Coming to Terms with Singleness

Coming to Terms with Singleness

Whether you are newly single, or perpetually so, lots of people don’t reflect on their singleness, nor do they actually come to terms with it.

Some jump from one relationship to another without any forethought. Others pine, preach keep impossible standards and curse the dating pool rather than evaluating themselves. There are those in today’s world who focus much more on their career. Love is an afterthought and sometimes just something to cure the biological need so that the focus can return to pursuing work related goals. Perennial adolescents exist too, in both sexes and existing way into adulthood. But many of these people don’t reflect on what it means to be single, who they really want to be and where they are going. Though it is the fastest growing demographic in America, single women seem to be stigmatized as weird, too independent or damaged. Single men up until middle age are seen either as someone else’s throw away, used goods or Peter Pans who are too selfish and never want to grow up.  But few people sit down with themselves and do some soul searching. Who is it I really want to be? What goals do I have for my love life? Do I really want to be cohabitating, married or single? How can I achieve my goal whilst still pursuing my other objectives?

People are staying single longer nowadays, marrying later, choosing to cohabitate or finding themselves divorced and back in the dating pool again. But few people really think about their future and where they would be happy. If you are single, determine what it means to you. What are the perks you enjoy? What are the drawbacks? Is having the freedom to do anything you want at the drop of a hat worth more to you than say having someone to be there for you, supporting you? How do you feel in the social sense about being single? Some people are embarrassed or even ashamed by their singleness. They feel that it makes them seem like damaged goods or carrying too much emotional baggage. But that is a yardstick to measure one’s self to a bygone era. In today’s world with such a high divorce rate, people staying in unhappy marriages for loath of the expense it takes to divorce, with people marrying later, cohabitating or just choosing to be single, there is no social norm in which to measure ourselves anymore. A lot of people compare themselves to their friends. But what good does that do you? If you are an architect you don’t want to be a mechanic like your best friend. Yet, why should their relationship choice have any bearing on yours? Being single can be seen as intimidating or exciting. It can make you seem confident and independent or damaged and bitter. Society may view you a certain way. Your parents and friend may have an opinion on your relationship status. And perhaps you have one yourself. But instead of letting the opinions of others dictate your singleness, take control of it, evaluate it, decide what you really want and go after it. Own your singleness and make it work for you.

Signs your Child is Coping Well with the Divorce

DAD-READING-TO-KIDS

Signs your Child is Coping Well with the Divorce

Divorce is not only difficult for parents, it’s hard for children too. A recent study out of the U.K. however found that children growing up in single and step-parent families were just as well-adjusted as those growing up in dual parent households. Your child can come out the other end happy, healthy, well-adjusted and secure. You as their parent however have to mitigate the situation as best you can. Make sure they are protected. See that they can come to you and talk about the divorce, ask questions and air any concerns. Shield the children from the anxiety caused by divorce conflict between you and your ex-spouse. Make sure all of your decisions are with the children’s welfare in mind. If you and your ex-spouse have done these things, your child should get through the transition and be okay on the other side. You’ll have to watch them carefully however to make sure they make the leap and land on the other side without any serious problems. Here are some signs your child is coping well with the divorce. First, note your child’s behavior. Do they act as they usually do? Do they talk the same, look the same and go through their normal schedule without any outbursts or hiccups? If so this is a very good sign. Children of any age can endure powerful emotions during divorce such as anxiety, guilt, hurt, anger and more. But if your child interacts and behaves normally they are adjusting well.

When you spend time with your child, do they smile, laugh, and act in a positive manner? Some kids withdraw into themselves. Others act out. They can be spiteful, angry, even belligerent. But if your child is happy and wants to be with you and spend time with you, this is a positive indicator that they are doing alright. Your child may want to ask a whole bunch of questions surrounding the divorce. Be open and honest with them. Yet, share the information you are going to extend with their age in mind, a simpler version for younger children and you can add more details for children who want to know, because they are older. Make sure you are open and even ask them to ask you questions. You don’t want them bottling their feelings up inside where they will fester and cause more problems. You want them out in the open so you can both deal with them. If they feel comfortable asking you questions, feel good about it. It means they are doing okay and grappling with the situation as they should, in a psychologically healthy way. Don’t force them to open up. Just be there for them and encourage them. A gentle asking or prodding would suffice. They may come around later and ask questions after they’ve finished processing the information they already have. Some kids withhold information or a story from one parent or another. But healthy, well-adjusted children aren’t afraid of sharing their stories and experiences with both parents. Let them know you want them to maintain a healthy relationship with both their parents and never guilt or shame them for enjoying their time with their other parent.

Talk to the counselors at school and your child’s teacher or teachers. How are their grades? What is their behavior like? Have they been acting out? If your child has had signs of aggression it may be time to consider counseling. But if they have been maintaining their grades, spending time with friends, behaving properly and taking part in extracurricular activities, they are adjusting well. How does your child treat others? Are they sympathetic to the problems of others? Do they show compassion or empathy? A sign a child might be in distress is if they’ve lost their compassion for others somewhere along the line. This is a good time to check in with school counselors. Does the child talk about exciting things that will happen in the future such as summer vacation, theirs or a friend’s birthday party, an upcoming trip and so on? Children get excited about events happening in the near future, and this enthusiasm illustrates a positive outlook about the world.  But those who have lost their enthusiasm are having trouble emotionally and should be listened to, to find out what the specific problem is, how they interpret things and what can be done to make things right or better. If a child is affectionate and takes and gives hugs and kisses, or gives words of encouragement, this child has adjusted fine. Look for the aid of a professional if your child needs some assistance. With the proper care even a child who has difficulty can be redirected and will soon enjoy a happy, healthy, well-adjusted life. For more on this topic pick up a copy of, The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert Emery.

Early Romance Leads to Issues down the Road

teen-romance

Those who started dating at a younger age had more difficulty in life later on, according to a new study. But the problems weren’t in their relationships per se. In fact, those who experienced early romance were more likely to suffer from social issues such as alcohol or drug abuse. The reason for this, researchers say, is that younger people do not form healthy attachments to romantic partners. They are influenced negatively by their partners, such as trying recreational drugs when their partner offers it to them, and the impact of a breakup is far more devastating as they don’t have the cognitive and emotional skills to cope. However, just because a child started dating early does not mean they will end up in the slammer. In fact, researchers found that when parents and children discuss the issues and emotions surrounding a breakup, children can then process it better and handle their feelings in a much healthier way. This study can be found in the Journal of Adolescence.

As a parent, it’s important to have an open and honest dialogue with your children. Start young and let them know that they can come to you to talk about anything. Try to foster a nonjudgmental atmosphere when it comes to their problems. You also need clear rules and boundaries that are enforced. According to this study, it may even be beneficial to establish some rules against dating too young. Waiting until the mid-teen years is advised. The only problem with that is they may try to sneak around with a love interest behind your back. However, don’t forget to let them know too that you love them. The child should feel comfortable, secure, and supported, where they won’t feel like they’ll be punished for how they feel about a schoolmate of another person. Open and honest relationships with children can make all of the difference. Talk to them about everything. Set some time aside to listen to them and talk to them about what is going on. A deep bond is only developed by spending time with them, listening to them, and supporting them. According to this study, it makes all the difference.

Dealing with After Breakup Jealousy

after breakup

Even if it seemed inevitable, you don’t stop caring for someone just because you’ve broken up. Lots of people think about their ex after a split. They wonder what they are doing, who they are with, if they miss you, and if they have someone new in their life. If they are dating someone new, feelings of jealousy, anger, resentment and frustration can surface. Of course these feelings are normal and natural. You need to grieve and when grieving is over, move on with your life and find someone new. It’s important to learn how to deal with jealousy after a breakup, especially if there is a chance of you running into your ex. First, understand your feelings. They are only natural. But they’re inside of you. Nothing is really going to hurt you. You are just in a transition period. Once you heal, these negative feelings will subside. It’s okay to grieve when the wounds are fresh, but don’t wallow. Why not try to counteract negative feelings with positive ones? Realize that you once had a relationship, it didn’t work out, but you are a unique, beautiful, and special individual. That person wasn’t right for you, and now you are free to find the person who is. Find a friend, family member, mentor, or someone you trust to talk with and vent your emotions. Then treat yourself. Get a new haircut, a new outfit, do something you love to do either by yourself or with friends. It’s all part of the healing process.

If you are still angry and jealous, search these feelings. Why do you feel this way? Is it something about how they treated you or is it an issue you are having? If it’s about how they treated you, then let those feelings go. You’re not with them anymore. And they frankly aren’t worth all of the effort. Instead, focus on yourself. What issues are these feelings stemming from? Do you feel inadequate, insecure, or is there something else? A breakup is a great time to observe yourself and your behavior and try to work on yourself, and make yourself better. Sometimes it’s when we are at our lowest point that we are most open to change and renewal. This may be the impetus to make yourself the best you that you can be. Take a look at your life. Notice not these negative things, but the good things in your life like your friends, family, hobbies, and accomplishments. You can find all kinds of great things that you’ve been taking for granted. Reconnect with them. Focus on yourself. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or try? Learn to dance, play and instrument, or a foreign language. Take a road trip or go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. And when you are ready, get out there and find someone new.