What Kids Need to Hear During a Divorce

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What Kids Need to Hear During a Divorce

Of course divorce is hard on the couple, even if it is the low-conflict kind. The divorce process is complex. Emotions run high. But no matter how you get caught up in the back-and-forth or how you feel, remember the most important and most vulnerable people that can easily fall by the wayside or even get caught in the middle are the children. It’s important to talk to them, spend time with them and let them know this isn’t their fault, and that even though things are changing they are still very much loved. Be cognizant of how the divorce is affecting your child and don’t be afraid to bring it to your ex’s attention. Even if you are splitting you will be co-parenting from now on. It’s important to develop strategies on how that is going to work for their sake. But what’s more important is supporting the children through this difficult process, answering their questions and being there for them. Here is what the kids need to hear during a divorce. No matter what age your children are, whether they are young or full grown adults let them know that the divorce isn’t their fault. How a child processes a divorce is different for each person. Lots of them use introspection. Often an insignificant incident may be perceived as the cause.  The children need to know flat out that it isn’t their fault and what the reasons are as well as you can elaborate and if their age allows.

Let them know that no matter what they are feeling, it isn’t wrong. Feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are. How we act on, deal with or cope with our feelings is what makes them good or bad. The children may feel sullen, argumentative, upset, angry or confused, or many of these emotions or different ones at different times, and that’s okay. But you have to find positive outlets for them to express these emotions. Talking to you or to a trusted confidant, playing sports, exercising, taking part in relaxation techniques, therapy, yoga or meditation can all be positive, healthy methods of dealing with these emotions. If the child’s emotions are out of hand seek out a counselor. Make sure it is someone who has experience in this regard and someone the child can connect with. Make sure that you and your ex resoundingly send the message over and over again that both of their parents love them and that nothing will change that. Remind them that each parent shows their love in the best way they know how. Each person loves differently and to compare one parent’s style to another is foolhardy and just doesn’t work. Let them know that life continues despite this divorce. They still have friends, responsibilities, hobbies and other business to attend to. This divorce is not who they are, it’s just an aspect of their life. They aren’t responsible for their parent’s marriage. In fact, it really has nothing to do with them, it’s between the two of you. Marriage can be great but it has to be with the right person. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of Talking to Your Children about Separation and Divorce: A Handbook for Parents by Risa J. Garon and the Children of Separation and Divorce Center Inc.

Why we Date People who Aren’t Good for Us

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Why we Date People who Aren’t Good for Us

Have you ever been in a relationship you know in your head is wrong but you continue with anyway? Sometimes there are practical reasons like you can’t afford the rent on your own, you’ve bought property together, or just can’t see yourself living alone. But are these really the only reasons? Sometimes people don’t even have reasons like these. They just don’t know why they stay with someone who isn’t for them. So why do we date people who aren’t good for us? There may be some subconscious reasons you are not even aware of. Are you afraid of commitment? Do you happen to break up with someone or get divorced periodically, when just a few years or even months have gone by? These types usually couple with others who are scared of commitment, and just won’t say so. Then they blame each other, but never look at what baggage they themselves bring to the relationship. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Another reason may be unresolved childhood trauma. The person you select is from the archetype of your first caregivers, normally one’s parents. If you pick people who abuse you, treat you harshly or are just neglectful or emotionally unavailable, look to see if those who took care of you when you were young acted the same way towards you.

Do you generally focus only on the person’s good qualities and ignore the bad? Even the worst people can have moments when they are kind. But if they have a whole bunch of bad qualities and only a few good ones, your fixation is unrealistic. Instead, try to take a step back and look at the whole person. You could also be so caught up in what you felt in the beginning of the relationship that you are still living there and not noticing what is happening in the relationship now. Some people just don’t do well with reality. They’d rather live in denial. But that can only take you so far. And if your reality gets too out of touch with the real reality it could be embarrassing, and even have dangerous consequences. Have you been having a sexual relationship with this person and it’s turning bad or you’ve gotten emotionally attached when you shouldn’t have? Humans are biologically programmed to connect with those they have sex with. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is good or healthy for you. Sometimes a relationship is used to deflect a deeper issue in ourselves that we aren’t willing to deal with. Lastly, if you can’t admit you’ve made a mistake then you’d rather ignore the problem than actually face it. Dig and see what you can unearth to make your love life happy, healthy and satisfying.   For more on this topic, read Dating the Wrong Men: The Misadventurer’s Guide through Bad Relationship Choices by Kelly Rossi.

You can come through Divorce a Stronger Person

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You can come through Divorce a Stronger Person

Going through a divorce can be one of the most heart wrenching and financially burdensome periods of one’s life. How could it ever make you happier? You’d be surprised. The brightest light is only witnessed after dwelling in the darkest places. Remember that divorce is only one part of your life, an interlude between your married life and your single life. It isn’t your complete life. Your existence isn’t defined by it. It’s merely something that happened to you. You can come through divorce a stronger person if you choose to. Of course you have to grieve for the marriage. That’s a natural part of healing psychologically. But too many people wallow in self-pity after a divorce. Or they are overwhelmed with the question, “What do I do?” It’s time to start looking at things bit by bit. Learn to become more self-sufficient. You don’t need your ex, even if they did provide or help to provide a certain amount of financial or other type of stability. You can do that yourself. Whether you have to figure out how to pay the rent or when to get the oil changed, it can be an adjustment. But in the long run you’ll learn how to do each and every thing you lack. You will become more independent. You’ll learn that you don’t have to rely on anyone for anything. You can do it all yourself. The most important lesson you’ll learn is that you can be with someone if you want to be. You won’t need to be. That very fact will attract much higher caliber people your way.

You will also develop a clearer identity. Before your identity was confined to that of the marriage. But now you are unencumbered. You merely represent yourself and come as yourself. If your ex used to embarrass you in public places you know what a joy this can be. But you aren’t overshadowed or compared to or even associated with another person. You can control completely what is reflected upon you. And you don’t have to worry about that person you were with messing it up. You look so much better without them pulling you down. And why not explore the other relationships you have? Work on your work relationships and improve them, you family relationships, those with your pets, your mentors and more. Spend some time working on you, and just you. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but never had the opportunity? Well, you don’t have a terrible spouse weighing you down anymore. You are free to make any decisions you see fit. If you have children you still have to keep them in mind. But you are the captain of your own destiny. And without a bad marriage in the midst, you can focus on strengthening the other relationships in your life. With having stronger relationships and being more capable you’ll gain confidence. And that’s really the sexiest quality of all. For more on getting stronger after a divorce read, Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, 3rd Edition by divorce expert Bruce Fisher.

Top 10 ways to Break Up with the Least Damage

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Top 10 ways to Break Up with the Least Damage

Most of the time, even when we are in a bad relationship we agonize over whether or not we should break it off. Some worry if it is too soon. Others if perhaps their relationship can be renewed. But there are those who fear damaging permanently their lover psychologically. A good metaphor is that getting out of a relationship is like removing an adhesive bandage. Some people prefer to tear it off. Others remove it slowly inch by inch. Either way when you are finally ready to have that conversation most people want to do it in a way that is best for both parties, saying what needs to be said while treating the other person’s emotions, and perhaps your own as gingerly as possible. How to go about doing that often remains a mystery however. Here are the top 10 ways to break up with the least damage possible to that person, and yourself. The first thing is to know exactly what you want to say. You don’t need an entire speech memorized, though it may help. But just knowing some key points of why it isn’t working and how trying to work it out isn’t conceivable at this point will really help minimize the pain while getting the point across.

The second is to be honest. There is a teachable moment here and if there is a behavior or habit that is really getting in the way, this is the time where you might make an impact and even help someone turn their life around. However, you need to think through what you are saying. Tact is important. Most of the time, when breaking up whatever you say is going to reverberate in the person’s mind. So be sure to choose your words wisely, so as to get the point across without crushing them. Third, run through what you are going to say, even do it in front of a good friend who knows the two of you well and get some feedback. Fourth, make sure you pick a good, neutral spot for the breakup to take place. If you think that they are going to lose it but are the type generally to keep up appearances, perhaps a quiet, out-of-the-way but public place such as a coffee house is a good idea. Make sure it isn’t someplace special to them or you will ruin the memory for them. Fifth, keep your partner’s schedule in mind. Don’t interrupt their whole day, or blow an interview or presentation for them because you decided this needed to be done. Be considerate of their life before breaking up with them or you could impact their life far worse than you considered you would, or want to.

Six, don’t blame or point fingers. You will just be adding insult to injury at this point. But on the other hand, number seven, don’t take all of the blame either. Be upfront with what it was. Sugarcoating it will only pass the problem on to the other person. And if your former partner gets wind you are trying too hard to protect their feelings they’ll feel disrespected. Just be as honest as you can, but tactfully. Practice finding the right words to get through to them without being harsh. It’s a balancing act but it surely can be done. Eight, be empathetic. Understand where they are coming from and feel for them. Put yourself in his or her position so you know where they stand, why they act a certain way, how they may act and what you can do to minimize their grief and yet make sure they understand where things sit. Number nine don’t leave the door open to getting back together if you don’t mean it. Some people do this to save the other person’s feelings. But they end up hurting them worse as they give the person false hope, which compounds their grief when they find out it wasn’t true. They may even consider it a matter of being lied to. Number ten, remind them of a good time you once had, and revel in the nostalgia. Let them know that you’ll always think of them that way, attached to this and other fond memories. Giving breakup advice is easy. But living through a breakup, that’s something else.  For more insight on how to do it right pick up a copy of, Dump ‘Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser by Jodyne L. Speyer and Julie Bossinge.

Common Breakup Lines Demystified

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Common Breakup Lines Demystified

Sometimes the people we date, or used to date aren’t that creative. We hear the same stale, old breakup lines coming up over and over given to us, our friends and almost anyone you care to meet. But do they mean what they say? Is it really not you but them? Here are some common if not cliché breakup lines demystified. Let’s tackle the “It’s not you it’s me” line first, probably the most famous and often utilized, even by Hollywood. This line is a total cover up. Your date doesn’t think you’re the one. On the upside, if you are getting this line the person delivering it respects you, or else they wouldn’t shoulder the blame. And they want to keep the avenue open for remaining friends which is also a positive message going in your direction. So when someone uses it, even if it’s a well- worn phrase, accept gracefully. The next one is just as common, “I need my space.” This is something someone says when they are feeling smothered. If you have needy or clingy tendencies you might have heard this one more than once. It could also mean that things are moving too fast for the person, either physically or on an emotional level. Or it could just feel that way to them. Realize that love is release. It’s a giving in. And some people, especially those who hold too tightly, have a hard time giving up control to the emotion. If you hear this line, they may just not be ready for a relationship. Consider carefully.

“I’m just too busy. Work is nuts.” Sure we are all busy. But if this person is into you, they will make time for you. So this is just an excuse. They aren’t that into you. Anyone who is into someone automatically makes time for a relationship. You don’t have to snub them. But don’t go out of your way either. Let them break it off fast and final, like tearing off a Band-Aid. It hurts a lot when you do it like that. But the pain doesn’t last long. “I think we should see other people.” When someone says this, they like you. They still want to be with you, but they want to date other people, too. They don’t want to be exclusive with you. So they’re testing the waters and seeing if you are interested or would accept this kind of arrangement. If you don’t want to get serious with this person, and want to date around, it could be okay. But if you want to be exclusive with them, better to break it off or refuse this offer. You will save yourself more heartache down the road. Lastly, “You’re too good for me” is actually an honest statement, not a line like it sounds like. This person is not ready to commit. They may be a player or dating around. Most people don’t underestimate themselves. Most go way the other way. This person isn’t ready to commit or spend the time or energy developing things. Let them go. You’ll be glad you did. For more dating advice, read It’s Not Him, It’s You: The Truth You May Not Want but Need to Hear by Christie Hartman, PhD.