divorce

divorce concept family separationDivorce is stressful. There is a lot on your plate between maintaining your job, dividing all the assets, figuring out living situations, and determining custody agreements. Even if you were the one that asked for the divorce, there is some sadness too. It’s a major chapter of your life coming to an end. It’s easy to forget how much your child’s life is changing too. While doing your best to keep all the sadness and hurt from them, trying to keep their schedule as normal as possible, and never bad mouthing the other parent, your kids are still stressed too.

Even if your kids knew everything wasn’t happy in your marriage they still won’t understand why it’s happening. They will internalize it. They will spend a fair amount of time wondering if they could have stopped it. It is so important to keep the lines of communication open with them. What details you reveal are at your discretion, but some form of, “mommy and daddy grew in different directions, and while we don’t love each other anymore, we both still love you very much,” is important. Kids need that reassurance, and often.

Little kids can sometimes hold very unrealistic expectations; such as asking if you can all still live together. Their entire world is often centered on us and how we behave. Keep that in mind always. The way you talk to your soon to be ex in front of them, and how you talk about each other to them, will be remembered. As much as you want the divorce to be over or as angry as you may be, the kids don’t need to see it, not now. When they are older, late teens to adults, they are more capable of having a conversation about how you felt, but now they not only can’t understand, but they will internalize.

Divorce for kids means their entire way of life has ended. Consider (if possible) a civil friendship with your ex until the kids are older. If your kids play sports, are in band, or anything other event you go watch, if you and your ex can’t sit together your kids will have to choose who to run to first. That kind of decision can be crushing for them. Their time with their parents is now limited. They will have different rules and expectations at both houses. They will have a lot of their own emotions tied in as well. As hard as this is for you, it is just as hard on them. Make sure you acknowledge that to them, and try to help them through it too.

Your kids will survive your divorce, but they will need your help to do it. Don’t minimize their suffering (by accident or by choice) because they are young, and don’t compare it to yours.

unhappy couples on the verge of divorceResearch shows that most couples wait six years before seeking marriage counseling.

Plus, most people never seek professional help; they head directly to a divorce attorney’s office.

Considering the impact divorce that has on children, this finding is very disturbing.

What should people in the throes of marriage problems do instead?  Get help when things start going downhill.  Nip things in the bud.

But how can you tell when your marriage is in trouble?  Here’s how.

  1. You’re thinking about being unfaithful

There are many reasons you may be tempted to have an affair. You may want the excitement of a new relationship.  You may want passionate sex with a new partner. You may be longing for attention and appreciation.  You may enjoy the thrill of risk-taking.

You may be longing to connect with someone who you think is more similar to you.

You might want to escape daily responsibilities and routines. There is no shortage of reasons people stray.

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dating couplesYou’re recently divorced. You married your high school sweetheart and haven’t been on a date in 25 years. At the end of your marriage, there certainly weren’t many romantic sparks, and now you feel really out of touch with your romantic and sensual side. Maybe you’ve been on a few blind dates, dabbled in online dating and even checked out the health club. But your nerves are frayed, your self confidence is low, and the whole idea of dating again knocks you for a loop. Whether you are a man or a woman, getting back into the dating game is not for the faint hearted. Here are some tips to get you feeling confident about your dating skills:

  1. Leave your baggage at the door- This should be pretty common sense, but many people use the new date partner as a sounding board for all of the woes of the recently ended relationship. Nothing kills potential romance faster than a hang dog look as you go on about your ex. If you need an outlet, get a good therapist- (I may know of a couple that can help!)
  1. Focus on fun- putting too much importance on one date sets you up for failure. Have fun and take your time, deciding of you like this person enough to see again.  Approach each person as a new beginning, really looking at both their interests and yours- are they a good match?
  1. Explore your playful side- after a divorce, your self confidence is low, you may feel unattractive and undesirable. Make an extra effort with your appearance, and spend some time on yourself. Engage with your social network and focus on keeping good eye contact and open body language.
  1. Use your common sense when starting to date again- red flags are warnings that should not be ignored. If your self confidence is low, you may think that you don’t deserve a healthy relationship or that you won’t find someone else, and that you need to settle for the first person you meet. If you find yourself thinking, ” Well, I can live with that” or “I can change him/her”, think again about what you are doing. Remember, the traits of that person will only be amplified as they become more comfortable with you.
  1. Meet someone new- volunteer, take a class, ask your social circle for referrals or recommendations. This takes away some of the risk of going out with a complete stranger. Find someone with the same interests as you and suggest a meeting. Even if it’s a not a perfect match for you, you could develop lasting friendships and increase your social network.

This can be an exciting time, and it’s normal to have some fears. Keep things light and easy,  and use these times to improve your fun loving abilities. Dating after divorce may just be your next great adventure!

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