Thursday, 31 January 2019

Dating After Divorce

…how people go about the dating after divorce process has everything to do with whether they enjoy it and how successful they are.

At the age of 44, I found myself once again single after a divorce and ready to start dating. The problem was, I hadn’t dated since George H. W. Bush (the elder) was in office and college provided all the men I needed to choose from.

So after some trepidation, I found myself cobbling together a profile on I was so overwhelmed and confused by all the winks and blinks and nods (or winks and likes and favorites), I shut it down two hours after launching. I took a deep breath, gathering my courage, turned my profile back on and began the dating process in earnest.

After about 10 uninspiring dates, I turned to my friend, a seasoned online-dater, bemoaning my lack of success. Her unsympathetic response was “You’ve only had 10 dates? Talk to me when you’ve had 40, then we’ll re-evaluate.”

What I realized was that dating—at mid-life, with kids, careers an
d lessons learned from a failed marriage—was going to be much more complicated than getting to know the cute guy in Art History class. It required a whole new strategy.

After four years of dating, more than 100 first dates and a few lovely but ultimately unsustainable relationships, combined with my professional experience as a psychologist, I have found that how people go about the dating process has everything to do with whether they enjoy it and how successful they are. This starts with preparing yourself to enter the dating world.

As you go through the process of divorce, there is often a desire to either run from the pain of the failed marriage into the distraction of a relationship or to shut yourself off from it, immersing yourself in work, kids, working out or wounded isolation.

First of all, before you even start dating, you need to give yourself time to heal, to get your new life in order and to learn how to be on your own. This healing work is best done in the context of individual psychotherapy or a healing-after-divorce support group to help you see your blind spots, unhelpful beliefs and stuck places.

You need to spend some time evaluating what happened in your marriage.

A marriage gets to where it is because of both parties, the things you did and the things you didn’t do. It’s important to explore that and own your part, seeing what lessons you can learn so that you don’t continue making the same mistakes.

It also can help you find some acceptance and letting go of your former spouse in a healthy way. Carrying around the vitriol and resentments from your marriage will likely poison future relationships. Once you start dating, it’s just not pleasant to listen to someone bitch endlessly about an ex-spouse and often sends up a red flag.

We learned from Jerry Maguire that the ultimate in connection is: You complete me; but that sort of dependence on another person to feel whole is not sustainable. It will deprive you of an essential growth opportunity to gain wisdom, strength and trust in yourself. Learn to stand on your own and let people’s affection and attention be the icing, rather than the whole cake.

Next you need to think about what you’re looking for in this next stage of your life. The first man I dated asked me to take the Five Love Languages Quiz. I remembered taking the quiz when I was married, and as I answered questions from my newly single perspective, I had the realization that I had no idea what was important in a relationship this time around—all bets were off. I wasn’t looking for someone to take care of me or to have children with or to be accepted by my family. There were no rules, no societal expectation or reputations or worry about. I could date whomever I pleased.

Spend some time thinking about what has changed in your life in terms of your priorities, interests and lifestyle. Becoming single in mid-life can be a wonderful opportunity to reinvent yourself. You can explore things that were not part of your marriage or your self-concept when you were married. Think about the kind of life you want to live—what activities do you enjoy or want to learn? Looking at what you value in your close friends can be a clue as to what characteristics you may want in a partner. Also, don’t wait for a partner to begin these things. Be who you want to be now.

You also don’t need to be perfectly healed in order to start dating. In fact, it is through the process of dating that some of the healing will take place. You will gain perspective on your marriage and yourself, and learn about things you want and don’t want in a relationship this time around. You also will learn how to be a girlfriend/boyfriend rather than a spouse, which will take some time, especially if you spent a good part of your adulthood in a marriage. And at some point, even if you’re nervous about it, you just need to start: leap and the net will appear.

The next stage is to launch a profile and enter into the brave new world of online date shopping. This is a fertile ground for seeing how your process of dating can be your own worst enemy or your guide to fulfillment, seeing where more growth and healing lies, for discovering who you are and are becoming—and for having a lot of fun, too.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Striving for 'Good Enough' to keep ourselves motivated

When we set ourselves a goal, or look at our current situation compared to where we want to get to, we are often comparing ourselves with the best possible outcome, the ultimate or the pinnacle of what is possible. Lofty goals can be inspiring and motivating, whether to keep us focussed as we work through adversity, or as we undertake some process of improvement. However, it can also be really off-putting, demoralising or depressing and can discourage us from taking action; we may feel like we have too far to go and it's not worth the effort. Inspired by one of my recent blog posts ( this video explores how we should reframe our goals to look at the 'Minimum Viable Product' in any given circumstance. What does 'Good Enough' look like for us? What would be an acceptable place to be that might set the foundations for what we want and offer a stepping stone to getting to where we want to get to? Setting our sights on the Minimum Viable Product offers us a means of getting and staying motivated as we achieve something worthwhile that will take us in the right overall direction, encouraging us to take action, not just give up because it all seems too difficult to begin with. If you have any comments or feedback on this video you can reach out by email on If you'd like to receive the occasional message from me containing thoughts, information or inspiration related to living a better life after divorce, you can join my mailing list at the following link:

Are You Ready to Date Again After Divorce?

Some people might be ready to jump back into the dating pool almost immediately; for others, becoming ready to date again after divorce can take years.

Going through a divorce is extremely challenging: there is the legal and financial process, but there’s also an emotional process – which can involve fear, anger, regret, guilt, or shame. The question “What is going to be like without my partner?” triggers strong emotions: relief for some and severe anxiety for others. Dealing with your emotional divorce requires time and patience; without the two, coping with this difficult life event becomes both difficult and exhausting.

Some people might take a year or less to recover from divorce and be ready to jump back into the dating pool, while for others, becoming ready to date again after divorce can take much longer. It truly depends on your resilience, your support systems, and how hard you work to process your emotions, cope with your anxieties, and let go of the past.

Dating immediately after or even during your divorce might not be the smartest thing to do. However, if you’re missing the companionship and other benefits of a committed relationship, consider answering the following crucial questions before taking the plunge.

1. Are you truly ready to date again after divorce?

Analyzing your feelings before starting dating is essential. If you are not emotionally stable and ready to connect with somebody, you will feel confused and unhappy. More than that, your partner might feel uncomfortable and muddled – so that’s not fair for them either. 
Before getting back in the game, you’ll want to feel truly ready. So, what are the signs that you might not be there yet?

  • You think about contacting your ex whenever you have a problem
  • You haven’t taken all your possessions back from them
  • You still think about them daily
  • You are not comfortable with running into them
  • You stalk them on social media
  • You are interested in their new love life
  • You want to date only to stop thinking about them (won’t happen!)
If you see yourself in more than half of the above points, you haven’t gotten over your ex-partner yet. Thus, start working on yourself first, figure things out, and date when you are truly prepared for seeing another person. Dating for the sake of dating is wrong, and it won’t get you over your ex.

2. Are you afraid of commitment?

Many people going through a divorce develop certain fears – the fear of getting their hearts broken again, the fear of not getting dumped, or the fear of exploring the new. Right up there with fear of betrayal is the fear of committing 
to another person and exposing yourself to potential heartbreak.

Once you are married, the “exploration of the new” in your partner becomes a thing of the past. There’s nothing new popping up anymore. Thus, feeling anxious about committing once more is completely normal. Obvious signs you’re afraid of committing:

  • You don’t like getting attached to people
  • You think a new relationship will hold you back
  • You hate monogamy
  • You are not over your ex
  • When you start developing serious feelings, you disappear
  • You want sex more than a relationship
It’s normal to be scared of committing after a long marriage. However, if you do find yourself afraid to reconnect, don’t give out the wrong impressions to the people that you are seeing. Breaking their hearts is not fun either. Tell them what your intentions are. If they agree, go for that no-strings-attached relationship deal.

3. What’s your mindset?

Looking within and understanding your mindset is truly important, as it reveals your expectations for future relationships. Failing to understand yourself might be harmful to both you and your prospective partners. So, what’s your mindset?

  • Are you an open person always ready to make friends, or do you prefer solitude and a good book?
  • Do you work hard for what you have, or do you prefer working less, but smarter?
  • Do you accept mistakes as a part of your life lessons, or do you always try to get perfect results?
  • Do you like learning new things, or do you prefer routines?

If your answers lean more towards interconnectivity and learning about the world, it means you have a growth mindset. That will help you figure out if you are ready for a new partner or not. Just make sure you ask the right questions!

4. What are your intentions?

Knowing your intentions means knowing yourself – and knowing yourself means being satisfied and pleased with your own life. For this reason, understanding your intentions and getting a grasp of your “love goals” is important.

  • Do you have high standards, or does it feel like “anything works” right now?
  • Do you want to impress your prospective date, or express how you feel about life?
  • Do you know what you want from a new partner? Have you figured out your relationship “must-haves” and “deal-breakers”?
  • Are you fairly self-confident?
  • Do you know who you are after your divorce?
  • Are you independent?
  • Are you looking for companionship?
  • Are you looking for someone to make you stronger or someone to take care of you?
  • Do you express your wishes accordingly?
If we don’t know what we want from our future partners, they won’t know either. Take a look inside, and understand your intentions.

5. How would you define “dating”?

What are the first words that pop into your head when you hear the word “dating?” If you answer “exhausting,” “awful,” or “painful,” try reframing your definition of dating. Take some pressure off by thinking about dating as an experience, an adventure, as something new and extraordinary that will teach you important life lessons. Not every date has to be about finding “the One” – finding someone who shares your interest in jazz/tennis/collecting stamps/Comic Con could provide companionship without romance (although that could come later!).

6. Do you have the necessary tools?

If you feel ready to date again after divorce, lying on your couch watching Netflix won’t open any new doors for you. Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • Join your work colleagues to the bars or football games
  • Attend Facebook events that seem like fun
  • Don’t say “no” to unexpected social events
  • Use public transportation instead of your car and try chatting with people you see regularly on your way to and from work
  • Volunteer for an organization you believe in
  • Be open to new conversations: at the dog park, in the elevator at work, or in the grocery store
  • Start a new activity: from playing Bridge to Ballroom Dancing
  • Try a dating app or website like or Tinder (read about the Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating After Divorce first)

Remember: be at peace with yourself, and date yourself before dating others. Finding the right tools to start dating comes right after.

7. Do you have too many expectations?

How are you ever going to be happy if you are constantly judging your dates? Here are some of the signs that your expectations might be too high:

  • Having a rigid set of ideas about your “ideal partner”: from looks to job to the car they drive
  • Expecting your partner to drop their friends and spend all their free time with you
  • Having prejudices that you aren’t willing to reconsider
  • Expecting your partner to agree with everything you say
  • Comparing your relationship with a friend’s
Christopher Jameson, world traveler, yoga teacher, and content writer for EssayWritingLand, shares his opinion. “Having too many expectations can be truly harmful in the long run. Living an expectation-free lifestyle liberates you from any concerns, and teaches you how important living life is. Free yourself from any expectations and you will be happy.”

8. Are you willing to go on multiple dates?

If you are willing to go on multiple dates and try out different activities, you might be ready to date again after divorce. It means you are down for exploring and getting to understand different mentalities – and that you don’t expect to meet your next spouse on your first date! Dating can be a cool game to play if you set the proper rules.

9. How (and when) will you tell your kids that you are dating?

It’s important to get to know a person really well before introducing him or her to your kids. Until both you and your new partner are sure you want to be in a committed relationship together, it’s better for your children to not be aware that you are dating someone new. If you do want to tell them the truth, be sincere and open about your intentions. Tell your kids that “you made a new friend” and you “want to see how things go.” Never compare your new partner with their father/mother, or make any connections between the two.

So – are you ready to date again after divorce?

Before starting to date again, make sure you know what you want from a new relationship, are self-confident and independent, have a growth mindset, and are constantly interested in developing new connections. Don’t date only to date – but when you find a partner who checks all your boxes, learn from the mistakes of your past marriage and create a happy future together.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How I picked myself up after divorce

Andrea Gillies had no idea her husband wasn't happy. Till one day, out of the blue, he told her in no uncertain terms

If anyone asks "What's the closest you've come to death?" I answer with the medical emergency I had long ago: the blue light, the ambulance … but the real answer is the night my husband told me he didn't love me any more. That felt like a death, at least. I had assumed that we were happy. It was a physical shock – I was reduced to gibbering and panic – and the striking, persuasive thing was that he didn't care; he had stopped caring what I felt about anything: that was the point. He went off overseas the next morning on business, as planned, and I made arrangements to move out.

There would be crying for a long time, on and off, but for the first week there was weeping more or less without stopping. I did it while crossing the park with the dog and walking along the beach. I wailed my way about town and sobbed in checkout queues. I lost all social embarrassment.

Three and a half years later, I live in a rented flat 200 miles away and we are divorced. The last time we met was almost two years ago, at a family event. We asked each other how we were, like acquaintances with no conversation. He was wearing a jacket I'd bought him once, from the Boden sale, and looked smaller than I remembered. For some reason, I told him this, and he said: "Yes, I appear to be shrinking."

He didn't look too unhappy about it. I realised that I wasn't going to say any of the one-liners that had queued up in my head ready for this moment, and which dealt saltily with the pain and chaos his decision had caused. Something about the day was too banal, and there was too much. I knew I wasn't going to say anything personal to him ever again.

Besides, technically, I had already moved on by then, following the directive that, at some point, you have to get back out there. I wasn't much interested in other men, but I made myself be interested; the one thing that seemed obvious, from my vantage point in the slough of despond was that only the distraction of another relationship was going to help me get out of it. The memory of being tracked at night across the sheet by someone intent on spooning in his sleep wasn't fading: quite the opposite. It had become powerful and undermining. It wasn't the prospect of being alone that was the problem. If I had been able to eradicate the sense of loss, if I had been able to reboot my brain and start afresh, I might have been happy to be alone. But I was constantly haunted.

If you work at home and don't talk to strangers in pubs or do sport or belong to associations, and don't have school-age children, it is very hard to meet new people. After a while it seemed obvious that online dating was the only way forward, though I wasn't prepared for how much effort that would take. The process of being "on offer" was not only humiliating, but time-intensive. Soon, a significant chunk of every evening was taken up patrolling half-a-dozen dating websites, pruning my advertising copy and getting into conversation with people. Often they proved to be the wrong people, though the realisation could take a lot of effort and a lot of Skyping, trying to establish a friendship so as to minimise the sense of risk.

People on dating sites fall into two camps: the instant meeters, who say hello and want to have a drink on Friday and those who have been badly burned and need a long run-up (I fell into the second category). There are different rules there, inside the digital flirtation pool, and people behave in ways they never would otherwise. The discarding of people becomes commonplace because it can be seen as a throwaway culture of endlessly refreshing offers.

One high-achieving, emotionally literate, sane-seeming man sent two emails a day for a month, growing ever more sure I was the woman for him, before deciding he didn't want to meet after all. Not meeting became the norm. Sometimes just before the date the confession emerged: his unusual fetish, his being a decade older than the profile suggested or the existence of a wife watching television in the next room, entirely oblivious. At other times it was simpler: he got off on the attention and was lonely, but not actually interested.
Somewhat dented, I gave up for a while but all attempts to meet someone in other ways failed. Partly this was to do with being middle-aged and out of shape. If I dropped a glove in winter in the street, there was never a man rushing to retrieve it, smitten and intent on taking me ice-skating.

Back in the online swamp, I began to give myself pep talks about the good-enough match. I began to operate in a kind of optimistic denial. It is easy to get into a situation in which he is keen and you are not very, or vice versa: a pragmatic clinging together of incompatibles, for just a little while, until too sad or bored to cling on any more. There are times in life when the sea is more attractive than the lifeboat.

Unrequitedness was a big issue. Men who reminded me of my husband, the interesting, handsome ones to whom I wrote long, witty letters, naively expectant of my worth being obvious, were out of my reach, talking to younger women with smaller bottoms. Rows and rows of contestants, even of age 50-plus, specified that they would meet only females under 30 who were a maximum size 12. A man of 56 told me: "Plain fact is, you're the wrong side of 40 and Rubenesque, which means you've got very little prestige." He told me to go to the gym and give up carbs. A frequenter of the manosphere, an online subworld of male bloggers and commenters, used the manosphere acronym SMV (sexual market value) so as to inform me that I didn't have much of it. It was all very disheartening and the end result was that I became grateful for crumbs of hope. In that situation, if someone nice crosses your path, genuinely single, not alarming-looking, someone you like on first sight, and the date goes well, and he's keen to have a second: the day this happens is a magnificently lucky day.

It seemed less and less likely that it would happen. But then, a year ago, reading new listings on a website from which I was about to delete myself, I met a man called Eric, a very tall man (good), who lived alone (good) and who worked in IT (maybe not so good). I wasn't sure, after the first date – nervously, he talked a lot about fibre optics – and that's when lots of people give up, thinking that if there is no instant "spark", there's no point.

There's a lot of crap talked about the spark. I can tell you from my own experience that sometimes it doesn't emerge for quite a while. Sometimes, people are just slow to get to know.

Some of the most endearing things about Eric have only emerged over time. Besides knowing a lot about the stars and about science, he has a secret passion for romcoms, is a buyer of surprise flowers and tickets, is up for budget flights on winter weekends, and is the uncrowned prince of DIY.

It also turns out that he is the kindest man I have ever met. If I were to lock myself in the bathroom and howl like a wounded fox, as I did the night my ex made his announcement, Eric would be distraught. He would sit on the floor and talk to me through the door, and beg to be let in to comfort me. Kindness is too often under-rated.

What is also noticeable is the constant physical proximity when we are together: the snuggling, the wanting to have a point of contact when sitting – a shoulder, a knee – and the frequent glancing touches when we are cooking together; the fact that even when it's cold, he'll take one glove off in the street so that we can hold hands skin to skin.

Not that things are simple. He has his baggage and I have mine, the actual and metaphorical, though I'm learning to live with the shadow, the one cast by grief. At the start I spent a lot of time fighting it, convinced I couldn't see anyone else until the shadow was gone. The truth is that it probably won't disappear altogether. It wears slowly away, like other griefs, and the trick is to accept that and be happy. Sometimes, even now, the ex pops up in dreams. Sometimes we have a frank exchange and he finally sees things from my point of view: a search for closure, I suppose. Once, when he visited me in my sleep, he told me he had broken up with the other woman, and I was horrified to find myself begging him to come home. It isn't something I'd do when awake, not now, but sometimes the subconscious hangs on to things the conscious mind has put to rest.

Now when I hear that people are to divorce I feel an acute pity. Separating is hard. When I was young and everything was black and white, I would see those articles about great life stressors and wonder about divorce being in the list next to bereavements and tumours. Even when you are happily married, the idea of separation is sometimes quite tempting. Your own flat and your own things; shopping and eating and travelling at will; a single's social life again and blessed independence.

At ordinary low points in a relationship you might think: "Well, it will be sad and there will be tricky negotiations over property and books, but it will be OK." The reality is somewhat different. What I hadn't expected was how much divorce would undermine the past. The doubts can begin to breed and multiply. Did he really mean it when he said "I do"? When did his heart begin to sink in response to my affection? Were they really happy, those holidays marked by smiling photographs? I can drive myself mad trying to identify the turning point.
But most of the time I don't obsess over these things. Most of the time I live my life forwards and can stop myself from looking back. Admittedly there are still bad, self-destructive days when everywhere I go, all I see is everything I've lost. Sometimes they are quite concrete things: I lost my house, for instance, and may never be able to afford one again. Other less tangible kinds of loss strike deeper, and quantifying them is a seductively bad habit. There are times, even now, when I beat myself up because suddenly it's obvious that it must have been my fault. Superficially, we were happy: it wasn't a bickering, obviously bad sort of a marriage and the end of it shocked everyone we knew, but the fact has to be faced that he was so miserable that he was driven into a corner, and turned his own life upside down in his desperation to be free. That's the shadow that's difficult to shift. But you have to live your life as forward-facing as you can. And you learn as you go; you learn so much.

I live my life differently now. I don't know if I could live with someone again. I don't assume that love will last, or look forward beyond the summer. Fundamentally, no matter what promises we make, the truth is that today is all we have.


Monday, 28 January 2019

7 Reasons to Consider Collaborative Divorce

Your marriage may be ending, but you and your soon-to-be ex can still preserve what you created together – your family – using the collaborative divorce process.

For the last 26 years, savvy couples have found a newer, kinder and gentler, way to divorce – and keep their private and confidential business private and confidential – without having to go to court or allowing a judge make decisions for them. Collaborative divorce offers an alternative dispute resolution with you, the couple, making your own decisions. You each have an attorney, to advocate for you, both collaborative attorneys, committed to working in a civil and respective manner to allow couples to reach an Agreement acceptable to both.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) now has more than 5,000 collaborative divorce professionals who provide services in 25 countries. In New Jersey, where I practice, collaborative divorce professionals take pride in being in the vanguard of helping couples dissolve their partnership/marriage in a non-adversarial manner to preserve the sanctity of the family they have created.

Finding Collaborative Divorce Professionals for Your Team

Couples seeking a divorce should ask self-proclaimed “collaborative” attorneys and other divorce professionals if they are members of the IACP and what specific training in the collaborative method they have taken. There are eight collaborative practice groups throughout New Jersey, for example. One of those, the Collaborative Divorce Association of North Jersey, requires members to have 40 hours of mediation training – an important, relevant skill set – in addition to training in collaborative divorce. Its members have continued advanced education throughout each year to expand and update their skills.
A collaborative divorce team often includes a a financial professional and a mental-health professional, both of whom work as neutrals in the process.

Licensed collaborative financial professionals help protect the family’s interests by reviewing a couple’s assets, debts, income, and cash-flow to help them develop viable options for the future that will work for both parties. They are skilled not only in dealing with numbers but are also trained to do their work in the emotionally-charged atmosphere of couples dissolving their marriages.

The Role of the Mental-Health Professional

Licensed mental-health professionals may serve as a facilitator to help diminish any animosity that could threaten to derail the process. They also function as a divorce coach to help individuals and couples cope with the emotional obstacles that are part and parcel of ending a marriage.

Another key member is a child specialist: a licensed clinical mental-health professional who works with children to cope with the impact of having their family come apart. The child specialist meets with parents first and then the children to understand their needs, fears, and wishes. Children don’t always share their feelings with parents because they don’t want to further upset or anger them. The child specialist’s role is brief and focused.

Although the facilitator, coach, and child specialist are licensed mental-health professionals, they are not offering therapy in these roles. If that seems warranted, they would refer the divorcing client to another professional. However, they do utilize their clinical skills to guide parents and their children in navigating the muddy waters of the family in crisis. Divorce is such an emotionally intense experience, for all, having professionals with specific skills in this area can offer priceless guidance toward helping each family member progress.

The Right Divorce Professional for the Job

In the collaborative divorce process, each professionals has specific areas of expertise to offer that are best suited to clients’ needs and pocketbooks. For example, a couple would not pay attorney fees for dealing with emotional, communication, or parenting issues. 
Instead, mental-health professionals – at a lower fee – would be best suited to deal with such concerns and situations. The collaborative team is an experienced grouping, with each professional utilizing and sharing their specific expertise to help other team members, when appropriate, to offer a more comprehensive way of addressing the multitude of situations that can arise. Rather than letting things fall apart, the team strives to present a wellness approach for the future of the family.

Why Choose a Collaborative Divorce?

  1. Collaborative professions work to help couples resolve issues in a more positive way and can be more cost effective.
  2. Keeping out of the courtroom offers more privacy which is much desired by couples with high worth or public profiles.
  3. There is no judge involved who has to review the documents of scores of people so you benefit from more personal attention.
  4. You work directly with collaborative professionals who are dedicated to helping you both to create a plan that works best for your family’s needs.
  5. Convenience. There is no court schedule, or costly cancellations. Collaborative professionals work around your time frames and respect your emotional readiness to continue – or take a breather – when needed.
  6. A team of divorce experts, with specialized training and experience, efficiently addresses your family situation.
  7. The collaborative way helps you protect your children from the potentially damaging fallout of a “messy” divorce. The goal is to preserve parent’s mutual respect to ensure cooperative co-parenting, crucial to children’s well-being.
  8. After the divorce is over, some team members are available to advise on post-divorce situations or to revise any aspect of the final agreement.

Your marriage may be coming apart, but you and your soon-to-be ex can still preserve what you created together – your family – in two homes, using the collaborative divorce process. When it’s time to come apart – especially if you have children – collaborative divorce allows you to come apart “together.”


Saturday, 26 January 2019

22 Suggestions On How To Keep a Positive Attitude When Moving On After Divorce

When rebuilding and moving on after divorce, it’s all about attitude, baby!.

Divorce is one of those life events that force huge changes in your life whether you like it or not. Moving on after divorce, no matter how strong a person you are, is challenging. 
Experience tells us that divorce knocks the wind out of your sails—regardless of who’s at fault or what the circumstances are.

I’m doing great again. Nope, actually, I’m better than great. But truthfully, I didn’t think I would ever get here again.

Many of you probably are feeling that way right now. I’m writing to give you hope that things will turn out not only okay but better than okay. OK? You will get unstuck and move on to a great life!

First, this important announcement: There is no Emotional Rescue Squad coming to save you from all this new crap. Yeah, I know, it’s a bummer. You’re alone in your own head every day with a range of emotions—anger, relief, humiliation, depression, and fear. You’re confused and overwhelmed at the same moment. Sometimes this goes on for years.

You might feel like a failure and unattractive like you’ve lost the most valuable years of your life. Just for fun, let’s also throw in your new lack of confidence, getting easily annoyed, occasionally spewing venom, suppressed anger, emotional and physical exhaustion and a fairly incomprehensible aerial view of your life’s choices. Everyone else life seems to have their life together, while you don’t.

You also probably have a lot of new things to worry about ranging from money to work, child care and custodial arrangements, not to mention trying to figure out who the hell you are and what, or who you want in your life going forward.

Strap on your “attitude” darlin’ cause your seriously gonna need it for this phase of rebuilding your life after divorce.

I truly believe “attitude” is everything and combined with a sense of humor, you will be armed for even the worst of days. I will warn you that this formula isn’t foolproof and it doesn’t work every day. But it sure works on most days as you move on from your old life to a brand new and better one!

Below Are 21 Suggestions on How to Keep Your Attitude Adjusted and Move on After Divorce

  1. First off, make no mistake, it’s “you” against “you” every day. So you get to decide who wins. The dark you or the bright you.
  2. Keep in mind that you paralyze yourself by focusing on the things you don’t have and can’t do. Rather, focus on what you do have, and can do.
  3. Forgive yourself: Try not to beat yourself up—life can do that for you.
  4. Learn to create little victories for yourself and build on them. Shoot for one little thing each day that can show progress in a particular area of your life.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Women give too much and are too proud to ask for help. No one can read your mind.
  6. This new life is a work in progress, so you will need to learn patience. Masterpieces take time to create!
  7. You have a responsibility to your children to do everything in your power to keep their relationship with both parents warm, loving and civil, if possible. For better or worse, their lives were changed without their consent.
  8. Make yourself a deal that you will work on understanding yourself before trying to find a new partner. You now have permission slips to have temporary adult relationships to soothe your soul, but don’t introduce romantic partners to your kids unless it’s serious.
  9. Dig deep and find the courage to be proactive. No one’s stopping by to check on you each day; they have their own problems.
  10. Learn to let your perfectionism go: Each time you feel the pressure to get too many things done in a day, ask yourself which things really don’t matter and let them go. It’s freeing.
  11. Friends will take sides and this will hurt, but those who are true will be there to listen and will be there forever.
  12. If you’re a single working parent do everything in your power to make sure you find the best caretakers for your children. You will derive peace of mind when this is in place.
  13. You will be alone at family functions with or without your kids—get used to it.
  14. You will be dropping off your kids with their own suitcase and feel like crap. Then you will be all alone. You’ll either hate it or love it. Learn to use this time selfishly; it’s important and legal for you to have pleasure in your life.
  15. Don’t like ads? Become a supporter and enjoy The Good Men Project ad free
  16. Find work that engages you and continues to build on your marketable skills. This will not only keep your mind stimulated, but it will help you toward earning more money—you’ll need it.
  17. Search for inspiration and feed your soul and mind with upbeat information.
  18. Make a list “Things To Do Before I Die” with all your dreams and aspirations, and fun things you’d like to do. And then start doing them and checking them off!
  19. You will learn to sleep alone but also to come and go as you please on your own schedule.
  20. It’s important for you to stay healthy! Exercise raises serotonin in your brain and helps fight depression.
  21. Force yourself to stay involved with people and socialize for business and pleasure.
  22. When you think you don’t have the strength, dig deeper. You’ll be amazed at what you never knew was inside of you.

Also, remember you’re not alone. There are many others living your lifestyle who understand and are there for you.


Friday, 25 January 2019

7 Steps To Stay Positive After A Divorce

When a relationship ends you don’t just divorce a partner, you divorce a life. The life together and future plans you built around the relationship are ending. You also enter a lengthy, and potentially draining, legal process. It can feel like you’re starting a marathon run without any prior training.

How can you stay resilient through this challenging process?

1. Get physically healthy.

If you do not have an exercise routine, now is the time to start. Try walking, joining a gym, or taking community classes. Anything that gets you moving helps you feel better about yourself, and improves your health when you need it the most.

2. Stay organized.

Divorce is a confusing and overwhelming process. Keeping all your records and personal documents well-organized goes a long way in giving you some sense of control. A notebook by your bedside can be a great resource when those burning questions about the legal process or financial matters pop into your head in the middle of the night. Jotting down questions to research in the morning can help you get back to sleep. A file box to keep legal documents can help you maintain organization and a sense of keeping “it” separate from your daily routine.

3. Have a plan to manage your emotions.

Divorce is painful, scary, and sometimes a lonely process. Resist the urge to do something when emotions overwhelm you. Get off Facebook or other social media. Don’t let sleepless, 3am emotions turn into communications that you will regret. Try shutting off your phone, and putting your computer away at night. Again, have a notebook by your bed to write out a long rant if needed. If you cannot keep yourself from writing an email, draft it, do not send it, until you have reviewed it in the morning.

4. Stabilize your life as much as you can.

Don’t move if you can avoid it. If necessary, consider taking a temporary apartment in your neighborhood (especially if you have children). Don’t change jobs, make extravagant purchases, or start new romantic relationships. You need your energy to focus and move forward with your life.

5. Grieve.

Anger will eventually be replaced by a need to mourn what has ended. Whether or not you wanted a divorce does not matter. When a life you had planned is over, give yourself time to grieve and let go so your future can open up. Forgive yourself if necessary be kind to yourself always.

6. Explore what is important to you now.

Are there interests you put aside when you got married or started a family? Get curious about what has meaning for you now. Take classes, read about new things, and create a “Wish Board” full of pictures to inspire a new beginning. Focus on your future.

7. Get support along the way.

An attorney can handle the legal issues. Other professionals, like a counselor or knowledgeable finance expert can help your understand the issues, many times more affordable than an attorney. Friends and family may or may not understand what you are going through, but unbiased support is critical. Find a Divorce Coach who can help you stay organized, future focused, and resilient through the process.

Following these seven steps will empower you, educate you and remove much of the fear and uncertainty that lies ahead. Remember this: When relationships end and nothing is certain, everything becomes possible.


Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Simple Question From My Ex That Made Me Cry

“Do you want me to get you a hula hoop?”

Sounds like a funny question, I know. Let me explain.

In 2016, my then husband Brandon and I separated. He cut me off from our joint bank accounts and left. Our children were age 1 and 2. Our separation had been a long time coming after months of blatant lies, excessive drinking, gaslighting, and all the other signs of a crumbling marriage, but I was willing to fight to save it and certainly didn’t want or expect it to go down the way it did.

Like many divorces, the next year included a lot of the common divorce drama—exorbitant and unnecessary legal fees, a custody battle, a new girlfriend 2 months later, financial troubles, selling the house, etc. And then even some extra stuff like theft and insurance and bank fraud. I really hit the nasty divorce jackpot! My ex, and even his family, put me through hell. I could write a whole book about it.

Just imagine, anything an ex could do to cause you pain, humiliation and grief, he did, or tried to at least. Sadly, I was not the first or last woman he did this to. Live and learn, I suppose.

Throughout this tumultuous time, my ex, the person who was suppose to “Stand by Me” according to our wedding song, and “love me till death do us part” per those vows we promised each other, did exactly the opposite. One example that sticks out is when we sold our house I loved so much. I merely asked if the kids could nap at his home during the open houses, the response was “No, an agreement is an agreement,” referring to our parenting and custody schedule. Meanwhile he was spending every free moment he had with his girlfriend and her three children. I remember sitting in a parking lot, in the middle of winter, with my babies sleeping in my car. For some reason, even though he had already put me through so much worse (hence the book I will write), that moment felt like rock bottom.

Anytime I brought up something outside our agreement, like contributing to birthday parties and extracurriculars, switching nights for work or other reasons, being flexible in any way shape or form, the response was “No, I cannot, an agreement is an agreement.” It was ironic since he certainly didn’t mind asking me to cover the kids while he vacationed in Cancun or had work commitments. And he definitely didn’t mind breaking other parts of our agreements when it was convenient for him.

But he knew I would always say yes. I mean, what loving parent wouldn’t want extra time with their kids when you share custody? Literally for two years, there was not one glimmer of hope that he could co-parent, be flexible, or help me out.

So what does this have to do with a hula hoop? My now 5-year-old son Lucas has special needs, mostly social/emotional issues. We have been fortunate enough to start early intervention and get him the help he needs. In the spring of 2018, Lucas started biweekly behavioral therapy. We took turns going and would report back to each other after each appointment. About two months into therapy, the doctor suggested we each get a hula hoop for Lucas to practice giving people space and work on boundaries.

And that’s when I got THE text.

“I am at Target — do you want me to get you a hula hoop?”

I got the text and literally tears came down my face. When I told a few close friends and my family about this text, the ones who knew all that had taken place thus far, they also got choked up. It was the first time Brandon has ever done one thing, for me directly, that wasn’t in our legal agreement, and showed one hint of him being a human. He handed me two hula hoops the next day (an extra for my daughter as I had suggested he get two, knowing she would want one if Lucas had one). Of course, like most of their toys, neither child really touched the hula hoops. But they were a breakthrough in my co-parenting relationship.

Now, I know this is not a huge deal, and I’m certainly not giving him credit for doing one decent thing. And yes, it is sad that the standards for my children’s father are so low. But, knowing we have 14 more years left of this co-parenting thing, it’s the best I can hope for.

So, to co-parents out there, both moms and dads, when all else fails, just offer to get the hula hoop.


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Positive Outcomes of Divorce

When marriages are untenable and there is nowhere else to go, in order to save your emotional and sometimes physical life, as well as secure the mental health and wellbeing of your children, sometimes the only place to go is "out."

Imagine that you're preparing your husband's favorite meal. He walks through the door at dinnertime and you greet him. Suddenly, and without any provocation at all, his mood changes. It's as if a dark cloud has come over the room. Your mind starts racing back, you wonder what did you say, what did you do? This scenario plays out over and over again in some marriages and can diminish self-esteem, wear down emotional resource, and kill your soul.

Or maybe you've hit a wall in your marriage. You've been here several times before with your spouse, and you both feel at wits' end. When marriages are untenable and there is nowhere else to go, in order to save your emotional and sometimes physical life, as well as secure the mental health and wellbeing of your children, sometimes the only place to go is "out."

It is at this moment, when you decide to change your life, to advocate yourself and your children, that a visit to a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist is warranted.

Positive Outcome of Divorce #1: Self-Reflection and Self-Healing

With professional guidance you can discover what affected your choice of a mate and assure yourself that you will never make that mistake again. This self-reflection and self-healing is one of the most positive outcomes of divorce. By doing inner work, you can recognize and acknowledge your own patterns that led you to a dysfunctional relationship in the first place. Then, if you can integrate back into your psyche those early patterns from your family of origin, you can redeem them and never have to repeat them again.

At this time of greatest trauma, your defenses are cracked open, and for the first time in a long time you are your natural self. This is the undefended healthy core of your existence, and it is from this place of your natural resource that you can heal, renew and experience rebirth. By experiencing your authentic self, you will automatically build your self-esteem, depression will lift, and you are able to move into a happier and healthier lifestyle.

When you first fall in love, you may project onto the beloved your ideal: the best of who you are, those rose-colored glasses of your imagination. This is what we call a projection. However, by suppressing who you really are -- by going along to get along -- you are using up vital energy just to hold down your feelings.

You will still be compelled to move towards those old patterns that worked for you within your original family. However, because you are now conscious and aware, you will see red flags everywhere, and you have the opportunity, therefore, to override those impulses that compel you to move towards the wrong relationship and as a result make room for the right one. In essence, you're changing a habit, and as you grow and break your old habits, you allow yourself the opportunity to experience a different relationship with a new spouse. It's important to remember that we are different with different people.

This is restoration, how you bring yourself back to your full potential -- the you that you were meant to be. A healthy partner is the one who carries the positive characteristics of our opposite sex parent, and that's when second marriages can become fulfilling and mutual. Even your physical health can be restored.

Positive Outcome #2: Better Health

Now we know that telomeres, the little rings around your chromosomes that fall off as you age, also fall off when you are stressed. Miraculously, they can be restored through healthy lifestyle changes. Therefore, by releasing yourself from an unhealthy partnership, you not only can become healthier mentally and physically, but also add years to your life through happiness.

Positive Outcome #3: Self-Confidence and Empowerment

The first feeling you experience at the onset of divorce can be fear of the unknown. However, by moving into your fullest capacity, the real you, as I describe above, this will automatically rebuild your self-esteem, your sense of self, your capacity for intimacy, your creative energy and allow you to take back the power you surrendered in a poor relationship. In my work as a researcher, educator and human behavior expert, I've witnessed that poor marriages are often based on possessiveness, lack of intimacy, need for space and distance and need for control.

Positive Outcome #4: Giving Your Children the Gift of Modeling Healthy Relationships

Finally, as difficult as the process of divorce can be on your children, it also allows them to watch you make human mistakes -- and then grow from them. As you do your inner work and regain your true self, your children are watching, and they can learn the importance of valuing yourself. They also have the opportunity to learn how to properly behave and react should they find themselves in a similar situation down the road. And finally in the future, you can model, for your children, a true and healthy marriage.

The best relationships come out of strength, not weakness. When you are whole and know yourself, you will meet someone with whom you can be mutual. This is a marriage born of strength, not of lack. Once the negative and critical patterns of poor partnerships are released, you can expand into the undefended you. By rediscovering yourself, that inner you that you were before marriage, following your own rhythm of sleeping, being, staying home and going out, you act on your own behalf and by so doing find your own authority is empowered. This returns a sense of control, allowing you to grieve the past and embrace the future.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

What are the Positive Effects of Divorce?

What are the Positive Effects of Divorce? By Shawn Leamon

It is easy to have a love/hate relationship with divorce. Most people find that it can turn out for the better, whereas others agree that it is one of the most difficult things they have dealt with. In the majority of cases, divorce is something that can change your life and your family’s life for the better. Sometimes, it can be better to let things go that are broken far beyond repair, instead of wasting time trying to fix them.

Families around the world experience a variety of positive effects after going through a divorce.

1. Creating a Healthier Household

An unhealthy relationship will put a strain on your entire family, not just the couple that is dealing with ups and downs. Everyone in your household can feel the tension and stress that builds up when you are with someone you cannot be happy with.

Even though you might be terrified about the idea of being alone for the first time in years, it is better to deal with a temporary period of sadness and grief—especially if you could have been dealing with a lifetime of bitter resentment.

2. Being a Positive Influence on the Children

Children are much smarter than people give them credit for, particularly when it comes to feeling the effects of the emotions surrounding them. Your kids will easily be able to tell when you and your spouse are unhappy, and the last thing you will want is for them to think they should settle for anything less than happiness.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to be a positive model for your kids, so opting for a divorce can be the best way to show them they need to strive for what they deserve in life: happiness.

3. Improving Your Physical Health

No matter how you see it, strenuous relationships are huge causes of deteriorating health. As mentioned, a bad relationship can become incredibly stressful, and there is only so much stress that your body can take. In fact, dealing with chronic stress can bring forth symptoms of premature aging, cancer, heart disease, and death. Therefore, it is important that you keep your mind healthy; then you can make sure your body is healthy as well.

4. Becoming More Self-Aware

If you are interested in learning more about yourself, there is not a single better event to go through in your life than divorce. You will finally have the opportunity to understand what you need to be happy. Ex-spouses have the ability to focus on their needs and the needs of their children, instead of being sucked into the overwhelming feeling of trying to keep a broken relationship together.

Also, divorce will equip you with phenomenal coping skills, which will prepare you for many different situations in the future. You will finally have a strong understanding of what you need in life, how much pain you can handle, and how to avoid toxic relationships.

5. Feeling Confident Once Again

No one deserves to go through a period in their life when they feel terrible about themselves. Being married to someone you resent is emotionally taxing, incredibly complicated, and messy. Once you are able to get rid of a negative influence in your life, you will begin to see all of the greatest things about yours
elf, which will inevitably help you feel confident once again.

You will also find that you will feel more confident in your strength, as you will have the guts to end this terrible relationship. It is finally time for you to feel empowered, instead of used and useless.

Divorce is difficult, but in many cases, it is necessary. There is absolutely no reason to settle when you have the opportunity to be free and happy. The end of your marriage is not the end of your existence. You have the ability to make a decision to improve your life.


Monday, 21 January 2019

5 Tips to PROPERLY Deal With the Anger You Feel Over Your Divorce

Finally learning how to deal with your anger in a healthy way is an unexpected benefit of divorce.

Almost everyone who goes through divorce gets angry about it.

Your anger may only register as a sense of frustration, or it may be as overwhelming as rage, or something in between these two extremes. But that doesn’t mean that’s how it will feel tomorrow or even in the next moment.

That’s just how healing from divorce is – one unpredictable emotion after another.
Anger is a normal part of any grieving process and needs constructive expression if you’re going to avoid becoming bitter or enraged because of your divorce.

So, dealing with anger due to grief is definitely a skill you need to learn to get over your divorce.

However, before you can really deal with your anger, you need to jettison the baggage about it that you’re carrying around. (Yes, you, like everyone else learned stuff that’s not all that helpful about anger.)

Maybe you believe that anger is bad and shouldn’t be expressed. So anytime you feel the slightest twinge of anger, you suppress it. The problem with doing this is that the anger will fester and cause you both physical and psychological problems.

Maybe you believe that it’s better to be angry instead of feeling vulnerable or hurt. Yet, when your marriage ends (especially when you don’t want it to), it’s a very painful experience. You have a right to feel hurt, vulnerable and out of control of the situation.

The truth is that anger is an entirely normal emotion in response to feeling wronged or having your plans thwarted. And if your soon-to-be-ex has decided they want a divorce, you absolutely feel wronged and that they have ruined all your plans for the future.

However, you don’t want to get stuck feeling angry. So you need a game plan for what to do when your anger emerges.

Here is a game plan on how to deal with anger due to grief about your divorce:
Acknowledge that you’re feeling angry.

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people who have developed the skill of ignoring their anger because of a belief that anger is bad.

It’s also important to recognize that you feel angry because it interrupts the emotion’s control over you which will give you a moment to choose how you will express it constructively.

Express your anger constructively.

After you’re aware of your anger, you need to let it out in a meaningful way. Some of the ways you might get your anger out include:

  • Calmly, directly, and respectfully say what you need to say to whomever you need to say it
  • Walk away
  • Scream into a pillow
  • Play music very loudly
  • Go for a run
  • Punch your pillows
  • Journal
  • Talk with a friend or helping professional about your anger
  • Take several deep breaths
  • Use humor
  • Go into problem-solving mode

But be careful to notice how you’re feeling when you use any of these methods because sometimes your anger will increase. If you get angrier, stop what you’re doing and choose another way to let your anger go.

Find your own meaning for what’s going on.

When you’re grieving the loss of your marriage, you’ll ask questions like “Why is this happening?” and “Whose fault is this? Theirs or mine?” Wondering about these types of questions create frustration and anger because you feel helpless, powerless and abandoned.

It’s time to begin answering these questions for yourself from as kind and compassionate a place as you can. The intent behind the answers isn’t so that you can let anyone off the hook, it’s so that you can let go of some of the hurt and start to heal instead of being stuck in your anger.

Identity your triggers.

Maybe each and every single time you see your soon-to-be ex, you become enraged. You might be facing what would have been your anniversary and feel really pissed. Or you might look at all the bills that have piled up because of your divorce and feel fury at having to deal with all of them on your own.

If you know what sets you off, you’ll find it easier to acknowledge, express, and change your story about it. And if you can do that you’ll move through the anger phase of your divorce grief more completely and quickly than if you’re unaware of your triggers.

Plan ahead for potentially triggering situations.

Whatever it is that triggers you, plan ahead for how you’ll deal with it. The more prepared you are for diffusing your triggers, the less anger you’ll feel when you do face them.

This 5-step plan for dealing with anger due to your grief about your divorce is a great place to start, but it won’t magically prevent you from ever feeling angry about your divorce again.

Divorce recovery is a process and cyclical which means that chances are you’ll go through more than one anger phase.

But each phase should be less intense than the previous one because of all the work you’re doing to become aware of your emotions, identify why you’re feeling that way and then take positive action to address your triggers.

It’s by putting in this work that you’ll move through your divorce anger and grief and finally put the pain behind you.


Friday, 18 January 2019

How to Let Go of Anger After Divorce

You know that feeling — the one where your heartbeat quickens and your head starts to pound. Your throat starts to close and it takes all the strength you have to keep from screaming at something that your ex said or did.
Anger. Being ticked off. Feeling rage.
While anger is a natural emotion, learning how to manage it as you navigate divorce is crucial to moving on and taking your life back. Although it takes time, the following advice will get you started on the road to recovery.
Anger is a thief. Don’t let it rob you of your chance to move on and be the person you have always wanted to be.
You work hard to maintain the things you love. You keep your house nice and cozy, and you probably have homeowner’s insurance. Your beloved heirlooms and mementos are probably tucked away with the greatest of love and care.
You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked and invite a thief in to destroy those things in your home that you love, would you?
Heck no!
So, why on earth are you leaving the door to your life and the door to your happiness, inviting anger in on a daily basis? Just as a thief will break into your home, wreck it, and take away everything that is dear to you, so will anger.
It’s time to lock the door. It is time to protect one of the most precious things that anger will rob you of: your happiness and chance to heal.
Anger = your reaction to other people’s silliness trying to control you. Why let it?
When you are angry at something, the body lets you know. Your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate increase because your adrenal glands are being set into “fight or flight” mode.
This physiological reaction may have served cavemen and cavewomen when it was time to fight off whatever prehistoric beast threatened their survival, but the same anger that disrupts your calm and will only keep you from moving on.
The fact that your ex didn’t treat you right, the fact that the marriage is ending or has ended, and the fact that the ex and their lawyers may still be doing stupid shit is just that. They are only facts, but they are not indicators of how you must react.
How you choose to react to the problem — in this case how you choose to react to the facts (the events that are making you angry), is what makes the difference between navigating this process with less drama and stress for yourself, or letting all the madness drag you down and leave you exhausted.
You’re better than getting pissed off at something that you cannot control in the first place. It’s time to focus on the things you actually can control.
If it does not serve you, then let it go.
Some years ago, I was sweating my tail off in a hot yoga class, frustrated that I could not get into a back bend, I heard the yoga teacher say, “If it does not serve you, then let it go.”
Although the yoga teacher probably meant it for the students to be kind and patient with themselves, those words stuck.
It wasn’t about being upset about not being flexible enough during that moment in time.
It was about not letting the fact we were inflexible cloud our ability to just be and move on.
It was about understanding that if a negative emotion was not going to improve our lives, then we needed to show it the door. There is no place for anger holding us hostage.
Beating the Anger Exercise
The next time you start to get angry about the divorce drama, do the following.
  1. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.
  2. Remember that whatever BS is coming your way does not have the power to make you made.
  3. Remember that if the anger is not contributing to your well-being, then breathe that negativity out.
  4. Inhale in the fresh air and focus on the beautiful life and calm that will be your guide.
  5. Carry on, because you have way too many awesome things going on to waste your precious emotional energy on anything toxic.

Learning to let go of anger after divorce can be a long process. But with patience and being kind to yourself and mindful, you will navigate it and take your life back in no time.