Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

Leave-Negativity

Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

Few events in life can fill you with so many negative emotions such as sadness, a sense of loss, despair, depression, anxiety and hatred like a bitter divorce. Even conscious uncoupling can be deeply unsettling. The first thing to realize is that it is all inside your own head. You may feel a torrent of emotions. But you decide exactly what to do with them, how to manage them and ultimately whether you come out a stronger, more developed, self-actualized person at the end who has experienced a kind of personal growth from this experience, or if you miss that chance due to retaining bitterness. If you are hurling all of this hatred and anger at your spouse, you’ll soon realize it’s like swallowing poison to murder someone; it hurts you terribly, but the impact on them is limited. Instead, an outlook of yourself both as patient and doctor is sufficient. You have these emotions and now it’s time to see how to best tend to them so that you get the best outcome. Your spouse as well may be casting vitriol at you every chance they get. You can’t control what happened or how they feel. Nor can you control their behavior. What you can control is your reaction to it, and how much you will let it bother you. There are some simple beliefs you can adopt to help shed your negativity and also protect yourself against your ex’s. Here’s how to free yourself from post-divorce negativity.

Realize that whatever your spouse says about you is their problem, not yours. Be sure to clear your name. And if they are using the children to spy or as a weapon, make sure to nip that situation in the bud. The children should never be put in the middle. They will suffer for it. But other than that, they will say what they will. You choose how you react to it. Their speech is all about them, not about you. What’s more, other people will be watching how you react. Will you be classy all the way, or sink to their level? In the end others judge them for their behavior, and they’ll sink themselves. Instead of seeing divorce as an end, which it invariably is, see it as a new beginning. You have freedom to be who you want to be, and discover a whole new you. Your life won’t be perfect after divorce, but it is still pretty good and it can be even be better. Make a dream board. Write in a diary. Make a bucket list. Go back to school. Get some more training or try and climb the ladder at work. Invest in a hobby. Take a trip with a friend. There are so many things you can do and so many directions you can take your life in now that your ex isn’t weighing you down. There will be good days and bad. If you need to cry it out, do it. It’s a healing process and think of it as such. But don’t wallow in grief. Know when it’s time to pick yourself up and get going again.

Realize that every experience you have in life is another lesson that makes you wiser and therefore a better person in the end. It may not feel like it now but this could be a completely transformative experience for you. Not everything in life is meant to endure. Change can be very scary and it can be hard to say goodbye. Just keep things moving. Make the necessary steps, no matter how small or staggering. Sooner or later you will make it to where you are supposed to be. Sometimes it feels satisfying to take part in divorce drama with your ex. But sooner or later you will understand that it weighs you down far more than it lifts you up. After a divorce you may feel like damaged goods. But the truth is people are judging you far less than you think. Understand that your life and your happiness is ultimately based on your own thinking and no one elses. You can make the world a better place and you can make your life all you want it to be. It’s all up to you. For more, pick up a copy of the book, The Rediscovery of Me: Reinventing Life after Divorce by Dr. Marcia Brevard Wynn and Earl Sewell.

Why all Relationships are Valuable

BREAKUP-STRESS

Why all Relationships are Valuable

Sometimes a relationship ends and we can’t help but feel that it was all just a huge waste of time. We invested so much in the person and the relationship and now we decry the loss of all that time and energy. It’s only natural to feel this way. But if you can take a step back and look at your love life as a continuum and a progression, you’ll see that all relationships teach us something valuable. There are lots of lessons to be learned that you can apply to your new relationships. Not only can it teach us about love, but even greater than that, a breakup is one of the most useful tools for teaching us about ourselves. Any relationship, if reflected upon in the right manner, can show you areas where you need improvement. Here are some things to think about after a relationship has ended. First, reflect on what didn’t work here. What was the crux of the issue that tore you two apart? You can use it as material for reflection so that next time you will have a better shot at making things work. Now we can see more clearly what love actually is and what it should be.

You can so easily perceive now what traits you don’t want inhabiting your relationship, things that previously you were more apt to put up with. Anger, jealousy, substance abuse, neglect, an inability to communicate and more may have been at issue. If you have one or some of these issues you can work on them. Or you can work to avoid a mate who has one or many of these. Then move to refine your search and what qualities you require in a mate. You can understand more clearly what type of behavior doesn’t work well with your personality, and what you will and will not put up with. If we look closely we notice that each new relationship entered into has certain elements that are the same. Your patterns of behavior are the same or similar or you are attracted to the same type of person. We can learn from these patterns. Nothing promotes growth better than examining our behavior in a relationship and how that behavior contributed to its end. Of course it may be ultimately the other person’s fault. But it takes two to tango. It is truly a rare breakup indeed where one person is completely at fault for everything. If you cannot isolate your own negative behaviors you are doomed to repeat them.

After a relationship ends there tends to be a change in one’s self-respect. It can be shored up or degraded depending upon the outcome and what has occurred. A relationship can show you where and how to apply your self-respect. If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, our relationship will inevitably show us that this is a poor choice, for all involved, and the relationship in total. If you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, your self-esteem degrades, the other person’s respect falls and the balance of power is knocked off kilter. It’s important that we assert ourselves. Our relationship is one place where we establish ourselves, where we negotiate, where we speak up for ourselves, show our value and learn to discuss things and talk about our needs, hopes, dreams and desires and how to fulfill them. It you are shut up and your needs and desires are not allowed to be communicated then this relationship is not for you.

Grief is never fun. But it is one of the biggest catalysts to personal growth. Throughout our lives we continually confront the cycles of beginning and ending. With love it seems particularly painful when it ends. But this cycle is no different than the others that occur in life. Loss is to be expected at the end of any relationship, whether you were sad to see it go, or relieved. We feel deeply connected with and identify with those whom we love deeply. Some people try to pull away from grief. It’s important to let yourself grieve and not paper over your feelings or pretend like everything is okay. Instead, allow yourself to grieve in a healthy way. Find someone you are close with to talk to. Do some soul searching. Make plans. Use this experience to fuel a personal transformation.  Each loss, though painful, teaches us to love ourselves more. We become more confident, mature, knowledgeable and self-aware. Remember that a relationship is a mirror. Nothing will reflect back on you or help you to see yourself more clearly like one. When we come up with a way to overcome our obstacles, we will find ourselves in the right relationship, one that is healthy and satisfying. For more help on getting back on your feet after a breakup read, Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person by Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D.

A Second Marriage is Often Better than the First

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A Second Marriage is Often Better than the First

Lots of people swear off marriage after their divorce. Those who felt controlled or dominated swear they will never lose their independence again. Infidelity makes others question commitment. Some feel that they would never want to go through the agony of divorce again. There are those who feel marriage is doomed because once the initial nuance wears off a lot of problems rear their ugly head. But the truth is your second marriage is often much better than the first.

Lots of folks put trust in the idea of marriage, until they get into and out of one. Then they realize that it’s a tremendous amount of work. And not only does it bring out someone else’s issues, but worse yet your own rise to the surface when interacting with a spouse. Some people don’t want to deal with all of that. And that’s understandable. Realize that most people are trained on how the subtle dance of courtship and getting married works. But lots of people don’t know what to do once in a marriage. After one is over however you are more knowledgeable, wiser and carry lots of experience. You know yourself a bit more. Lots of people fail to understand what they themselves bring to the marriage in terms of baggage. But after one marriage is over, and one has to face one’s baggage you start to realize your own patterns and mistakes, and seek to rectify them. This makes you a much better and more mindful spouse in the second marriage.

There are a lot of pressures on young couples that many times doesn’t exist on people getting married for a second time. Young children, a mortgage, striking out in a career and student loan debt all weigh on the marriage. But second marriages usually happen a little later in life when one is settled in one’s career, more comfortable financially and whose children are generally older or old enough at least where they don’t need constant supervision and care. There’s a lot less pressure that can weigh on the marriage. Money is the number one issue both in terms of starting marital conflicts and ending relationships, including marriage. If one or both of you is financially sound then there is far less of a chance of contention, should you get along in other aspects emotionally, sexually and intellectually such as shared goals and values.

After going through the first marriage you know how to fight and communicate correctly, and how not to fight and communicate. This will make the relationship more stable. Another advantage, you can take the lessons learned from the previous marriage and apply it to this one. Say you were taken for granted in your last marriage, now you may know how to speak up. Or if you took your spouse for granted you’ll appreciate your new one more. There are lots of advantages to a second marriage. But truthfully consider whether or not it’s right for you. For more advice read, Making Your Second Marriage a First-Class Success by Doug Moseley and Naomi Moseley.

Pre-Marriage Toolkit

marriage

Pre-Marriage Toolkit

Almost all love advice we are taught growing up is how to meet someone, but we never learn the skills we need to keep a relationship going and make a marriage run smoothly. Well today some organizations are trying to supply a pre-marriage toolkit or workshops to teach you and your partner the skills you’ll need to enhance and sustain nuptial bliss. These classes aren’t only for before you tie the knot. They can help keep your relationship humming along smoothly. Enter smartmarriages.org a website listing classes held across the nation, in all 50 states.

If you don’t have the time or the gumption to leave home on your or your spouse’s free time and work a course into your schedules, perhaps take a course online. Marriage counselor Dr. Susan Heitler has developed an online program at poweroftwomarriages.com. There are four tools every couple needs to put into their tool kit so as to have a successful union according to Dr. Heitler. The first is self-regulation. This is in terms of one’s emotions. Controlling our emotions is one important part of growing from childhood to adulthood. But many adults still struggle with anger issues that leak in and destroy a marriage. If one or another person raises their voice more than once per month, or if one or both spouses tend to say nasty things to one another, anger management should counteract that tendency.

Lots of couples have to work on their communication skills. Too many couples let problems devolve into arguments. They don’t know how to use tact in their relationship. They don’t validate one another’s feelings. Listening actively is not on the menu. And the model they use quickly becomes one of antagonism instead of cooperation. Hurtful or negative communication styles should be stricken from a marriage in total. Don’t counteract what your spouse says with “But.” Listen intently. Understand where they are coming from. See things from their point of view and yours and find avenues of compromise. Be patient. If things get heated stop the discussion and reschedule for another time. Seek innovative solutions for problems and keep your spouse’s opinion and concerns in mind and address them with your solution. Conflict resolution is a key skill that any long-term couple should possess. Every couple is going to see certain things differently. Instead of accommodating only one person’s preferences, solutions need to address both.

Lastly, too many couples let negativity seep in and poison their relationship. The way to guard against this is to inject positivity into your relationship as an antidote. Show appreciation. Laugh and joke with your partner. Compliment them. Show physical affection. Do something nice for them for no reason. Seduce them. Buy them a little gift. Write them a love letter or a poem. These will renew your relationship and your life, and keep both of you happy, together and smiling. For more advice read, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before -And After- You Marry by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.

Let Someone Down Easy

BREAKUPS

Let Someone Down Easy

It isn’t easy to reject someone. It doesn’t just hurt them, it hurts you, too. But the longer you wait the worse it gets, and the higher their expectations. Best to nip it in the bud, as difficult as that may seem.  It you are in a bad relationship and you need the motivation to step up and end it, this is for you, too. Here are some ways to let someone down easy, so you both can feel a little bit better and can get on with your lives. First, make sure that you are direct. Don’t try to soften the blow and leave the door open, thus giving the person false hope. Then you are just going to hurt them again in the future.

Let them know why. Try to word it in the most direct yet gentle way possible. But you do owe them an explanation. This is a moment for them of clarity, and perhaps personal growth and change. Whether you are looking for a long term commitment or you are just in two different places in your lives and going in different directions, tell the truth and they will respect it. Don’t give the person a huge list of things that were wrong with them. If you have a list of grievances, best to keep them to yourself. Perhaps narrow it down to one or two cogent things that the person can work on in terms of personal growth. Otherwise you are just going to be playing the blame game.

Make sure to stay calm, no matter what happens, what outrageous thing they do or if they break down, be a straight shooter and don’t get emotionally involved. You can comfort but from a distance. Remind them of something nice you once did together, or a memory you both share and how you will treasure it always. Don’t attack them but don’t let them attack you either. Try to act in a dignified way and if they start pulling low blows keep yours above the belt. Let them know how it makes you feel when they talk in such a way. Chances are they will stop. Don’t communicate with them. Don’t let them suck you back in. Lots of people start to miss their ex right away. But then they end up right back in the same position they were in to begin with.

It’s important not to waste your time in love or else you will spend a lot of time unhappy and unfulfilled. Life is too short for that nonsense. Don’t back out and don’t settle for less. But be sure to do it face-to-face. The only time it’s acceptable to break up via a phone call or text is if the other person was controlling, manipulative, or abusive either physically or mentally. Don’t follow them on social media. Don’t contact your ex when it’s too soon or hang out with them, even if it’s in a group. No matter what, someone is going to feel uncomfortable and that can bring everyone else down. Leave them alone for a while and let it be a clean break. Do give them all their stuff back undamaged and expect yours to be in the same condition. Do understand that this is just a speed bump on the road to a better tomorrow. For more breakup advice read, Breaking Up: How to Leave When You Finally Know It’s Broken by John Alanis.