to Yourself

The period after divorce is a vulnerable time. You may feel amorphous as you break out of the box that defined you as a spouse. You may feel that the true you is unlovable and seek to change your identity. It can be so tempting to expand yourself like a pressurized gas let out of a sealed container. Some expansion and growth is normal and healthy, but make sure that you remain true to yourself and your basic beliefs and values. I started out with a “try anything” approach, but I soon realized that there were “anythings” out there that I had no interest in trying.

Five: Take Baby Steps

This one took me some trial and error. I was so used to being married. I did marriage well, whereas I had no clue how to date. In my first few encounters, I would easily settle in and make myself comfortable as though it was a marriage. It was a known and safe place for me, but not exactly an ideal way to date. There is no rush, no race. Learn to find comfort in the process and the path of dating, rather than being focused on a destination. Move slowly enough that you can appreciate each step and acclimate along the way.
This was a lesson that I learned from my current beau of 2+ years. He emphasized the need to progress slowly, pausing along the way like divers coming from the deep. It allowed both of time to become comfortable and provided opportunity to work through issues as they arose. We were able to set up partnership deliberately, not out of my automatic default setting.

Six: Keep Some Distance

It can be easy to be swept away when you meet someone new. It’s exciting and it feels so good to have that feeling reawaken after you may have been fearing its death. Remember that this feeling is temporary, as the hormones fade back to normal levels, that initial rush will fade too. It’s simple biochemistry. Enjoy the rush when it happens, but maintain enough distance that your rational brain has time to communicate its thoughts to you as well. It’s fine (actually, wonderful) to get caught up in a moment, but don’t let that moment turn into a marriage that you do not intend. Keep some distance so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

Seven: Be Open

I know what you’re thinking: “First she cautions me to keep some distance and now she wants me to be open? Which is it?”


Be open to new possibilities. Your new paired life may not resemble the old. Your new partner may be different than the former. You, yourself, will most likely change from how you were in your marriage. Be open and willing to investigate these new alternatives.
But keep some distance so that you can check with yourself to make sure that you do not deviate too far from the true you.

When I first joined Match.com, I went out on dates with men that didn’t jive at all with what I thought I liked. I found myself consistently surprised as I found characteristics and attributes attractive that were not on my radar before. If I entered the dating arena with a closed mind, sure of what I liked, I would have never have met those men and learned those lessons.

Eight: Address Your Social Needs

Divorce is alienating. Lonely. The person that you spent most of your time with is gone. You may have lost other friends in the deal or had the nature of friendships slip and slide away. Dating is certainly social, but it should not be the only item on your social calender. In fact, I would recommend that you ensure that you identify your social needs ahead of time (2 hours a week? 10? It varies for everyone.) and plan to have 60-80% of those needs met outside of dating. Join a class, sign up for Meetup.com (I swear most of the people I met on Meetups were divorced!), form a social group at the gym…it doesn’t matter how you address your social needs, just don’t put the weight of them at the feet of your dates.

Nine: Have an Outlet

Ever feel angry at your situation? Sad when you think about what you have lost? Ever need to scream? Cry?

Me too. As you enter the dating world, make sure that you have an outlet for these powerful typhoons of emotion. It can be a therapist, a family member, a friend, or even a dog. You don’t have to keep all of your powerful emotions hidden from a date, but you also don’t want to flood him/her with them either.

Ten: Have Fun

Dating is fun. You get to meet new people and engage in new experiences. You get to explore and question, as you see the world in new ways. Don’t forget to laugh and enjoy yourself along the way.

Source: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/hlg-10-key-tips-to-dating-after-divorce/

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

5 Post-Divorce Dating Tips for Dads

If you approach dating thoughtfully after your divorce and consider your children’s needs, it will pay off in the long run. Your kids may feel a mixed bag of emotions about you dating and even harbor fantasies that you will reconcile with your ex-spouse. This might make it a challenge for them to accept someone you are dating into their lives.

As a result, it’s crucial to take it slow so you can assess whether your new romantic relationship is casual or might be permanent. Ask yourself: Is my new partner a good fit for my family? After all, you might have great chemistry and compatibility with someone, but they might not be well suited to join your family.

The number one thing to keep in mind when deciding when to introduce your partner to your kids is timing after your divorce. What’s the hurry? Even if both of you are in love and seem to have a lot in common, breakups are common and kids get caught in the crossfire. Next, the setting and length of an introduction is crucial to success. Rather than planning a long visit, it’s best to have a brief, casual meeting with few expectations.

Additionally, keep in mind the age of your children when introducing them to a new love interest, because younger children (under age 10) may feel confused, angry, or sad because they tend to be possessive of their parents. Renowned researcher Constance Ahrons, who conducted a 20-year study of children of divorce, concluded that most young children find their parents' courtship behaviors confusing and strange.

While adolescents may appear more accepting of your new partner than younger children, they may still perceive that person as a threat to your relationship. Ahrons also found that teenagers may find open affection between their parent and a partner troubling – so go easy on physical contact in front of them.

Do you want your children to model their dating behavior after you? If so, you owe it to yourself and your kids to build new relationships sensibly.

5 Tips for Introducing Your New Partner to Your Children

1. Remember that your needs for intimacy may conflict with your children’s needs.
Just because you are smitten with your new love, it doesn’t mean that your kids will share your positive feelings. In fact, children of divorce often feel rivalry with their parents’ love interest – especially during the first few years after the divorce.

2. Timing is essential to healthy family adjustment after divorce.

Children need time to adjust to their parents' split, and it can take at least two years for them to get over anger, sadness, and other emotions. Introducing a new love interest too soon may delay or damage this process. You owe it to your kids to take it slow!

3. Consider your children’s emotional needs.
Introducing your new lover to your kids can increase stress in the house and take energy away from your kids' ability to grieve the losses associated with your divorce.

4. Have fun dating when your kids are with their other parent, friends, or family members.
If you introduce your children to someone who you are dating casually, this may create ambivalence for them about intimacy if things don’t work out. Inform your kids that you are going out with friends, which is enough information.

5. Set an example for responsible parenting and dating.
Keep in mind that your children look to you as a model for healthy adult romantic relationships, so proceed with caution.

If you’ve been dating someone for a while (at least 3-4 months) and feel relatively confident that you are heading toward commitment, talk to your children and explain that you are dating someone who you care about and that you’d like to introduce to them. Ask them if they have any questions. Keep the first meeting short and low key. Going to a restaurant or neutral spot for the first meeting is best. Ask your kids where they’d like to go and don’t invite your partner’s children to join you on the first few visits.

Be sure not to plan an overnight with your new love interest in your home right away. If you have shared custody, it should be easy to spend an overnight with them when your children are with their other parent. Having your new partner spend the night should only be an option once you are fairly sure that your relationship is permanent.

It’s important to assure your kids that your partner will not replace their other parent or change your relationship with them. Have realistic expectations about your children’s acceptance of your new partner. The following story of Tom illustrates a blogger who didn’t have his eyes wide open and was blindsided by blending his kids with his girlfriend too soon.

Tom, a 45-year-old newly divorced dad, described his new partner Kendra as sexy, fun, and the complete opposite of his ex-wife Shana. They had been dating for a little over two months and she was head over heels in love with him. He had just asked her to move in with him and decided to call me for coaching because his teenage daughter, Abby, complained bitterly when he told her.

As Tom spoke, he was eager to share: “Kendra’s just so different from Shana, and I can really be myself with her. She has two daughters and is a great mom. I figure my daughter will like her because she’s a lot of fun to be around.”

During our second discussion, I asked Tom to make a list of any disadvantages of introducing Kendra to Abby too soon. When Tom and I spoke a week later, he was feeling distraught and disappointed that a meeting between Kendra and Abby was a disaster. In fact, Tom was questioning if he was ready for an instant family and wished he hadn’t rushed into introducing his daughter to his new girlfriend.

Tom’s situation illuminates the importance of dating thoughtfully after divorce. You can enjoy dating and support your children at the same time. It’s crucial to consider the amount of time since your divorce and delay introducing your kids to new partners who you are dating casually.

In closing, post-divorce dating can be enjoyable if you approach it attentively. Keeping your children’s needs in mind will help you preserve your bond with your kids and promote their resilience while you make a smooth transition into the next phase of your life.

Source: http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/post-divorce-dating-tips-for-dads

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

8 Things You Need To Know About Dating After Divorce

More than 2 million Americans called their marriage quits last year. The bad news? That's a lot of divorce. The good news? If you're newly single, that's a lot of potential people to date. But first things first: Here's what to expect when you're navigating the singles scene once again.

Only you know when you're ready to date again.

"You'll have a chorus of people telling you it's time, but you need to follow your gut feelings," says Alexandra Solomon, PhD, an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Northwestern University. Her test: Close your eyes and imagine yourself dating. If you feel curious or excited, then you're probably ready. If you're terrified or sad, you need to give it some more time. Been a few years since the divorce papers were final? "Then you might benefit from some counseling sessions to see what's holding you back—for example, a lot of women feel overly self-conscience about their appearance," she says. (Make this your best year ever! Try the New Year, New You Rodale Challenge today.)

Online dating is the norm now.

Nope, it's not just something that the kids are doing—online dating is particularly common among divorcees. "Online dating used to be a weird thing, but it's standard now. Pretty much everyone who wants to date after divorce does it," says Patrick Markey, PhD, a professor of psychology at Villanova who is recently divorced himself. He suggests figuring out what online dating service you're most comfortable with—Tinder's based largely on first impressions from photos; Match.com and Eharmony.com generally attract 40+ daters looking for more serious relationships, and Okcupid.com is somewhere in between the two.

His profile might not be honest.

"About 20% of the men I've considered dating weren't who they said they were; they lied about their job or even current relationships," says Tiffany Beverlin, a divorcee who founded DreamsRecycled.com, a website that helps you sell items from your marriage. She checks the social media profiles (especially LinkedIn) of potential dates, and also does a web search before agreeing to meet. By the same token, make sure your online profile is genuine—and keep it short, using bullet points if possible.

Coffee or cocktails is a better first date than dinner.

"Dinner is too much of a time commitment, because you might not hit it off," says Mary Stuart Deibel, a senior matchmaker at Three Day Rule, a personalized service backed by Match.com. Another reason drinks are a better bet? Since most men tend to insist on picking up the tab, it's not so expensive that you'll feel guilty letting him pay if you don't want to see him again, says Deibel. (Just don't start binge drinking if it's not going well.)

Have an exit strategy in place before the date begins, knowing if you do feel a spark you can always schedule a second date. "It could be something as mundane as 'I have a car appointment at 10:30 so I need to leave by 10,' " says Stan Tatkin, PsyD, author of Wired for Dating. It's also smart to meet at a public place and let at least one of your friends know where you'll be.

Talk of the ex is off-limits—at least for the first time out.

It's tempting to go there, especially if you're both divorced. But the topic tends to be a downer, so try to find other common ground. "Instead of the usual, 'Tell me about yourself,' which is so broad, come up with some questions in advance to ask on the first date," suggests Washington, DC–based psychologist Venessa Perry. A few ideas: When's the last time you laughed hysterically? What books have you read multiple times? What's on your bucket list? "I try to keep the conversation light-hearted," says Michelle Roberts of Atlanta, who was married for 19 years before she called it quits. "I talk about entertainment, my job, and my kids, because I need to know someone that I'm in a relationship with is OK with the fact that I have three of them."

The kids shouldn't meet most of your dates.

Unless you've been in a committed relationship for 6 months (and these signs point to it lasting), don't introduce your kids to your date because they may get anxious or even attached, says Beverlin. If you have joint custody, schedule dates for times when your kids are with your ex, or find a sitter.

It's OK if sparks don't fly.

"Chemistry doesn't reveal itself for a while," says Solomon. So don't dis a date you enjoy being around because there weren't sparks on the first outing...or even the fourth. "It's hard not being able to know where the relationship will lead, but trust that it's unfolding and give it time."

Be mature about it.

The practice of blowing off texts and calls from people you're not interested in having a relationship with is becoming increasingly common, says Tatkin. While it's absolutely fine not to want a second or third date, be mature enough to say so rather than just disappear.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/sex/8-tips-for-dating-after-divorce

How To Start Dating After Divorce

Going through a divorce is one of the most painful, stressful experiences that you will ever have. Much like grieving the loss of a loved one, getting a divorce can often feel like a death, as it severs not on a relationship, but family connections and the love that you once thought would last forever. And while the process is stressful (and expensive), once the paperwork is officially signed, you're challenged with the task of building your life again. From figuring out how you'll spend your solo time to making new life goals for yourself, who you become post-divorce is often a better version of who you were in an unhappy marriage.

After some time has passed, you might even start to consider dating again, only to quickly realize that it's not quite how it used to be. "For many, the hardest part of dating post-divorce is understanding the current way of dating. For someone who hasn't dated in over 20 years, the times have changed and so has societal norms. This can be very stressful for someone back on the dating scene. However, it's a good opportunity to have conversations with friends who are also dating and learn new ideas or approaches to dating," sex and relationship therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST says.

If you find yourself interested in getting back into the game and putting yourself out there, let these relationship experts share their helpful insights to give you a fighting chance of moving on and truly finding love again. Perhaps even a love that will really last a lifetime:

How Long Should You Wait?

You probably won't be scheduling a Tinder date for the evening your divorce papers were finalized. And depending on how intense or exhausting, emotionally and physically, your divorce was, it may be several months until you're in the mood to meet a new person. It's OK to give yourself as much time as you need because you not only want to be ready to welcome a new person into your life, but you want to also heal from those deep wounds caused by your divorce.

"There is no specific rule with dating and divorcing. Dating is not only a way to find a partner or future spouse but is also a way for men to connect with women or create a social group. In my practice, I do encourage all clients to take time off from serious dating or jumping into a new relationship immediately after ending a marriage and allow time for them to focus on self-growth including how they want their next relationship to be different than the last or any former relationships," Geter says. "On the other hand, I also encourage men to be social with others, which may include casual dating. I do encourage men to be upfront with dating partners about their relationship status and their intentions for the present moment."

Signs You're Ready

As much as you might be craving affection in the immediate aftermath of the divorce, now's not a great time to start dating. No one wants to go on a date with a guy who spontaneously cries on a first date, one who drinks too much or one that talks endlessly about his ex-wife. When you're finally inching toward being ready to date, you'll start to shift both your mentality and your expectations, paving the way for you to be a good date to a prospective partner. Here, relationship experts share the subtle signs that you're ready to mingle:

You're Actually Interested In Dating

If your relationship ended because she cheated or you slowly started falling out of love with one another, the period after a divorce is often one that's marked with extreme sadness. And when you're feeling down? You probably aren't even thinking about dating and you likely don't notice other attractive women who express an interest in you. But when you've moved on? The world will light up in color again, and it could feel a lot like spring.

"One sign a man is ready for serious dating post divorce is showing interest in women and dating. For some, a divorce can be a loss and trigger grief or short term depression. Part of depression is the loss of interest in pleasurable activities including dating or socializing. Therefore, when the depression or grief subsides, interest in activities or socializing will return. This may be a great opportunity to move from casual dating into more serious dating if that is the man's prerogative," Geter shares.

You Have A Good Attitude

Way back before you were married, can you think of any of the bad dates that you went on? While some were lackluster because you weren't attracted to your date, others were negative experiences because the girl was just no-fun to be around. When you're trying to determine if you're prepared to get back out there, Dr. Dawn Michael, Ph.D., relationship expert and author says to take a look in the mirror and consider what type of date you'd be for a new woman. If you're going to be cranky and upset the whole time, that's no way to begin a new relationship. But if you're curious and light hearted? That's recipe for a great first date. "A man is ready to date again when he has a good attitude about dating. When he's ready to have some fun and get out there and meet new people and be open. Dating with a bad attitude will only result in bad dates," she shares.

You've Processed Your Relationship

There's never just one person to blame for the end of a marriage, and for some, that can be a tough pill to swallow. Since relationship are push-and-pull, ebb-and-flow, yes-and-no, it's important to digest what happened in your previous marriage and truly process every feeling you have. A healthy place to do this is in therapy, where an expert can help you navigate your emotions, overcome anger and let go of resentment and pain.

"A man may be ready for dating when he has gained insight into patterns in previous relationships, and he can talk about these patterns including how they contributed to the dissolution of the relationship. Blaming someone else for negative situations is much easier than taking responsibility for how our actions impacted the situation," Geter explains. "When a male client can discuss how his behaviors impacted the marriage and show empathy toward the ex-spouse and relationship, this is a good sign he can approach new relationships in a different manner and understand reasons the prior relationships ended."

How To Get Started

So now that you've done the tough work to prepare yourself to meet someone new... where do you meet her? Looking out into the vastness of the dating pool, carrying your baggage in tow can be super-daunting. And while it might be difficult at first, remember that you've got this."Getting back in the dating scene can be difficult if the man was in a long-term marriage, because dating has probably changed quite a bit since he was single. It can be intimidating all of the new technology, dating sites and how to ask someone out again," Michael says. "But with time, it'll get easier — and even fun!"

Here's where to begin your search for a new love:

Give Online Dating A Shot

Though you probably don't want to download every online dating appimaginable, signing up for an online dating membership is a low-key way to dip your toe into dating. "Online dating can be tricky but it certainly is an avenue where you can meet people as well as make new friends. Find a dating site that is right for you and try it out one at a time and see how it goes," Michael says. With this type of dating, you don't want to set your expectations too high because you'll likely have to weed out several duds before finding someone who could be your match. You also want to be mindful of not chatting endlessly, but actually going out on dates, too.

AskMen Recommends: If you're not sure where to get started when it comes to online dating (depending on how long your marriage lasted, it might not even have existed last time you were on the market), AskMen's Online Dating Hub is a great place to figure out which sites or apps are most likely to help you find what you're looking for.

If you're just looking for the most popular sites to get the most bang for your buck, consider options like Match.com and Zoosk — or XMatch and FriendFinder-X if you're looking for a sexy fling more than a relationship.

Join An Activity Group

If your ex-wife was never into running and wouldn't go out on a Saturday morning with you to exercise, consider this: now you can meet someone who will. Or, if it bothered you that your ex-wife wasn't interested in traveling, you can be rest assured that you can find another woman who will collect passport stamps with you. The only hurdle in your way is getting out there and finding people who share your same interests. "A great way is to join a meetup group and go hiking or an activity he enjoys doing. This will get him out of the house and he can meet new people and that can lead to dating slowly. Join a club or group meeting and get involved in something that moves you inspires you and you have fun doing and meet people that way," Michael says.

Get Help From Friends

Now that you're available, tell people! One of the best ways to meet a partner is through a recommendation. "A way to ease into dating, is to let your friends know you're back on the dating scene and interested in meeting single women. Ask them to introduce you at parties or social gatherings where it may be more comfortable than a blind date. If you and the woman don't hit it off, then there are other people to hang out with instead of having to sit through the rest of an uncomfortable date," Geter says.

Source: https://uk.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/46_dating_tips.html

Monday, 23 October 2017

5 Mistakes Women Make When Dating after Divorce

You just nibbled through an entire bar of dark chocolate. Your divorce papers are finally signed. You are 55, single and thinking about dating. The last time you had a first date, you wore jackets with shoulder pads and permed your hair. You are “out there” again, and the dating world has changed a lot since the eighties.

I’m divorced too and can empathize. Put down the chocolate; it really isn’t so bad out there. According to a recent article on Match.com, single boomers over fifty years old are enjoying the benefits of their new status. Seventy-five percent of women and 81 percent of men say that they are experiencing dating success. My advice is to get out there, but avoid these common mistakes I see women make after divorce.

Dating too soon after the divorce: I learned this lesson early. I only dated because my ex had a girlfriend, and it was my way to personally retaliate. Who did it hurt? Me! I was a dating disaster since I wasn’t truly ready. Starting to date again can be an overwhelming experience. My self-esteem was damaged and I felt stuck. I needed to work through my personal issues before I could be successful in dating. Fortunately, I had the help of a wonderful professional counselor who helped me move forward. Many women go straight to their girlfriends for advice on dating and relationships when a professional source is needed. 
An unbiased professional — someone who sees issues objectively — is a better choice. A coach will tell you the truth about your readiness to date. A well-meaning friend may not be so honest. My advice is, before you join the dating boomers, seek out professional help from a trained counselor or coach like myself. In this case, you need a coach more than you need to eat another chocolate bar with a girlfriend!

Being afraid to go solo: Solo is the way to go when you are looking to meet someone to date. Although we love being with our girlfriends, constantly traveling with a group of gal pals is a recipe for disaster. I know it takes time to feel comfortable traveling alone, so you need to practice. I suggest taking a class, going to a show, concert, movie or opera alone. Take yourself out for dinner and sit near the bar area. If you’re feeling confident, have dinner at the bar. If you spot someone of interest, catch his eye for a few seconds and smile. 
Perhaps he will come over and introduce himself. If he doesn’t, count it as practice. A woman alone is approachable, confident and mysterious. The more you practice going out alone, the easier it is. I tell clients, if you want to meet an interesting man, be an interesting woman. Remember, men are attracted to women who are independent and fun — women who have interesting lives of their own.

Being someone other than your “genuine self” on a first date: Talking about work may feel safe, but it’s not a good first date conversation. If you had a bad day, stay home unless you can bring a positive, approachable attitude along. Before going out, I put on some upbeat or romantic music, dance by myself in my home and think happy thoughts. I leave my past in the past. If you don’t have time to go home prior, dress for work in something “dateable” like a wrap dress, a pencil skirt, or a fabulous sweater or satin blouse that makes you feel pretty. Focus on a positive mood, be aware of your posture and stand tall. Add your favorite perfume, freshen your makeup and hair and smile. Your smile is always your most important beauty accessory and a welcoming appearance enhancer.

Breaking plans to date: It’s a mistake to break plans with girlfriends or alter your schedule if dating conflicts occur. Men don’t change their schedules and you shouldn’t either. Do keep doing what you enjoy and incorporate new experiences into a broadening social scene. I attend movie classes alone and add new classes each year to my schedule, no matter what is going on in my life. Men are attracted to women who have a vibrant life and who take care of themselves outside and inside. They will only like you more. Always nurture your spirit and do things that give yourself pleasure.

Burning bridges if you don’t feel “sparks”: Chemistry is elusive as you date. Be patient. Recently I went on a date and had a great evening, but there were no sparks. So what? I decided to accept a second date because we had fun together. Unfortunately, there is still no chemistry. My advice to my “dating self” was to make my date into my friend. The suggestion may offend some men, but take the opportunity to be good company. I know from experience that some men are happy with this idea. Men enjoy the companionship of a woman. There is no pressure; just friendship. Try it. You may be surprised with the results. What can start out as a friendship may even turn into romance. Sparks can disappear, but friendship is forever.

Remember, this is your time. Learn from the mistakes others have made and travel smoothly as you begin dating after divorce.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-sloane-ms/dating-mistakes-divorce_b_1834322.html

Sunday, 22 October 2017

7 Dating Considerations for Divorced Individuals with Kids

Looking for a new mate as a divorced person with children is tricky - especially if your children are important to you, which hopefully they are. Why is it tricky? Because it takes time and experience before you can know if someone is mate-worthy. At the same time, it’s not recommended to introduce your new friend to your kids until you think the relationship is serious enough to warrant that. 
It’s also important for your kids and your new prospective partner to like each other or feel some inkling of rapport. If they have bad chemistry right from the start, it makes everything harder when it comes to creating a successful step family. 
If you introduce a new person too early, you run the risk of your kids having to meet multiple dates – which could feel weird for your kids. If you introduce too late and you are thoroughly smitten to the point of being invested, and the vibe is bad with the kids (in either direction), it will be tempting to minimize the potential problems brewing. 
So, you see, it can be tricky.
Kids don’t choose divorce: their parents do. Although some of you may not feel that you’ve chosen your situation, you must admit that you chose and created it more than your children did. Most of the time, kids don’t choose to have a stepparent. If you choose wisely, however, they may be grateful to you in the future for doing so.

Getting separated or divorced is generally a sad, destabilizing time for most people. Finding yourself alone and not being used to it, or longing for the intimacy that was lacking in your marriage, can tempt you into settling into a new relationship prematurely. When you have children, it’s very important to take your time and thoughtfully choose your next partner.

Some people recommend writing a list of all the things that you’re looking for in a mate, which is a good idea. But don’t stop there: after you write a list of the qualities that you want in your next partner, write a list of the qualities that this ideal person would be looking for in their next partner. And then, cultivate those qualities in yourself.

Here are seven qualities and things to look for in someone who is going to be a stepparent to your kids:
  1. They understand that by marrying you, they are also making a lifelong commitment to be kind and supportive with your children – as much as the relationship will allow.
  2. They have a cooperative and collaborative attitude toward your ex and kids. For example, it’s best if there is sensitivity with the kids around not speaking badly of their other parent in front of them. 
  3. They focus on developing their own positive, independent relationship with your children. 
  4. They are willing to take a backseat to you as the disciplinarian. They accept that while you will collaborate behind the scenes, as the biological parent, you will be making the final decisions.
  5. They understand and accept that it will be a challenging road at times. Along this road, the children are likely to experience conflicting loyalties and be slow, if ever, to warm up to your new partner.
  6. They are committed to personal growth and to working on the marriage – even when the going gets tough. The last thing your kids need is to go through another divorce.
  7.  They have plenty of room and desire in their heart to love you and your children.
Source: http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/dating-considerations-for-divorced-individuals-with-kids

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Differences in Divorce for Men and Women

The divorce rate for a first marriage in America is between 40-50%. After a first divorce, the common assumption is that a second marriage will fare better from previous learned experience. The divorce rate for a second marriage is between 60-67%. Although many people who have divorced twice continue to marry again, the success rates are not in their favor. The divorce rate for a third marriage increases to roughly 70%.

Couples with children have a slightly lower rate of breaking up, but divorce impacts more than just the children. Both wife and husband are greatly impacted by divorce. They suffer in both similar and different ways depending on their gender.

Feelings of loss that commonly occur in both husbands and wives can include:

  • Depression. This can frequently cause a lack of ambition or feelings of guilt. Both parties may lose interest in activities they once loved doing.
  • Anger. Unresolved resentments may arise. When trying to “hold the peace”, many conflicts remain invisible. Once the divorce is set in motion, many feel the need to air secrets they’ve kept out of conservation for the marriage.
  • Jealousy. Even if a spouse was not involved in an extramarital affair, the knowledge that he/she may be dating can lead to powerful emotions. If the couple remains in the same town, they may find themselves bumping into their ex with another partner. These incidents can fester for a significant amount of time.
  • Anxiety. With divorce comes change and most people fear the unknown. The majority of couples move out of their house. They may move to an entirely different location or they may enter a foreign social scene to avoid their ex. Common interests may be avoided out of fear. The routines that were once so commonly executed on a daily basis, may be completely different than what they once were.

A form of identity is lost during divorce. Where one lives, what school their children may attend, and who they confide in are all subject to change. Since the “unit” of marriage often involves friendships with other couples, expressing dissatisfaction with their previous married life may feel uncomfortable. These friends may only know the divorcing couple as a married couple, making it increasingly difficult to separate an independent identity from the marriage identity. Financially, sexually, and socially, all aspects of individuality change for both men and women.

The Journal of Men’s Health states divorce can have a greater toll on men than women. Men are prone to deeper depressions and more likely to abuse substances after divorce. The suicide risk for an unmarried man is 39 percent higher than that of a married man. Men are also at greater risk for physical health problems such as heart attacks and stroke.

Men start to mourn later in a divorce than women, thus extending the grieving process. Since women are more likely to initiate divorce, men may experience denial during the initial stages of separation.

When actively dealing with divorce, men are more likely to use action rather than words to express their feelings. Common actions taken by newly divorced men include, working too much, having casual sexual encounters, avoiding their apartment/new home.

Women experience more financial distress after the divorce. Since often times women have custody of the children, they are responsible for more of the household and family expenses than men. According to an article in the American Sociological Review, ‘The Effect of Marriage and Divorce on Women’s Economic Well-Being’, women do not completely recover from their financial loss due to divorce until they remarry.

Women have less physical health problems than men in the beginning of their divorce. Because of psychological stress and often poverty, physical health is the outcome of these results. These physical health problems can range from the common cold to heart conditions and even cancer.

Although the statistics may range in severity from men to women, most symptoms are frequently the same. Healing from a divorce is like healing from any other sort of loss. It must be acknowledged, felt, and grieved for as long as the time is needed.

Source: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2017/08/07/the-differences-in-divorce-for-men-and-women/

Friday, 20 October 2017

How Solo Single Moms Can Raise Confident, Healthy Sons

The notion that any dad is better than no dad is nonsense.

Parenting solo is a tough challenge, no doubt.

However, psychologists agree that boys do not require constant male guidance to grow up confident and healthy. In fact, a dad living at home who is a poor role model typically does more harm than good. If a biological dad is unfailingly neglectful, physically or emotionally abusive or just plain unloving, his son is most likely better off without his dad’s influence.

So what can a single mother raising a boy alone do to ensure her son gets what he needs? For starters, trust that your beliefs and actions will guide you toward success.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

Adjust your attitude, if necessary. Strive to resolve your issues about men and relationships, especially if you became a single mom under excruciating circumstances – like if your son’s father left without warning or explanation. When you look at your son and see his biological dad’s face, it’s OK to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex gave you anything of value, you’re looking at him. Tell your son early and often how much you love him no matter how you feel about his biological dad.

Banish any “man of the house” notions about your son.
Your goal is to guide your son toward manhood. Right now, however, your son cannot assume responsibility for things adult men are supposed to do. Your son is not your confidant, knight in shining armor or rescuer. Correct privately and quickly any adult who asks your son if he’s taking good care of Mommy or wrongly confers “man of the house” responsibilities on him.

Your son’s only job right now is to be a kid.

Set limits early. Sons of single moms are not at greater risk for getting into serious trouble as adults. Don’t believe the dire predictions you may hear. Believe in yourself as a strong and confident parent.

Focus on your son and his needs. As parents, our only realistic option is to control our own behavior.

Boys do act differently than girls.
Dealing effectively with bursts of typical boy behavior, such as pushing and shoving on the playground, are simply a part of your everyday parenting responsibilities.

Teach your son your values. But let him express these values uniquely. Point out positive qualities in men you see on a day-to-day basis. Emphasize the importance of treating others with kindness, as well as being helpful and considerate. Discuss examples of bullying in age-appropriate ways. Point out why such behaviors are contrary to your family values and simply wrong.

Make it clear what’s appropriate behavior in your home. Of course, hitting, punching and kicking are against family rules. Discuss alternatives to unwanted behavior so that your son can make more appropriate choices next time. These will not be one-time conversations.

Spanking may work for the moment, but it sends the powerful message that acting out your feelings is acceptable, if you’re the one in charge.

Stress using words rather than actions to convey feelings. Model this behavior by using words to describe your own feelings, rather than slamming the car door or stomping angrily around the house. Make sure your son understands that it’s not OK to shut people out. Let your son cry openly with no discouragement or judgment.

Keep talking.
As your son grows older, challenges increase because adolescent boys fear revealing their confusion and vulnerability. Our culture still admires “real men” who fear weakness and strive to solve problems on their own. This is why solo single moms – who don’t have another parent to partner with in raising kids – are often advised to leave their sons alone or let them shoot some hoops. We’re assured that he’ll be fine and urged not to hover.

Resist the impulse to shrug your shoulders and walk away. This is exactly the time to let your son know that you’re always available for conversation. Talking openly – sharing kid-friendly details - about what goes on in your own life makes your son more inclined to say what’s on his mind rather than silently sulk.

Source: http://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2017-03-21/how-solo-single-moms-can-raise-confident-healthy-sons