Friday, 29 March 2019

Is Your Ex Behaving Badly? It’s A Loaded Question

I usually offer a sad smile when someone says, “I’m going through a really bad divorce.” I mean, is there any other kind? No. Getting divorced is no picnic. It’s a war, in many cases, and you feel like you are trying to come to agreements with someone who has become a complete stranger to you.

It’s kind of bizarre if you think about it. You once stood in a wedding dress with this person, did the whole romantic first wedding dance, had babies with him, and now, you just can’t stand each other, and all you want is to be as far away as possible from this person.

One thing that happens in almost every divorce is that because both people are so hurt and angry and bitter and sad and scared, they behave badly at times. I call it “bad divorce behavior.” In some divorces, it is a one time incident, in others, bad divorce behavior is perpetual and can go on years after the divorce is finalized.

What do I mean by bad divorce behavior? I’m talking about things like: one of the people flaunting their new boyfriend/girlfriend to hurt the spouse or make him or her jealous, not paying child support on time to aggravate the spouse, or badmouthing and brainwashing the kids against the soon-to-be-ex.

Bad divorce behavior is done with the intention of hurting the other person in some way, again because the person has all this pent up hurt, frustration, fear, anger, resentment, or a combination of two or more of these things.

Bad divorce behavior has consequences. First, it can slow down a divorce process, meaning the couple must spend more time and money before the divorce is final. Secondly, being petty and mean-spirited just makes everything worse. So, if you think you are hurting your spouse, you might be, but you are also hurting your ability to find peace, to heal, to move on. Lastly, bad divorce behavior also hurts innocent children. They are the true victims. If you hold the child support check back, who are you really hurting? But because of their intense pain, many people don’t realize or care, which is really really sad.

Here are 3 examples of bad divorce behavior—appalling divorce behavior, actually:

1. A Summer vacation good-bye kiss and hug denied. I know a couple who has been divorced for a few years. They have a very strict parenting schedule because that’s what the wife wants. She is never willing to bend the schedule, even if it means her ex missing out on seeing his kids because he is traveling. The wife was recently taking their three children on a summer vacation for a week. The ex-husband asked her if he could swing by the morning they were leaving and just give the kids a kiss and hug good-bye. He was planning on bringing them some treats from Starbucks for the car ride. The ex-wife adamantly refused and said, “You said good-bye to them last night. Why do you have to do it again?”

Here is my stance. issue. I think that the reason for this woman’s pettiness is that she clearly has underlying anger and resentment issues towards her ex that she hasn’t worked out. Secondly, if she asked herself, “Would the kids like this?” (which is a question every parent should ask when weighing a decision like this) and she answered herself “yes,” then she should have let him come over. She didn’t think of her kids, she thought of her own vengeance and satisfaction of hurting her ex (again.) Pitiful. Very very bad divorce behavior.

2. Ex and his fiancé mail wedding invitation for his kids to his ex’s house. This is a disgusting display of trying to twist the knife in the ex-wife’s back as hard as possible. Do people have that much hate that they would stoop to this level to try to hurt the ex? Apparently the ex has his own place, where the kids go frequently, so why not mail it there? Because the two bitter, angry, mean-spirited people wanted the ex-wife to suffer and feel sad and lonely. My take is that they are miserable, unhappy people. Why? Because happy people don’t want to hurt others like this. The fiancé is actually worse than the ex-husband. Why would SHE want to hurt the woman?? Ugh. Pathetic!

3. Ex husband tries to plant drugs and frame his ex-wife in attempt to get full custody. So basically, the guy hates his ex-wife so much that he wants to get her out of the pictureand take her away from his children. So, his hate for his ex exceeds the love he has for his children because he is attempting to take their mother away. Their mother. This is a very sick person. If any judge found out about this, he would be the one losing custody.

Anyone reading this is surely thinking, “I’ve got one…” meaning an example of bad divorce behavior. Why? Because some form of bad behavior is present in almost every divorce situation. I am guilty of it myself. I am not going to say I never behaved badly during my divorce and even after (although not to the extent of these three examples). My point is, I’m not preaching because I’ve been there.

But I think the key in avoiding bad divorce behavior is recognizing it. If you want to do something hurtful or vengeful to your ex, ask yourself two things: “Why am I doing it?” and “What am I trying to gain from this?” Sure, maybe it would feel good for a few minutes, and you could get that satisfaction of feeling justice, (like, “he really deserved that”) but what happens after? A, your kids might suffer. And B, I just think it leaves a person with a yucky feeling. No one wants to be the bad guy.

As far as being the victim of bad divorce behavior, remember two things: one, you cannot control what your ex is doing, so don’t try. Accept that you cannot change him or her. Two, take the high road. It is ALWAYS the best road, no matter what. Instead, lean on the Lord, friends, your kids, your family and your loved ones. Also, lean on yourself. You’d be surprised how much strength and courage you have that you don’t even realize. And in the end, the high road leads to happy, beautiful, successful places. And maybe, you might see that it overlooks the valley where vindictive people who implement bad divorce behavior end up as a result of their own bad choices.


Thursday, 28 March 2019

Divorcing with dignity: How modern exes are treating a split as an awakening

The good divorce

Divorce doulas, seamless co-parenting, even time-sharing the family home – these are the hallmarks of the amicable divorce and, as Zosia Bielski reports, they’re gaining ground and radically changing the way we live apart

Max Quijano was over at his ex-wife’s house in Toronto the other day doing laundry for their two children. While he was at it, he did his ex-wife’s laundry, too. A friend of his called to ask what Quijano was up to. When he found out he was aghast.

“Yes, I do her laundry but she does amazing things for me, too,” Quijano, a 45-year-old computer security analyst, said of his ex-wife Kristin Taylor, a 39-year-old manager. “It’s both ways.”

The exes had an enviably amicable divorce. They separated in 2008 after five years of marriage: The fighting (plus having little in common) was making them profoundly unhappy. Taylor resisted the split initially, clinging to “some imaginary perfect life.” A stint in therapy helped her understand they’d survive a divorce: “He’s a good dad. I’m a good mom. We make a terrible couple.”

Quijano moved out but returned to the family home every morning to see his son and daughter off to daycare, picking them up in the afternoons. Four years later, Quijano was missing his kids badly and battling severe depression after losing a job. And so his ex-wife generously invited him to move back in for a while, into their son’s room. The divorcees lived like this for three years before Quijano moved out, but only 150 metres away. “It’s like it’s the same house, just separated by a few blocks,” he says.

For the Toronto exes, the guiding principles were to put their kids first and not forget what it was that brought them together in the first place. “From the very beginning since we met and got married, we just always agreed on being good people, regardless of anything,” said Quijano, who, incidentally, invited his ex-wife and ex-in-laws to his wedding when he remarried last summer.

A Canadian snapshot

70,226 - Number of Canadians divorced in one year.

41.9 - Average age women divorce.

44.5 - Average age men divorce.

43 - Percentage of marriages that will dissolve before the 50th anniversary.

13.7 - Average number of years of marriage before divorce.

8.2 - Divorces in Nunavut, per 10,000 people, the lowest rate in Canada.

32.6 - Divorces in Yukon, per 10,000 people, the highest rate in Canada.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2008

The exes are two in a legion re-envisioning divorce in hopes of splitting with dignity. These husbands and wives want what’s best for their kids, which is family, and they want to salvage their own sanity. Many are doing things differently because they saw the carnage of their parents’ divorces, with mom and dad not speaking or badmouthing each other in front of the kids. There are good reasons why some divorces go very badly: chronic infidelity, abuse, mental illness and addiction can make separating traumatic. But for others parting under less extenuating circumstances, divorce can be an awakening: Some people find they are better ex-spouses than they were spouses.

Some 41 per cent of marriages will dissolve before the 30th anniversary, according to Statistics Canada data from 2008, the last year the agency collected divorce information. Even as Canadians live longer and struggle to maintain long-term monogamous unions, many have been rethinking how they want to end those unions.

The advent of no-fault divorce in this country in 1968 brought the first pivotal shift: Canadians could divorce simply for falling out of love following a separation period; no longer was cruelty or adultery – polarizing good-guy/bad-guy scenarios – the prerequisite for splitting up. Shared parenting also became the norm, with fathers increasingly involved in raising kids after a divorce.

Today, many of these exes are actively trying to drop the antagonistic timbre of separation. They’re choosing collaborative divorce and hiring mediators to avoid adversarial litigation and high court costs. They’re seeking out specialized therapists, divorce coaches and “divorce doulas” to calm the waters. Technology is also stepping in, with websites such as Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce and apps such as 2Houses and OurFamilyWizard helping exes parent more seamlessly with forums, resources, shared calendars and contacts lists.

These are some of the cultural shifts surveyed in U.S. journalist Wendy Paris’s new book Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well. Through a rigorous review of the existing research literature on divorce, plus interviews with more than 200 exes, as well as lawyers, therapists and coaches, Paris offers a new mindset around separation. She examines why divorce has remained so shrouded in ignorance, why we fear bad splits but fail to recognize bad marriages, and why “horror stories suck up the airtime,” even as many couples are taking a more civilized way forward – leaving the old-style, cold-turkey divorce behind. She believes the good divorce will eventually become the norm.

“People are going to partner up and hope it lasts forever. Those relationships are going to continually break up. The law and research is pushing us toward shared parenting. This is a shift in doctrine that forces people to remain involved with each other. It has to go this way,” the author said in an interview from Los Angeles.

Paris and her husband separated in 2012 after six years of marriage. Soon, she found that her ex’s flat emotional affect – a trait that had so irked her in their marriage – was no longer getting to her: He wasn’t her husband any more. As it turns out, his cool rationality came in handy as they co-parented their son. Slowly, Paris’s expectations lowered: “Whose ex-husband takes out the trash?!” she boasts in the book (her ex would also move her car on street-cleaning days to spare her a parking ticket).

Unlike their marriage, the ex-spouses’ vision for their separation was a unified one. They would share their old friends and attend the same parties but also made a pact to avoid conversations about dating. Living three blocks apart for the sake of their son, they continued with their family tradition of Sunday dinners and beach walks for the boy’s benefit. “I’d married the ideal ex-husband,” Paris writes.

She found many exes who, too, were overhauling conventional arrangements after divorce. Paris traces the rise of bird nesting, where parents rotate in and out of a matrimonial home while children stay put. Others choose to live a few blocks away, directly next door or even temporarily on different floors of one family home, so kids get a softer landing and nobody is relegated to “weekend parent” status. These families will often vacation together, share major holidays and maintain old weekend rituals.

“Divorce isn’t any more rigid an institution than marriage,” observes Paris in Splitopia. “Divorce is an entirely new relationship. Your old interactions do not have to carry over like frequent-flier miles from your former flights. You can change the terms.”

So how do you change the terms? What is the roadmap from fiery rage to a reasonably calm divorce?

Lisa MacMartin, a couples and family therapist with Montreal’s Argyle Institute, says an unwillingness to grieve is at the centre of most nasty splits. Many exes are reluctant to really dig in and acknowledge the loss, meaning they can’t let it go. “We humans try very hard not to feel sad and we’ll do anything to avoid that,” MacMartin said. “That’s at the core of a lot of conflictual divorces: They’re avoiding really painful feelings. It’s much easier to be angry.”

Paris agrees, adding that “emotional regulation” lies at the heart of most good divorces: getting those hot feelings of anger, insecurity and unfairness under control. Instead of dumping every emotional ripple on your ex, take responsibility for how you feel. Drop the old marital expectations, build some healthy distance and “re-volumize” your own life, Paris advises. The endpoint of these divorces, she says, isn’t cozy chuminess with your ex but “benign disinterest.”

Rebecca Lander describes it as “being your best professional self.” Three years after divorcing, the Toronto gift-store owner is on good terms with her ex-husband, who lives 10 minutes away.

“I carry no anger or disappointment,” says Lander, 42. “You can spend time together and enjoy the children and each other’s company without being disappointed in how that person behaves or doesn’t behave because of your set expectations of them as a husband or as a wife.”

With their daughter, 7, and son, 11, the exes celebrate birthdays and Jewish holidays and keep family traditions such as apple picking alive. “We take part in the joy of our children. It’s not really about us at that point,” she says.

Good vibes were fairly easy to cultivate because the two hadn’t faced undue hardship in their marriage. “We had a fell-out-of-love-and-decided-to-move-on situation,” Lander said. “We both had the same mindset from the get-go, which is that we were going to do this with as much kindness to each other as possible, and that if we did it that way then we would impart some really critical gifts to our kids along the way.”

Still, for all its benefits, the good divorce is a tall order. For exes who are separating under more trying circumstances, hearing about civil divorces such as these can make people feel even crappier about their own less-than-rosy splits.

“The bar is set high,” says Marni Sky, co-founder of Divorce Angels, a new Canadian website that connects people with divorce coaches, lawyers, therapists and others going through marital strife.

Sky says she’s had exes reach out to her who feel pressure to “do amicable.” It seems a year is now the sought-after time frame to have the kids readjusted, and bounce back yourself. “They want to get to the other side with as little pain as possible, move on and get another date,” says Sky, warning, “It might take you longer than that and it’s okay.”

It hasn’t helped that celebrities promptly co-opted the good divorce. Gwyneth Paltrow popularized “conscious uncoupling” after separating from Coldplay singer Chris Martin in 2014. The actress, who peddles aspirational living with her much-maligned website, Goop, was seen by many to be putting more pressure on mere mortals to do their lives better (not only do you have to raise beautiful, oversubscribed children while subsisting on moon-dust smoothies, you have to be friends with your ex now, too).

Other celebs soon joined the friendly fray: After Ben Affleck’s split from Jennifer Garner, we heard about the actors bedding down in adjoining rooms in the family’s Pacific Palisades mansion, before Affleck moved into his own mansion next door this past spring. More recently, court documents revealed that Mad Men’s Anne Dudek was pushing for a bird-nesting arrangement in which she and her ex would rotate through the family home every three days, this to give their two young children stability (“NEW AGE CUSTODY PLAN,”screamed the TMZ headline). Even the Kardashians have gotten on board: “I believe in caring for my partner – past or present – in sickness and in health,” Khloe Kardashian wrote about her separation from former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom in Lenny Letter, 

How Globe readers called it quits

An overwhelming 71 per cent of respondents said their parents’ divorces were not amicable. Even so, 73 per cent now believe there are benefits to staying friendly with an ex.

The benefits of amicability are manifold: 67 per cent agreed that a friendly divorce is good for the kids, family and friends, your wallet, and perhaps most importantly, your sanity.

More than 33 per cent reported seeing their former spouses once a week, with another 19 per cent meeting with exes monthly – though it should be said that another 25 per cent never see their exes and seem pretty content about that.

Some 56 per cent describe their divorces as amicable; the rest experienced rather “nasty” splits. The top reasons their unions dissolved? The relationship fizzled, 36 per cent said. Another 32 per cent reported infidelity as the death knell of their marriages.

Asked about current social attitudes around divorce, 39 per cent of respondents believe that staying in a bad marriage is now more shameful than leaving it. Just 13 per cent think leaving is worse than staying. Refreshingly, 48 per cent found no shame in either.

Finally, to those who had remained on good terms with their exes, we asked, “Why is your divorce amicable?” More than 51 per cent said “for the sake of the kids.” The second highest reply (at 24 per cent) was “We like each other better when we’re apart.”

Although Paris has gotten flak that the good divorce is a utopian idea reserved for celebrities and those with highly angelic exes, she doesn’t buy it: More couples are more open-minded than we might assume, she said, recalling a truck driver who called into a radio show she was hosting to discuss his amicable splits from two ex-wives. “I resist the idea of, ‘You can do this because your husband is reasonable,’ or ‘Gwyneth Paltrow can do this because she has money.’ I just do not see this as a class thing or an education thing or a financial thing,” she said.

That said, whether you are Hollywood royalty or the average Joe, good divorces don’t come without their own set of challenges. The logistics of sharing a home or bird nesting with an ex can be daunting. How do you divvy up the space? What happens with cleaning, groceries or during vacations and dates? With such unconventional living setups, rules “are not legally enforceable, so it all has to be an honour system,” says Micheline Maes, a senior negotiator at Calgary’s Fairway Divorce Solutions, which specializes in mediation. Maes will often draw up “lifestyle agreements” to avoid potential conflict or misunderstanding.

A more complicated issue is co-dependence: If you remain too close to an ex, do you really move on emotionally? Paris hears this criticism a lot. Her retort? “It’s funny, because couples who hate each other after divorce aren’t moving on emotionally either.” Still, the author acknowledges the downsides of remaining too enmeshed with a good ex: “You don’t have someone to sleep with and you don’t have a residential partner but you’re also not mentally clear enough to meet someone new.”

Then there is the very real risk of reconciliation. Paris’s experts estimate that one-third of people who divorce continue having sex. When this happens, the good divorce suddenly morphs into a “marriage sabbatical,” even though ex-sex often only fans the flames of acrimony again.

Experts agree that the toughest challenge in “splitopias” is when a new girlfriend or boyfriend parachutes in. “Everyone’s getting along great, the kids seem to be okay because you seem to be focused on them and then all of a sudden one partner gets a new partner. Everything breaks loose at that point,” Divorce Angels’s Sky says. This is why she’s heard another term floating around for these good divorces: the honeymoon phase, before reality sets in.

Paris admits she struggles with this one herself; her ex found someone new fairly quickly after the split while she did not. Nevertheless, she stresses, “I would rather a little discomfort or the occasional zing and have my son feel that he has two parents who really care about each other – that he has a family.”

Even here though, critics worry that chummy exes may be setting up false hopes for their children, who may assume their parents are getting back together. It seems good exes have heard it all from the adults in their lives, adults who remain skeptical that divorce can ever be an opportunity and not just a crisis.

“It’s always been complicated,” Max Quijano says about family and friends who have been wary of the super-friendly dynamics between him and his ex-wife. A few months ago an acquaintance of Quijano’s blurted out that it was “a time bomb.” And when Quijano wed his high-school sweetheart in Colombia last year and invited his ex-wife and her parents along, “the Colombians thought we were nuts,” Taylor recalls. “People are like, ‘What are you crazy people doing?’ But most who are mature just give us credit for putting the kids first. It’s all one big, weird, wacky family.”

To avoid upsetting their children – a son who is now 9 and a daughter, 11 – the pair was direct. “We’ve been extremely clear that we are not a couple,” Quijano says. “We are their parents and we love them [but] we date other people and have other lives. We have different futures, together.”

Lander has fended off similar concerns from her own friends. “Sometimes there’s still shock, as if they’re waiting for the ball to drop, that we might falter in this direction. My friends were also worried that the kids might be confused. But they don’t live in our homes and know the conversations that we have with our kids. Everyone’s got a stereotypical view of how families should separate. We don’t subscribe to it at all.”

When Lander posts family photos on social media, she now uses the hashtag #DivorceParadigmShift.

“There can be other ways to do this that are more meaningful for the children and less harmful for the adults,” she says. “I don’t have any fear that I’m doing it wrong. I feel that we’re doing it the best that we know.”

How To: Best practices for a good divorce

Distance building

Rule No. 1: Don’t have sex with the ex. Splitopia author Wendy Paris also warns against talking about dating. If you have children, limit your conversations to parenting. And if you feel yourself getting nostalgic, remember the bad times. “Re-volumize” yourself: Make lots of plans with your own social circle. For those temporarily living with an ex, setting timelines is helpful, says Micheline Maes, a senior negotiator at Calgary’s Fairway Divorce Solutions: “What are you doing to really uncouple? How long is this going to last?”

Home sense

For exes who are bird nesting or temporarily sharing a family home, Maes proposes drawing up “lifestyle agreements” to avoid fights. Some exes include “review periods” to discuss “trigger events” – say, an ex who lives in the basement waltzing up to the main floor without permission just to “chat.” With bird nesting, basic respect is also key: “If you can afford to have a cleaner come in on the day that you’re transitioning out of the house, that’s a great way to resolve some conflict,” says Amanda Walker, a partner at Halifax’s MDW Law, which specializes in collaborative family law.

New arrivals, part 1

Even the friendliest of exes should foresee that they will need privacy once one or both parties start dating again. If you’re still living together, this gets especially tricky. Here, Maes inquires about logistics: Is there a separate entrance? Do you let each other know that someone is coming over? Are there off-limits days when kids are home?

New arrivals, part 2

If you’re on great terms with your ex, how does your new partner fit into the equation? “It’s already tricky when your partner has his own children who he’s very attached to,” says Lisa MacMartin, a Montreal couples and family therapist. “When there’s another adult – his ex-wife – in there as well, it’s not easy.” MacMartin suggests that exes and new partners establish their own relationship to help weather feelings of threat or insecurity.

Kids see everything

“Children hang onto their reconciliation fantasies, usually until one of the parents finds another partner. That’s usually the big smack in the face for the child,” MacMartin warns. “I encourage parents to keep the dialogue going and be ready for some kind of regressive behaviour or outbursts from your child when someone finds a new partner.”

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Three Things I’ve Learned About Dating After Divorce

In 2014 I became a single mother, living alone with my one year old daughter and attempting to rebuild my life.

When I was ready to date again I realised just how different that experience would be compared to when I met my first husband at 23. Going through a marriage, and the subsequent divorce, left me with far more expectations for any future partner than I’d had in the naivety of my youth, and far more emotional baggage to take along for the ride. Having a child added even more challenges. However, all of those complications I had anticipated to some degree.

What I didn’t account for is that it can be even more complicated to get involved with someone whom is also fresh out of a marriage. Once you reach a certain age, the likelihood is anyone in your dating pool will have a marriage, or at least significant long term relationship, in their history. Whilst shared life experiences can be a huge advantage, it will

also bring its own unique set of complications.

These are three complications that I have learned about being a divorcee dating a divorcee, and whether or not they truly matter.


He chose you, you chose him. The exes are both out of the picture and you expect family and friends to embrace this exciting new romance with you. Sadly, it won’t always work that way. The ex will always be around having existing relationships with his family and raising the child they had together. She will be the face some people always wish they saw instead of your own. They’ll hark back to the days of the marriage with sad smiles, never replace their old photos with photos of you, and generally make sure you know that, no matter how long you’re around for, you’re their second choice of partner.

Does it matter? Yes. I would like to say it doesn’t but it does because it’s unfair to you, unfair to your partner, and, if you let it, makes you feel inadequate. It builds resentments where they need not be, and can stop gatherings of family or friends being something to look forward to and, instead, turns them into something to endure.

Can you get over it? Yes. What matters is you, your loved one, and any children there are between you. If your little patchwork family unit is working then you can learn to drown out the negativity of other people. They expect your partner to live for them, be with someone for them, instead of living for themselves. You’re both grown ups and it’s time to start living to your own standards and not other people’s. If you feel positive in your relationship, try not to let other people’s disappointment bring you down.


I discovered this one in a painful and humiliating way when I was publicly referred to as a “home wrecking slut”. Whilst my partner and I went to the same school fifteen years ago, we had not been in each other’s lives until long after both our marriages ended. Unfortunately, not everyone will believe that. Give all the reasons you need for ending your marriage, but to some people it will all be a lie. To some people, once you come out as a couple with a divorced person, they will see it as finally revealing the truth, however long after the split you got together.

Does it matter? Yes! It’s okay to feel hurt and offended and devastated. People who are willing to say things like that without any evidence or justification are completely unreasonable. They’re unwilling to accept that maybe, just maybe, you’re a decent human being. That your relationship is valid and you both deserve a chance at happiness.

Can you get over it? Yes. They say that when you end a marriage you find out who your true friends are. The ones who bad mouth you, ignore you, and treat you like dirt are the ones you are better off without. It can make you feel miserable, but it’s better to know who is worth keeping in your life. You can then enter your new relationship knowing the people you see as friends truly deserve that title.


Suddenly you’re confronted with another person, in my case woman, who is smart, funny, interesting and beautiful. Someone your partner was attracted to, loved, and was loyal to. A woman he loved enough to marry. A woman who gave him his first child. And, if they get on well like my partner and his ex wife do, she will be in your life a lot. They will be sharing the child they raised, sharing inside jokes you don’t understand, and she will be the same lovely person she was when he met her and fell in love with her the first time.

Does it matter? No. Is it justified? Yes. It’s okay to feel it, to feel insecure and anxious. It’s okay to admit you feel that way.

Can you get over it? Yes. For him that relationship is over, but it’s okay to address those insecurities together. Having her in your life might not always be simple, but when children are involved it can be a really positive experience. You just all need to understand and respect one another’s feelings, and that starts by talking about what those feelings are.

And the most important thing I’ve learned? If you want it, if you’re ready for it, a marriage ending means a new life starting. There IS life after divorce. There IS love after divorce. And there most definitely IS happiness after divorce. It won’t be the same as the first time around, but it can be better.


Tuesday, 26 March 2019

21 Ways To Be An AMAZING Single Parent After A Divorce

Your kids are going to be fine. Here's how.

Let’s face it, parenting after a divorce isn’t easy.

You constantly worry how the divorce will affect them. You wonder if you did the right thing.

And co-parenting is not a walk in the park. Neither is being a single parent.

The divorce rate is nearly 50%. This means you aren’t alone and you aren’t ruining your kid's life.

As a matter of fact, studies show children growing up in a high-conflict home are actually more unhappy than children of divorce.

If you strive to put your kids first, then you can actually learn to be a better parent.
It’s not always going to be easy, especially in the beginning.

The good news is you can work through the hard times and still have a perfectly normal family.

Here are 21 tips to help you be a better parent after a divorce:

1. Be honest with your kids.
Make sure what you tell them is appropriate for their age. But remember that lies will catch up and make things worse in the long run.

2. Don’t bad-mouth the other parent.
It’s important to model good behavior for your children by getting along with your ex.

3. Never use your kids as a weapon.

Don’t ask your children to spy on your ex and report back their every move. This will make your child feel uncomfortable and like they are betraying the other parent.

4. Don’t give your kids the guilt trip.
Let them make their own decisions. You may not like that your child wants to go on vacation with the other parent. But when you are divorced this is the reality of the situation.

5. Be consistent with everything you do.
The kids are living in two different households. Make sure they have a routine that is consistent. That way they will know what to expect.

6. Communicate with your ex.
I know this may sound impossible, but it’s one of the best things you can do. Let your ex know when you are going on vacation. If the school calls, make sure to let your ex know. That way the kids won’t be able to pull one over you.

7. Encourage your kids to talk about their feelings.
Let them have space to talk about how they are feeling without judgment.

8. Love your kids.
And stop hating your ex. This will eventually bring you down.

9. Acknowledge their feelings of wanting their parents to get back together.
But make sure you are realistic. You don’t want to give them false hope.

10. Don’t let your kids get away with murder.
I know you feel bad about the divorce and you are worried about how it will affect your kids. You still have to discipline them. Don’t let them get away with anything they wouldn’t get away with if you were still married.

11. Do not parentify your child.
Don’t talk to your child about how you feel or your ex. This is something you save for your close friends or a professional.

12. The divorce is not your kids' fault.
Make sure you tell them that, and make sure they understand.

13. Your kids are not the messenger.
I know your ex may be difficult. This doesn’t mean that you make your kid the messenger. This will cause unnecessary stress in your child’s life.

14. Control your temper.
I know you have angry feelings about divorce. You never thought this would happen, but it did. You need to accept what is.

15. Share the chores.
If your kid vacuums at your house, don’t make him/her vacuum again at your ex’s house. This requires clear c
ommunication. Your child shouldn’t have to suffer and have double the work.

16. Let your kids be kids.
Don’t involve them in adult problems, or force them to make decisions they aren’t equipped to make.

17. Maintain your kids' community of support.
Just because your child lives in two households doesn’t mean they should have two sets of friends.

18. Communicate with the in-laws.
Maybe, you didn’t get along with them, but your kids love them. Make sure they still get to visit the grandparents.

19. If possible, spend time together like you did when you were married.
Go out to dinner once in a while, or spend time together lounging at the pool.

20. Take care of yourself.
Don’t neglect yourself because you are divorced. This means keep up with medical and dental appointments. Get your hair done, go to the spa, or take a bubble bath.

21. Stay hopeful.
I know you may be feeling burned. This is actually a natural response to a divorce. Learn what you can and where you went wrong. Don’t give up on yourself. There will be somebody else when you are ready.

Many children of divorce grow up to be very responsible. They have learned how to live in two households, and how to compromise.

You may feel like the world is ending, but you will get through the storm and so will they.


Monday, 25 March 2019

9 Promises To Make Yourself To See You Through Divorce

Divorce is like Opposite Day, so you're going to need to hold on tight and make some promises to help keep yourself grounded and on the right path!

If you’re going through a divorce, prepared to get stuck for a bit in Opposite Day. Not the 1993 Bill Murray hit Groundhog Day. Opposite Day.

On Opposite Day what’s up is now down, happy is sad, wet is dry, and basically nothing is logical.

You won’t be able to make much sense of your emotions, always make the wisest decisions, or be able to comprehend why half of the things going on are allowed to occur. It’s madness!

Fortunately, the hands of time finally get the jolt they need to allow time to advance on its natural course, leaving Opposite Day as a strange part of the past that you’ll be glad to farewell to.

Although you may not be fully in control of the events surrounding your own personal Opposite Day, it’s important to make (and keep) promises to yourself to see you through to the end of the divorce finish line. You may have your own to add or replace from those on this list, but here’s a few important promises to get you started:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s Opposite Day, right? So, the small stuff feels like the big stuff, and the big stuff may not be recognized for what it is. The pearl of wisdom here is not to let it grab a hold of you, control you, and make you go insane! You will have plenty of big things to address during divorce, so you may just have to let the smaller things slide, or at least not affect you as much!

Stay true to yourself. Just because the world feels like it’s upside down doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your values and sense of self. Ever heard the saying “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do?” Well, what I would do and what you might do are two different things. Just don’t do anything you’ll regret later.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Divorce is a tunnel along the way to your future. In other words, it’s dark and closed in, but it’s temporary. If preserving your sanity and relationship with your children are most important to you, for instance, then make those your priority. So much else may feel like it’s spinning around out of control around you, but you can keep your eyes fixed on one or two most important things, can’t you?

Think long term. Again, divorce isn’t your destination, it’s just the ugly part of the voyage on the way to where you’re headed. So, where is it that you’re headed, anyways? Even if you don’t have specifics nailed down, it’s important to have some goals- even dreams- to shoot for and begin to mentally invest in making them happen. Otherwise, you’ll just get stuck in the ugly part of your voyage.

Make something positive out of the mayhem. If you have to lose and suffer, then you should be able to get some sort of parting gift, right? The best gift you could ever receive is a whole and healthy YOU! So, promise yourself to make something beautiful out of this ugliness. If nothing else, dedicate some time to getting to know who you are now, assess the mistakes you have made and how you can grow, and make peace with what has happened.

Become a role model. No pressure here. No one’s asking you to inspire a generation of others; but, if you have kids, you already have a built-in audience. Show them the way to overcome challenges and succeed against diversity. Be a champion for standing up for your rights, achieving your dreams, and making things happen. If nothing else, you may score at being your own best role model!

Fall in love. The first person you need to flirt with, woo, and fall in love with is looking right back at you in the mirror. Build yourself up from the floor up. Take care of yourself, pamper yourself, and make yourself more of a priority, especially if you have been sitting in the backseat of love and attention for a while. Then, and only then open yourself up to the possibility of loving another. This is not about being selfish so much as it is survival and preparing yourself for someone worthy of you!

Don’t lean on vices to get you through. Divorce and the end of a long and serious relationship hurts! No wonder so many turn to drugs, alcohol, emotional eating, retail therapy, and other feel good behaviors to drive the ugly feelings away. Always ask yourself “who’s in control here?” Are you spending on frivolity but not paying the bills? Binging on ice cream rather than facing our problems, or looking for your solutions in the bottom of a bottle? If so, the bad news is that your problems aren’t going anywhere or getting any better, instead they are waiting (perhaps growing) while you drown I denial!

Don’t let a bad day become your permanent state of mind. Of course, divorce lasts longer than a day; however, in the course of a lifetime, this time is a mere blink of an eye. Unfortunately, some tend to allow the emotion and pure ugliness of divorce to taint their personality and perspective from that point on. As I always say: “be better, not bitter!”

What will you vow to yourself as you embark upon this new phase of your life? What will you do to keep your attitude in check and to take care of yourself to ensure that you land safely on the other side?


Friday, 22 March 2019

Starting a New Relationship Post-Divorce

Though divorce is a difficult process, it can also be immensely freeing. For some, the logical next step will be to start dating again. For others, the very idea may seem terrifying or impossible. It is a complicated issue especially if you have kids, but it is still possible and can be fun. To help in making this possible, it is important to let emotions settle in your household and find ways to talk to your kids about it.

Seeking a new relationship

It is very important to understand that the process of seeking a new relationship after divorce is different for everyone. Some might be ready to date right away while for others it might take years before they feel ready to even contemplate the thought of it. Just because it happened one way for a friend doesn’t mean it will for you. Pay attention to your own emotions, and ask yourself why you want to start dating again. If you are trying to fill the hole left by your spouse, dating right now won’t be a healthy option. You need to be healthy by yourself before you can be healthy with another person in your life.

Here what you need to do before starting a new relationship after divorce:

1) Be ready emotionally

To make sure that seeking a new relationship after divorce is a good experience, make sure that you are emotionally ready to handle this responsibility.

You don’t want to be grieving over the loss of your old relationship while you are trying to foster a new one. Don’t be afraid to be picky as you look for someone new to date. You owe it to yourself and your children to make sure that it is someone who will treat you well and give you what you really need. If you are feeling a bit unsure about actually getting back into the dating game, try just making new friends first. Making friends can be fun, and if you find someone you like more than a friend, you will already have a friendship to help make your relationship stronger.

2) Pay attention to your kids

If you have children, you need to pay a lot of attention to their feelings and needs as you begin seeing a new partner.

Your kids have their very own grieving process to go through after their parents split up, and you need to respect that. Just because your kids don’t like the idea of you dating doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it ever again, but you should give them adequate time to get used to the new way that things work. Children often see a new partner as attempting to replace their other parent, and some of them may still hope that you will get back together with their other parent. Make sure that you children understand that things are final, and give them time to process it. As you move forward, listen to their feelings, and express your own.

As far as what you should tell your children about your dating life depends on how old they are. A younger child doesn’t need to know that you are dating until you are more serious about it while a teenager should be given more details because they are sure to notice that something is going on. No matter your children’s age, it is best not to bring your new partner around until you are very sure of them. A divorce is disorienting to children, and they need stability. If you are to break up with your new partner whom your children have grown fond of, this can be almost as painful as when you split with their other parent.

Your children probably won’t respond enthusiastically the first time that they meet your new partner. They may express anger and frustration in different forms like acting out in front of your new partner or even giving you the silent treatment. Give them time to adjust, and don’t try to force them into situations they are uncomfortable with that involve your new partner. You can require them to be respectful to your new partner, but you can’t require them to like your new partner.

3) Be honest and direct with communication

Honesty and openness are the fuel for trust; be direct while communicating with your partner. Be open about your expectations, what you wish from this relationship or share any other concerns that you may have. It is important to establish this right at the beginning of the relationship as it paves the way for a solid relationship. Remember, openness and honesty is the lifeblood of any relationship.

While starting a new relationship after divorce is often a very sensitive process, you can still enjoy yourself. Make sure that you aren’t moving on because people expect you to or because you think you should be. Rather, do it you want to and you’re ready to. Don’t rush your new relationship, and all the while, make sure to take care of yourself. If you have children, keep them in mind and give them time to become accustomed to this new person in your life. Remember that this is your choice and your life, make sure that you are ready, and make it a good experience.

On another note, here are 3 things to completely avoid during the dating process:

1) Thinking all men/women are like your ex

Trusting a new person takes time, especially after you’ve been hurt by your ex. Yet, if you hold on to that distrust, you will destroy your chance of finding someone new. Learn to look at the new man/woman as an individual. Notice how different, kind, attentive they are towards you. Appreciate them for their unique qualities. If you still face trust issues, you could consider professional counseling or other methods such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which involves tapping on acupressure points. Be conscious of your issues and don’t be afraid to seek help.

2) Holding on to baggage

This one’s hard but not impossible. After all, we are what our experiences make us. But holding onto baggage never helped anyone. If only, it hinders our own progress and often makes us bitter about various things. Learn ways that will help you release the baggage; have an internal dialogue with yourself about what’s holding you back. Also, realize your own past errors in your marriage, take accountability and learn from them.

3) Saying no to plans

After thinking about everything, you’ve finally reached a place where you want to date. You may be doing so hesitatingly or may have your own apprehensions, which is normal, but be open to new possibilities. If nothing, you may just find a new friend. Remember every date does have to culminate into a relationship. You want to tread carefully, consider deeply before making any commitment. However, do stay open to new ideas.

While starting a new relationship after divorce is often a very sensitive process, you can still enjoy yourself. Make sure that you aren’t moving on because people expect you to or because you think you should be. Rather, do it you want to and you’re ready to. Don’t rush your new relationship, and all the while, make sure to take care of yourself. If you have children, keep them in mind and give them time to become accustomed to this new person in your life. Remember that this is your choice and your life, make sure that you are ready, and make it a good experience.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Divorce Recovery Time and Why You Can’t Cheat the Clock

Divorce is the second most stressful life event, preceded only by the death of a spouse or child. That’s according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale anyway. It rates a score of 73. Whatever that means.

My guilty secret is that it didn’t seem all that bad. There was one occasion - just the one time in the year since it happened that I really missed the guy.
I was packing his stuff up, not long after he’d left, and I took a dry, clean shirt off the radiator. It was a kind of mock dress shirt, with frills down the front, punctuated with gaudy, crass red stitching.

I always hated that shirt.

Suddenly the emotion hit, leaving me breathless with the intensity of it. It lasted all of five seconds, and then I was fine, shaken more by the surprise of feeling that way, than the feeling itself.

Five seconds after seven years.

It felt like a fair trade off. “This must be how normal people feel,” I thought, having been earlier chastised for an apparent lack of emotion.

If they do feel that way, if that five seconds segues into the 18 months to five-year period that is meant to make up divorce recovery time, then it has certainly earned its place on the winners’ podium of horrors.

Recovery time seems to span a large, variable timeframe for different people, but for everyone, the timeframe is longer than they would want. When I started looking it up, in the early days, I was defiant.

“Five years. Five years? It’s been three weeks, and I feel fine. Better than fine, great in fact.”
In reality, it’s only now, a year later, that I can look back and realise that I didn’t feel all that good. It’s hard to pinpoint why I felt so bad, when ultimately, and even with the benefit of hindsight, the overriding feeling was one of relief.

It’s possibly a defence mechanism: knowing you’re going to feel that terrible for that long wouldn’t aid any kind of recovery process.

And what is recovery? It can’t be a return to previous form? That would be some kind of regression. You have to adapt to your circumstances, and that means change. Maybe that means becoming a happier person, more capable of dealing with problems, more able to navigate through the daily minefields with less anxiety. It certainly involves becoming more self-sufficient, even if the impression of having support and back up was nothing more than an illusion.

Getting to this point is not easy: while I seem to have had it easier than most, it was a tough year. But having ridden out the worst of it, I can conclude that all the worst stuff is necessary. As the chimes ushering the end of 2013 rang out, I felt as though they took the last vestiges of the pain with them. My magic timeframe was pretty much twelve months exactly.

This couldn’t have been predicted by any kind of chart, experts or other anecdotal evidence. 
The time it takes is the time it takes. Unfortunately it seems that time itself is a process that can’t be bypassed, despite how much dating, soul searching or yoga you do. You have to wait it out. Sucks, but that’s just the way it works.

The worst thing is the backsliding. It happens, and you just have to accept it. This is apparently one of the things that hits a lot of people the hardest: you’re chugging along doing fine, and then it kicks you in the guts, as visceral as it is emotional. It’s a cruel intrusion into your belief that you were doing well, and stirs up all kind of worries, one of the more potent ones being the fear of insanity. It’s generally not insanity: and Kübler-Ross will back me up on that.

These intrusions become less and less regular, until suddenly they never happen, apart from on a minor scale. You may see a particular brand of marmalade on a supermarket shelf that sets off a synapse deep inside your brain somewhere, and makes you realise that the memories you carry with you will always be there on some level, but confronting them is no longer significant.
When the day arrives that you are genuinely able to look at the good times as good, the bad times as bad, and attach no meaning, importance or emotion to them, that’s probably a good indication that you’re pretty much there.
When that day arrives, you will probably be happy about how it all went down.


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The secret to an amicable divorce or separation

Divorce is never easy. But, as this article from SSB Law explains, if you can find a way to come to an amicable agreement with your partner, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, stress and heartache. You’ll also make it a lot less painful for your children.

Divorce and separation is likely to be one of the most stressful times of your life. When you separate from your partner lots of changes happen at once, and you’re faced with so many as-yet-unknown factors, such as what will happen with your finances? And where will your children live?

The key to a less stressful and more amicable divorce (which is easier on everyone, and much less expensive) is to approach it in the right way. Keeping the process non-confrontational is likely to lead to longer lasting solutions.

To help you and your partner reach a more amicable agreement, Family law solicitor Angela Lally shares her advice.

An amicable divorce is better for everyone

The more that you can agree on with your partner, the better. If an agreement is reached between you about how the finances will be divided and what arrangements will be put in place for your children, you’ll retain control over your own lives without having the decision made for you by a court.

While an amicable approach may not always be possible and certainly there can be a lot of anger and anxiety involved in separation, if you are able to identify the issues and work towards an amicable solution this is more likely to result in a less painful separation.

If you have children together, you’ll remain a part of each other’s lives going forwards (you may be separating from each other, you do not cease being parents and being involved in decisions regarding your children’s future) so the more you are able to get on and agree, the better.

If your children see that you are getting on, it will make the process easier for them to cope with and come to terms with too.

Get your emotions in check first

One of the first points to consider is the emotional aspect of the separation. This is not dealt with by the legal process, but if you can come to terms with your emotions, it will help you to deal with the other aspects of your separation, such as finances and children, more easily.
Without your emotions clouding the issues, you can make more practical and informed decisions.

It’s a good idea to get help from a counsellor early on. A professional who is experienced in dealing with relationship breakdowns will help to guide you in the right direction, before things become bitter.

The three parts of separation

The process of separation can be broken down into the following parts:

1) What are grounds for divorce?

If you decide that the marriage should be brought to an end, either you or your partner can issue a petition for divorce in the court.

It’s not possible to end your marriage simply by saying there are ‘irreconcilable differences’ – you need to prove that it has broken down irretrievably by relying on one of five grounds set out by the law. These are:

Unreasonable behaviour.
Two years’ separation with consent.
Five years’ separation.

So the only ‘no fault divorce’ is based on two years’ separation with consent, or five years’ separation.

You may feel that you cannot move on with your lives until you are divorced. Also, if you want to have a final financial agreement (or to ask the court to make a decision about finances) then there would have to be divorce proceedings underway.

If you have to rely on the ground of unreasonable behaviour, try and keep matters amicable by attempting to agree to the wording of the particulars of behaviour with your partner. The allegations could be kept as mild as possible.

2) How can you make it easier on your children?

Sit down and explain the situation to your children in language they can understand. Reassure them that you’ll continue to be their parents, and that they should not feel that they are in any way to blame for the separation.
Try to agree where your children will live, and how often they will see the other parent. 

Sometimes a shared care arrangement can be put in place.
The idea is to decide what works for you as parents, and what’s in your children’s best interests. No two families are the same so what works for one family may not work for you.

There are other factors such as work, child care and so on to factor in. The more you can agree on, the better. Also bear in mind that there needs to be flexibility. What works for your children when they are young may not work as they get older and as their commitments with school and friends changes.

If you agree the arrangements, there is nothing else you need to do – the court doesn’t need to approve them. You can record what you’ve agreed in a parenting plan which can help set out your expectations regarding the arrangements.

Advice from a relationship coach

Relationship coach Danielle Barbereau has the following advice to help minimise the impact of your divorce on your children:

Divorce is difficult for children. Do not use them as pawns or messengers. Never make them take sides, no matter how you feel about their father or mother. (This applies to children of all ages, including adult children.)

When children are young, they are likely to feel that the divorce is their fault. It is absolutely essential to reassure them that it is not the case and this comes before your own needs, at all times.

It’s okay to show sadness, but remember who is the adult and who is the child and behave accordingly. Not doing so does not attract any respect from anyone; neither will it solve anything, but it is sure to stress the child.

Even if teenagers look (and think they are) grown up, they are still children and you are responsible for their welfare, not the other way round. Always remember that children are the innocent party.

Keep the high ground, and make sure that you speak of your former partner with respect and facilitate access and contact (this does not apply if there has been domestic or sexual abuse, or if you have definite knowledge that your children are frightened of them).

Work on your self-esteem, learn to steady yourself when you feel upset (a relationship coach can help you through the worst).

Answer all your children’s questions according to their age.

And finally for you – retain a sense of gratitude and fun, don’t jump into another relationship and trust that the bad times will pass.

3) How should you separate your finances?

During your marriage you may have acquired assets such as a house, pension or savings. And when you separate, these assets are usually divided up.

The most stress-free way of dealing with matters is to agree between you who will have what. If you can’t then you may need someone to help you reach an agreement, such as a mediator or a specialist family solicitor.

There’s nothing set in stone stating who should have what, but generally speaking the longer the marriage, the more the law looks towards an equal division.

If you reach an agreement directly between yourselves or with the help of a mediator or solicitor, it’s a good idea to put the agreement in writing. This is called a Consent Order and once it has been approved by the court, there’s no going back on it (except in very rare circumstances). It finalises financial claims. Divorce itself does not end financial claims.

What if you can’t agree on a financial split?

If you are unable to agree, then you can ask a judge to decide. This is when it can become more costly. The judge will want to know what everything is worth (the value of the house, pension, business etc). Once all the figures are known, the judge will help you to negotiate a settlement.

Even when the court is involved, there is an emphasis on encouraging the couple to settle. Ultimately the judge can make a decision at a final hearing.

How to divide up your assets

So what things should you consider after you split up and are trying to divide assets? Start by making a list of what you’ve got, both jointly and in your sole names.

You should also take into account debt you have and decide whether this is ‘marital debt’ (debt you have accrued jointly during the marriage).

Try to agree on a value for the house and work out what is outstanding on the mortgage (if you’re unsure of value of your home, you could ask a local estate agent for an informal market appraisal).

Pensions are more complex. The value of the pension pot is the starting point but this does not always accurately reflect what the pension is worth, so often a pension expert is required to give an opinion as to how the pension should be shared and, if there are multiple pensions, what’s the best way of sharing them.

And finally, there is the issue of income. The person with main care of the children is entitled to child maintenance, but may also be entitled to spousal maintenance if there is a difference in your incomes.

Using mediation or collaborative law

If you’re struggling to agree then you can try mediation or the collaborative law process. This helps open up the channels of communication and facilitate an agreement. Court is the last resort and should only be used if you are unable to agree.

Family mediation is a process of resolving legal issues in a non-adversarial way. You negotiate your own settlement with the assistance of a mediator. This is based on the assumption that a decision to separate and/or divorce has already been made.

Don’t confuse mediation with counselling or marriage guidance. The aim is to help you reach an agreement in relation to issues arising out of the breakdown of the relationship.

Collaborative law allows you to meet together with your respective solicitors to discuss things reasonably and come to decisions together around the table.

Meetings usually take place at the solicitor’s office but with sufficient notice alternatives can be arranged – perhaps at a more neutral place. In this environment any issues can be discussed and hopefully resolved with future plans and division of assets being talked through in a calm and reasonable way.

When should you get legal advice?

It can be a good idea to get advice at an early stage to help clarify the issues and point you in the direction of a settlement.

If you’ve had legal advice from a family solicitors shortly after separation, you may feel more able to reach an informed decision about the arrangements for the children and the division of the matrimonial assets.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Finding Happiness After Divorce isn’t a Possibility, it’s a PROBABILITY

Ask any newly separated man or woman if he or she thinks finding happiness after divorce is possible, and the answer you get will involve a grim outlook.

“Who knows?” they will might say with their head down, their eyes possibly filling with tears. “I haven’t thought that far ahead. I’m just thinking about how to survive RIGHT NOW I hope so.”

I think finding happiness after divorce is not a possibility, but rather a PROBABILITY, and I can say that because of the dozens of divorced men and women I have seen go from sad, weary, scared, frustrated, furious and depressed to happy, self-confident, strong and madly in love! Seriously.

I want to give an example, which happens to be my inspiration for this blog post. About a year ago, a ran into a friend of mine at the gym, and she told me she and her husband of 10 years were separating. They have two young kids. From what she said, my impression was that it was her husband’s decision. She teared up, and I felt sick about it because I just love this girl. It actually inspired me to write the blog, “12 things I wish someone would have told me when I was getting divorced.”

So, time goes on, and I continue to see her at the gym, always sad, always looking weary and defeated. It was a look that would make me want to cry. Yet, she kept going to the gym. In other words, she kept living her life.

We would talk every now and again, and she would tell me the usual divorce nightmare stories: she was worried about finances, she was scared she was going to be alone forever, she was worried about how her kids were going to handle this, she knew her husband was dating other women and was happy, etc. etc.

A few months ago, I happened to run into her soon-to-be ex, and I said hello. The first words out of his mouth were, “Yeah, everything’s great! I’ve lost 22 pounds!” he said, patting with pride what he thought was his six-pack. “I feel great!” Never asked how I was, how my kids were, and never said anything like, “Divorce is hard, I hope my kids will be okay,” etc. etc.
So, a few days ago, I ran into my friend. I hadn’t seen her in awhile, and I noticed she looked absolutely beautiful. And THIN! I told her so, and she smiled. “Thank you so much,” she said humbly. “I’ve lost 18 pounds.”

I asked how things were and she told me her kids were doing well, and that she changed jobs and loved her new position.

I then said to her, “You met someone, didn’t you?”

She turned bright red and said, “Oh my God! Yes! I did!!”

She met a man on a dating website who has two children and they are very happy. She said she’s not sure what’s going to happen, but right now, she’s just enjoying feeling loved and happy.

I hugged her and when I walked away, I felt like I could fly. Inspired beyond, but not surprised, as I see a story like my friend’s a lot.

But let me clarify, that it isn’t luck when it comes to finding happiness after divorce. The men and women I meet with a story like this are those who make good, selfless choices. Those who focus on their children, their career, and who do positive things to heal from their divorce. Instead of drinking, they workout, instead of playing the victim, they focus on fixing the problems they can control, and instead of wallowing in in sorrow and self-pity, they get off their butts and accept their new role. They get strong. They go out and make things happen to grab the life they want.

From all of those choices comes self-confidence, self-love and yes, eventually LOVE.
This girl reminds me of Cinderella, but the difference is, she was her own fairy Godmother. Happiness after divorce is PROBABLE for you, too!