Should you take your Ex Back?

backtogether

Should you take your Ex Back?

No matter the situation, ending a relationship is one of the hardest things you can do. Somebody is getting hurt in one way or another, and probably both of you to some degree. But a harder decision still is whether or not you should get back together with someone you broke up with or even got divorced from. Sure, the situation plays a lot into it. Some couples break up in the heat of the moment only to get back together again, and joke about it later. Another throws dishes at each other one day, only to forgive the next via rapacious bedroom escapades. And we’ve all rolled our eyes at those who get back together after a once-upon-a-time protracted and painful divorce or breakup. You mean they’re back together again?! We screech. But the saner of us from time to time find relationships that are a lot more complex. It’s hard to sort through. So how do you decide whether or not to take your ex back, including your ex-spouse? Here are some important things to take into consideration.

First, it’s high time to evaluate the initial breakup. Remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to reasons for breaking up. But what elements of the relationship led to it? If there was physical or psychological abuse, you shouldn’t go back there. If their snoring was too loud and you’ve found comfortable earplugs, maybe give it a shot. Next, think about what circumstances have brought you back together. Does it have to do with the pressure of responsibility, to piece the family back together? Is it a sense of guilt? Is the other person pressuring you? Or does it just feel comfortable and right? If you two have fallen deeply in love all over again and the problems of the past are resolved, go for it. If you truly love this person and see a bright future together, realize that life doesn’t always give you second chances at happiness. Would everything be great if you got together again, or would the same problems keep creeping up? If you just want to be in a relationship, don’t do it. Learn how to be with yourself first. You can’t be with someone else, if you can’t deal with being with yourself.

Think about what your previous relationship was like overall. Consider different aspects. Was it really a fight over something frivolous, or were there deeper issues at work? If they were controlling, had an anger management problem, a substance abuse problem or something else that’s serious, it’s important to consider who they are now. You may be walking right back into the same booby-trap with open arms. If the person tells you they want to change, be skeptical. If they tell you they have changed, look for proof. If they can prove to you they have changed, move ahead slowly. There’s no problem in being friends first, going slow and watching how things progress. It’s easier to extricate yourself that way. People can tell you all kinds of beautiful words. Remember their actions don’t lie. It is in these you can solemnly trust. Don’t let your guard down at first. Watch carefully. But be open to the possibility. Don’t deny yourself a second chance at love. Your heart is a sacred jewel. Protect it as such, and only give it to those who will treasure it. For a better chance the second time around read, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman.

Divorced Wife Wants Donated Kidney Back

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Divorced Wife Wants Donated Kidney Back

Samantha Lamb of the U.K. made the ultimate sacrifice for her husband. She went under the knife and donated a kidney to him. He thanked her by asking for a divorce.  Now the 41 year old mother with one child wishes she could get her kidney back and give it to someone who in her eyes is more deserving. Ms. Lamb speaking to a British newspaper stated, “I can’t believe he now has a second chance to live to see his grandchildren grow up. I would definitely go through the operation again – but I wouldn’t give the kidney to him. I hate him. If I could I’d take it back and give it someone else. Obviously I don’t want people to be put off putting their names on the organ donor list. But all I want from him is his name on the divorce papers.” The couple met working together driving ambulances for an ambulance company. Andy, her ex was funny, quick witted and never stopped delivering punchy one-liners. They originally got together in 2004. Then they broke up, but soon after reunited. They were married in 2007.

Of this period Ms. Lamb explains, “We had a nice life, although there were signs that Andy wasn’t what I had hoped for. He was controlling, like not letting me wear perfume every day. But we had a three-bedroom house in a lovely street and I thought we were happy. Then Andy became sick. His kidneys were failing. But he didn’t face up to it. He just got angry. He thought the world was against him and everyone else was to blame. I loved him and wanted him to get better but his moods were awful and he’d take it out on me.” They discussed it. Over time Ms. Lamb convinced Andy to have one of her kidneys. He had children from a previous marriage and wanted to be around for them. The couple even took part in a BBC documentary about organ donation.

It was after the surgery that Andy started acting differently. He was very ill before. But afterward he was flush, strong and healthy. He even shaved for the cameras. Meanwhile, Ms. Lamb was exhausted. Soon he was as testy as ever. He would pick fights with her then disappear for hours. Soon the truth was revealed. “I confronted him about having an affair with my friend Clare. My mum and sister saw him with his arm around her, “said Lamb. “He denied it and stormed out.” Ms. Lamb confronted Clare who admitted the affair. Though she won’t be seeing her organ returned, she got some revenge, “I did what any woman would do. I cut up his clothes, put them in black bin bags and left them outside the house.” To learn more about infidelity and revenge, read the book, Cheated ON and Pissed OFF! 20 Real Stories of Revenge by Simone Summers.

Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

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Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

For anyone who has been through a divorce, it changes you in deep and profound ways, some good and some not so much. But being a veteran of one gives you insight that those who have never been there can’t hope to gain. When you have a friend who is going through the same thing, you certainly want to reach out and help, to be there for them and give them advice and comfort since you know how it is, as you’ve been there. Here are some ideas on how to make your efforts more impactful and focused so that you can help your friend the best you possibly can. A lot of those people who have been there, done that want to dole out all of their hard won advice on their friend without considering how the friend themselves may be feeling. Don’t give advice if your friend hasn’t asked for it. Not even a little. Ask yourself who this drive is benefitting, you with all of your knowledge, or your friend who isn’t ready to listen? If they are still in a raw stage they may feel like you are rubbing it in, being judgmental or criticizing. When they ask for advice then give it. But don’t give unless asked. You can also share your knowledge in other ways, like sharing your own personal experiences.

Think about divorce situations that are relevant, and that your friend is currently experiencing. If for instance you hit a snag in your custody case and your friend is having a similar issue, or your ex-spouse was hiding assets and your friend believes their ex is doing the same, let them know what you learned and what happened. Discuss what worked and what didn’t in your divorce, but only if and when your friend is ready to listen. Ask things, framing it in “Did you think of” or “Have you thought about.” There are a lot of resources nowadays for those going through a divorce such as support groups, women’s support groups, dating after divorce groups and more. The Transition Network for instance gives emotional and social support. Meetup has many of these which you can find in you or your friend’s area. There are also symposiums, workshops and guest speakers who talk about getting one’s finances, emotional situation or legal situation in order. Why not help your friend find these if he or she is in need of more information or support? Divorce nowadays is so draining financially and emotionally, and such a complex situation that we often need all the help we can get, and in different realms of the issue.

Go out with your friend to take their mind off of their problems. They may want to sit and wallow for weeks and months on end in the house, but ultimately that isn’t going to make them feel any better. Buy them a latte. Take them to the spa, a movie, a night out, a meal, a concert or a comedy club. Treat them extra specially, they’ll need it right now for what they are going through. Give them little gifts or cards on holidays or their birthday. Bake them something, make them dinner, do something special to let them know how much they mean to you, that they will get through this, and that you have their back. Be there for when they need to vent. Don’t judge, give advice or explain, just listen. Sometimes nothing is better than having someone listen and validate your feelings without any commentary or judgment. Statements like “Of course you would feel this way,” can do a lot to help your friend feel better. If someone you know who went through a divorce helped you, and passed along words of wisdom, why not share them with your friend? Let them know that sooner or later things will get better. If you are dating again, let them know that when they are ready you can help them with that, too. Since you’ve had the same experience, your friend is more likely to lean on you. Be there for them. Hollow out a little time for them. Treat them how you wanted to be treated when you were in their situation. But realize, too, that everyone reacts differently to divorce and allow them to grieve and heal in their own unique way. To help your friend or anyone else you know through this trying time, pick up a copy of Growing Through Divorce by Jim Smoke.

Dating as a Single Dad

singledad

Dating as a Single Dad

Fatherhood isn’t easy, especially when you are a single dad. Most guys know all the general dating tips for men. But when you are a single dad you have to keep the kids in mind. Schedules can be crazy, especially if you have joint custody. Many dads also wonder how to balance the interests of their children, and avoid freaking them out while still enjoying a healthy love life. Of course everyone deserves the right to date and find someone and there are ways to do it while still being a spectacular dad. Here are some ways and things to do, and things to keep in mind while dating as a single dad. Remember that you don’t have to rush into the dating scene. Instead, take small steps and get acclimated to it, particularly if you’ve been out of the game awhile and aren’t feeling so confident. Widowers often have the most difficult time knowing when the right time to get back out there is. In this situation but also after a divorce everyone seems to have advice for when the particular right time to get back out there is. But really it’s all up to you, how you feel and when you feel comfortable making that step. Some divorced dads feel dating guilt because the time with their children is so limited. One good indicator if you are ready to date or not is whether or not you want to badmouth your ex-wife, or talk about your previous relationship all night instead of focusing on yourself and your date.

Have a conversation with your children about it if you are ready to date again. Address any issues. Some children secretly harbor the feeling that perhaps their parents will get back together. Often a dad or mom getting back into the dating scene makes it difficult for them as it deflates their fantasy. Have a long talk about it. Let them know that they are your number one priority and they will always have the biggest piece of your heart. That said, as much as spending time with family and friends is fulfilling, you desire friends you can go out to dinner with, go see a show with or go to the movies with. Of course consider the age of the children and tailor your message so that they understand it completely. Make sure you select the proper person or people to date. Let them know upfront that you are a dad and that your children automatically come first. Ask Mr. Dad columnist Armin Brott says, “You never know when there will be an emergency, when you’ll have to leave a date or cancel—and that might make her jealous.” Oftentimes, single dads want to date someone with kids. But single moms aren’t necessarily looking for a man with children. Though you may think a single mom would be more understanding, supportive and perhaps better with the children, a childless woman may be great with the kids as her attention will be solely focused on them, and you rather than her own.

You don’t have to tell your children every detail about the person you are dating. Don’t tell them too much.  Ask the children if they’d like to meet them. If they say no, respect their decision but let them know that if you two are getting serious it would probably be a good idea. They should be open to that. Don’t introduce the children to a series of people you are dating or one right after another. It will make them jaded about dating in their own life and may hurt their future relationships. Don’t leave the kids with a sitter or drop them off at your parents to go on a date. It sends the message that the date is more important than the children. You don’t want the kids feeling that way. Be careful what you share with your children. Don’t tell them the details of your dating life even if they are teens. Wait until you are serious about someone special before introducing them. Don’t have a sleep over with the children around unless you and your date are serious. Take a look and see if your ex-spouse is dating. If she isn’t watch out as former spouses try and discredit new lovers in front of the children. This puts the kids in an awful position. They have their loyalties split between mom and dad. Further, they may not want to bond with your new girlfriend or fiancée for fear that they are betraying their mother. Talk to your former spouse about it if this happens. When it’s time to meet someone you are serious about make it a relaxed meeting in a quiet and comfortable place. Never assume your kids don’t get it. Even young children get when dad is dating again. Be honest with them and they’ll be understanding, and will in the end want you to be happy. For more, read Dating for Dads by Ellie Slott Fisher.

Words you Don’t Want to Hear on a First Date

bad first-date

Words you Don’t Want to Hear on a First Date

First dates can be nerve wracking. Even if you know the person well your mind gets filled with what ifs and unanswered questions, causing your stomach to feel queasy and your palms to grow slick. How to act, chemistry, and common interests are all first explored. It’s like a job interview for dating. But just like a job interview, you are wondering if this person is right for you, not only if you are right for the person. How are they dressed? How do they approach you? Do they show manners? Are they uptight or relaxed, confident or shy? Of course, many people hit it off from the first date. Some take a little while to warm up to each other. And there are some first dates where you want to yell “Check please!” right after the appetizer. But if the conversation is going well, generally the date goes well. Listen carefully to what they have to say. There are plenty of things you want to hear on a first date; hobbies, interests, jokes and interesting little stories. But here are some things you don’t want to hear. If your date utters some of these phrases, keep one eye on the door.

If your date says he or she has never been in a long term relationship before, you may want to seek a mate elsewhere. Unless they are in their twenties, or critically shy, you should be wary of this person. Why haven’t they been in a relationship? Was it a personal choice or was there some issue keeping them from it? If you’re a gal and the guy says he hates labels, such as girlfriend, this man is not ready for a long term relationship. If you are in the casual dating mode then it’s fine. But if you want a casual relationship to develop into something more, you may want to date someone else. If his or her ex is still intimately in their life, like they are watching the children while you two are on a date, look elsewhere for love. Unless there truly aren’t any feelings left, they may be in the beginning stages of getting back together, or else you will spend a lot of time feeling jealous and suspicious. If your date starts giving you fashion advice, steer clear. This may be a control freak. If you hear the words restraining order, be polite but it may be time to erase that person’s number from your cell. For more dating advice, read 101 Good Questions to Ask on a Date by Maurice D. Chuka.