Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

MAN-DIVORCE

Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

Are you going through an unexpected divorce? This can be a devastating experience. Whether it’s being constantly reminded of your spouse or having trouble adjusting to single life, lots of people have made these important but painful realizations about divorce and come out the other end stronger. Though this advice may sound hollow or cliché, it may be exactly what you need to hear to help you get back on the road to independence, recovery and contentment.

Just remember that following a divorce should be a period of grieving. But things can only improve over time. In the beginning it can be an emotional roller coaster. But once things level out you do feel a little bit better every day. If you have children with your ex, you are going to have to get used to the situation. Don’t let seeing them again open old wounds. Find a healthy way to interact. Put on your best face and move forward. Find healthy ways to help yourself heal and feel better; exercise, meditation, or talking to a good friend are all good ways. Alcohol, junk food and locking yourself up for months at a time, not so much.

You’re going to be okay. This is a mantra for a lot of divorced people. But if you repeat it to yourself enough times, have enough talks with friends, cry, and reconnect with yourself, though the pain is immense in the beginning, you start to know that your happiness doesn’t begin or end with a divorce. It begins or ends with you, who you are, who you choose to be and the choices you make. Realize how better off you are without that person in your life. Is this the kind of relationship you want? Of course not. You need someone who is loving, supportive, appreciative and who will be there for you no matter what. And if you are reading this it’s obvious your ex wasn’t that person.

You can view it as the end of a marriage. Or you can view it as a new beginning. If someone tells you they are there for you to talk, believe them and use them. It will really help you. Gather your network around you. You need all the support you can get. When people tell you their sorry, understand that they are on your side. They don’t know what to say exactly. But they want to comfort you. If they say this, believe them. For more advice read, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser.

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

Just-A-Booty-Call

How Can You Tell if Someone Likes You Or Just Wants to Get in your Pants?

It happens when you least expect it. You meet someone and you can’t get them out of your mind. But what are their intentions? Though it does occasionally happen to guys, most of the time it’s the woman wondering whether he just wants to get in her pants or if he really likes her. Usually, this guy knows all the right things to say. You flirt easily and have a great rapport. The chemistry is real and it’s powerful. But in either case this could be true. So how can you tell? It’s in his actions as to whether he really wants to spend time with you or if he just wants to spend some time pressed up against you. Analyze the situation carefully and you can see through any player’s cover. First, how do you mainly interact? Are you constantly texting, emailing each other little articles you read online that remind you of one another and talking on the phone late into the night? Or do you mostly text and he drops off or disappears here and there, always reappearing with some catastrophe he dealt with or well-tailored excuse? If it’s the latter, you should watch your heart.

When you talk what do you talk about? If all he talks about is himself and he’s never inquired about your history, your likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and more personal stuff, chances are he isn’t that interested. Guys who like you want to get to know the real you. They will go out of their way to show you that they remember something about you. A link on your page, a phrase or joke you share, a little thoughtful gift or a mention of something you are interested in such as your favorite band coming to town, or your team winning a game will show that he really cares. If there’s no personal touch, he doesn’t want to get personal, just physical. Have you ever met his friends? Or does he steer you clear of his crew? Guys who like you want to see how you interact with their friends. He wants to know if you can fit in with his circle, and vice-versa. But those that just want to get between your thighs don’t want to risk their circle looking down on them, so there will always be an excuse as to why you can’t tag along.

Do you pick him up, go to his place? Do you always go out of your way for him? Does it run in the other direction too? If not, he’s just not that into you. A guy who really likes you will make an effort. But if it’s all about him, or he isn’t that interested, he may not think twice about taking advantage of your time, money and more. When you hang out is all his attention on you or is he constantly distracted? If he likes you his focus will be on you. If he doesn’t it will be on his phone, his great fashion sense or daydreaming about getting your clothes off and what he will find underneath. Does he make last minute plans with you, or break plans last minute? If he doesn’t respect your time he doesn’t respect you.  Does he drop hints or make jokes about not wanting or not liking relationships? This is a red flag. Sometimes he could drop hints that he is only interested in a physical thing. If he is eager to get physical with you, to kiss and touch you he may only have one thing on his mind. Of course these days wanting a mere physical interchange isn’t considered wrong. But it could be wrong for some. Decide what kind of relationship you want. Otherwise, you may find you misinterpreted the situation and end up heartbroken. For more on interpreting the male of the species read, To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy by Gregg Michaelsen.

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

THOUGHTFUL-COUPLE

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

Everyone has needs. And if you are in a long term relationship you realize that it’s transactional as much as it’s interactional. We have emotional, sexual, and physical needs such as hugging and cuddling, spiritual, financial and social needs too. There are eight elements in all. When a relationship is doing well the two interact in these realms meeting each other’s needs in full measure. There’s no holding back, no splurging. If they’re lucky there is an “element equation” or a surplus on the part of both partners. If there is an imbalance, the couple can choose to acknowledge it, discuss it and work through the problem. A deficit in emotional availability could by tackled by telling one partner that they aren’t feeling their full presence in the relationship. Instead of reacting, the other partner would agree to discuss it at a certain time. Both parties could then come up with solutions on when the best time is to discuss their feelings, say at a meeting once per week or something like that.

So how do you work on meeting your partner’s needs while getting yours met? First you need to recognize the imbalance. Something doesn’t feel right. Define the problem. Talk about it with yourself. Investigate. Is one person overspending or the other holding back? Where is this imbalance coming from? Next, find the proper words to address the problem. Bring it up with your partner and find an appropriate time to discuss it. The key is open and honest communication, without ego or blame stepping into it. Both parties have to communicate effectively, honestly, and from a point of respect toward their partner. Nothing is solved by screaming matches or finger pointing sessions. But the couple who can have a calm, cool discussion and come up with concrete solutions enjoys the strongest and happiest type of relationship. Find out the reason of the withholding or the overspending. Is there some guilt or feeling of inadequacy? Why does your partner feel this way? It’s important to validate their responses. Always begin from a place of wellness. Make your partner understand that you care about your relationship and want it to be healthy. Let them know that you are invested in them and invested in “us.” For more advice read, The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships by Richard Templar.

Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

mixed

Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

Mixed signals can be unbearable. But they don’t have to be or at least, not for long. Some people are good at reading others. Then there are those who are completely hopeless. Most of us lie somewhere in-between. But whether you’ve got top rate interpersonal skills, or find the opposite sex is a mystifying enigma, everyone sooner or later runs into someone they can’t read. Is she playing hard to get? Is he interested and not showing it, or just being aloof? Usually we can tell with someone’s proximity. If they enter your personal space, that’s good. If they touch your arm, the back of your hand, your back or shoulder when talking, or when you first meet, this too is a good sign. Eye contact and leaning in when you talk are good signals too. When you are leaving the person you are trying to read, wait a few seconds and look back after departing. Often if they look back too, they’re interested. Even then, perception does play a role, as may our gender. A new study gives us insight into how each sex perceives mixed signals. This one studied straight people only. Generally, men overestimate a woman’s interest. A woman however will underestimate a man’s. Moreover, while men think female friendliness equates to sexual attraction, women believe men’s passes are mere attempts at being friendly.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science recruited 127 men and 181 women between the ages of 18 and 30 to take part. Each participant answered a questionnaire surrounding misunderstanding in the person’s level of interest when interacting with the opposite sex. Respondents were asked how many times such occurrences happened to them within the last year. Questions included, “Have you ever been friendly to someone of the opposite sex only to discover that he [she] had misperceived your friendliness as a sexual come-on?”, “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were sexually attracted to him [her] but he [she] assumed you were just trying to be nice?” and “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were just trying to be nice but he [she] assumed you were sexually attracted to him [her]?” Researchers found that women were sending out “let’s be friends” signals, and receiving “oh-baby” in return, while men were sending out the “lookin’ good sugar” and getting back “let’s be friends.” So what should you do if you are getting mixed signals?

First, act like a memory detective. Think back to all the time you spent together. Consider their behavior, no act is insignificant, no gesture no matter how subtle should be overlooked. Have they shown you any special interest, waited for you or done something just a little above and beyond what normal people do? Then they are interested in you. If it’s someone you have been sort of dating, or made out with that went lukewarm, don’t invest so much time in that relationship. This goes for men and women. They are either having fun playing the field or they just aren’t that into you. Lots of people get caught up in a kind of wishy-washy, do-they don’t-they limbo that’s excruciating. Though there are those who like to gnaw their knuckles pondering the possibilities for hours on end, for who knows why. For most of us, if things are going on for too long it’s best to either state your intentions or fade on out. Don’t be someone’s sometime thing if you are looking for something serious. If you’re not, just enjoy the adventure. Protect yourself and your heart, and let the journey lead you to its end. You’ll know it when you get there, and you’ll know when someone really likes you by how they treat you. For more on the near Vulcan approach to love pick up a copy of, The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions about Dating, Marriage, and Family by Gary Lewandowski and Timothy Loving.

How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

breakup

How Long Does It Really Take to Get Over Your Ex?

When you are in the midst of a breakup or a painful divorce, usually people are there for you. It’s the one good thing about it. What they say though is sometimes another matter. For instance, people will give you all kinds of wild and contradictory advice, including how long it takes to get over someone. For a long relationship, say lasting five years, some say it takes twice as long to get over. But does that mean you’ll be stuck in a rut for the next decade? Others say it doesn’t take double the time. Instead, take the duration of your relationship and cut it in half. How long does it really take to get over your ex? The problem is way more complex than a simple formula. Plus not everyone is the same. In fact, there’s a lot of deviation when it comes to dealing with the emotional pain that follows a breakup. Some people have a tryst with a new lover and feel rejuvenated. Others pine away, spending months on the couch in sweats watching romantic comedies and wondering why they aren’t feeling any better.

There are a lot of reasons a breakup is not easy. One is biological. Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that dopamine, the reward chemical, is released when you are in love, the same kind of feeling you get from a drug high. You are, in a way, literally addicted to that person and must go through withdrawal. But everyone withdraws in their own way. According to British psychotherapist Elly Prior there are seven factors that influence how long it will take for you to move on after a breakup. These are: how long the relationship was, whether or not the breakup was recent, how obsessive or intense it was, whether or not it was meaningful to you, how things ended, if domestic violence entered the picture and whether or not one or both of you had an affair. Other important factors include if this is your first breakup, if you have a support network in your life, what other stressors surround you, if property or possessions still have to be split up, if you suffer from depression, how you interacted with one another and whether or not you are surrounded by reminders, say a photo on a shelf or your ex constantly springing up on your newsfeed.

One simple formula isn’t enough to solve such a menagerie. You may feel like you are being swallowed up in a pit of hopelessness and despair. But realize that emotions such as these don’t stick around for long. Pretty soon it will start to subside. There of course will be moments when you are reminded of the person. But those also pass. It’s important to tend to yourself at this time. Vent, have a good cry, spend time with friends and reconnect with people you lost touch with. Think about your future and what dreams you want to fulfill now that you don’t have any dead weight pulling you down. Reflect also on what you loved about the person. If things feel incomplete, make your own ritual and find an appropriate way to say goodbye. You don’t need their permission. They don’t even need to be there. Do it on your own. Try to turn around a breakup or divorce and make it a positive experience, one that you learn from and makes you a better person. For more on breakup recovery read, How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams and Harold H. Bloomfield.