- January 6, 2014
Your divorce will probably be one of the most intense emotional experiences you’ll ever face. It sure was for me. I had all these powerful emotions hit me one after another, often in a confusing and frightening way.
The world of divorce can feel like a tornado has come through your life and wiped away all that was familiar and safe. I thought of it as being tied up, blind-folded and stuffed into the front seat of a runaway roller coaster. I never knew when I was going to be slammed to the left or right by a sharp turn and I dreaded any slow upward movement because I knew that at some point I would drop down into depths I couldn’t imagine or be thrown into a loop-de-loop or even be caught up in a corkscrew.
I’ll be honest with you. There were times back then when I thought I might be going insane.
What I’ve found out since my divorce in 2002 is that the emotions of divorce are intense and change rapidly for most people. These emotions often include denial, fear, hope, anger, loss, guilt, confusion, rejection and loneliness.
I think the loneliness was the hardest for me and that’s…
Read more: How To Deal With Loneliness Of Divorce
- December 29, 2013
When I was 13, my Grandpa died. I was devastated. He was my favorite person in the entire world and I was never going to see him again.
I wasn’t alone in my grief, my entire family was devastated – especially my Grandma. Grandma and Grandpa were very happily married and they were each other’s world.
Eventually, we were all able to process our grief and move on with our lives – except for Grandma. For the next 20 years, until her death, my grandma mourned the loss of her husband. When things happened that she didn’t like, she’d say, “Your grandpa wouldn’t have let that happen.” When things happened that she did like, she’d say, “Your grandpa would have liked that.”
It was really hard for me to hear her make comments like these. Every time I heard her make one of these statements I would cringe internally. It seemed to me that she must be missing out on life since she was so focused on the past and what she had lost.
I have very similar feelings today when I hear one of my clients tell me about how much they mourn what they used to have in their marriage. Don’t…
Read more: Finding Hope Is The Key To Moving On After Divorce
- December 22, 2013
Unlike Grandma’s recipe for fudge, dealing with divorce over the holidays isn’t usually a recipe for happiness. More often than not, it’s a recipe for days of pasted on smiles and long nights of extreme sadness. Luckily, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.
One of the things I teach in my teleconferences and to my clients is that when you’re going through divorce you need to learn the difference between your emotional box and your business box.
You’re in your emotional box when you allow yourself to express and experience all the emotions associated with your divorce. Depending on where you are in your divorce journey, your emotional box could be filled with pain, hurt, shock, denial, fear, loneliness, guilt, rejection, grief and anger. None of these emotions are especially helpful for making the holidays merry and bright.
You’re in your business box when you allow yourself to focus only on the decisions and tasks that you must address. For example, it’s best to be in your business box when you’re selecting your divorce attorney and when you’re negotiating the terms of your divorce settlement.
Because these boxes have such distinct purposes, it’s very helpful to be able to choose which box you’re in…
Read more: Divorced? How To Add Some Happiness To Your Holidays
- December 16, 2013
Bonus children, FTW!
When it comes to dating for re-singled (a.k.a. divorced) parents, odds are that the people you're dating will have kids of their own, too. Thoughts of entering into a serious relationship or even remarriage gives many re-singled parents cause for pause if not outright alarm because we've all heard the stories about evil stepparents since we were little (thank you, Cinderella!).
But that's not how it has to be! With a bit of work, It's possible to create successful blended families.
My husband and I met online through eHarmony. The picture he used for his profile was an adorable one of him with his youngest son (now my bonus son). When we had our first date, one of the things I asked him about was his kids.
Boy, talk about a conversation killer! He made it clear that he didn't want to talk about them. I laughed a bit when he told me this and told him that he should probably consider changing his profile picture in light of that! Luckily, we found other things to talk about and wound up enjoying our evening.
What I didn't know then was that his first attempt at a blended family didn't turn…
Read more: Dating After Divorce? Consider Blended Families
- December 9, 2013
For way too many kids of divorced parents the holidays aren’t all that merry. Instead, the holidays are filled with confusion and guilt.
These kids experience confusion because they often have a hard time keeping track of schedules about when they’re going to be with Mom, when they’re going to be with Dad and when they’re going to be with their friends. Then layered on top of this confusion is guilt.
Kids of divorced parents often feel the need to be actors. They don’t want to upset Mom by talking about Dad in front of her and they don’t want to upset Dad by talking about Mom in front of him. So, these kids learn to act like their other parent isn’t as important as the parent they’re with right now. The pressure to continue the charade amps up around the holidays and then the guilt comes. Many of these kids feel guilty that they’re looking forward to being with the other parent and that they have to leave the parent they’re with right now to do that.
I got to see this confusion and guilt first-hand with my bonus sons.
The first time I spent the holidays with the boys, I was uncertain what…
Read more: What I Wish All Kids Of Divorced Parents Thought About The Holidays